Black Dog – Led Zeppelin Song Meaning

Any fan of rock music – even if he is not a fan of Led Zeppelin – will recognize this composition from the first notes. The song Black Dog (“Black Dog”), which opens the band’s fourth album, is considered one of its calling cards. We will talk about it in the article Blimey.

Black Dog – Led Zeppelin song history

Black Dog started with a riff composed by John Paul Jones. According to him, he wanted to write “electric blues, with a rolling bass line”.

Many articles on the history of the creation of the Black Dog song state that Jones intentionally complicated the time signature. Either he wanted to make it impossible to dance to it, or he sought to complicate the life of those who like to perform cover versions.

However, a few years ago, while giving an interview on the Australian radio station Triple M, he denied such claims and added:

Actually, I wrote it on the train when I came back from Jimmy’s rehearsal. My father was a musician and he showed me how to notate anything. And I wrote a riff to Black Dog on the back of the ticket, which, unfortunately, I did not keep.

Black Dog is co-written by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. Inspirations include Muddy Waters’ Electric Blues, Howlin’ Wolf, Fleetwood Mac’s Oh Well, and possibly Mose Alison’s Young Man Blues. John Bonham copied the drum part from Little Richard’s Keep a Knockin’.

The meaning of the song Black Dog – Led Zeppelin

The title of the track has nothing to do with the text of the song. In the words of the song, we are talking about passion for a woman and disappointment, which replaced hot feelings. The black dog is not even mentioned in any of the verses. Unless, with a strong desire, in the line about flaming eyes, you can see a reference to the old legend about the ghost dog.

The band members themselves have repeatedly said that the song was named after a Labrador that often wandered around the Headley Grange studio where Led Zeppelin recorded. The musicians recalled that it was a nineteen-year-old dog that wandered far from home and could not return to its owners on its own.

Release and achievements

Led Zeppelin performed Black Dog for the first time on March 5, 1971 at a concert at Ulster Hall (Belfast). In November, the song was released as a single from the Led Zeppelin IV album. It peaked at number fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100.

Rolling Stone magazine included Black Dog in its list of the five hundred greatest songs of all time.

Black Dog – Led Zeppelin

Let’s watch the live video for the song Black Dog.

Interesting Facts

  • Page’s solo was recorded by overdubbing four parts that he played on a Gibson Les Paul guitar.
  • The sounds that can be heard at the beginning of the song, Page called “the awakening of the army of guitars.”
  • Perhaps the name of the group The Honeydrippers, which Robert Plant founded in 1981, came from the phrase “watch your honey drip”.
  • Plant frequently changes individual lines of lyrics during live performances.

Black Dog Lyrics

Hey hey mama said the way you move
Gon’ make you sweat, gon’ make you groove.
Ah-ah child way you shake that thing,
Gon’ make you burn, gon’ make you sting.
Hey hey baby when you walk that way
Watch your heartache drip, can’t keep away.

I gotta roll, can’t stand still
Got a flaming heart, can’t get my fill.
Eyes that shine burning red,
Dreams of you all through my head.

Hey baby, whoa baby, pretty baby
Darling give it to me now.
Hey baby, oh baby, pretty baby
Move the way you’re doing now.

Didn’t take too long ‘fore I found out,
What people mean by down and out.
Spent my money, took my car
Started telling her friends she gon’ be a star.
I don’t know, but I’ve been told
A big-legged woman ain’t got no soul.

All I ask for, all I pray
Steady rolling woman gonna come my way.
Need a woman gonna hold my hand
Won’t tell me no lies
Make me a happy man.

Black Dog Lyrics

Hey hey mama said you move like that
Looks like you want to sweat, you want to get high
Ah-ah, baby, you shake it so
See, you want to light, you want to burn
Hey hey baby when you walk like that
See you’re dripping honey, I can’t help myself

I want to fall on the bed, unable to calm down
My heart is on fire, I can’t get enough
Eyes burn with red flames
Dreams of you occupy all my thoughts

Hey baby, oh baby, pretty baby
Darling, come on right now
Hey baby, oh baby, pretty baby
Keep up the good work

I figured out pretty quickly
What does it mean to impoverish
She spent all my money, took the car
And started telling my friends that she would be a star
I’m not sure, but they told me
That long-legged women have no heart

I ask and pray only that
Meet a decent woman
I need a woman to take my hand
Will not lie
And make me happy

Song quote

Not all of my songs are meant to be scrutinized. Things like Black Dog make obvious sense…

Robert Plant

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