Mick Bonham

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Michael 'Mick' Bonham (13 July 1950 - 14 January 2000) was an English photographer, author, and disc jockey. He was the younger brother of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.

Career

Bonham was the son of John 'Jacko' Henry Bonham, Snr (d. 1989) and Joan Bonham née Sargent (1926 - 2011). Like his brother, Mick Bonham attended Wilton House Private School in Redditch, but completed secondary education at Ridgeway Comprehensive School.[1] Throughout the 1970s, Bonham worked at the Old Hyde Farm in Worcestershire. His brother John placed him in charge of maintenance and helping run the family farm.[2]

Bonham was a collector of Motown music and introduced John to various artists when he had returned home from touring with Led Zeppelin. He first saw Led Zeppelin in action at Club Lafayette, Wolverhampton on 24 February 1969 and was impressed by their performance.[3] Bonham later was invited on-stage and played congas during 'Whole Lotta Love', when Led Zeppelin performed at the Preston Public Hall on 23 November 1971.[4] He also had a brief cameo appearance in the film The Song Remains the Same when John was playing billiards in the local public house. Bonham was also a photographer and took hundreds pictures of John and the Old Hyde Farm, of which a number were published in his biographies of John, and some unpublished ones later reused as part of the background projection during Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience tours of North America. These images gave an in-sight into an intimate family-side of John Bonham which was rarely reported in the media. Mick also took photographs of the Worcestershire area which have been used in local history displays.

In late 1975, at the height of the disco era, Mick Bonham operated the first Dolly Disc franchise in the United Kingdom. Professional entertainers with Dolly Disc included Connie Chapman, Karen Pennington, Jilly Davies, and Vicky Harten.[5]

After John's death, Mick briefly looked after the Old Hyde Farm. A long-time friend of tribute band Fred Zeppelin, he used to introduce them when they performed in Redditch. It was after reading sensationalist news stories about John that Mick decided to set the record straight. Contributing to Chris Welch's and Geoff Nicholls' 2001 book John Bonham: A Thunder of Drums, Bonham had only just arranged to have his first book published when he died suddenly from a myocardial infarction on 14 January 2000. Writing in a warm but direct style, his first biography Bonham by Bonham: My Brother John was published posthumously in 2003. This book was followed up with John Bonham: The Powerhouse Behind Led Zeppelin in 2005, which included additional interviews and was based on a near-completed manuscript Mick Bonham was finishing at the time of his death.

Personal

Bonham had married Linda Turner on 13 September 1975, his best man being noted BBC production designer Spencer Chapman (1938-). Mick and Lin Bonham had two children, Emma Michelle Bonham (1976- ) and James Colin Bonham (1979- ). The family lived in Winyates, Redditch.

References

  1. Welch, Chris; Geoff Nicholls (2001). “Your Time Is Gonna Come”, John Bonham: A Thunder of Drums. San Francisco: Backbeat Books, 15. ISBN 978-0-87930-658-8. OCLC 47232599. 
  2. Bonham, Mick (2005). “The Search for the Old Hyde”, John Bonham: The Powerhouse Behind Led Zeppelin. London: Southbank Publishing, 125. ISBN 978-1-904915-11-9. OCLC 61302889. 
  3. February 24, 1969, Wolverhampton, UK, Club Lafayette. LedZeppelin.com. Retrieved on 25 December 2013.
  4. November 23, 1971, Preston, UK, Public Hall (Preston). LedZeppelin.com. Retrieved on 25 December 2013.
  5. Bonham, Mick (2005). “Celebration Day”, John Bonham: The Powerhouse Behind Led Zeppelin. London: Southbank Publishing, 136. ISBN 978-1-904915-11-9. OCLC 61302889.