Drummer Cafe

Over 25 Years of Drummer Cafe


Serving drummers and percussionists since 1996.

John Bonham

Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" was recorded in 1971 at Headly Grange, Hampshire, with the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. Originally released on November 8, 1971 on the group's untitled fourth album. It was also released as a single on December 2, 1971 and reached #15 on the US pop charts. "Black Dog" along with other Led Zeppelin hits were remastered from the original recordings and released on the Mothership CD in 2007.

Led Zeppelin bass player, John Paul Jones, is credited with writing the main riff of the song. He wanted to write a song that people could not "groove" or dance to.

The song's title is a reference to a nameless black Labrador retriever that wandered around the Headley Grange studios during recording. The dog has nothing to do with the song lyrics, which are about desperate desire for a woman's love and the happiness resulting thereby.

The groove, although simple with respect to coordination, can be rather difficult with the changing meter, odd time signatures and displaced feelust that. In the original recording you can hear John Bonham clicking his sticks together before each riff, to keep time and signal the band. I chose to not notate the stick clicks, and kept the transcription straight forward as far as expressivo portions of the verses where the vocals clearly take metric liberties. If you listen closely in the verses, you can hear Bonham playing Drags on the Snare drum, leading in to beats 1 and 3 on the Kick drum. Although subtle, I decided to notate the Drags since they are an integral part in defining the overall feel of the tune in this section.

It is my belief that this transcription is the most accurate of any I've seen since I first transcribed "Black Dog".

If you plan to use this chart with the Led Zeppelin Play Along - Minus Drums you may have a tough time due to a number of flaws in the recording. To overcome this, In chorus and solo chorus, hear/think of the click track (HiHat sound) as being on the upbeats or AND of the beat/pulse ... the rest of the play-along should be okay.

Bart Elliott

Bart Elliott is a degreed professional musician with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance, and Master of Music post-graduate work. His 40+ years in the music and entertainment industry, over 100 album recordings to his credit, as well as an exhaustive understanding of contemporary and classical music makes him a complete and skilled master musician.

Bart continues to work as an active drummer, percussionist, composer, producer, music arranger, director, comedian, MC, educator, writer and visual artist. He is the owner and creator of, which he founded in December of 1996.

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