John Bonham's gong sells for over $64,000

Somebody is having a very expensive 'gong show'
Somebody is having a very expensive 'gong show' (Image credit: Bonhams & Butterfields)

The gong that once belonged to Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham has been sold for over $64,000 to an anonymous buyer.

Which means one of two things: somebody with a lot of money has a very cool wall decoration, or somebody with a lot of money is making A LOT of noise in the basement. reports that the gong was consigned by the late drummer's sister, singer Deborah Bonham, and their mother, Joan Bonham. The instrument which was used by Bonham onstage was purchased on 6 July by a buyer during an 'after-sale' when the gong failed to sell as part of Bonhams and Butterfields Entertainment Memorabilia auction.

Was originally priced at $120,000

"He used it for definite dynamic effect in a couple of tunes, not just for bashing...." John Bonham's former drum tech Jeff Ocheltree

Originally it was thought that the gong would fetch as much as $120,000, but the final going price was $64,660. Hey - times are tough, even for well-heeled music collectors.

The gong itself is made of hammered brass with two painted Chinese characters to the front, top of rim with two suspension holes. It measures 75.5cm (29¾in) diameter.

Blame it on Vanilla Fudge

Bonham's use of the gong was inspired by Carmine Apppice, drummer for Vanilla Fudge, whom Led Zeppelin supported during their first US concerts in December 1968.

In his book, A Thunder Of Drums, Bonham's former drum tech Jeff Ocheltree, recalled that "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....'"

Check out the late, great John Bonham working the gong in this portion of his famous Moby Dick solo.

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Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.