Big Log

Album: The Principle Of Moments (1983)
Charted: 11 20
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Songfacts®:

  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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.

Comments: 24

  • Tony D from NorcalIn the dorms as a teen me and my roommate called Big Log the "Baddest" song in the world because of Plant's guitar solo-yeah I still feel that way
  • Dave from AustraliaAlthough true Phil Collins played on the album and toured with Plant for a while I think you will find a drum machine was used in the recording of Big Log.
  • Nairyao99 from California I was in HS when this song came out and had my first crush on a beautiful brunette. But she was untouchable and seemed too distant for me, yet she was there for me to admire from afar. I always think about her when I hear this song, a lost love lost in the fog of time...
  • Tony S from UsaI love this song so much. But I always wondered if the true meaning was that of a driver on a desolate highway that had to take a major DUMP...a.k.a... a BIG LOG.
  • Emot from IndyRobbie Blunt’s contributions on the initial Plant solo albums are significant!
  • Bob from Shreveport, LaI think the literal meaning of "big log" is a metaphor for the long time spent waiting for a meaningful connection. The song is narrated from the perspective of someone longing for love. Feeling the someone is out there but you haven't found them yet. The video seems to convey this rather well with the implied long trek on the road that the title refers to, the desolate desert setting and Plant's character being abandoned and alone. The narrator feels a burning and passion inside that has made him restless. He travels the highways in search of something he may or may not understand. The final scene of the video seems to provide full context. A woman, finds herself in the same situation as we just saw Plant go through. It could be implied that she is on a similar journey. They seem to both be on the same trajectory yet they still haven't connected yet. It was clear to me that she was intended as the personification of his longing and that she herself was too longing for him. But yet the longing would continue as this was a missed opportunity, only minutes apart, their timelines yet to link up. There is a sense that both characters felt the presence of one another though they have yet to connect.
  • Fan Of This Song from Western UsI have always liked this song. "As the questions and thousands take flight..." "Should I rest for while at the side?" I dunno. That's life. Questions. Wondering whether to continue or let things go? And the road beckons you forward. My love in is in league with the freeway.
  • Phil from FlorenceI like the comments about “the guitar player”. It’s Jimmy Page.
  • Rt from CaIn the video a feather is seen landing on the shoulder of a man in the restaurant. He brushes it off onto the floor. Robert Plant then walks by and steps on it. Clearly a reference to Plant's recently having moved on from Led Zeppelin. Plant's symbol, from Led Zeppelin IV, was a feather.
  • Ted from Thunder BayWhen I first heard the intro to this song I thought it was going to be a country song.
    I thought " I never liked country before now!"
    But it ended up rock/folk/blues/country-like.
  • Richie from Ottawa, OnI cannot say the song is more memorable for it's video or it's setting (and I could never actually make out the lyrics by listening to it), as I had never seen the video until today. For me, it is most memorable for the guitar part - which I have liked since first hearing it. However, as a long time fan of ZZ TOP, I have found myself re-playing, in my mind, "Asleep in the Desert" which then, mentally, becomes a "mashup" with Plant's "Big Log". I did not even know the name of this song, until I looked it up today, but certain segments of the guitar parts in these songs seem quite similar. It made me wonder if Robert's guitar player may have taken some inspiration from Billy Gibbons' song. Not the intro (nor outro) but the part of Asleep (the last track of "Tejas") about twenty seconds after the beginning. I had been searching the internet for any reference of the like but have found none. It could be just me but I was wondering if anyone else noticed more similarities than the geographical reference. It's not that I would say Robert would ever take something from someone else's songs . . . For all I know, that laid back desert theme has deeper roots than Billy F. Gibbons wanted to mention (but he never lifted a riff from other players, I'm sure).
  • Jim from UsaI see this as a straightforward road metaphor about someone always searching and never quite finding something (it needn't be a woman). I had a hunch that Big Log meant a log book, but Plant or Page was quoted somewhere as saying (paraphrased) "I don't know, my bass player wrote it." It's indeed a bass-driven track and the tune is what makes it great.
  • Kylie from Melbourne, AustraliaDoes anyone know the movie that this song appears in? I'm sure I watched a movie when I was young and this song was in it. It's been driving me nuts for ages. It's a fabulous also.
  • Helena from United KingdomI adore this! It's such a spiritual and mysterious song to me. I dream of traveling down Route 66 while listening to this, just being wild and free, with the wind in my hair and the desert air all around me. I don't think of sex at all when hearing this, it's more spiritual than physical.
  • Bob from North CarolinaI heard that Les Paul came up with his version of the electric guitar called the log some maybe big log who knows.
  • Marin from Alla Verga, AzI thought Big Log was a rather large fecal creation?
  • Matt from Spokane, Washington, UsaThis song is about how ones inhibitions are steadily eroded by the miles as one takes liberties and experiences the "free way", experieences that occur more frequently. The life that a waif trucker or biker might lead. The "tail-lights dissolve" is analogous to taking out the stops, or inhibitions. There's a big sordid trucker's service industry out there!
  • Gary from Clementon, NjI just love the instrumentation, the guitar work of this song. Beautiful!
  • Lea from Portland, OrWhen I listen to this song, it reminds me of long haul trucking aka interstate truckers. If you've never known a long haul truck driver,or been a part of that life, I suppose you wouldn't get it.

    This song speaks a truckers heart at it's rawest. They have to keep a log book. Most keep two ;)
  • Donna from St. John's, NlIt was my understanding during an interview Plant said this song was about his insatiable sexual desire
  • Chris from Indianapolis, InTruckers use the slang term "Big Log" when describing a long stretch of highway. You can catch references in the lyrics. "The passion will ride as the cities fly by" and "Red eyed and fevered with the hum of the miles"
  • Billy from Piggott, Ar, ArTHIS SONG IS THE FIRST THING I HEAR IN MY INNER EAR WHEN I GET THE URGE TO HIT THE ROAD
  • Eugene from Minneapolis, MnI did not care for the song, but I always liked the video. The video soooo unforgettable!
  • Mike from Santa Barbara, CaThe song is better remembered for its video than its lyrics. Many of the videos to Plant's songs take place in desert settings.
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