You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Led Zeppelin: John Bonham Copied His ‘Good Times Bad Times’ Beat and Blew Away the Drummer He Stole it From

Showbiz CheatSheet logo: MainLogo Showbiz CheatSheet 2/11/2023 Jason Rossi

John Bonham never seemed to do anything halfway. The Led Zeppelin drummer purposely chose a kit with the largest — and therefore loudest — drums when he upgraded early in Zep’s career. Bonham paid $85,000 cash for a car rather than let a salesperson embarrass him. The inventive Bonzo wasn’t above borrowing from other drummers. Bonham copied one impressive part of his “Good Times Bad Times” beat and blew away the drummer he lifted it from by playing it in a more complicated style.

John Bonham | Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns © Provided by Showbiz CheatSheet John Bonham | Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

John Bonham announced his talent within just a few seconds of the first Led Zeppelin song

All Bonham needed was a few seconds of the first song on Led Zeppelin’s first album to announce his presence with authority. Bonzo had several standout moments on Zep albums, and “Good Times Bad Times” was one of them.

Bonham hits his snare drum at the same time guitarist Jimmy Page plays the downstrokes on his guitar. He drums along with the lead guitar instead of behind or under it, which was always the vision for his drumming

Once you hear Bonham’s revolutionary rapid-fire bass drum triplets that come in moments later, it’s impossible to unhear it. Bonham copied that beat and blew away the drummer he stole it from.

Bonham copied his ‘Good Time Bad Times’ bass drum triplet and blew away the drummer he stole it from

Replay Video

Led Zeppelin was like the British sequel to the U.S. band Vanilla Fudge. The Fudge performed well-known songs (such as The Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride” and The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hanging On”) but slowed them down and played them louder. Zep took a similar approach with several blues standards on its debut album.

Vanilla Fudge drummer Carmine Appice was one of the first rock ‘n’ roll drummers to inspire others who followed. 

Bonham was one of them. 

The two timekeepers forged a close friendship as Led Zeppelin’s earliest U.S. concerts came opening for Vanilla Fudge. It didn’t take long for Appice to realize Bonham was a phenom. 

Replay Video

When he heard “Good Times Bad Times,” Appice was so awed that he didn’t even care (or realize) that Bonham copied his triplet beat(per Beast author C.M. Kushins):

“I heard Bonzo’s foot thing, the triplet on ‘Good Times Bad Times,’ and was blown away. When I finally got to meet Bonzo, I said to him, ‘I love that foot thing you did,’ and he said, ‘What do you mean? I got it from you.’ I said, ‘I never did that triplet.’ He said, ‘Yeah, you did. It’s on ‘Ticket to Ride’ on the first Vanilla Fudge album.’ I went back and listened to the Fudge record again after that and found that, yes, I did a triplet between the hand and foot. But he did it all with his foot. That blew me away.”

Carmine Appice on John Bonham copying his drumming triplet beat

Bonzo’s rapid succession of triplets (three notes played in the space of two) on “Good Times Bad Times” is jaw-dropping. Even non-drummers can’t help but be impressed. Bonham copied the move from Appice but upped the difficulty level by playing the beats with only his foot. The way Led Zeppelin’s drummer did it left Appice dumbfounded.

Bonzo stood out for another skill he brought to his drumming in Led Zeppelin


Led Zeppelin: John Paul Jones Needed Just 7 Words to Describe John Bonham’s Drumming Skills

Bonham played like a ball of thunder behind the kit, but he wasn’t a mere basher. He could play more delicately, too, which he did on softer Led Zeppelin songs such as “Thank You” and “The Rain Song.”

His precision and command of various styles made him stand out, but Bonham stood apart from other drummers with one crucial skill — he could tune his own drums. Glyn Johns, the engineer on Zep’s debut album who also worked with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, said Bonham adjusted the tuning on his kit to achieve a different sound. Johns said very few drummers of the era possessed that skill.

And very few timekeepers could play triplets with only a single bass drum pedal. Even the drummer John Bonham copied that move from, Vanilla Fudge’s Carmine Appice, was blown away by Bonzo’s skill.

For more on the entertainment world and exclusive interviews, subscribe to Showbiz Cheat Sheet’s YouTube channel.

Read the original article from Showbiz Cheat Sheet

Showbiz CheatSheet

Showbiz CheatSheet: MainLogo
Showbiz CheatSheet
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon