Plant's lyrics were often influenced by the books of J.R.R. Tolkien. "Big Log" is a mythical, extended metaphor for a lost love: "My love is in league with the freeway... My love is the miles and the waiting." A "big log" is common lingo of tractor trailer drivers. It is the book in which their road hours are logged, therefore the connection between the road and love and the countless hours we all log on both.
Stuart - Salem, MA
This was Robert Plant's first big hit as a solo artist after the breakup of Led Zeppelin. In 1982, he released his debut solo album, Pictures at Eleven, and the singles "Burning Down One Side" (#64) and "Pledge Pin" (#74). "Big Log," the first single from his second album, The Principle of Moments, went to #20 and earned significant airplay.
Keyboardist Gerald "Jezz" Woodroffe and guitarist Robbie Blunt co-wrote the song with Plant. In Robert Plant: The Voice that Sailed Zeppelin, author Dave Thompson describes Blunt's importance to The Principle of Moments (including this song). Blunt had a tough role to fill not only because he was working with one of the true legends of rock but also because he was guitarist to the man who worked side-by-side with the great Jimmy Page. Despite this, Blunt was assertive throughout the recording of the album and willing to give Plant hard feedback when needed. Blunt was insistent on staying true to himself as a musician, which earned Plant's respect and played a formative part in the final sound.
Some people know this song as "My Love Is In League With The Freeway." The phrase "Big Log" does not appear in the lyrics.
The obtuse title is typical of Plant's solo work (up until Now And Zen
) and work with Led Zeppelin, which often featured songs with titles that had little or nothing to do with the lyrics. Also from The Principle Of Moments
are the tracks "Messin' With A Mekon," "Horizontal Departure" and "Stranger Here... Than Over There."
Jodeo - Plymouth, MI
Phil Collins played drums on this and five other tracks on the album. He also played drums on Plant's previous album Pictures At Eleven.
Plant wrote this song on a Sunday afternoon in the house of English musician Roy Harper, who is one of those artists whose reputation among his peers always exceeded his sales. Commercially, he was nowhere near the level of Led Zeppelin or Plant (as a solo artist), but his influence with those musicians has been widely acknowledged - Zeppelin even recorded a song about him titled "Hats Off to (Roy) Harper
." Plant wrote his 1993 song "I Believe" in Harper's living room.
In the video, Plant's classic car overheats at a desolate desert gas station, which causes him to muse upon lost love. Credited to Green Back Films, it's almost a minute longer than the song itself, with the extra time given to dreamlike scenes in the barren landscape, a strange hotel, and a swimming pool. The video was shot at the Glass Pool Inn in Las Vegas and Calico Ghost Town and the Armargosa Opera House and Hotel in California.
The success of "Big Log" was a boon for Plant because part of the reason he made The Principle Moments was to have material for touring. He didn't want to play Zeppelin songs because he was determined to carve out his own solo legacy and because he didn't like the idea of playing those songs without Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, who died in 1980. Plant had formed a cover band named The Honeydippers in 1981 (they released an EP titled The Honeydrippers: Volume One in 1984) but felt that adding too many covers to his solo tour would only accentuate the fact that he was not doing any Zeppelin songs. He spent this period of his life very much engaged in breaking away from being "Zeppelin's vocalist" and becoming Robert Plant.
With the success of "Big Log" and the rest of The Principle Moments (the album reached #8), he had enough solo material to tour without the shows getting old. It was instrumental in carving out his legacy outside of Zeppelin.
In 2004, bassist Viktor Krauss covered this song on his second album, Far From Enough. His sister, bluegrass star Alison Krauss, sang lead vocals on his version. Plant has often remarked on how much he loved Krauss' voice, and in 2007 he and Alison released Raising Sand, which won the Grammy for Album of the Year.