During a recent interview with Planet Rock, Black Sabbath lead guitarist Tony Iommi recalled an exclusive story featuring the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham. Apparently, Bonham was his best man, and the night before his wedding day was filled with adventurous moments due to his notorious drinking problems.
Tony Iommi married Susan Snowdon in late 1973, to whom he had been introduced by Black Sabbath’s then-manager Patrick Meehan. Their marriage lasted about three years, and the guitarist previously said that recording the 1976 album, ‘Technical Ecstasy’ negatively affected his relationship with Susan.
John Bonham was Iommi’s best man for his wedding ceremony since the two musicians were close friends. During a recent interview, the Black Sabbath guitarist looked back on the night before the big day, which was filled with unbelievable moments thanks to his best man.
Apparently, the duo went out in Birmingham to numerous clubs, and the craziness started at the last one. John Bonham ordered 12 bottles of champagne and poured one for Tony Iommi. Although he refused to drink as he was getting married the following day, both friends kept on drinking.
Eventually, Iommi took Bonham to his home, which wasn’t the best idea considering his wife didn’t let him into the house after seeing him drunk. After struggling with Pat Bonham, the two friends managed to get into the house, and the guitarist slept downstairs.
When Iommi saw his friend completely wasted, he thought he wouldn’t be able to make it to his wedding as his best man. However, John Bonham surprised him by showing up the next day, even before Iommi had woken up. The drummer was there and ready from head to toe, which was unbelievable if you ask Iommi.
Iommi’s crazy story involving Bonham follows:
“With my stag night, we went out in Birmingham to different clubs, and the last club we ended up in, it was like closing time, nearly 1.30 in the morning. We walked in, and John Bonham said to the barman, ’12 bottles of champagne on the bar… open them all.’ And they poured them out, all 12 of them. And I thought he was treating everybody in the club!
I said, ‘what are you doing?’ He said, ‘that’s for you.‘ I said, ‘I’m not gonna drink that!’ He said, ‘come on, you’ve got to drink it. You’re getting married tomorrow!’ I said, ‘I’m not gonna turn up if I drink that!’ I had one glass and he just went down the line drinking them and he was paralytic.
I had to take him home. At the end of the night, we had a driver to take him home and then we got to his house and his wife wouldn’t let him in because he was drunk. And it was such an ordeal and we were pressing the gate she’s saying, ‘He’s not coming in!”
“Eventually, she opened the gates and we got in and she opened the front door and she said, ‘he’s not coming upstairs.’ So, I said, ‘Pat, I’m getting married in the morning, he’s got to be there!’ She said, ‘well, he can sleep downstairs.’
So I put him up against the radiator and I said ‘you’re not gonna turn up tomorrow are you?‘ And he stuck his thumb up like yeah, you know. I say ‘are you alright there?’ and he made a grumbling noise.
I left him and, sure enough, the next morning, bloody hell! I lived about 30 miles from him, and he turned up at my house before I’d even got up the next morning. I couldn’t believe it. He was up and ready to go, his suit on and top hat and tail and everything. It was unbelievable.”
While it’s pretty impressive to hear that John Bonham managed to get up in the morning and was ready and sharp for his dear friend’s special day, it’s also heartbreaking to listen to stories related to his alcohol issues. As you may recall, the drummer, unfortunately, passed away due to pulmonary aspiration at the young age of 32.