Why Black Dog Was Led Zeppelin’s Greatest Song

Led Zeppelin Songs

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

Opening Led Zeppelin Four or whatever one calls Zeppelin’s unnamed fourth album, is the iconic Led Zeppelin song, “Black Dog.” The song was also released on the first official Led Zeppelin live album The Song Remains the Same. However, when that album first came out it was often referred to as more a soundtrack album than a traditional live concert album. The song “Black Dog,” also appeared again on the Led Zeppelin albums How the West Was Won and The BBC Sessions. The song was first performed live at Belfast’s Ulster Hall on 5 March 1971. The song reached No 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts in 1971. The highest the song charted was in Switzerland where it peaked at No. 6.

Led Zeppelin’s greatest song was insured by a riff that John Paul Jones had been working on. In the liner notes to the Complete Studio recordings, John Paul Jones explained the thought process behind the song. “I wanted to try an electric blues with a rolling bass part. But it couldn’t be too simple.I wanted it to turn back on itself. I showed it to the guys, and we fell into it. We struggled with the turn-around, until John Bonham figured out that you just four-time as if there’s no turn-around. That was the secret. ”

A subtle and very short guitar tremolo gives way to one of rock and roll’s greatest acapella vocal lines. Robert Plant’s tenor blows its way off the vinyl and stings the listener with a venom that freezes one’s attention instantly.

Like fireworks exploding, drummer John Bonham’s snare drum implodes into the rest of silence between the last breath of Plant’s opening riff and the introduction of Page and Jones doubled classic guitar and bass lick. Presenting rock culture with one of the greatest Rock and Roll riffs ever written, the band repeats the licks each time growing with an intensity unmatched in rock and roll’s aural landscape. “Black Dog,” was Led Zeppelin’s Greatest Song because it defined everything that made Led Zeppelin the Greatest Rock band off all time.

From Led Zeppelin (the 4th album) released 1971



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