Black Dog

Album: Led Zeppelin 4 (1971)
Charted: 15


  • The title does not appear in the lyrics, and has nothing to do with the song itself. The band worked up the song at Headley Grange, a mansion in Hampshire, England that is out in the country, surrounded by woods. A nameless black Labrador retriever would wander the grounds, and the band would feed it. When they needed a name for this track, which didn't have an obvious title, they thought of the canine and went with "Black Dog."
  • Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones got the idea for this song after hearing Muddy Waters' 1968 album Electric Mud. He wanted to try "electric blues with a rolling bass part," and "a riff that would be like a linear journey."

    Jones rarely had completed songs together, but the bits and pieces he brought to Led Zeppelin's writing sessions proved worthy. When they started putting the album together, Jones introduced this riff, the song started to form. The first version Jones played was comically complex. "It was originally all in 3/16 time, but no one could keep up with that," he said.

    When the mobile recording studio (owned by The Rolling Stones) showed up at the mansion, this song was ready to go and recorded there.
  • This is the first track on Led Zeppelin 4, which became the band's best-selling album. A wide range of musical styles show up on the set, with "Black Dog" exemplifying the blues-rock that was the bedrock of the band's sound.

    The album itself is technically untitled, with symbols on the cover instead of words., but since it was their fourth album, it became known as Led Zeppelin 4. Some fans also referred to it as "ZoSo," which is a rough translation Jimmy Page's symbol.
  • In this song, Robert Plant is singing about a woman who appeals to his prurient interests, but is clearly no good for him - he tells himself he'd rather have a "steady rollin' woman" come his way.

    Robert Plant explained in an interview with Cameron Crowe: "Not all my stuff is meant to be scrutinized. Things like 'Black Dog' are blatant, let's-do-it-in-the-bath type things, but they make their point just the same."
  • The start-and-stop a cappella verses were inspired by Fleetwood Mac's 1969 song "Oh Well." Before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined Fleetwood Mac in 1974, they were more of a Blues band led by guitarist Peter Green. Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes performed "Oh Well" on their 1999 tour and included it on the album Live At The Greek.
  • The lyrics never approached "Stairway To Heaven" level scrutiny, but were still subject to some interesting interpretations. Jimmy Page's interest in the occultist Aleister Crowley, combined with the image of the Hermit (from the Tarot) in the album art and the band's disappearance when they set off to Headley Grange to record, led some listeners to conclude that the titular dog was some kind of hellhound, and that the line, "Eyes that shine burning red, dreams of you all through my head," had something to do with Satan.
  • The sounds at the beginning are Jimmy Page warming up his guitar. He called it "Waking up the army of guitars."
  • Even by Led Zeppelin standards, this is a very complex song musically, with a chaotic blend of riffs and time signatures that make it very difficult to play and a testament to the band's musicianship. When the drums and guitar kick in, they're actually playing completely different patterns, which is something devised by John Paul Jones. The only real consistent element in the song are the vocal interludes. This is not a song you'd want to dance to.
  • The songwriting credits on this one read: John Paul Jones/Jimmy Page/Robert Plant. Some bands - like U2 and R.E.M. - would credit every member on their original songs, but Zeppelin decided amongst themselves who would get the credits (and associated royalties). Page and Plant were almost always listed (Plant handled lyrics), but whether Jones or Bonham showed up as a writer depended on their contributions. This track was one where Jones clearly deserved a credit; he is also listed on the album as a co-writer of "Rock And Roll," "Misty Mountain Hop" and "When The Levee Breaks."
  • Robert Plant's vocal was recorded in just two takes, marking one of his most memorable performances. His vocal booth was the drawing room at the Headley Grange mansion, which engineer Andy Johns set up with egg crates covering the walls as a sound-soak.
  • The guitars are heavily layered. Four separate Jimmy Page guitar tracks were overdubbed. Page recorded the guitar directly into a 1176 limiter preamp (manufactured by Universal Audio), distorted the stages of it, and then sent that to a normally operating limiter. In other words, no guitar amplifier was used in the recording process. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kevin - San Antonio, Texas, TX
  • It has been claimed that John Paul Jones arranged the complicated time signatures so nobody would be able to cover the song. Asked about the allegations during Australia's Triple M Led Zeppelin special, he responded by saying the story was just a myth, adding: "I actually wrote it in rehearsal from Jimmy's house on the train. My dad was a musician and he showed me a way of writing down notation on anything. And so I wrote the riff to 'Black Dog' on the back of a train ticket which I unfortunately don't have."
  • Plant sampled this on his solo hit "Tall Cool One."
  • "Whole Lotta Love" made #4 on the US Hot 100, and "Black Dog" was their next highest-charting song. Most of their tracks were not released as singles, and fans of the band were far more likely buy the albums.
  • As Robert Plant sings every line after the music stops, you can faintly hear Bonham tapping his drumsticks together to keep the time. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Adrian - Wilmington, DE
  • This was one of the few songs for which John Paul Jones used a pick to play his bass.
  • Robert Plant would sometimes improvise some of the lyrics in concert, substituting lines like, "I've got a girl that loves me so love me so sweet jelly roll." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Thomas - Toronto, Canada, for above 2
  • This isn't the first famous rock song with a color-animal title that doesn't appear in the lyric: Jefferson Airplane released "White Rabbit" in 1967. In 1977, Steely Dan gave us "Black Cow," but that one does have the title in the lyric.
  • Apparently, Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas can knock out a killer version of this song. Slash from Guns N' Roses told NME, March 22, 2010: "I first heard Fergie three years ago at a fundraiser in LA, where I was one of many guests with the Black-Eyed Peas. I was going to play during a rock medley, and in walks this little blonde girl from Orange County, and she sang 'Black Dog‚' better than any guy I'd ever heard.'' >>
    Suggestion credit:
    DeeTheWriter - Saint Petersburg, Russia Federation
  • Note the lyrics, "Baby, when you walk that way, watch your honey drip, can't keep away." In 1981, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page formed a group called The Honeydrippers, which scored a hit with a remake of "Sea of Love."
  • Page and Plant performed an updated version of this song on their 1995 No Quarter tour. Starting in 2005, Plant added it to his setlist at solo performances. His solo renditions were more subdued vocally, but often rather intricate musically, with a range of world music elements incorporated into the song.
  • Led Zeppelin cover band Dread Zeppelin did a version of this mixed with Elvis' "Hound Dog" called "You Ain't Nuthin' But A Black Dog." Their lead singer is an Elvis impersonator.
  • In 2015, this was used in a commercial for the video game Destiny: The Taken King. Game action takes place as the song plays in the background.
  • Andy Johns, sound engineer on Led Zeppelin IV, was asked by Guitare & Clavier how the recording sessions went for Led Zeppelin IV. He replied: "It was more fun and more serious than for Led Zeppelin III. We mainly recorded it in Headley Grange - a haunted place - using the Rolling Stones mobile recording unit. The rest of the album was produced at Island studios, an old church. We recorded the main tracks for 'Black Dog' downstairs, in what used to be the crypt. The main tracks for 'Stairway To Heaven' were recorded in the big room upstairs."
  • Johns explained how "Black Dog" was recorded: "This one is interesting, because we trebled the guitars. On the stereo, there is one on the left, one on the right, and one in the middle. Each was recorded live. I wanted to try live recording, because I loved the sound that Bill Halverson had secured using this technique with Neil Young. Halverson had told me how he had done that, but I never achieved his results. One day, we were hanging around in the studio, and I told Page that I wanted to try something. For some reason, it worked. The guitars were very reliable." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2

Comments: 146

  • AnonymousJon Eich, I also remember the lyrics as beetnik or beetlenik woman
  • Jon Eich from Strasburg Va. A big legged woman ain't got no soul is completely WRONG...
  • Dan from Il UsaThe first time I heard Black Dog In 1971 at the age of 15, I was certain the lyric went “Oo oo Yes Lord for this I pray, skinny legged woman gonna come my way” I suppose because of the previous line “big leg woman ain’t got no soul” I have never asked if anyone else heard this and have always thought that was the line. Not until looking up the lyrics had it ever occurred to me to be anything else.
  • Jason from Massachusetts New to this board. So I was a kid rocking out to Black Dog in my car experimenting with my cheap equalizer and low and behold, whatever I did with that EQ...I could CLEARLY hear the words Black Dog chanted throughout the entire song! When I say clearly I don’t mean sorta-kinda maybe. I mean CLEARLY! I’ve always been surprised that no one else seems to have heard this. Before I’m asked, it was a cassette and I don’t remember the make or model of the EQ or how I did it and some asshole broke into my car and stole all my cassettes. I’ve never tried to repeat the process. Please someone try it and let me know your results!
  • Tony from San Diego, CaSorry but one of the first "facts" is wrong. Bonzo's drumming was not patterned after Little Richard's " Keep a Knockin'" , at least NOT for THIS song. Skip to the next track on the record (Rock and Roll) then it will be accurate.
  • Anthony from Westbury, NyAt the 2007 02 Arena Concert in tribute to Ahmet Ertegün (Celebration Day), the song is played a whole step down.
  • Missym from Melbourne, AustraliaThe black dog in question which hung around the recording studios of the time was a 19 year old black labrador that would go up the garden but not be able to make it back. Robert Page mentioned this in his intro to Black Dog at the Melbourne concert performance of 20th February 1972 at the Kooyong Tennis Courts centre. (Kooyong is a local koori/aboriginal word.) And repeats same fact at the New Zealand concert "something we wrote in honour of a 19 year old black labrador" (25 Feb). Also says same thing at the Sydney concert (27 Feb). "… dedicated to a black labrador that walked up the garden but could never quite make it back" at the Brisbane (29 Feb) concert.

    The local aborigines of Melbourne considered the city as having 5 or more seasons in the year. I cannot remember the exact number now but read it in a koori book I borrowed from a koori information shop nearby about 20 years ago. Melbourne is a city known to have 4 seasons in one day, even during summer. Thus the multiple weather changes in one day which sometimes happens. The outdoor concert was shortened due to rain.
  • Pjyenn from Indonesia, IndonesiaI read somewhere Jonesy composed this song so people find it difficult to dance. Jonesy is underrated really!
  • Thomas from Roswell, NmMy favorite song from Led Zeppelin IV and my second favorite Zeppelin song behind Kashmir. This track is so heavy and kicks major ass. The call and response keeps this track in touch with the blues that inspired the band and many of their songs. An absolute masterpiece.
  • Molly from Niagara Falls, NyHeart pulls it off pretty well though with a couple lyrical stretches that don't really work.
  • Deethewriter from Saint Petersburg, Russia FederationJohn Paul Jones describes the main riff to 'Black Dog' as "a blues lick that went round and round and didn't end when you thought it was going to … , a jam based on something I'd heard on a new release by Howlin'Wolf." John Bonham is credited with coming up with the solution to the problem of having no appropriate turnaround by simply continuing to play in regular time. [Q's Quintessential Albums]
  • Nate from New York, NyColin from Rochester- you're so right- not only can FERGIE not sing Plant better than Plant, NOBODY CAN SING PLANT BETTER THAN PLANT.
  • Steve from Whittier, CaIncluded on the runes album that features the famous "Stairway to Heaven".
  • Dick from Concord, NhI love KASHMIR and BLACK DOG there my favorite songs no band could ever beat them!
    Tied with BLACK DOG and KASHMIR in my opinion is TURN THE PAGE by Bob Seager
  • Andres from Miami Beach, FlI'm a 55 year old Cuban born now living in the US. I left Cuba back in 1988 and I remember my early youth furtively listening to the Zep. while the regime kept a tight grip on our right to hear and play what we wanted. I even sang for a few months in a band and imitated Plant's pitch; it may have ruined my vocal chords, but I enjoyed every minite of it. I had to translate the semantics of Stairway to Heaven hundreds of time and Black Dog was one of my favorite; it leaves me with a bitter sweet memory of a lot of wasted time, and the Zep were a soothing element then
  • Collin from Rochester, MnNo way Fergie can sing Plant better than Plant. That's not possible.
  • Jamiro from Amstelveen, NetherlandsKeep a knocking drummings patern has nothing to do with Black dog but mabey you ment Rock n Roll.
  • Brian from Boston, MaThere is a well known pub on Marthas' Vinyard called the Black Dog it was established in 1971 coincidence, I think not
  • Eric from Kunming, ChinaAnyhow, Janette, though this song lacks a continuous thesis; I think I would say that it is definitely about "the man" striking down the horned god archetype--you know, that guy that drives you crazy. He can't keep away from a womyn thus aroused. The remaining verses are about the trials and tribulations of being a rock star, while the choruses essentially reiterate the original theme.
  • Eric from Kunming, ChinaI'm like the world's biggest Zep fan. It was Black Dog that turned me on to them too. I actually hated them before then; but it was at a 1988 laser show in San Diego that turned everything around. I think it was Black Dog that really did it.
  • Kyl from Mesa, AzI really wish I could see Led Zeppelin in concert... it's kind of sad that they're not touring together anymore. Robert Plant is coming to Phoenix but he with some country band or something like that so no Black Dog. I want to cry lol.
  • Michael from Staten Island, NyGreat Zep song. It's another example of a Zep song where you can't really nod you head to the beat of the song since Bonzo is playing a 4/4 beat and Page and Jones are playing some other strange time signature.
  • Daz from N Richland Hills, TxHey, if you wanna hate on Led Zeppelin, or any of it's members, go blog about it somewhere else instead of looking for a place to start a stupid argument and make people wanna smash a gibson EDS-1275 over your head! if you diss Zeppelin, you'll take a stairway to hell!
  • Thom from New Orleans, Lai had a very cute girlfriend who would get uncontrollably horny whenever she heard this song. led zep IV, the whole album from start to finish, really, but this song in particular just possessed her. as soon as it started she would get hot, she couldn't help it. of course, we listened to it often. it is a great song for sex. of course, that's what rock and roll's all about. thanks led zeppelin.
  • David from Los Angeles , CaYeah, John Paul Jones the mastermind behind this.
  • David from Los Angeles , CaI have the Led Zeppelin DVD's and i suggest every true Zeppelin fan should buy it the best of there performances
  • Lisa from Blountville , TnWhile recording at Headly Grange a country house in Hampshire England ,a more laid back recording enviorment for Zeppelin,the title is a reference to a nameless black Labrador retriever that wandered around the Headley Grange studios during recording. The dog has nothing to do with the song lyrics.JPJ made the comment they wanted to write a song no one could groove or dance to.
  • Rey from Norristown, Pamike how in the world is Led Zeppelin the worst band ever. they are rock n roll gods.
  • Vic from Knoxville, TnOne of the sleaziest sounds I have ever heard from a guitar. I love it.
  • Cars from Cebu, Philippineswhat's the meaning of black dog, is it black god?
    anyway the song is cool...rock n' roll
  • Apple from Kharkov, UkraineGreat song, I've heard it's about sex and stuff, but what the heck... its Led Zeppelin for crying out loud!! This song sounds amazing in the studio, and amazing live (especially on HTWWW), just in a different way. On HTWWW they used the beginning of "Out on the tiles"
  • Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiMike, I really hope it was opposite day when you wrote that.
  • Pippin from Rhye, CaI've heard that there are unusual time signatures in this song, but I'm not sure which ones and which parts (though I have a good feeling that it happens during the guitar solo). I have a friend who believes that the title of this song refers to using a black dog to symbolise lust. I guess it could work that way. One thing I do know, however, is that this is incredibly hard to play (I've tried it on my bass. Man it's hard!)
  • Andy from Halesowen, West Midlands, United KingdomThat should of course been "The songs remain the same" (think I need a finger transplant!!!)
  • Andy from Halesowen, West Midlands, United KingdomA few years back a friend and I were watch a local Zep tribute band called "Fred Zeppelin" who have a reputation for doing very faithful covers of the songs (in fact their slogan was "The sings remain the same"). It was an all standing gig, and we were about half way back. Part way through my friend nudged me and gestured behind us, I looked back and there was Plant about 10 feet behind us. What really impressed me was that in a room full of Zeo fans, no one mobbed him, asked for autographs, etc, just let him enjoy the music, most we did was a sort of polite nod of acknowledgement. I think he appreciated this, as later went backstage and let the bank take photos with him. Also cool that he let them, play without making his presence known during the gig so as not to put pressure on them. Top guy in every sense.
  • Paul from Columbia, Sclmao. it defienly say push me babe around the 4 min mark.
  • Tom from Buffalo, NyHey! Mike from ny, ny, Led Zepplin is like the best band. They are gods of rock and black dog is one of their many musical masterpieces like stairway to heaven or kashmir. you just cant say that about a band thats basicly worshipped and probably has some kind of (most likely good people) cult following. ROCK ON ZEPPLIN!!!!
  • Thang from Led Zep, Viet NamI love this song, but I think the line "way you shake that thing" should change to "I like the way you shake". I always sing it when my band cover this song
  • Andrew from Bartlett, TnI love Black Dog by Led Zeppelin. It showed that they could still rock.
  • Mark from Worcester, MiRichard in NY you can't be serious. The band members talk openly of where and when they took songs, and didn't credit them.
  • Bren from Poole, EnglandTo Dirk who makes the following observation "It would have been nice to hear the time signatures that Jones had in mind--and which drummer Bonham dismissed. I've always thought the drumming goes out of synch a couple of times in two spots in the music. The first is the guitar change that follows the line "watch honey drip, can't keep away." During the guitar change that occurs after that, at about 0:41, the drumming just gets lost. From 0:42 to 0:48, Bonham just seems to be barely hanging onto the beat. He whacks the cymbal to cover it up. He runs into trouble again at about 2:42, during the same guitar riff change.... You gotta wonder if Jones' ideas might've helped him through it.
    - dirk, Nashville, TN"

    In response I have to say this is nonsense. Bonham is playing a strict 4/4 pattern throughout the riff. It is syncopated with snare on 2 and bass drum on 4. The time is solid, and the guitar is syncopated against the drums. The cymbal accent you speak of is right on the money, whilst the guitar glides accross it. No mistakes by Bonzo here - he is playing exactly as he wanted.
  • Richard from Nyc, NyTim>>>Really, people. The riff is not Page's invention, no more than the Lyrics are Plant's. Zep, like many other English bands of the period, ripped off old bluesmen shamelessly. Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf use the same riff, albiet slower, in several songs; Robert Johnson is the source of the lyrics for this song, although Plant makes a few cosmetic changes.<<<

    I've heard accusations like this before but I'm still waiting for someone to NAME a song from which Zep stole things. The name of the song and the artist. Accusations are easy. Backing them up with facts is a little tougher.
  • Karona from Newburyport, MaThis was the song that started my long love affair with the band's music...I have been a faithful 'Led Head' ever since. I love the fact Bonham ignored Jones' request to play a different time signature, that is some great stuff.
  • Madalyn from Greensburg, Pamostly guys writing but beat a girl and im only 15 and i've been into zeppelin all my life thanks to my dad...i sing along to this song all the time i my room and my fist kiss was to this song it was playing in the boys is good
  • Chuck from C-ville, VaOne of the hardest rockin' riffs of all time!
  • Dylan from Olmsted Falls, United StatesBonzo's beat is soooo "off-beat" and complex, it is soooo fun to play. RIP Bonzo
  • Lana from Sydney, AustraliaWinston Churchill referred to his depression as the "black dog". Something that would bite him every now and again but could ultimately be cajoled or locked away.
    I think in this song the "Black Dog" is a metaphor for the love/hate relationship that the lyricist(s) has with women.
  • Erin from Edm, United StatesOne of the best songs by Led Zeppelin!!
  • Michael from Los Angeles, CaI think Black Dog really summed up the spirit of Zeppelin- the greatest band in rock history.
  • Rachel from New York, Nyeven though Black Dog has no relation to the actual song and lyrics, I always have related them thinking that when they were saying:

    {{{Didnt take too long fore I found out
    What people mean my down and out.
    Spent my money, took my car,
    Started tellin her friends she wants to be a star.
    I dont know but I been told
    A big legged woman aint got no soul.}}}

    and that that summarized most of the previous experiences with women.That they just hung around, like a stray dog would.

    The song portrays that this new intrest is what they hope is nothing at all like a black dog.
  • Joe from Ny, AlBonham's drum pattern for "Black Dog" did not come from "Keep a Knockin." (That song was, however, the inspiration for Bonham's drum beat on "Rock and Roll.")
  • Dave from Harrisburg, PaI guess this was the influence for Sammy Hagar's 'Three Lock Box'
  • Bennett from Kansas City, MoI love this song! the start and stop in the beginning is great. and Plants vocals are amazing like always
  • Ant from Reseda, United StatesCheck out the 1999 remake of Black Dog by Johnny Favorite Swing Orchestra, it has been modified for swing dance. way cool - Ant
  • Jonathon from Clermont, FlThis is one of their best songs, without a doubt. It's so bluesy, and it rocks! I think this is one of Plant's best vocals.
  • Phil from Los Angeles, Cai've always loved this song so much, and it was the first led zeppelin song i was exposed to. throughout this album, bonham was recording his drums with so much reverberation--i feel like i'm inside a auto factory run by freakish natives. this is especially apparent for me during "when the levee breaks". jimmy page's multiple guitars sound like buzzsaws and sirens. it's very apocalyptic. i don't know anything about any black dog. they were influenced by old blues songs. i always thought the woman of whom plant was singing was a shape-shifting creature: part insatiable woman, part demonic dog-beast. that's kind of sexy on some levels. my favorite part is the end when page's solo comes in. this is my favorite guitar tone i've ever heard recorded. i read he recorded with a telecaster during the earlier albums. this is my favorite zeppelin song.
  • Ashley from Syracuse , NyIn an interview with robert plant, he stated that the melody of this song is not a garage band song. The melody is much to hard to play. Which is amzing to me that the band can really understand eachother on a spirtual level that they can conrast a difficult, metal and blues song into one, which in my opinion is an athem and will be heard on the radio for a long time to come.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScThe only blues player twho sued Led Zeppelin was Willy Dixon. They did setle with him and other guys were given the credit due in most cases. This is if all my facts are correct.
  • Loony Moony Lupin from VirginiaIsabella from Tucson never said that she thought it was connected to HP PoA, she just said that she thought it had a connection to a Black Shuck (also known as a grim, shuck dog, a padfoot, Cu Sith, Barguest, Cwn Annwn, Church Grim, or Kirk Grim). These phantom, black dogs existed long before Harry Potter and I'm guessing that she knows that because she referred to it as a "black shuck" instead of a "grim", which is what's used in HP.
  • Logan from Durham, Nhled zeppelin gave credit and were open that they borrowed from the blues
  • Jonathan from Warwick, RiI have reason to believe that the line "Spent my money, took my car, started telling her friends she wants to be a star." is a reference to Drive my Car by the Beatles.
  • Gordon from Lake Havasu City, AzTim, you seem to have no respect for one of the greatest bands of all time. "Ripped off old bluesmen shamelessly"? I think those bluesmen were proud that some kids were taking their music to a new level. You sir, are ignorant.
  • Tim from Wertewteg, AlReally, people. The riff is not Page's invention, no more than the Lyrics are Plant's. Zep, like many other English bands of the period, ripped off old bluesmen shamelessly. Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf use the same riff, albiet slower, in several songs; Robert Johnson is the source of the lyrics for this song, although Plant makes a few cosmetic changes.
  • Mitchell from Redding, CaThis song is an awesome example of classic Led Zeppelin. Apparently it's title was given because there was a "black dog" that ran in & out of Zeppelin's studio while they recorded the song. Although it has nothing to do with the lyrics of the song (Hey hey mama, seen the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove, etc.), it's still a cool title.
  • Phil from Niagara Falls, CanadaRandy, if thats true, I will be greatly saddened
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cai know but she referenced to harry potter. anyway yeah this song is clearly about sex so it doesn't matter.
  • Brendan from Colts Neck, United StatesIssabella has a valid point. J.K. Rowling didn't come up with the idea of the giant black dog. That has been a figure in British folklore for many years, and it could be entirely likely a reference by whoever wrote the lyrics (Jones? Page? Plant? I dunno), considering the mythological and folk/legend themes that are often found in Zeppelin's lyrics.

    And to whoever said that Page often "messed up" songs live, I think you're hearing improvisation and thinking that he's just playing it wrong. He's not trying to replicate the album. What would the point of that be. He's playing the song differently.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScDid you guys read what Jones said. He siad that Bonham's dismissle of the other time signatures was what probably made the song work as well as it did. He (Jones) didn't want anything people could dance too, and obviously that's what happened. Jones is the one who arranged it.
  • Jordan from Shokan, Nyuhhh issabella from arizona, how could black dog be about harry potter when the song came out 30 some years before the book lol?
  • Randy from Lexington, KyI heard that one night the members of Led Zepplin were havin sum fun and did a lot of acid and they looked over and Bonham was having sex with a black dog....this song was written as a joke about that night
  • Galina from New London, CtI agree with Kika in ny,ny.
  • Dirk from Nashville, TnI agree with you. He was definitely a better drummer live than in the studio. But I just wonder why they allowed this otherwise perfect record to go out with his screw ups on it. Sometimes bands just get tired of messing with recording sessions and walk off and leave things like they are. You can probably think of a bunch of records that have flubs in them. Unfortunately, Black Dog is one of them.
  • David Corino from Hawley, PaDude, get the Led Zeppelin DVD, Bonham is such a better drummer live.
  • Dirk from Nashville, TnIt would have been nice to hear the time signatures that Jones had in mind--and which drummer Bonham dismissed. I've always thought the drumming goes out of synch a couple of times in two spots in the music. The first is the guitar change that follows the line "watch honey drip, can't keep away." During the guitar change that occurs after that, at about 0:41, the drumming just gets lost. From 0:42 to 0:48, Bonham just seems to be barely hanging onto the beat. He whacks the cymbal to cover it up. He runs into trouble again at about 2:42, during the same guitar riff change.... You gotta wonder if Jones' ideas might've helped him through it.
  • David from Orlando, FlListening to the 'How the West Was Won' performance put a new spin on "Black Dog" since the studio version which was wearing a bit thin on me.
  • Craig from Springfiel, Oryea, Dave from Oshawa, Jimmy doesn't sound as good live because of his famous overdubs. But he is still such a freakin good guitarist and has some of the most feeling in his playing ever.
  • Kurdt from Concord, NhI think there is somthing wrong with dave from Oshowa. Go buy a copy of how the wes was won, listen to the whole thing, and tell me again that zep sucks live. It might not be the same as going to see them, but its still live, and it rocks harder than any of the studio sessions. Particularly heartbreaker and dazed and confused
  • Billy from Boston, MaBlack Dog si an awesome song. I feel like Stairway To Heaven can sometimes overpower all of Led Zeppelin's other work, which is just as good as Stairway To Heaven. Black Dog is a perfect example. One Of Zep's best songs on Led Zeppelin zoso, but overpowered by stairway to heaven.
  • Chad from Reading, PaRob from Santa Monica, there has always been great live recordings of Zeppelin out there. They were not officialy released but they were there. The greatest live Zep hasn't been officially released. Plus TSRTS wasn't that bad. They were all on except for Robert (but hey, it was at the end of a long tour). I think the only real problem with TSRTS is the editing. Putting together video and audio from three different nights was challenging basck then without all the digital stuff we have today.
  • Jordan from Shokan, Nypersonaly, i think that this is their signature song. one of my favorite songs ever. brilliant.
  • Ro84 from Cleveland, Ohgreat song..
    but to clear a couple things up, the riff that everyone keeps giving credit to page, jones came up with. and im pretty sure that the acoustic version of this isnt genuwine,its plant singing but thats about it. i have pretty much all of there studio outtakes/boots and its not to be found
  • Stephen from Steamboat, CoMan, my friend was plaing this song as we were going to practice after school in his car. The bad part of that is that he got a five point ticket because he was going about 29 miles an hour over the speed limit. like a 84 in a 55. It was right outside town too, so he was in trouble. but boy, just cause you cant really make a steady groove to it, you dont want to move to the music. Warning to others who do the same. this is a song to blast, but maybe not when driving in your car late to a sport practice.
  • David Corino from Hawley, PaTo Terrence and Robin. The "aaaah aaaah" is all part of Rock n'Roll, its Plant geting into the music. Its kinda like Brian Johnson of AC/DC feeling himself on stage! I have herd the acoustic version of Black Dog, its alright, you really dident miss much still great. I herd it acoustic at like 12 and really dident appriciate as much. Take my awsome polls:
  • Niall from Toulouse, FranceGod, I love the riff to this song, it's so catchy and ingenious!
  • Brooks from Warminster, PaThis is one Led Zeppelin's coolest songs ever. It has the coolest riff by Jimmy Page.
  • Steve from Oroville, CaNo doubt that the lyrics at around 4:05 say push, it only seems logical because a lot of Zep songs say push, push.
  • Danny from Sydney, Australiahow does page come up with such awesome riffs?
  • Jeanette from Irvine, CaIsabella from Tucson? Um, didn't this song come out LONG before Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban?
  • Jeanette from Irvine, CaDoes anyone know what this song is about? I'd be really interested to know what you think even if you're just guessing or telling me what you imagine in your head. Please tell me even if you're not sure or doubt it you just think of that when you listen to it! It's a great song and I'd really like to know what people think it's about! Thanks everyone!
  • Jeanette from Irvine, CaAnd I think it's okay that a cover band would cover it, and they're not necessarily saying they're better than Led Zep, if they wanted to say that they'd freakin write their own songs... they're just telling the world how awesome Led Zep is.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, CaThis is one of the best songs of all time.
  • Steve from Bloomington, Into all the people who thought they heard "worship me" around the 4 minute mark, its "push me babe"...lay off the drugs...
  • Mike from Ontario, CanadaTyler, I think it's a boot leg. I've yet to find an acoustic version of black dog on any cd, but i do have that version on my computer. It's actually great because it's played slightly different then the original.

    Page's criticism to his live performances have nothing to do with studio sounds....Many other guitar heros have pointed out the fact that Page was one of the slightly sloppier guitar heros when playing live. Many people debate whether this is sloppiness or apart of his style. I like to think of it as style, Page likes to move to the groove of his songs. Clapton is one of the cleanest live performers on guitar, but watch his stance, it doesn't change, he doesn't move at all on stage. I enjoy live zeppelin, if i wanted them to sound like a carbon copy of the studio i would just listen to the studio recordings.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScI know what you're talking about Bob. at 4 min. nd 5. seconds into the song, it sounds to me like plant is saying "Push babe."
  • Bob from Edmonton, United Statesat 4:05 he is saying push it or push babe like he is having sex as this is what the song is about
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScNick from Tokyo. I didn't hear the subliminal message at the end, but I think i can hear people talking. All i heard was jibberish that may have sounded like 'woship me', but I'm not sure. I'd have to listen to the song again more carefully.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScCan't believe that that one guy thinks the song deals with Satan! read the lyrics more carefully Nick. Jot Nick from Tokyo! The other Nick.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, Sci haven't seen Dread Zeppelin, but I've seen a led zeppelin tribute band called Zoso. In my personal oppinion, Zoso is the closest thing to Zeppelin live! The singer even sounds sort of like plant1 i haven't seen led Zeppelin live, but I did see the How The w'est was Won DVD.
  • David Corino from Hawley, PaNick- I just played black dog and it is so obvious now that you point it out-- kind of weird, but awsome. SWEET ASS SONG!!!!
  • Isabella from Tucson, AzWhen I found out the title was just about a dog wandering about the studio, I got kind of disappointed. I actually though it had a connection with the Black Shuck, you know. (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, folks!) Well, whatever it means ... the riff is awesome.
  • Isabella from Tucson, AzYeah ... I've always heard that (at 4:05). I never really thought about what he might be saying. It does kinda sound like "worship me", but this "subliminal" message is all too ineffective, as I do not worship Plant, but Page.
  • Nick from Tokyo, JapanFollow up to my comment: 'Worship, me!' isn't sung backwards, I just wrote it backwards so that readers wouldn't invadvertedly read the spoiler unless they really wanted to.
  • Nick from Tokyo, JapanThere is a lot on the Net about backwards masked lyrics in Stairway To Heaven. However, I haven't read anything about the sublminal track in Black Dog. Has anyone else heard what I'm talking about? No? Try this:
    Skip to around 4:05 in Black Dog:
    1) Can you hear anything but the music?
    2) Can you hear Plant's wailing quietly in the background (it extends throughout most of the final solo of this song)?
    3) Can you hear what he's saying?
    4) If you can hear it, continue to 5), if not, keep trying until you do.
    5) If you have heard Plant's voice . . .
    6) Can you hear any other vocals?
    7) No? Listen for a choir of deep voices that sing between Plant's own singing.
    8) The voices are deep and are chanting something. It may strike you as an analogue hush or whisper at first.
    9) Could you hear what I'm talking about?
    10) Am I the only one that hears this clearly - even if the song is playing in another room?
    (Note: This is not backwards masking - just play the song as you'd normally listen to it).
    11) Once you have heard it, listen to the seconds of song leading up to 4:05, and then after the 'hidden lyrics' stop: the lyrics you can hear clearly at 4:05 actually begin before this point (very, very quietly), and extend after for some time (again, very, very quietly).

    And what is it exactly that you can hear being sung at the end of Black Dog? Well, I listened to the notorious section of Stairway To Heaven, and didn't quite hear the purported message until I'd read the lyrics. Same with a track from Queen - I didn't quite pick up on what Mercury was supposedly saying until I read the words. Which is enough to say that maybe nothing is being said at all - that it is gibberish that closely - or not so closely - sounds like a message about tool sheds or cannabis.
    So, if you can't hear the subliminal track at the end of Black Dog (or can't be bothered trying/have heard it but can't quite make out what is being said/have heard it and just want to confirm), it's: '!EM ,PIHSROW'. (To be read backwards ;)
    Plant sings 'EM!' in a high pitched wail, and the chorus of deep voices chant ',PIHSROW' in between.
    Stairway To Heaven's backwards masked message is a bit of a long shot, if you ask me. But - unless I am only hearing Plant's voice in my head every time I listen to Black Dog - this one isn't open to too much discussion.
  • David Corino from Hawley, PaBack to the cover band thing; I heard that the cover band "Hammer of the Gods" is the best Zeppelin cover band out there. Give them credit, they try.
  • Kaleo from Los Angeles, CaRyan, you are probably one of the only people on this site who recognize Jimmy Page's mad skills. You put it succinctly, and I agree; no studio session can contain Page's armada of techniques on the guitar - his vast number of improvisations during live performances are his trademark; otherwise, why go to a concert? Now, I might just be high, but the way the guitars are layered on Black Dog kinda makes it sound like some jazzy horn section, does anybody feel me? And the midrange tone twang he uses on the solo to give it that country style feel, what guitar effect is that (beside chorus fx/short delay [slapback], that is)?
  • Jude from Szombathely, HungaryTyler, I also have that two-and-a-half-min version of Black Dog you were talking about. The vocals aren't the same take as on the released version, but they definitely aren't from No Quarter either, as someone else suggested. I think it's just sort of a demo version. Black Dog rules!!! And Nick will you please kindly shut the f**k up and keep your idiotic ideas to yourself?
  • Kika from Nyc, Nythis song is wonderful to begin with. Not only because it's attractiveness as a tune, but also in musicality, it is creative, and one of my favorite aspects of zeppelin is there riffs. i loooooove their riffs, but this song is truly advanced, possibly my favorite on IV
  • Rob from Santa Monica, CaUp until the recent 'How the West Was Won' DVD and CD, there simply were no good live Led Zeppelin recordings available. Face it: the performance on Song Remains the Same is one of their lamest, and it was two tours old by the time it came out. (Thus no Graffiti or Presence tracks). This song is in the movie, but was left off the album, along with Since I've been Loving You. Too bad, because those were the two best performances of the gig.

    I always thought the guitar tone was a little underpowered for the bombast of the riff. The guitar playing the solo at the end also sounds too "small". Luckily, Jimmy cranks it up in concert.
  • Ash from Charleston, WvClearly Nick in Citrus Heights, CA, believes every word in the english language is a reference to Satan.
  • Ash from Charleston, WvI always hated "Tall Cool One" from Robert Plant, partly because he inexplicably succumbed to the trends of the day by sampling one of Led Zepp's greats and doing other stupid rap-like stunts. And the chorus "Lighten up baby, I'm in love with you," ranks as one of the lamest ever. Love Led Zepp, though!!!
  • Matt from Brisbane, AustraliaPeople who claim Zep are satanists make me hate my life.
  • Nick from Citrus Heights, CaYes people would think that the song was written because there was a black dog hanging around the studio when they were writing or wahtever other jibberish you want to believe. The real meaning of this song is basically the devil. The "Black Dog" is some evidence. but you can believe waht you want. Up to you.

    Hey hey momma, said the way you move gonna make you "SWEAT" gonna make you move.
    Oh oh child way you shake that ting, gonna make you "BURN" gonna make you "STING"
    Hey hey baby when you walk taht way, watch your honey drip "CANT KEEP AWAY"
    I gotta roll cant stand still, gotta "FLAME IN MY HEART" cant get my fill

    Those are the most significant lines.
  • Josh from Montrose, MiPlayed at Madison Square Garden in 1973.
  • Tim from Calgary, CanadaVery good song, the lyrics are very out of the ordinary. And the time signatures are beautiful. This song really shows the underrated genius of JPJ.
  • Danie from Palmerston North, New ZealandYea I just want to say that Led Zeppelin are the bomb and agree with the other New Zealander an say that i wish that I was born back then when those bands were around, and the music today I think aint as good as back then, only I was born about 20 years earlier
  • Mark from Chicago, IlJohn Paul Jones wrote this because he wanted to write a song that wouldnt be able to "groove" or dance to. The clever time signature does just that!!
  • Billy from Bellingham, WaI think the line about the "Big legged woman" was borrowed from Ledbelly.
  • Brady from Fort Stockton, TxTerence and Robin: Think about this. Like Plant said, "lets-do-it-in-the-bath", gee, maybe the Ahhs have something to do with sex? Possibly emulating an extremely loud orgasm? Anyway, Led Zeppelin are one of my favorite bands ever, and this song is possibly my favorite of theirs.
  • Dave from Winnipeg, CanadaThis is the best hard rock zep song. The solo live is unbelievable. Yes, it is sloppy, but if you are a true zep fan you'll love it. thats all i have to say
  • Sandra from Tx, United StatesRobert Plant's voice gives me chill bumps, it's so glorious. That voice could shatter glass.
  • Ferris from Ohio, OhI agree with you Austin!
  • Anthony from Bridgewater, Njwow. just wow
  • Bonnie from Pittsburgh, Pawow... is it practically all guys writing comments...??? oh well.. and thank you to Eric, from Houston because i agree exactly with you Dread Zeppelin sucks... and thank you to prolly all the people writing comments in here because we must keep classic rock ALIVE!!!!!!!!
    - yes i am a girl and i like classic rock.. and most modern music sucks.. except for the White Stripes.. theyre awsesome
  • Gbear from Portsmouth, Englandokay i registered purley to write here okay im 16 i LOVE led zepp, firstly cover bands are as someone mentioned a way of showing that the band u covered are at such a high level they deserve the recognition, im in a band and we cover led zep cause they rock, second jimmy page wether he cant play perfect live is in the top 3 guitarists ever, fact. lastly who said led zepp's music is meaningless its not just well written music or well played music it comes from the bands soul the songs all have meanings wether personal to the band or not! some people just dont understand that to fuly respect and acknowledge led zepp u need to be english and need to have lived plus experiansed drugs then u can find out led zepps views on life depicted in their music
  • Logan from Abilene, TxThis comment is to Tyler, and is just an educated guess. Check out Page & Plant's "Unledded" album, where they did acoustic versions of some of their songs... it might be on there, or may have been an outtake from those sessions.
  • Ryan from Mesa, AzHoly crap. To the guy that said Page butchered the songs because he couldn't produce a 'studio sound' or've got to be kidding me. In my opinion, most of the live versions of songs were better than the studio versions. For example, at the begining of "Since I've been loving you" on How the west was won and The song remains the same, Page lays down one of the most raw, mind blowing intros I've ever heard in my life. If anything, Page wasn't sharing with the world exactly how great his talent was. His studio versions were written the way they were to correspond with the length of the song and to "flow" with the rest of the song.
  • Jason from Wylie, Txled zep rules forever! one of the best rock bands of all time and yes i like dread zepplin 2 so there!
  • Anthony from Philadelphia, PaBlack dog is about woman who are dogs to men
    not as ugly as is cheaters,gold diggers ect.
    and the the "big leg woman ain't got no soul" is reffering to tall woman not fat ones
  • Jamie-lee from Perth, Australiait doesn't matter how good or bad dread zeppelin are. led zeppelin is the best band ever and if a person feels the same way about them as i do, (i imagine dread zeppelin does)then paying them that acknowledgment of forming a cover band just shows how much they love led zep. and there is nothing wrong with that. at least led zeppelin have fans to carry on there gift, to show our generation and future generations just how amazingly beautiful there songs were. led zeppelin is one of the most inspiring bands that has ever faced the earth. we should all enjoy that and praise the guys who have enough guts to form cover band and perform their beautiful work to anyone with some taste in music. god bless you john bonham and may your memory remain to all those who loved you dearly. led zeppelin are, and always will be the best band ever, even if page isn't as good as made out to be, or the fact that bonham has passed. as marylin manson has said, rock stars/bands are imortal and will remain imortal rock heroes until the end of time. led zep are imortal and always will be in my heart, and probably dreads too.
  • Tyler from Farmington, Mii downloaded a version of this song online and i had never heard of it before and was wondering if anyone could help me out. Its an acoustic version that has a very droning guitar,probably a 12-string, and it sounds like the original vocals were tacked on. its simply amazing, only i was wondering if it was released, or if it was bot leg, or if it was a live concert. if anybody else has heard this versions please give any info you have on it
  • Blackdog from New Milford, NjI've been told that the song is about fat chicks. I'm not sure about it and I doubt it. Who really cares anyway? Zeppelin never really had any songs that were meant to be analyzed. They simply played and wrote for moods and emotions.
  • Tom from Alma, GaAn Elvis impersonator as lead singer for a Led Zep cover band? Hmmmmmmmmm....
  • Janelle from New York City, NyI heard that Robert Plant loved a version that dread zeppelin did. so whether you like dread zep or not the real deal seem to like them.
  • Janelle from New York City, NyAin't it cool the guitar that starts off the song. i believe that was jimmy page?
  • Pants from Calgary, Canada"John Bonham's drumming is patterned after Little Richard's "Keep a Knockin'."
    You're thinking of the drum intro to "Rock and Roll" not "Black Dog".
  • Dave from Oshawa, CanadaWhy listen to dread zeppelin, even if they are good, although it might be worth a night out, but if you like Zep you listen to the real deal, and they are one of the best bands ever, although not much to see live due to Page's playing. He really cannot reproduce many of the studio songs worth crap. I used to think he was as good as the recordings untill I saw them live a number of times, and it was more posturing, and photo ops than good musical playing. Page really totally screws up some of these songs. However I love them just the same, and praise Page for taking the time to make the studio albums as electrifying as they pretty well all were, except for maybe "Presence" which I only remember one good song of which escapes me right now. Carry on.
  • Adrian from Wilmington, DeI never give him enough credit (no one does), but I bow down before John Paul Jones as much as the others for coming up with the infectious riff to this song. A classic!
  • Peter from Montrose, DcIf you listen closley you can here John Bonham keeping time on his sticks in between instumental breaks.
  • Jeff from Sacremento, CaThe reason the song name was Black Dog is because the band saw a monstrous black dog walking by either when writing this song or some other time, Im not positive about when, but they named it after a huge black dog they saw
  • Robin from Sydney, CanadaTerrence in India...your guess is as good as mine but my 2 guesses are: 1. time filler 2. homage to the beatles....I think....Oasis does it all the time too!
  • Terence from Mumbai, Indiaits anyones guess what all the aaaah aaaaah is about!
  • Eddie from Lachine, Mi There are legends in England about 'black dogs' in old churchyards. It used to be a custom, when a new church was built, to bury a black dog at the gate to fend off evil spirits. I don't know if it works, but there are sightings of monstrous black dogs near those chapels still.
  • Derek from Raleigh, Nclisten to dread zeppelin...the discrace the original songs. i want to go up to them and be like "hey, u guys make a discrace of those songs" and then slap them in the face. most zeppelin cover bands try to pay tripute and honor to the great musicians, not make horrible reggae versions that sound like elvis is singing them drunk.
  • Brian from Paoli, InSweet guitar riff, Page over-dubbed the tracks to give it a full sound, makes it sound much louder and stronger than just 1 track.
  • Kevin from Gulf, MsGive me a break... Cover bands are a symbol of how great a band is, im sure Dread has alot of fun covering Led Zep song- i do it all the time- it IS fun. Aint that what music is all about?(havin fun)
  • Austin from Orem, UtWell Duh What Cover band could ever be as good as zeppelin?...heck what BAND could ever be as good as Led-Zeppelin....NONE
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Van Dyke ParksSongwriter Interviews

U2, Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom, Brian Wilson and Fiona Apple have all gone to Van Dyke Parks to make their songs exceptional.

Wedding Bell BluesSong Writing

When a song describes a wedding, it's rarely something to celebrate - with one big exception.

Dwight TwilleySongwriter Interviews

Since his debut single "I'm On Fire" in 1975, Dwight has been providing Spinal-Tap moments and misadventure.

Judas PriestSongwriter Interviews

Rob Halford, Richie Faulkner and Glenn Tipton talk twin guitar harmonies and explain how they create songs in Judas Priest.

Joe JacksonSongwriter Interviews

Joe talks about the challenges of of making a Duke Ellington tribute album, and tells the stories behind some of his hits.

They Might Be GiantsSongwriter Interviews

Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.