Top 10 Cover Versions of Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog

Led Zeppelin's Black Dog

Photo: John Bennett [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

If you have read any of classicrockhistory.com articles on Led Zeppelin, you may have noticed that Led Zeppelin is our favorite band here at the site. You may have also come across an article or two that defines our favorite Led Zeppelin songs. High up on that list is the ultimate Led Zeppelin classic, “Black Dog.” Released on the bands’ fourth album in 1971, “Black Dog,” opened the album with an incredible guitar and vocal riff that became an instant classic. The song’s title supposedly developed out of the band noticing a Black Labrador Retriever roaming the grounds outside the studio in which the band was recording Led Zeppelin Four. The main classic riff of the song has been attributeed as being composed by the band’s bassist and keyboardist, John Paul Jones. The publishing credit listing Jones first confirms his important contribution to the song.

The songs time shifting meter was written on purpose to make it a difficult song to cover. Jimmy Page has confirmed that in multiple interviews. Regardless of the songs intricate rhythms, many artists have attempted to cover the song. Some have done great versions while others have been quite comical. Here is a list of ten of our favorites. Let us know if we missed yours.

# 10 – Lou Gramm

Starting out our Top 10 Led Zeppelin “Black Dog,” cover versions list is Lou Gramm’s cool version of the Led Zeppelin classic. You simply just can’t sing Black Dog if you don’t have a great voice. There are not many who can come close to Robert Plant’s vocals chops, so covering “Black Dog,” is almost an exercise in futility if you don’t bring something creative to the mix. Lou Gramm who will always be in our book the one and only voice of Foreigner, stands as one of the great voices of classic rock. Lou Gramm’s version of “Black Dog,” was released on the 1997 import cd Stairway to Heaven which was a compilation CD that featured Zakk Wylde on guitar and many guest artists including Lita Ford, Tim Pierce, and Jeff Pilson.

# 9 – Dread Zeppelin

You either get this or you don’t. We love it!

# 8 – Masterplan

A great version of “Black Dog,” by the German Metal band Masterplan. This version was released on their debut album Masterplan which was issued in 2003. The band’s lead vocalist Jørn Lande does great justice to Robert Plant’s original vocal. Great stuff!

# 7 – Deborah Harry

Some people may be surprised that Deborah Harry of Blondie would cover Led Zeppelin’s Black Dog. We were blown away by this smoking version. You will too. This cover was recorded in 1994

# 6 – Keith Emerson

And now for something completely different at least until the vocal starts. We love Keith Emerson’s classical piano introduction which flirts with “Black Dog’s,” melody. This was released on Led Box: The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Tribute in February of 2008.

# 5 – Tony Levin

The great Tony Levin formerly of King Crimson plays the entire vocal on bass. Oh Yeah!

# 4 – Ito Kurdhi feat Marina Sidik

There is always room for a jazz version. This is simply chill and very original!

# 3 – Hampton String Quartet

If you really want to test the strength of a song’s composition, have a string quartet play all the parts. This one is wonderful.

# 2 – Gov’t Mule and Ann Wilson

Paying tribute to the live Led Zeppelin version with the instrumental introduction, Warren Haynes and his great band perform a flawless version of the Zep classic. At the helm is the lady who sings Robert Plant better than anyone else in rock and roll. It why she tied up the top 2 spot’s on our Top 10 Led Zeppelins’s “Black Dog,” Covers, songs list

# 1 – Heart

Ann Wilson has sung Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” on a consistent basis for her entire career. There are so many versions of Heart performing the song that it was tough to choose the best one. We listened to many of them and liked the version that was released on the Dreamboat Annie Live album the best. The band is smoking and Ann’s vocal is on fire. This one kills!

 

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