Led Zeppelin: John Bonham's Chinese gong,
Lot 6357
A John Bonham / Led Zeppelin Chinese gong
Sold for US$ 64,660 inc. premium
Lot Details
A John Bonham / Led Zeppelin Chinese gong
In hammered brass with two painted Chinese characters to the front, top of rim with two suspension holes, 75.5cm (29¾in) diameter


  • The integration of a gong into John's drum set-up had, apparently, been inspired by Carmine Appice, drummer with Vanilla Fudge, whom Led Zeppelin supported on their first US concerts, in December 1968. Jeff Ocheltree, John's former drum tech recalls in 'A Thunder Of Drums' that '...The first Paiste gongs had Chinese caricature letters on them. Later on they had 'Paiste' on them. John knew how to 'warm up' the gong with a mallet - and he used it for definite dynamic effect in a couple of tunes, not just for bashing...' John Paul Jones, referring to the spectacular practice of setting fire to the gong at a dramatic point in the band's set, has stated: 'He did that more or less every night. His roadie Mick Hinton had to set it alight. I think he used lighter fuel, and it was quite dangerous...John got the gong idea from Carmine (Appice) when we supported Vanilla Fudge in the early days.'


    'John Bonham: A Thunder Of Drums', Chris Welch and Geoff Nicholls, Backbeat Books, 2001, pps. 94 & 140.

    'Led Zeppelin: The Concert File', Dave Lewis & Simon Pallett, Omnibus Press, 1997, contains several photographs, taken pre-1973, showing John using a similar gong.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note the provenance should read "Consigned by Deborah and Joan Bonham, John Bonham's sister and mother, respectively."