A statue of late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham has been unveiled in his home town to mark what would have been his 70th birthday today (31st May).
Created by sculptor Mark Richards and situated at Mercian Square in Redditch town centre, the vast bronze sculpture weighs around 2.5 tonnes and is covered in anti-graffiti paint.
It depicts Bonzo in live action behind the drum kit and features his ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ symbol of three interlocking rings along with the date of his birth and death.
The stones surrounding the sculpture are a nod to the iconic 'Houses of the Holy' artwork and the piece also features zeppelin airships from which, of course, Led Zeppelin took their name.
Elsewhere, the sculpture is emblazoned with the words: ‘The most outstanding and original drummer of his time, John Bonham’s popularity and influence continue to resonate with the world of music and beyond.”
Mark Richards took to Twitter earlier this morning to confirm that the statue has been installed overnight, writing: “Delighted that my memorial sculpture to John Bonham was installed over night in Redditch town centre. Thanks to all who helped make this happen.”
Delighted that my memorial sculpture to John Bonham was installed over night in Redditch town centre. Thanks to all who helped make this happen. #johnbonham #johnbonhammemorial #johnbonhambirthday #redditch pic.twitter.com/VG3HOr2ubl— Mark Richards (@markxrichards) May 31, 2018
Redditch Borough Council gave the green light for the statue to be built at a planning meeting back in October.
Supported by the Bonham family as well as Warner Music Group, John’s sister Deborah attended the meeting where she told councillors that necessary funds had been raised for the memorial and any money left over will fund Teenage Cancer Trust nurses in Redditch.
Deborah told the BBC afterwards: “Just to say how absolutely thrilled I am that this is happening and we got planning permission. I’m absolutely thrilled, we’re going to have a John Bonham memorial. Brilliant.”
Last September, unofficial fan site Led Zeppelin News published a letter written by Tim Fraser-Harding, who is President, Global Catalogue, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group, to Redditch Borough Council urging them to give their backing to the memorial.
As well as confirming plans to unveil the statue in Redditch, Fraser-Harding noted that it was just one of “a series of high-profile events” planned for 2018 to mark the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin.
Already this year, Led Zeppelin have released unheard versions of ‘Rock and Roll’ and ‘Friends’ on 7” vinyl for Record Store Day and in March they released a remastered edition of their 2003 live album ‘How The West Was Won’.
The band’s first ever official illustrated book, the aptly titled Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin, will be published by Reel Art Press on 2nd October 2018 – 50 years to the month since the band changed their name from The New Yardbirds to Led Zeppelin.
Speaking exclusively in issue six of Planet Rock Magazine, Jimmy Page said there will be a brand new Led Zeppelin live album released at some point this year and he foresees that there will be 'new' Led Zeppelin product emerging over the next decade.
“I can't give the game away, but there's a recording that’s another multi-track that we'll release,” Jimmy said. “It's so different to all the other things that are out there. It's another view compared to How The West Was Won or The Song Remains The Same.
“I'm looking forward to people hearing that. There's a lot of stuff to come out, a number of releases. I'd like to say that they'll be coming out over the next 10 years. There's more to come for sure.”
A new statue has appeared overnight in Redditch.— BBC H and W (@bbchw) May 31, 2018
It’s paying tribute to the Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, was was born in the town and would have been 70 today: pic.twitter.com/2qS4fTxaP5