Led Zeppelin/Black Dog

Advertisement


Question
Mike..why does jimmy's playing and the drums sound so out of sync in the song Black Dog?Its not for the whole recording only part of it... It just doesn't sound right, at least to my ears anyway.

Regards

mark

Answer
Hi Mark

Indeed, there are moments during "Black Dog" when the drums seem to drag along behind the bass and guitar.  Most notably, the famous main riff and the extended pre-chorus one (right before Plant sings the "Oh yeah..." part).  

It's basically an illusion of Jones & Page shifting time signatures against Bonham's constant 4/4 beat.  The first bar of the riff is more like 3/4 time (3 beats) which puts Bonham's drumming somewhat behind the other instruments.  Counting out the second half of the riff in 5/4 time, the 4/4 drumming catches up, so to speak.  

During the extended riff before "oh yeah", basically the same story - the guitars "jump ahead" of Bonham's steady 4/4 rhythm and they meet up at the end. It gives the illusion they're out of sync, but actually they weren't.  An interesting effect that makes the song seem hyper-fast and laid back at the same time.

Best wishes,
Mike

Led Zeppelin

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Mike Caldwell

Expertise

I have been a lifetime Led Zeppelin researcher (not just fan). Have gained a strong reputation as an appraiser of their rare records and memorabilia. For various reasons, I cannot respond to emails sent to my personal account, but I will always respond to questions posted here!

Experience

Countless hours of biographical research and personal interaction with relevant individuals. Avid contributor to Led Zeppelin newsgroups since 1997 (check Google groups!)

Publications
Bullseye News Magazine. The Vapid Voice.

Education/Credentials
Masters Degree, Computer Science. Bachelor's Degree, Psychology.

Awards and Honors
Several literary awards.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.