Friday Funk: Led Zeppelin funk cuts for 50th anniversary

This week marked the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin’s first album, so tonight’s Friday Funk installment calls out select funk cuts from one of the most influential rock bands ever. Drummer John Bonham was a huge funk fan, and his funkiness anchors Zeppelin’s entire catalog. While digging, I found this great note on Bonzo’s funk style deep in a Zep forum:

The technical side of it this … you have four beats per measure, and most non funky pop and rock drummers play the bass drum on 1 and 3, with sparse strokes on the “ands” of those counts. The snare drum on those same type of songs comes in on the 2 and 4. Funk drumming utilizes the bass drum in a most expressive manner, with many strokes on the “ands” of the next count. The snare drum will still keep up the 2 and 4 but with many more deviations to create busier patterns with the bass drum. Describes John Bonhams style to a “T”, and therefore the funky feel of Led Zeppelin.

And another guy added:

Precicely what I was going to say. Bonzo’s use of ghost strokes, and playing on the “ands”. Definitely! Just look at The Crunge! But yeah, there’s way more going on with Bonzo than the casual listener is likely to notice. People tend to think of him as a sledghammer drummer, but he had a real delicacy and finesse going on as well. And Jonesy on clav, for sure. And he could definitely funk it up on the bass too!

So with that we kick off with Bonzo’s Montreux drum solo to set the tone. Then a selection of classics you’ve heard countless times, but now will realize just how funk-influenced they are. So hit play below to get the funky Led out and get your cool back for the weekend. I’ve put it all into a single playlist:

– Bonzo’s Montreux
– Custard Pie
– The Crunge
– Trampled Under Foot
– Royal Orleans
– Communication Breakdown (w Isley Bros ‘It’s Your Thing’ tribute @ 2:00)
– When The Levee Breaks
– Houses Of The Holy

Liner Notes:

-If you like Friday Funk, here’s the full Friday Funk playlist on Spotify.

-If you don’t like Friday Funk, please consult our music policy.