Robert Plant: 'Black Dog' Was a Trick, a Game

Scott K Fish

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Robert Plant: 'Black Dog' Was a Trick, a Game

J.D. Considine: ...I've always found it funny that the heaviest Zeppelin song, Black Dog, was also, and perhaps by no small coincidence, the one that always screwed up the garage bands, that they couldn't get.

Robert Plant: That's right, because you can't play it, yeah. Because it's got a beat that's a count of five over a count of four, and trips and skips and stuff like that. It was our perogative and our joy to take what people thought.... We just wanted to see people try and move to it, and then miss the beat. And then still call it heavy. It was a trick, a game, and well within our capabilities to do. And it just stopped a lot of other people from doing the same thing, from copying it.

Source: Robert Plant: Life in a Lighter Led Zeppelin, by J.D. Considine, Musician December 1983


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stickinthemud

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I get the feeling that other bands use a similar technique - particularly at song beginnings - to make it difficult to copy exactly thus thwarting covers. For instance, an intro that doesn't start on the "one" so that the listener, without the benefit of a reference click, gets off on the wrong foot, beat-wise.
 

zenstonsmith

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i always loved how misty mountain hop starts off.

i still here the main riff one way, but once the drums kick in, i realize i was hearing 1 wrong.

heard that song hundreds, maybe thousands of times and it still gets me every single time.
 

trappemann

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Big talk for a guy who had to have his voice sped up to hit the key.

Poser of the highest order.

How bout just saying the truth, John Paul, Jimmy, and John came up with this and told me what to sing. So I did. Then Jimmy fixed my voice in the re mix.

Ever see them live? OMG!
 

Luddite

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Hendrix's version of "Watchtower" and the way it switches in the intro gets me every time. Apparently Hendrix wanted it that way and it took Mitchell a while to catch on.
 

Scott K Fish

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All good points about trick songs. The Doobies's Minute by Minute is another example.

On the flip side, however, sometimes I'm listening to a song intro, I'll have in mind the drum part I would play, and when the full song kicks in and I realize I was not in sync with the record -- I try to remember the drum part I had in mind and try to work it into the song anyway. It's a neat way to create I otherwise might have missed.

Best,
skf
 

Peterk256

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Luddite said:
Hendrix's version of "Watchtower" and the way it switches in the intro gets me every time. Apparently Hendrix wanted it that way and it took Mitchell a while to catch on.
It always sounded like a mistake that eventually worked its way out to me.
 

Dunnett_Classic

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WLL was a trick!

A few years ago I was invited to perform at a charity event in Seattle called celebration day. It was different from the super-cheezy "Bonzo Ba$h" events in that the money actually went to a charity - local school music programs. I was in. They saddled me with Whole Lotta Love and mu firs though t was 'Oh, good - and easy one.

Not so easy.

There were 3 things I learned while rehearsing this song that never occurred to me before even though I've hear the track countless times...

First the cymbal solo pattern. I'm convinced after rehearsing this song well over 100 times that Bonham was playing a melody - specifically the Big Ben tune. It took me a long time to nail the pitches to the corresponding cymbals, but I got it. The notes are in groupings of 5, then 4 and the final one is a 3. The second was the shots in the guitar solo. Every drummer I've ever seen hits the snare and floor tom. Wrong. Bonham did this little riff thing on the snare, accenting with the bass drum - no floor tom. I could only pick this up listening to the isolation tracks. The last thing was something i could not overcome - Bonham swung EVERYTHING and this was no exception. On the surface it sounds like a straight ahead groove, but if you listen, its a shuffle - a veil of a shuffle. Try as I might I could not capture that bounce. It was even harder during the performance because the guitar player was excited and his tempo was way too fast.

Still, it wasn't a bad attempt. I had a cold and it was hard to hear with my attenuators, but it was massive fun. For what its worth - enjoy!

 
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utdrummer

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trappemann said:
Big talk for a guy who had to have his voice sped up to hit the key.

Poser of the highest order.

How bout just saying the truth, John Paul, Jimmy, and John came up with this and told me what to sing. So I did. Then Jimmy fixed my voice in the re mix.

Ever see them live? OMG!
 

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Nacci

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To think that the late, great John Henry was right around 21 years old when these were released is mind blowing.
 

tommykat1

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The only song that still kills me with the intro is "My Girl." I have never tried really hard to work it out, and my fear is that someday I'll be called to play it at a jam and will royally flub it!
 

xsabers

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Dunnett said:
WLL was a trick!

A few years ago I was invited to perform at a charity event in Seattle called celebration day. It was different from the super-cheezy "Bonzo Ba$h" events in that the money actually went to a charity - local school music programs. I was in. They saddled me with Whole Lotta Love and mu firs though t was 'Oh, good - and easy one.

Not so easy.

There were 3 things I learned while rehearsing this song that never occurred to me before even though I've hear the track countless times...

First the cymbal solo pattern. I'm convinced after rehearsing this song well over 100 times that Bonham was playing a melody - specifically the Big Ben tune. It took me a long time to nail the pitches to the corresponding cymbals, but I got it. The notes are in groupings of 5, then 4 and the final one is a 3. The second was the shots in the guitar solo. Every drummer I've ever seen hits the snare and floor tom. Wrong. Bonham did this little riff thing on the snare, accenting with the bass drum - no floor tom. I could only pick this up listening to the isolation tracks. The last thing was something i could not overcome - Bonham swung EVERYTHING and this was no exception. On the surface it sounds like a straight ahead groove, but if you listen, its a shuffle - a veil of a shuffle. Try as I might I could not capture that bounce. It was even harder during the performance because the guitar player was excited and his tempo was way too fast.

Still, it wasn't a bad attempt. I had a cold and it was hard to hear with my attenuators, but it was massive fun. For what its worth - enjoy!

Nice...
 
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drummerjohn333

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Ron made it look really easy. Of course we know it's not. Good job on it. Your homework has paid off.
 

piccupstix

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tommykat1 said:
The only song that still kills me with the intro is "My Girl." I have never tried really hard to work it out, and my fear is that someday I'll be called to play it at a jam and will royally flub it!
You talkin' 'bout that famous tricky legendary simple but not really Motown fill? Me too.
 

trappemann

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utdrummer said:
Big talk for a guy who had to have his voice sped up to hit the key.

Poser of the highest order.

How bout just saying the truth, John Paul, Jimmy, and John came up with this and told me what to sing. So I did. Then Jimmy fixed my voice in the re mix.

Ever see them live? OMG!
O yes he did!

Love Zep!

Can't stand to listen to Plant speak as though he had something to do with anything but posing.
 

Monty

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"And it just stopped a lot of other people from doing the same thing, from copying it."

Led Zep, talking about preventing people from copying them :laughing5: :laughing6:
 

Nacci

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trappemann said:
Big talk for a guy who had to have his voice sped up to hit the key.

Poser of the highest order.

How bout just saying the truth, John Paul, Jimmy, and John came up with this and told me what to sing. So I did. Then Jimmy fixed my voice in the re mix.

Ever see them live? OMG!
O yes he did!

Love Zep!

Can't stand to listen to Plant speak as though he had something to do with anything but posing.




I can't believe i'm reading this, why the disrespect for Robert Plant? Do you own the double disc Zeppelin DVD that shows them playing live throughout their career?...Plant kills it over and over again. At the onset, Jimmy set out to find the finest musicians for his band, do you think he'd take on a no talent poser? I respectfully disagree with this opinion that Plant was a no talent poser. I think that he was one of the greatest frontmen of all time.
 

chappy

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Oddly enough, there is a collection of outtakes of Zep learning Black Dog where all of them but JPJ are screwing it up and cursing and laughing about it.
 


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