Songs about dogs have been written all around the world, but there ain’t no canine-centric tune like Led Zeppelin’s Bron-Y-Aur Stomp. (Yes, I know, that doesn’t end on a rhyme like the lyrics.)
The penultimate track on 1970’s Led Zeppelin III, the Bron-Y-Aur Stomp is a driving acoustic ditty about the elemental joys of roaming the countryside with man’s best friend:
As we walk down the country lanes,
I’ll be singin’ a song, hear me callin’ your name.
Hear the wind within the trees,
Tellin’ Mother Nature about you and me.
Well, if the sun shines so bright,
Or our way is darkest night,
The road we choose is always right, so fine.
Like many songs on III, Bron-Y-Aur Stomp was written at the Bron-Yr-Aur cottage in Wales; a misspelling on the album art led to the difference between title and name, though the “r” often appears in alternate versions of the song. The song itself was inspired by Robert Plant’s strolls with his dog, Strider1 (“ain’t no companion like a blue-eyed merle”), and is as exhilarating as a ramble on a misty mountain; it is, to my mind, the greatest song about sharing time with a dog.
Bron-Y-Aur Stomp also references another dog song in the line, “When your eyes are old and dim, ain’t no old Shep gonna happen again.” Old Shep, which was cowritten and originally performed by Red Foley, was most famously recorded by Elvis Presley.
The Bron-Y-Aur Stomp does not share Old Shep’s grim conclusion, however. “We’ll still go walkin’ down country lanes,” Plant affirms. “I’ll sing the same old song, hear me call your name.”
1 This is perhaps the most subtle Lord of the Rings reference ever on a Led Zeppelin album.