Jimmy Page Wins Libel Suit


British mag to pay damages to Jimmy Page after printing libelous account of John Bonham's death
Posted Mar 29, 2000 at 12:00am
Jimmy Page won undisclosed damages Tuesday from the British magazine that printed a story claiming that Page did nothing to save Led Zeppelin bandmate John Bonham when he choked to death on his own vomit. Ministry Magazine, published by the London club Ministry of Sound, was forced to apologize to the guitarist and pay damages and his legal costs.

The suit stemmed from an article in the magazine's August/September, 1999 issue that stated that Page cared more about keeping vomit off of his bed than saving the bombastic drummer, who died at the guitarist's home in Windsor, outside of London, on September 25, 1980. The article claimed that instead of getting help, a Satanic-robed Page cast a spell over the fallen musician and "selfishly and stupidly caused or contributed to his death."

According to Hugh Jones, music historian and publisher of the Led Zeppelin fanzine Proximity, none of the band members were aware that Bonham was in any distress after he retired to a bedroom after an excessive bout of drinking. "The first indication that anything was amiss was when he failed to turn up the next morning," Jones said. "John Paul Jones went to retrieve him and was unable to rouse him, so they called for help."

Jimmy Page's lawyer Norman Chapman told U.K. reporters that Publishers Ministry Magazine Ltd. and the magazine's editor, Scott Manson, have apologized and have accepted that the allegations are unfounded and have agreed to pay Page "substantial" damages. Page plans to donate the money to Action for Brazil's Children Trust, a children's charity run by his longtime girlfriend.

Written by JAAN UHELSZKI for RollingStone.com News

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