JOAN BONHAM 1926 – 2011
It is with immense sadness that we have learned of the death of Joan Bonham.
Joan had been unwell in the past few weeks and died in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Joan was the wife of the late John Henry Snr and mother of Deborah and the late John and Michael. Her zest for life and in particular her family, was admired and loved by so many.
Myself and Gary will personally never forget the enthusiasm and empathy the whole Bonham family brought to the 1992 Led Zeppelin Convention we co organized. Joan was in attendance over the weekend and spent time with many fans recalling her memories of John. I can vividly remember watching the Knebworth footage of John performing Sick Again on the big screen and Joan turning to us and saying ‘’They still love him don’t they….’’
Joan was often to be seen at Zep related events. In 2003 Joan was in attendance at the New York premiere of the Led Zeppelin DVD and naturally the 2007 O2 reunion show. In 2009 Joan attended the Classic Rock Awards with Deborah accepting the Tommy Vance Inspiration award which was given posthumously to John. She also supported many of Deborah’s gigs and celebrated her 80th birthday in 2006 at a Deborah Bonham gig at the Bein Inn in Perth, Scotland
TBL contributor Lorraine Robertson attended that show and recalls:
‘’We were delighted and honoured to be present at Joan’s 80th Birthday celebration here in Scotland . I will always remember Joan’s rendition of Rock and Roll that night sung with Debbie and Pat Bonham…it was magical. Joan had the special gift of making you feel at ease and I felt I had known her all my life.
Another very distinct memory of Joan was in Malta where we stood together watching the Deborah Bonham Band’s amazing performance. She stood in the crowd with the people and enjoyed it as much as we all did. After Deborah’s performance Robert Plant came on stage and paid tribute to Joan referring to her in the sweetest way possible by proclaiming her the “Queen of the hop’’
Last October Joan attended the Robert Plant & The Band Of Joy show at the Birmingham Symphony Hall. The Robert Plant feature in a recent issue of Rolling Stone reporting on the show, noted how having seen a lady fan leaping on stage to kiss Robert, backstage after the show Joan pinched Robert’s cheeks and said ‘’I see you’re still up to the same tricks’’.
The high esteem and huge lasting affection Joan commanded amongst the entire Bonham family, the ex members of Led Zeppelin, her many friends and the countless admirers of her first born musician son, says everything about this truly remarkable lady.
Our thoughts go out to her family at this sad time.
Dave Lewis February 10th, 2011
Joan at the Celebration Days Led Zeppelin Convention – London May 1992 – below the Deborah Bonham Band perform
The Old Hyde…four lives now sadly gone…