Five Incredible Drummers Gone Too Soon

On this day in 1948, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham was born.

We lost Bonham at the young age of 32. The band was supposed to kick off a North American tour in October 1980, but on September 24, 1980, Bonham died from asphyxiation from vomit.

Today, we honour Bonham and four other drummers we lost, but their legacies will live on forever:

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John Bonham

Led Zeppelin’s drummer died at the young age of 32, but what a legacy he left behind: from the echoing behemoth percussion of “When The Levee Breaks” to the intricate kick-and-snare play on “Good Times Bad Times”, and of course, the incredible solos like the one on “Moby Dick”, Bonham was the complete package. His legacy and influence as one of the most important drummers ever will stand the test of time.


 

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Cozy Powell

Appearing on over 66 albums, Cozy Powell was an in-demand session drummer, performing with Rainbow, Robert Plant, Brian May, Black Sabbath and more. His combination of classical training and raw energy made him a drum powerhouse.

Powell died in a car crash in April 1998 at 50 years old, but not before leaving an incredible body of work and collaborations behind.


 

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Eric Carr

After the fallout with Peter Criss, KISS was on the hunt for a new drummer. Eric Carr auditioned by sending his tape in an orange envelope; an attribute KISS staff member Jane Grod said caught her eye.

Carr was with the band from 1980 to 1991, when his health deteriorated from heart cancer and subsequent aneurysms. He passed away at the age of 41 on November 24, 1991–the same day as Freddie Mercury.


 

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Earl Palmer

Palmer lived a full life, passing away at the age of 83 in 2008, but that doesn’t make the loss of this legend sting any less. A session drummer, Palmer played on records by Little Richard, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, The Beach Boys, Sonny & Cher, and plenty more. His style was a pioneering sound of rock ‘n roll, and can be heard through the decades in all of the genre’s various forms.


 

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Keith Moon

The percussionist for The Who knew how to wow from behind his kit. Technically, he was flawed, which couldn’t have worked more in his favour: the lack of precision allowed him to craft a style that was embraced by his fanbase. It also allowed his on-stage antics, from stick twirls to hurling cymbals, to match the rowdiness of his melodies.

We lost Moon at the age of 32 in 1978.


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