Black Dog (song)

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"Black Dog"
Black Dog45.jpg
single picture sleeve
Single by Led Zeppelin
from the album Led Zeppelin IV
B-side"Misty Mountain Hop"
Released2 December 1971 (1971-12-02) (US)
Format7-inch 45 rpm
Recorded1971
StudioHeadley Grange, Headley, England
Genre
Length4:55
LabelAtlantic
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Jimmy Page
Led Zeppelin singles chronology
"Immigrant Song"
(1970)
"Black Dog"
(1971)
"Rock and Roll"
(1972)
Audio sample

"Black Dog" is a song by English rock band Led Zeppelin, the opening track on their fourth album (1971). It was released as a single in the United States and in Australia with "Misty Mountain Hop" as the B-side, reaching number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 10 in Australia.

In 2004, the song was first ranked number 294 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time[5] before being ranked at number 300 in 2010.[6] Music sociologist Deena Weinstein calls "Black Dog" "one of the most instantly recognisable [Led] Zeppelin tracks".[7]

Composition[edit]

"Black Dog" is built around a call and response dynamic between the vocalist and band, with its start and stop a cappella verses inspired by Fleetwood Mac's 1969 song "Oh Well", according to biographer Dave Lewis.[8] The title is a reference to a nameless black labrador retriever that wandered around the Headley Grange studios during recording.[9]

John Paul Jones, who is credited with writing the main riff, was inspired by Muddy Waters' controversial 1968 album Electric Mud.[10] He added a winding riff and complex rhythm changes,[9] that biographer Keith Shadwick describes as a "clever pattern that turns back on itself more than once, crossing between time signatures as it does."[10] The group had a difficult time with the turnaround, but John Bonham's solution was to play it straight through as if there was no turnaround.[9] In live performances, Bonham eliminated the 5
4
variation so that Plant could perform his a cappella vocal interludes and then have the instruments return at the proper time.[11] For his guitar parts, Page used a Gibson Les Paul to record multiple overdubs.[12]

Live performances[edit]

"Black Dog" became a staple and fan favourite of Led Zeppelin's live concert performances. It was first played live at Belfast's Ulster Hall on 5 March 1971, a concert which also featured the first ever live performance of "Stairway to Heaven".[12] It was retained for each subsequent concert tour until 1973. In 1975 it was used as an encore medley with "Whole Lotta Love", but was hardly used on the band's 1977 US concert tour. It was recalled to the set for the Knebworth Festival 1979 and the 1980 Tour of Europe. For these final 1980 performances, Page introduced the song from stage.[12]

Accolades[edit]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Classic Rock United States "The Top Fifty Classic Rock Songs of All Time"[13] 1995 18
The Guitar United States "Riff of the Millennium"[14] 1999 7
Q United Kingdom "1010 Songs You Must Own!"[15] 2004 *
Rolling Stone United States "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time"[5] 2004 294
Blender United States "The Greatest Songs Ever!"[16] 2005 *
Bruce Pollock United States "The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944–2000"[17] 2005 *
Q United Kingdom "The 20 Greatest Guitar Tracks"[18] 2007 1
Rolling Stone United States "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time"[6] 2010 300

(*) designates unordered lists.

Chart performance[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Notes[edit]

Citations

  1. ^ Fast 2001: "'Black Dog' ... represents a defining moment in the genre of hard rock."
  2. ^ "Led Zeppelin Biography". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved 2 February 2014. Black Dog" was a piledriving hard-rock number cut from the same cloth as "Whole Lotta Love.
  3. ^ Schuman 2009: "The fourth album also has its share of hard rock tracks. Three that received a lot of radio airplay are 'Black Dog,' 'Misty Mountain Hop,' and the appropriately named 'Rock and Roll.'"
  4. ^ Bream 2010: "[Led Zeppelin IV] balances the blues-rock grind of 'Black Dog' against the sun-dappled utopianism of 'Going To California'".
  5. ^ a b "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (1–500)". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 20 August 2006.
  6. ^ a b "500 Greatest Songs of All Time: Led Zeppelin, 'Black Dog'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  7. ^ Weinstein 1991, p. 278.
  8. ^ Lewis 1994, p. 22.
  9. ^ a b c Crowe 1993, p. 13.
  10. ^ a b Shadwick 2005, p. 157.
  11. ^ Gracyk 2007, p. 166.
  12. ^ a b c Lewis 1994.
  13. ^ "The Top Fifty Classic Rock Songs Of All Time – 1995". Classic Rock. Rocklist.net. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
  14. ^ "Riff of the Millennium – December 1999". The Guitar. Rocklist.net. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
  15. ^ "1010 Songs You Must Own! – Celebrity Choices – September 2004". Q. Rocklist.net. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
  16. ^ "The Greatest Songs Ever! Black Dog". Blender. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007.
  17. ^ "Led Zeppelin – Black Dog". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
  18. ^ "Q: The 20 Greatest Guitar Tracks – September 2007". Q. Rocklist.net. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
  19. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts – 1 April 1972". Go-Set. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  20. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  21. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 7509." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  22. ^ "Black Dog – Led Zeppelin". Danske Hitlister. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  23. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Led Zeppelin – Black Dog". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  24. ^ "Top 100 Singles – 1 January 1972" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  25. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Led Zeppelin - Black Dog" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  26. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Led Zeppelin – Black Dog" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  27. ^ Scapolo, Dean (2007). "Top 50 Singles – April 1972". The Complete New Zealand Music Charts (1st ed.). Wellington: Transpress. ISBN 978-1-877443-00-8.
  28. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Led Zeppelin – Black Dog". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  29. ^ "Led Zeppelin IV – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  30. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending FEBRUARY 19, 1972". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 8 September 2012.
  31. ^ "The Singles Chart" (PDF). Record World. 26 February 1972. p. 29. ISSN 0034-1622. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  32. ^ "Hot Digital Singles – 1 December 2007". Billboard. Retrieved 17 January 2009.[dead link]
  33. ^ "Led Zeppelin Songs – Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". Musicvf.com. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
  34. ^ "December 1, 2007 – Rdio". Billboard. Retrieved 2 February 2014.

References

External links[edit]