Deborah Louise Bonham (born 7 February 1962) is an English rock and blues singer-songwriter. She is the younger sister of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, aunt of Jason Bonham, and cousin of Bill Bonham.
Born in Redditch, Worcestershire, England, Bonham is the daughter of John 'Jacko' Bonham (d. 1989) and Joan Bonham (1926 - 2011), and was raised in a cottage on the family property the Old Hyde farm, Cutnall Green, Worcestershire. She attended Holy Trinity Convent School for Girls in Kidderminster, Worcestershire. Inspired after seeing Led Zeppelin perform at Birmingham Town Hall on 13 June 1969, she began learning music and performing her own songs. Bonham's influences include Maggie Bell, Billie Holiday, Little Feat, and Led Zeppelin, although her vocal style has often been compared to Janis Joplin, Elkie Brooks, and Bonnie Raitt. Her first demos were recorded at the age of 17, under the tutelage of singer Robert Plant who lived nearby, with her nephew drummer Jason Bonham. Bonham sent out the demos anonymously to various labels, determined to make it in the music business on her own, and soon secured a recording contract with Carrere Records in 1985. Her first album entitled For You and the Moon was a major commercial and critical success. It was voted 'Record of the Year' by German music publication Musik Mart, voted 'Record of the Week' by BBC Radio 1's Simon Bates, and reached the Top 5 on the NME albums chart. She also toured with Van Halen, and Foreigner.
After a number of European and UK concerts, for much of the late 1980s Bonham recorded with Japanese Sam Corporation, appearing in noted music magazine Burrn, as well as performances for J-Wave FM Radio. During this period she also took time off to complete a university degree as well as working for record companies BMG and Warner Brothers. Returning to recording she contributed to the Hardin and York album Still a Few Pages Left, and she was signed with RPM Records, finally releasing the CD single 'Perfect World' in 1995. With a new touring band, Bonham headlined the Belfast Festival at Queen's and performed sell-out shows such as at the Bottom Line, in Shepherd's Bush. Major tours followed in the United States in 1997, with a highlight an on-air performance of Bonham with the syndicated Rockline radio programme, which was broadcast to an audience of three million. She also appeared at the Whisky a Go-Go in Los Angeles, performing with Slash, Terry Reid, and Jason Bonham's band. Later that year Bonham at the Glastonbury Festival and Fairport Cropredy Convention. In 1998, Bonham sang 'Talking Ain't Cheap' for the Eddie Hardin Wizard's Convention, Vol. 2 album. She released her first album in many years The Old Hyde in October 2001.
Bonham is closely associated with the charity organization Moorcroft Race Horse Welfare Centre, contributing vocals to a number of tracks on the 2004 album With a Lot of Help from Our Friends. In September 2004, she re-released her second album entitled The Old Hyde via the Track label and again embarked on another tour. Bonham was part of the Jools Holland Stadium and Arena tour November-December 2004, as well as recording 'I Can't Stand the Rain' and appearing live with soul singer Ann Peebles. She was also a member of the Soul Divas Tour with Sam Brown, Ruby Turner, and Kym Mazelle. Her third album, Duchess, was released in the US on June 2008 by Atco Records via Rhino. Throughout 2008 and 2009, Bonham toured the United Kingdom and secured a one-off appearance in the Gulf state of Bahrain. She recorded for the Radio 2 Paul Jones R & B Show, at the Maryport Blues Festival. She is married to guitarist Peter Bullick, and her touring band for Duchess included former Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley, bassist Ian Rowley, and keyboardist Gerard Louis. Former Plant guitarist Robbie Blunt also joined the Bonham band for a number of performances in 2009-2010.
Bonham appeared alongside Jason, and Zoe Bonham, as part of the 30th anniversary tribute concert for John Bonham entitled Bonzo: The Groove Remains the Same at the Key Club, Los Angeles on 25 September 2010. She attended the Robert Plant and the Band of Joy's performance at the Birmingham Symphony Hall on 27 October 2010, with Joan Bonham. Bonham appeared at the Racehorse Sanctuary Charity concert and auction held at the Hurtwood Park Polo Country Club in Surrey, on 12 November 2010. She is the patron of the charity organization.
On 28 April 2014, Bonham released her fourth album Spirit.
- For You and the Moon (1985, Carrere)
- The Old Hyde (2001, Burning Airlines) [re-released in 2004]
- Duchess (2008, Atco)
- Spirit (2014, Spectra)
- 'Sanctuary' / 'Fly Away' (1985)
- 'On the Air Tonight' / 'Who Is the Enemy' (1985)
- 'Perfect World' (1995)
- 'Anything' (2001)
- 'Love Lies' (2008)
- 'Hole in My Heart' (2009)
- Welch, Chris and Nicholls, Geoff (2001) John Bonham: A Thunder of Drums. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-0-87930-658-8 (OCLC 472358220).
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