Dogs in Song
It’s time for a little fun! Let’s take a peak at songs written about dogs by popular music artists. Anything can inspire artists whether you’re a painter, sculptor, author, or rock star. Dogs are a popular theme. In fact, dogs hold very serious roles in practically every visual, print, and spoken art form.
A fable about a boy named Oblio, the only round-headed person in the Pointed Village, where by law everyone and everything had to have a point. To make sure he fits in, his mother knitted him a pointed cap. And like any good parents, they gave him a dog – Arrow.
The album was released in 1971 and the animated film version of The Point first aired on TV February 1971. It’s a fabulous story for all ages and teaches a very valuable lesson. Both the DVD and CD are available online for purchase.
One of the most popular songs performed by the undisputed King of Rock and Roll. Hey, my mother was an Elvis fan! It was the first song in history to simultaneously reach number 1 on all three Billboard charts – Pop, Country & Western, and Rhythm & Blues. It sold over 4 million copies. Hound Dog was written by Lieber and Stoller for an R&B singer Big Mama Thornton. But it was Elvis Presley’s version that made it a hit. In 1956, Elvis went on The Steve Allen Show and sang this to a Basset Hound. He was not allowed to dance on the show, since Allen ran a family-friendly program and Elvis’ pelvis was not considered family-friendly. In fact, Elvis thought the whole performance was designed to make him look like a joke and he was really insulted.
Check out this small clip of Elvis Presley’s performance on the Ed Sullivan Show.
And to be fair, lets not put aside Big Mama Thornton’s performance of the song. Classic! This video features Buddy Guy. Check it out.
Hey Bulldog by The Beatles
Gotta love the Beatles. A lot of impromptu silliness in the studio frequently made it into their recordings.
They started recording this song as “Hey Bullfrog”, but Paul barked at the end and made John Lennon laugh. They kept in the barking and changed the title, even though there is no mention of a bulldog in the verses or chorus. “Hey Bulldog” first appeared on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack album in 1969. The song was used in an animated segment of the Yellow Submarine film which only appeared in the European release. It was restored and seen for the first time in 30 years for the film’s 1999 re-release. Check out this clip of Hey Bulldog in The Yellow Submarine.
I Love my Dog by Cat Stevens.
Cat Stevens wrote this song about a dachshund he found tied to a post when he was young. When nobody claimed the dog, he took it home and grew attached to it. This was Stevens’ first single showing up on his debut album, Matthew and Son. It became a hit on pirate radio stations in England helping launch his career. Not considered his best song, in fact there are really no mixed feelings about it. You either love it, or you hate it.
Cat Stevens retired from the music world 1977 after accepting the faith of Islam, becoming Yusuf Islam. He subsequently married, had five children, auctioned off all his possessions, and founded a Muslim school in London. A vocal opponent of the war in Iraq, Yusuf Islam is on a U.S. government security watch list and is barred from entering the United States.
Appearing on The White Album, the title “Martha My Dear” was inspired by McCartney’s Old English Sheepdog named Martha. But the song is really not about his dog. McCartney said that the song itself is about his longtime love interest Jane Asher, but everyone likes to think it’s about his love for his dog. So, Paul is leaving it up to his fans to romance what the song is about.
Check out this video of the song. It features a lot of photos of Paul McCartney and Martha.
In this famous album cover, Paul is Live (1993); the dog appearing is Arrow, one of Martha’s offspring.
Mandy by Barry Manilow
Sorry folks, that bit about Mandy being Manilow’s dog is an urban myth. Songwriter and performer, Scott English, wrote this song but it was entitled “Brandy”. It was changed to “Mandy” to avoid confusion with the Looking Glass hit “Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl).” Scott English says he was woken by a phone call from a reporter, wanting to know who “Brandy” was. “I would have said anything to get rid of him,” says English, “So I spat out the first thing that came to mind: It was about a dog like Lassie and I had sent her away – now you go away!’ And I hung up on him.”
I don’t know what it is about this song, but, it’s been parodied in every which way but loose. It was parodied in The Simpsons, The Family Guy, Will & Grace, and Angel. Not very flattering either.
Millions of us wouldn’t dream of living without dogs. They are friends like no other. As you can see, dogs are an indelible part of our popular culture.
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