This Day in 1968: The Band of Joy makes their London debut

Monday, February 8, 2016
This Day in 1968: The Band of Joy makes their London debut

48 years ago today, a couple of guys named John and Robert performed their first-ever gig in London with a musical endeavor they called the Band of Joy. Within a few months, the joy had apparently left the band, but even after their disbanding, John and Robert continued to play together in a new group. Perhaps you’ve heard of them: they were called Led Zeppelin.

John Bonham and Robert Plant first crossed paths in 1965, when Bonham joined the ranks of Plant’s band at the time, the Crawling King Snakes. That particular band may not have lasted for the long haul, but by 1966 Plant was fronting the Band of Joy, at least for a little while. His stint didn’t last very long due to disagreements between him and the band’s management, so he tried to start his own Band of Joy, a plan which seems destined for failure, as indeed it proved to be.

Still, Plant was apparently very fond of the name, as he tried once more to build a Band of Joy lineup in 1967, this time bringing in Bonham, along with guitarist Kevyn Gammond and bassist Paul Lockey. It, too, was destined to end sooner than later, but at least the band managed to make their way to London for the first time, with the Band of Joy serving as one of two supporting acts (the other being the JJ Sound) for the one and only Edwin Starr. By May, however, things went down just as we mentioned earlier: the joy left the band – possibly their attempts to secure a recording contract came to naught – and the Band of Joy was no more.

But as we know, there’s no need to cry for Bonham and Plant: before 1968 came to a close, they’d joined forces with Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones to help the former fulfill his contractual obligations as the last standing member of the Yardbirds, and we all know what happened once they realized just how strong their musical chemistry was.