Robert Plant recalled how he referred to himself as “a golden god” during a flamboyant party for Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, describing the phrase as “even more nonsense” than what was going on around him.

The moment is captured in an iconic photograph, which shows Plant standing on a balcony at the Continental Hyatt House Hotel in L.A., grinning with arms stretched wide as a large billboard on the street below promotes the band’s album Physical Graffiti.

The singer was asked why he’d said “I am a golden god!” at that moment in 1975 in a new interview with Rolling Stone. “Whatever was said from minute to minute was just sheer comic entertainment most of the time in those early Led Zeppelin days,” he replied.

“I think it was in the middle of some ridiculous moment, maybe even Bonzo’s birthday party somewhere up in Beverly Hills, where somebody had made John a three-tier birthday cake. … John was showing it round the room, and he showed it to somebody, I think it was George Harrison, who karate-chopped the cake. Bonzo decided that there was something that needed to be done about that, and there was all sorts of scuttling, and it was just another one of those boyish prank-type of events going on.”

He continued: “And it just seemed that the only thing that was missing was somebody to actually round the whole thing up with even more nonsense. So I just opened my arms and just proclaimed that. And then I think a piece of cake sadly lodged somewhere on the end of my nose or something.”

Bonham died in September 1980, leading to Led Zeppelin’s breakup soon afterwards; but Plant said his old friend still had “enormous” impact on his daily life. “I’m still living in the area where we were both from, so he’s present and with me quite a lot,” he explained. “A lot of people knew him, like they know me. We haven’t gone very far, apart from a couple of sad adventures. So he’s still very present here.”

Praising the drummer’s sense of feel along with his personality, he added: “So yeah, it’s 40 years, and he’s still greatly lost from us, far and gone. But I’m looking up into the cloudy sky of the nighttime here. I’m sure he’s standing outside a pub somewhere, metaphorically, cracking a joke.”


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