Two bands that would profoundly change music were founded in England in 1968. Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, John Bonham, and Robert Plant created the first Led Zeppelin in London. In Birmingham, not too far away, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward founded the second band, Black Sabbath. The next year, Zeppelin was able to release their two debut albums, which were essential in elevating Hard Rock to a new level. These albums started a significant shift in rock & roll, which pushed Black Sabbath to become increasingly heavier and in turn give rise to what would become known as heavy metal. Those bands made their mark on music history over the years and evolved into two of the most influential bands to ever exist. The majority of the musicians who made up such bands were already close friends after their success and had known each other even before the bands were created. They have discussed each other’s music extensively over the years, and Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi even revealed what, in his perspective, was the driving force behind Led Zeppelin.
Tony Iommi claims that Led Zeppelin’s primary inspiration Zeppelin and Black Sabbath both founded in 1968, but it wasn’t until Jimmy Page’s band already had two records out in 1970 that Black Sabbath was able to release their breakthrough self-titled debut album. Black Sabbath was inspired by their heaviness and showed them that they could advance their music. However, they naturally added a little darkness to their tunes, which entirely distinguished them from Zeppelin. One of the greatest guitarists of all time, Tony Iommi is referred to as the “Riffmaster” and is credited with creating innumerable amazing guitar riffs that have influenced countless musicians over the past five decades. Jimmy Page, the band’s guitarist, was presumably the driving force behind Led Zeppelin in his estimation. But in his eyes, the drums, played by the late, great John Bonham, were the band’s real driving force.
When questioned about Led Zeppelin, who would be honored that year, in a 2006 interview for the UK Music Hall of Fame, he remarked as much. (Rock & Roll Garage transcribing): The guitars are the thing in certain bands. However, the drums were Led Zeppelin’s primary source of power. (Their sound) had elements of many other genres, including reggae. To put it simply… Do you think music would exist without Led Zeppelin? I’m unable to, so!” Added Tony Iommi. Iommi and Bonham were well-known to one another and close friends. Even Iommi invited the drummer to be his best man at his wedding in the 1970s. Iommi claims that Bonham used to be let go from bands for playing too loudly.
As Iommi noted, Bonham’s playing was a large part of what made Led Zeppelin so heavy. He would smash the drum kit so forcefully that even his friend Bill Ward, who couldn’t buy a kit before stardom, forced him to stop using his equipment. Curiously, Iommi said that Bonham used to leave bands because he played loudly in a 2020 interview with Guitarist Magazine. “We knew Bonham and Planty. The best man at my first wedding was Bonham. He and I used to hang together a lot. We frequently performed together. He would be with another band while we were performing at this place. “They let me go. What occurred? I’m being too loud. Then, because he was too loud, he would join another band and be let go by them. He was always joining and leaving bands, according to Tony Iommi. Black Sabbath were adored by John Bonham, who even had a favorite song from their discography.
The bands remained friends throughout the years, and in the 1970s Led Zeppelin even attempted to sign Black Sabbath to their record company Swan Song, but the deal fell through. Iommi frequently recalls the incident when Bonham, Plant, and Jones paid them a visit while they were recording the iconic album “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” (1973). The song “Supernaut” from Sabbath’s Vol. 4 (1972) album was the drummer’s favorite. He requested to perform the track with the group during that session. Iommi recounted that incident during a 2016 interview with Classic Rock. John visited us while we were recording in London’s Morgan Studios. John Paul Jones and Planty were also with him. The only person who wasn’t present was Jimmy Page. When they entered, John said, “Let’s play Supernaut!” because he adored that song. “So we began to play it while he sat behind the drum kit. Naturally, he misplayed the situation. But we just kept going and got stuck, Tony Iommi remarked. Following the terrible passing of John Bonham at the age of 32, Led Zeppelin disbanded in 1980. The remaining band members determined that he was too much of a distraction for them to play on. Over the years, they only sometimes got back together.