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Led Zeppelin - Black Dog songfacts

All facts provided by Songfacts

This is the first track on Led Zeppelin 4, one of the best selling albums ever. The album has symbols on the cover and is untitled, but since it was their 4th album, it became known as Led Zeppelin 4.
Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones got the idea for this after hearing Muddy Waters' "Electric Mud." He wanted to try "Electric Blues with a rolling bass part."
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 guitars are heavily layered. Four separate Jimmy Page guitar tracks were overdubbed.
The title came from a nameless black dog that wandered around the Headley Grange studios during recording. It has nothing to do with the song itself.
John Bonham's drumming was patterned after Little Richard's "Keep a Knockin'."
The sounds at the beginning are Jimmy Page warming up his guitar. He called it "Waking up the army of guitars."
This contains some complicated time signatures arranged by Jones, which Bonham ignored, playing a steady 4/4 beat instead. Jones thinks that is what made it work.
John Paul Jones wanted to write a song that people couldn't "groove" or dance to. The clever time signature does just that. (thanks, Mark - Chicago, IL)
Robert Plant's vocal was recorded in 2 takes. It was one of his most memorable performances.
Plant: "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."
Page and Plant performed an updated version of this on their 1995 tour.
Plant sampled this on his solo hit "Tall Cool One."
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.
As Robert Plant sings every line after the music stops, you can faintly hear Bonham tapping his drumsticks together to keep the time. (thanks, Adrian - Wilmington, DE)

All facts provided by Songfacts


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