Woof! Meow! Moo! This week’s theme is simple: songs about animals. Some are literal (a musician’s pet, a mythological creature), others are metaphorical (the possibilities are endless) and some you’ll just have to figure out for yourself.
I kinda had to pick this one. Paw were one of the best and sadly one of the most under-appreciated bands of the grunge era. Their biggest hit just so happened to be this one, about the singer’s dog Jesse. It’s totally heartfelt and unabashedly sincere. The lyrics are simultaneously goofily literal and so utterly emotional, pushing all your animal loving buttons. Plus Paw kind of sound like a heavier Pearl Jam but with slide guitars, which is most definitely not a bad thing at all.
Nilsson’s kid pop masterpiece from the 1971 animated TV special The Point! The main character was Oblio whose head was round while everyone else had pointed heads. Arrow was his pet, “the greatest dog in the world.” The song (and story) is a timeless classic with a beautiful message that resonate with both children and adults.
“Old Blue” is McGuinn and company’s take on a 19th century folk song about losing a trusty, furry companion during a hunting expedition – it’s actually difficult to pay attention to the narrative when you’ve got that 12-string Rickenbacker jangle going head-to-head with Clarence White‘s B-bender wizardry. Some of the best Byrds’ recordings are from the post Parsons era. This is one of ‘em.
I’ve always loved Weird Al. And I’ve always loved ducks (not so much that I won’t eat a delicious duck once in a while though). Never liked Huey Lewis and The News that much though. To me listening to his music is like walking in on your father dancing and both of you are embarrassed. But this parody of Huey’s “I Want A New Drug” totally makes up for it.
Killdozer’s Michael Gerald might be the best crooner in noise rock. And that unmistakably gruff bellow is perfect for telling the tale of Knuckles, who is a very, very good dog.
This might have been the first B-52’s song that made it to my ears. It’s about a lobster that dances or something, but it reminds me of a time when this guy Nick Tangborn was my boss at Listen.com and we went on a company offsite to Capitola where they wined and dined us with steamed lobsters. There were leftover lobsters so I stashed one in my pocket (this was the ‘90s and big pants were the style of the time, allowing a lobster to fit in my front pocket). In my other pocket, I pocketed a bib with a lobster printed on the front. I thought it would be really funny – and really meta – to put the lobster printed bib around the real lobster’s thorax (they don’t have necks) and sneak into my boss’ room and hide the lobster in his bedsheets. My theory was correct – it was funny. He thought it was funny too, but not as funny as I thought it was because he broke into my room and woke me up by giving me CPR while singing Kris Kristofferson songs to me and then slapping me across the mouth when I tried to join in on a chorus of “Jody And The Kid.” We still joke about it today whenever he breaks into a handle of Fireball and box of Eggos.
Quintessential breezy soft rock and the only song I’ve ever heard use a seabird as a metaphor for a lost love. “Seabird, seabird, fly home.”
“It places the lotion in the basket or it gets the hose again” (this is the song that Buffalo Bill dances to in Silence Of The Lambs).
I love that a guy named Cat wrote a song about loving a dog. I love my dog too. His name is Noonan. We named him after Danny Noonan in Caddyshack because Carl was already taken. Noonan likes to eat kale stems and if there’s a dog barking on TV he turns his head in confusion. Noonan will try to hump his peers as a display of dominance. But because he’s a small terrier, this can be awkward and even hilarious when he’s humping a larger dog. If I could name Noonan all over again, I’d call him Yusuf Islam because I love Cat Stevens so much. Have you ever seen Harold and Maude? Great film…Cat Stevens provides the soundtrack, but I don’t think this song is in it.
Ol’ Red is probably the most famous song about a dog in country music. Thanks, Blake.