What does Black Dog mean?

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Led Zeppelin: Black Dog Meaning

Tagged: Dogs [suggest]

Song Released: 1971

Black Dog Lyrics

Hey hey mama, said the way you move
Gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove
Ah ah child, way you shake that thing
Gonna make you burn, gonna make you sting
Hey hey baby, when you walk that way
Watch your honey drip, I can't keep...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Mar 30th 2012 report

    I have come up with the following interpretation of Black Dog.

    The first two verses of the song is about lust. The narrator of the song picks himself up a woman in his local bar and the two go back to his place and have casual sex. The man is purely mad with lust which is shown through the lyrics "eyes that shine burning red/ dreams of you all through my head."

    Following a midsection the song returns to it's third verse. This time, it is one of bitter regret. Having got his "fill" the narrator has been left "down and out" and the woman has stolen his car and his money.

    Realizing his mistake the narrator of the song decides to stop seeking out one night stands with women he meets at the local pub but rather opts for a long-term relationship with a woman who will "hold is hands" and won't "tell me no lies/ make me a happy man."

    The title of the song was inspired by an old, black dog that hanged around Headley Grange where Zeppelin was recording their number. Black Dog is also another name for depression, interestingly enough.

    The riff to the song was written by John Paul Jones and was inspired by Muddy Waters' album Electric Mud. The call-response style was in turn inspired by the Fleetwood Mac song "Oh Well."


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Apr 5th 2013 report

    This song title can have 2 interpretations but knowing Plant it will be a a double play on words.

    The song is about a very sexy woman that the narrator is having a relationship with. Blinded by her sexual prowess he suddenly finds that she has used him for his money and belongings.

    Having being fooled, he is now suffering from The Black Dog (depression) and prays to some day find a good woman.

    Remembering that the band members are English and the term Black Dog is a British slang phrase.

    However this song is an American blues-based style song - musically and lyrically.

    Being a song about a nasty female, the song title can also refer to an African American woman that he considers to be a bitch (which is the correct terminology for a female dog).

    The black dog living at the place they recorded the album may no doubt have inspired the song. Just from its simple description as a black dog Plant would have taken it from there.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Apr 16th 2006 report

    Jimmy Page and Robert Plant on Black Dog during an interview on Radio Perth, West Australia, Australia, February 16, 1972:

    Now listen, can you tell us what Black Dog is all about?

    J: It is about a dog that was fourteen years old.

    R: A black Labrador.

    J: You see, the thing was, we, we did some from of those tracks from that LPs at a big house with a mobile recording unit, a truck that actually is the Stones truck. But there used to be this, there used to be a team of dogs, actually, there were a couple of lurchers and this huge great Labrador, that used to sort of, that looked as though it was grinning at you, see, it would bare it's teeth, but it looked like a smile, and we used to pick it up and
    play with it and everything, apparently, it was the most
    ferocious dog, that was really known for biting everybody, you see, and they couldn't believe that we had uh, could even be near it you know. So, anyway it was just called, it was one of the first things that we started to do at the house, the first week we started to play, and we just called it "Black Dog" and stuck. That's right isn't it?

    R: Yeah, he used to go in the garden for a walk, and he'd find he couldn't get back so we had to carry him back, you see (laughter). He was really doddled, but he was an amazing character. Well that's it. But he couldn't, he didn't sound like anything on the lyrics at all, he wasn't parading about.

  4. anonymous
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    Jun 4th 2020 report

    I agree with the first interpretation. It makes the most sense. It also explains what a lot of the other people are saying a little more thoroughly.

  5. anonymous
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    Mar 31st 2019 report

    It is about having intercourse with a busty ebony woman, 'oh baby when you shake that thing', 'long legged woman', really? How has no one got that?

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  6. anonymous
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    Jan 25th 2019 report

    Clapton = Top Clan = Plant Co Mothership=Me Thor Ship. I am Eric Clapton's half brother and the legal Second Christ, our real father lives in Vesteralen Norway. Eric and I have G.O.D. Gene[ Genetic Omni Dominance] Led Zep has a poster of Saskatchewan with a Zeppelin pointing to Edmonton that goes along with Mothership Album, flip the Zeppelin the other way and it points to Iceland and Vesteralen Norway using King David's Psalm 104 Layline. The Song Stairway to Heaven was written about me, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant and Eric and myself were all Culdee monks and brothers, I was Prince Madog ap Owain Gwynedd. Stairway to Heaven = He at Norway, It Save. Black Dog is partlt based on the Dog Head straight west of Stonehenge at the Big Arm Last Mountain Lake Sask. Canada. The World court ruled the bible starts and ends here at that Dog Head of Rev 22:15. Use 2002 images Google Earth for the Dog Head and the astrolabe man map along Pelican Pointe Road across from Regina Beach. Robert's mother's maiden name was Cain and Regina Beach was called Cain's Point. Armageddon + Cain = Madoc and Regina

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  7. anonymous
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    Jan 24th 2019 report

    Black dog = harbinger of death.

  8. anonymous
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    Jun 2nd 2017 report

    The story Robert Plant told in an interview was an old black dog was hanging round the recording studio. They fed her and she made the place her home. Occasionally she went down the street to visit her male dog friend. They knew where she was & in the afternoon they had to go down the street & carry her back. They wrote the song a few weeks before she started hanging round, but didn't have a name for the song. They thought it would be funny to name the song after her. That is if he didn't lie in the interview.

  9. anonymous
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    Nov 27th 2016 report

    You got to be kidding me it's about heroine honey driP when you burn it loosing his car long leg women ain't got no soul syringe

  10. anonymous
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    Nov 22nd 2016 report

    Read your English history. Winston Churchill named his depression moods the Black Dog. It became common parlance to refer to depression or the blues as the Black Dog.

  11. anonymous
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    Apr 24th 2016 report

    Black Dog is from Clapton is God photo, Clapton =Plant Co. Big legged woman ain't got no soul

  12. anonymous
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    Mar 16th 2016 report

    Once again, they practiced black magic rituals.. Stinging and burning are both feelings when being demonically possessed.. i have delt with this, if u listen to a zep song on the right night the right time of year, the demons they are singing about will appear, as they are doing a ritual in the song! Let the music be your master, hail satan? you think they are kidding? Lol

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  13. anonymous
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    Feb 24th 2016 report

    Clapton=Plant CO. It is a ploy on the Black Dog on the Clapton is God picture. Eric Patrick Clapton, Patrick = A Trick P. Eric was born Straight east of Stonehenge and the ancient Dog Head at Last Mountain Lake-Big Arm Sask. Canada, Rev22:15 where the bible ends at the Stairway to Heaven

  14. anonymous
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    Feb 24th 2016 report

    Clapton=Plant CO. It is a ploy on the Black Dog on the Clapton is God picture. Eric Patrick Clapton, Patrick = A Trick P. Eric was born Straight east of Stonehenge and the ancient Dog Head at Last Mountain Lake-Big Arm Sask. Canada, Rev22:15 where the bible ends at the Stairway to Heaven

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  15. anonymous
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    Jan 24th 2016 report

    Black Dog is a dark souled bitch.

    She's a narcissistic bitch a jezebel witch trying to hijack his car, money and soul.

    Think Courtney Love. She is a "Black Dog". A liar and a thief.

    In Celebration Day
    "Her name is Brown or White or Black, you know her very well,
    You hear her cries of mercy as the winners toll the bell."

    "Didnt take too long fore I found out
    What people mean my down and out.
    Spent my money, took my car,
    Started tellin her friends she wants to be a star.
    I dont know but I been told
    A big legged woman aint got no soul.

  16. anonymous
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    Sep 14th 2015 report

    The lyrics here are open to the history of the song and Robert Plant's intention, as is the template for many blues tunes, to lay a little basic truth out there for an inside yuk-yuk with the band as well as leaving a broad palette for the world to interpret as it chooses. In this typical blues tale, man is obsessed with the flesh only to once again fall its hold and torture on the mortal soul. Faustian. Papa Legba come to call.

  17. anonymous
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    Dec 20th 2014 report

    Actually, the reason it is called Black Dog is because wherever they were recording, a black dog came everyday. So, whoever it was decided to call the song Black Dog. About ten years ago, they came out with a DVD, and on this DVD, there is interviews, with the group, and they explain how they got the name of the song.

  18. zepkat
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    Sep 25th 2013 report

    The meaning of the song and the song title are totally unrelated. In addition to the radio interview most LZ literature (Hammer of the Gods, etc.) report the story of the dog who hung around HG during the recording. Like most blues based rock there will be a note of melancholy.... that's what it means to have the blues.... "someone done somebody wrong song," so to speak. Personally, I think several of RP's bluesy lyrics about lost loves and bad/sad/evil women are based on the regular groupies that hung around. But B.D. was an earlier hit, so I'm not sure they had a bunch of regulars at that point. So, I think I agree up to a point on some of these previous interpretations, save for these weird interpretations of the title being in any way related to the lyrics, since JP and RP have repeatedly confirmed the title came after the song was already completed, and in the can.

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