John Bonham was the greatest rock drummer of all time.
Debate Rounds (3)
1) How do you measure how good someone is at playing the drums? There is no way. Thus, there is no way to state that someone (John Bonham) is the greatest rock drummer of all time without and way to prove it.
2) Pro couldn't know enough drummers to make the conclusion that John Bonham, out of every drummer that has ever lived, is the best. It is simply not possible to listen to that much music. Making Pro's strong conclusion without hearing other drummers is unjustifiable.
No one will ever be able to say that a person is the greatest drummer of all time.
1) I agree you can not "measure" how good someone is at playing the drums like one would measure the length of a door but you can measure ones playing in a number of other ways. It is very common for someone to mention in passing that so and so is the best they have ever heard or seen at such and such but for the purposes of this debate I will refer specifically to drums in my arguments. I submit that a person can be considered "the greatest ever" (in this case John Bonham ) because he was not only great on his own as a musician but he was also the back beat of one of the greatest rock bands in the world (Led Zeppelin). John had a style that was all his own,particularly unique to rock music. He introduced a style of playing into rock music that was previously unheard of. So,if we are to "measure" Johns greatness we would have to include his unique style,his simple five piece set up (at a time when very large,intricate drum sets were in use by a high percentage of prog rock bands ), his unique tuning on the snare, his unorthodox addition of tymphonis and the power with which he played. Taking all this into consideration plus the fact that he has inspired countless other drummers with his complex style leads me to conclude John Bonham is rocks greatest drummer.
2) While its true that I don't know every drummer that has ever lived I certainly can say I know enough drummers to make the conclusion John Bonham is the best,despite Cons assertion that I "couldn't know enough drummers" to make that conclusion. It is also true that I have not heard all the music in the world however,when one makes a claim such as I have that Bonham was the greatest ever it is implied that I am referring to drummers and music that I have actually been exposed to. Most people would take into consideration that even though I am making a claim of "the best in the world" it is understood that I am referring only to what I have been exposed to.
Perhaps it would be more accurate to say "the greatest drummer I have heard with respect to the fact I have not heard every drummer in the world and couldn't possibly know this for absolute certainty" but I just don't see that becoming a standard in the English language.
1) Pro says that a reason John Bonham is the greatest drummer is because he was in "one of the greatest rock bands in the world", Led Zeppelin. This doesn't mean that John Bonham is any better. There is no way to measure that Led Zeppelin is "one of the greatest rock bands" just as there is no way to measure that John Bonham is the greatest drummer. It may be true that John Bonham did have a unique style and that he did inspire others, but this only means what is says. He was unique and inspired others. Nothing there shows how he was the greatest rock drummer of all time.
2) Pro says that he knows enough drummers to make his bold conclusion, how? How is one to know how many drummers you need to know to have any say on this issue? In my opinion, to truly say that one person is the greatest drummer of all time, you need to know every drummer. Even then, it is still up to opinion. Who you think is good, may be bad to everyone else. Pro says that he is going off of the music that he has been exposed to, this shows that John Bonham being the greatest drummer is just his opinion created from his experiences.
At the end of Pro's last statement, he says:
"Perhaps it would be more accurate to say "the greatest drummer I have heard with respect to the fact I have not heard every drummer in the world and couldn't possibly know this for absolute certainty"'
This shows that Pro is agreeing that John Bonham is just the greatest drummer to him. That makes his conclusion that John Bonham is the greatest drummer of all time, an errored conclusion. Pro may think that John Bonham is the greatest rock drummer of all time, but that doesn't mean that the conclusion is true for everyone.
1) While I agree that Led Zeppelin was one of the greatest bands ever I did not assess that Bonham was the best just on the fact that he was a member of Led Zeppelin as Con stated. John stood out on his own and was great regardless,however I think that by Bonham being a member of Zeppelin brought out the beast in John. One only need view "Moby Dick" on The Song Remains The Same to see that John was a beast when he played but somehow he managed to play with a lot of soul,character and nuance as well (not neccesarily attributes of today's drummers IMO). I disagree that there is no way to measure the greatness of a band or a person. With John Bonham one could look at the number of drummers he influenced. Chad Smith, Vinnie Paul, Danny Carey, Mike Portnoy, Neil Peart, Jon Fishman, Joey Kramer, Lee Kerslake, Tony Thompson, Dave Grohl, Tommy Lee, Peter Criss, Stewart Copeland, Dave Lombardo and Brad Wilk just to name a few. One could also look to the online and in-magazine polls to further prove Bonhams greatness. Stylus magazine rated Bonham number 1 on its list of the 50 greatest rock drummers,as did the online music magazine Gigwise.com in 2008. In a Rolling Stone reader's poll Bonham was ranked at no. 1 on the list of "50 Greatest Drummers in Rock", and Modern Drummer magazine describes him as "the greatest rock 'n' roll drummer in history". Bonham topped the Blabbermouth.net's list of "Rockers fans want brought back to life", ahead of Elvis Presley and Freddie Mercury. Rhythm magazine voted him the greatest drummer ever, topping the reader's poll in its October 2009 issue.(1) I would also like to include a statement made by another top drummer,Eric Carr (formerly of Kiss)
"At least 85% of all of the rock drummers today have gotten influences from Bonham, and all have recognised how great he was. Every band in the business – guaranteed – has tried to do something with that Bonham sound, which shows that everyone from A to Z has listened to him." (2)
2)Con states that who am I to say how many drummers I would need to know to have a say on this issue. True,I couldn't put a number on it. It would seem I would need to know drummers from all walks of life with varied styles and wide range of music in their respective libraries. I can safely say that is the case but I have no way of proving this to Con. My claims of John Bonhams greatness will have to stand on its own. Using the above evidence is ample for my argument to stand. Con would be correct that it would be bold for me to claim" A is the best" because who I think is the best may be the worst in every one elses opinion. However,I think I have given ample evidence that it is not the case with regard to John Bonhams greatness and influence in the world of music.
One final note regarding my statement "Perhaps it would be more accurate to say "the greatest drummer I have heard with respect to the fact I have not heard every drummer in the world and couldn't possibly know this for absolute certainty". This was merely an example of what one would need to say to be more "absolutely correct" and a statement that Con would be more likely to agree with. I was also pointing out the silliness of making such a statement verses saying "A is the greatest______ in the world" or equivalent. People have been making such statements to convey their opinion to the listener but I feel that my statement has been made by quite a few other well-respected musicians as well as magazines and online pages. Enough have made the same statement that I have made about Bonham that I feel comfortable that a good portion of the music playing and music listening communities would back up my statement that John Bonham was indeed the best ever.
(2) "Kiss Rocks' exclusive 1989 interview with Eric Carr". kissrocks.net. 8 November 1989.
1) Pro calls John Bonham a beast without describing the term. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a "beast" is, "a four-footed mammal as distinguished from a human being, a lower vertebrate, and an invertebrate"(1). I don't know if this is the definition that Pro had in mind, but this doesn't seem to relate to musical talent. Pro, again, calls John Bonham a beast when he claims that all you have to do is listen to the song "Moby Dick" to see how he is a beast. Pro says that he disagrees that you cannot measure the greatness of a band or a person but sadly, doesn't say how you can. Then, a large list of drummers who claim to have been influenced by John Bonham is listed. It is very neat to see that he did have such a large influence to so many people, but that has nothing to do with musical talent. That just has to do with how many people have heard him and have been influenced by him. There is no argument showing that John Bonham influencing people has anything to do with his greatness as a drummer. Pro does show several examples of different sources who say that John Bonham was the greatest drummer of all time. Even though that may be a compelling reason to vote Pro, the magazines and/or websites are just stating a personal opinion which has nothing to do with the truth or fact which is what we are trying to find.
2) After showing how the previous information isn't evidence, it is safe to say that Pro saying that the above "evidence" making his claim stand is a flawed statement. Pro's argument at this point has no truthful evidence to stand on. Pro again states that he has given ample evidence, but we know that his "evidence" doesn't prove his claim. At the end of Pro's final argument, he says that a good portion of the music community will back him up. This may be true, but it doesn't make his case anymore true because it doesn't matter how many people agree with you, you can still be wrong.
I am confident that, even if you agree that John Bonham is the greatest rock drummer of all time, you will understand that Pro's arguments had no legitimate evidence and weren't very strong. I had a very enjoyable debate with Pro and hope to be able to debate again with him in the future. Please vote Con.
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