robert plant led zeppelin merle strider motorcycle

Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and his beloved ‘Strider’, named after J. R. R. Tolkien’s character ‘Aragorn’ from ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ 

Bron-Y-Aur Stomp was penned by Robert Plant and Jimmy Page back in 1970, and named after the tiny cottage in Gwynedd, Wales where the band holed-up after coming off their North American tour. The rustic, old home (with no power or running water) was a welcome escape to refresh the road-worn band and inspired several epic songs for Led Zeppelin III, including Bron-Y-Aur Stomp. “There ain’t no companion like a blue-eyed Merle,” was Robert Plant’s tender, lyrical nod to his sweet lil’ pooch, Strider in this song. Tolkien references can also be heard in a few other Led Zeppelin songs– Ramble On, The Battle of Evermore, and Misty Mountain Hop. 

robert plant children strider merle dog

robert plant strider dog


I can’t resist including a few more pics of Led Zeppelin on motorcycles… like John Bonham on his BSA chopper. Please God, tell me it’s not still hanging on the wall of a Swedish pizza parlor…

“The Led Zeppelin drummer’s motorcycle stunt is one of the most famous events in the history of the Chateau Marmont, but it turns out that Bonham was not a hotel motorcycle monogamist. Bonham also drove his hog through the halls of the nearby Continental Hyatt House Hotel and the Andaz West Hollywood. Bonham and his Zeppelin brethren didn’t limit their hotel destruction to joyrides. The band left a trail of destroyed TVs and lifetime hotel bans in their wake that may never be matched.” via

john bonham led zeppelin bsa chopper motorcycle

John Bonham of Led Zeppelin on his Triumph chopper.

john bonham bsa chopper motorcycle

John Bonham of Led Zeppelin on his Triumph motorcycle.

john bonham led zeppelin motorcycle chopper

Color photo of John Bonham of Led Zeppelin on his Triumph chopper.

jimy page led zeppelin harley-davidson motorcycle

Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin on a Harley-Davidson (and a guy in an old-timey Santa Claus or Father Time costume creeping in the background). Anyone know the story behind this pic?

Led-Zeppelin suzuki motorcycles

Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin on a couple of Suzuki 2-stroke motorcycles and a Yamaha 3-wheeler.

led zeppelin john bonham john paul jones robert plant jimmy page

Led Zeppelin’s lyrics were in the white-hot spotlight during the controversial “backmasking” hysteria that escalated in the 1980s and captivated the media. Also tagged in the controversy were: The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Electric Light Orchestra, Queen, and Styx. Listen for yourself here. I remember hearing radio programs as a kid (usually at night under the covers when I should have been asleep) dissecting the alleged evil backmasking, and how my favorite rock groups wanted me to follow the piper to the fiery bowels of hell. It kinda freaked me out, and I kinda knew it was bunk at the same time. Stairway to Heaven is undoubtedly the most infamous rock song accused of containing satanic messages:

Here’s Jimmy Page talking about composing of Led Zeppelin’s epic Stairway to Heaven:


  1. Oh wow ! Will you look at that ! The comments section has reopened ! And a darn good post to open it up with as well ! BTW congrats on the store and perhaps we can do a bit of business .. as in my buying a thing or two from you . FYI Plant in almost every interview has flatly denied any Tolkien influence despite the blatant references in the songs you’ve mentioned as well as a couple of others including the ubiquitous ” Stairway to Heaven ” . Why .. is anybody’s guess but since most of those interviews came from the era when Zepp was being called on the carpet for more than one instance of plagiarism [ music wise ] perhaps thats the best explanation .

    As for the ‘ backmasking ‘ despite Page’s admitted involvement in the darkest aspects of the occult .. yeah it was a bit of desperation infused bunk on the part of the so called Evangelical Christian community about to evolve into the hard Christian Right . His reply when asked about backmasking was a classic ;

    ” If I’ve actually done that I must be the worlds greatest genius or a magician extraordinaire ”

    Only surpassed by his response when told Slash was claiming he never heard of Jimmy Page or Led Zeppelin ;

    ” Well then I must be a vampire thats been injecting my licks into his veins on a regular basis in the dark of the night “

  2. The chopper and the Harley are cool-as, but the real star is that pioneer motorcycle in the first pic, something I’m surprised anyone from Led Zep would have had an interest in. The question that’s playing on my mind, though, is “What is it?” I’m trying to place the colour scheme and I’m thinking Matchless, but I’m not sure. Sadly, the reg AB 9522 now resides on a crappy Range Rover Evoque.

  3. Another excellent write up jp. Watching the video of page was beautiful. Like watching an old man confront his legacy. Just look at his face during the close ups,…..classic!

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