Bring It On Home
Music/Lyrics: Willie Dixon
Original Artist: Sonny Boy Williamson
Original Album: Single (1963)
Historian: Mark Toscano
Although the version of “Bring It On Home” Phish covered on 5/3/85 was closer to the Led Zeppelin interpretation of the song found on Led Zeppelin II, Willie Dixon is the actual author of this tune. Dixon, who wrote the song for Sonny Boy Williamson II, influenced Zeppelin quite a bit – along with plenty of other classic blues men – and Zeppelin in turn influenced Phish quite a bit (especially Trey and Fishman). Dixon also originated “Little Red Rooster” and “Hoochie Coochie Man,” two other songs Phish has covered.
Apparently, Led Zeppelin was too busy being influenced by classic blues men, for they neglected to credit or compensate Dixon or Arc Music, the legal copyright holders of “Bring It On Home.” Arc sued Zeppelin and won a settlement, but then neglected to kick back to Willie (bastards), giving him even more reason to sing the damn blues. Eventually, Dixon and Muddy Waters sued Arc and won not only their respective due royalties, but ownership of their songs as well. Finally, to cap off the story, Dixon sued Led Zeppelin himself over their song “Whole Lotta Love,” which was dangerously similar to Dixon’s own “You Need Love.”
All told, Dixon ended up with a nice settlement and lived out the rest of his years comfortably, enjoying his long-deserved recognition as one of American’s most important singer-songwriters, and a major force in the development of the blues.
Phish’s only known performance of this tune, on 5/3/85, featured two special guests. One was “Bobby Brown,” (a.k.a. early days crew member Tim Rogers) on harmonica. The other guest? A certain “Page, from Goddard,” some keyboard player about whom little, if anything, is known.
Led Zeppelin, "Bring It On Home"