Tuesday, November 17

Black Dog – Led Zeppelin – Lyrics and Song Form

Black Dog – Led Zeppelin – Lyrics and Song Form
Listen to the song HERE.

Yes, But Can I Dance to It?
Okay, okay, I realize this isn’t a staple of amazing lyric writing, but it is still worth going over. For those wondering, the “Black Dog” of the title is basically a black Labrador that was wandering around the studio when they recorded the song.  I want to point out that John Paul Jones, who wrote the main riff was not just a “rock bass player”, he was an accomplished studio musician and arranger before he joined Led Zeppelin. He played on hundreds of sessions and arranged hundreds more. The idea of this song was to create a groove that would be difficult to groove to...with crazy time signature changes and winding riffs. Which, arguably, they accomplished!

Call and Response
With that in mind, look at the lyrics again. You’ve got this woman playing havoc with they guy...driving him crazy. The lyrics are basically call and response with the band. The singer calls out acapella, and the band replies. The man’s intentions are pretty clear, but does he get a straightforward answer from the woman? No, he gets a complex, non-grooveable, windy riff that folds back in on itself. So musically, the woman is giving him mixed messages. :) (...to say the least.)

Unbalanced Sections
I will use the term loosely here. Depending on what we count as a verse...the ah’s? the oh yeah’s?, or just the actual lyrics...the “actual” verse lyrics are are divided like this: 3 lines + 2 lines. A 3 line, unbalanced section, an interlude, then a balanced 2 line section.

Rhyme Scheme
The overall rhyme scheme of the verses are xxx xx, but the lines are driven by internal rhymes, not ending rhymes. All the rhymes are perfect rhymes except for the two subtractive rhymes in the second verse...

told/soul – subtractive rhyme, the D consonant is subtracted from the second word
hand/man – subtractive rhyme, same thing,  the D consonant is subtracted from the second word

Song Form?
On a primal level it is ABA. Verse, Bridge, Verse, with guitar soloing. :)

I love the prosody of the call and response, stereotypical battle of the sexes. The man (the singer) wants one thing, and the girl (the band) is the embodiments of complexity and complication.  :)  Mostly, it just rocks.

Now go and write something that rocks.


PS. Remember, I could evaluate one of your songs this Friday if you submit it HERE.

PPS. Also, please vote in the new poll. (Email me if there is a song you want me to include in the poll!)

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Black Dog – Led Zeppelin

Hey, hey, mama said the way you move, gon’ make you sweat, gon’ make you groove
A-ha child, way you shake that thing, gon’ make you burn, gon’ make you sting
Hey, hey, baby when you walk that way, watch your heartache drip, can’t keep away

Oh yeah...ah, ah...

I gotta roll, can’t stand still, got a flaming heart, can’t get my fill
Eyes that shine, burning red, dreams of you all through my head

Ah, ah...

Hey baby, whoa baby, pretty baby
Darling give it to me now
Hey baby, whoa baby, pretty baby
Move the way you’re doing now

Didn’t take too long ‘fore I found out what people mean by down and out
Spent my money, took my car, started telling her friends she gon’ be a star
I don’t know, but I’ve been told a big-legged woman ain’t go no soul

Oh yeah, ah, ah...

All I ask for, all I pray, steady rolling woman gonna come my way
Need a woman gonna hold my hand, won’t tell me no lies, make me a happy man

Ah, ah...

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is very interesting for me to read that post. Thank you for it. I like such themes and anything connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more soon.