After The Beatles dominated the rock world during the 1960s, Led Zeppelin took over in the 1970s as rock became a more hardcore genre. Paul McCartney also became slightly edgier with his band Wings, and the two bands became competitors. However, Paul McCartney and the members of Led Zeppelin still had respect for one another, and the former Beatle even had a few recording sessions with drummer John Bonham.
Paul McCartney first recorded with Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham in 1972
In an interview with Goldmine magazine, Allan Kozinn, author of The McCartney Legacy: Volume 1, 1969-73, shared how Paul McCartney and John Bonham worked together. According to Kozinn, Bonham was friends with Wings drummer Denny Seiwell. Seiwell couldn’t attend the recording of “C Moon.” So, Bonham stepped in and helped out on the drums. However, the official version of “C Moon” features someone else on drums.
“Denny Laine was friends with John Bonham from before either was famous. Bonham used to watch Denny’s band perform in Birmingham, where they were both from, and Denny has said that even years later, Bonham still remembered the lyrics to some of Denny and the Diplomats’ original songs. Bonham came along [to the session], not really to fill in for Seiwell, but just as a friend of Denny’s, and he took over the drums for a while. But Paul felt uncomfortable recording the track with Bonham replacing Seiwell, so [Wings guitarist] Henry McCullough moved over to drums, and that’s who you hear on the record.”
McCartney and Bonham worked together again on ‘Beware My Love’
In 1976, Paul McCartney and John Bonham once again got in the studio together. This time, Bonham played the drums for “Beware My Love,” which debuted on the album Wings at the Speed of Sound. According to Far Out magazine, Bonham participated in the first demo of the song, but the official version was recorded with Wings drummer Joe English.
It’s unclear why McCartney didn’t include the version with Bonham, but the former Beatle still recalled the experience as a positive one.
“It was fantastic,” McCartney exclaimed. “Bonham was always on my top-five drummer list and a great friend and ballsy drummer.”
The pair worked together once more on ‘Back to the Egg’
Back to the Egg was the final studio album from Wings. The album included one of Paul McCartney’s most ambitious projects, “Rockestra theme.” For this epic track, McCartney contacted many famous musicians he was friends with to come down to the studio and be featured on the track. Many musicians are credited with being on this song, including Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham and John Paul Jones, The Who’s Pete Townshend and Kenney Jones, and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour.
The Rockestra roster also recorded the song “So Glad to See You Here.” The group gathered at Abbey Road Studios in a collection of talent that has rarely been matched. Unfortunately, Back to the Egg performed below expectations in terms of sales, but Rockestra is still impressive to listen to for rock historians.