Guitar Hero: Jimmy Page talks Black Dog and the untitled album on Classic Vinyl

Two time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jimmy Page could make your grocery list sound good on guitar. However, even this music legend had to start somewhere. Led Zeppelin’s founder and front man recently participated in a SiriusXM Town Hall on Classic Vinyl and told a lucky crowd of subscribers about the early beginnings of Black Dog. The song’s signature riff was a tricky one to learn – even for Page!

“In effect, John Paul Jones had a riff, and that’s the sort of riff that you know of Black Dog. But that’s what it was, it was just a riff. He was sort of playing it over and over. It was tricky to play,” Page said. “Once I could play it with him, I said, ‘Okay, well let’s try this with a call and response.’ So with Robert [Plant] singing and then the riff. And then all the other bits outside of the riff – those are all the bits that I put into it. So really, if you’re asking me what my part of it was, it was actually taking it from a riff and making it into a piece of music.”

Page also (finally) explained why the band’s iconic fourth album is untitled. Hits like Stairway to Heaven and Rock and Roll made their debut on the record and solidified Led Zeppelin’s status as rock’s most influential foursome. However, Atlantic Records was initially skeptical about releasing Led Zeppelin IV.

“It was the right way to deal with things at that time … You wanted to do things a lot of other people hadn’t done,” Page said. “Although, there was a lot of friction with the record company ’cause the way they saw things was as things run normally. But the fact of having that album out and the old man with the sticks and the picture frame [on the album cover] is so iconic that it was the right thing to do.”

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