Sunday, 19 July 2015

My Top Ten Dolphin Songs

Last week's post about vacuum cleaners had less hits than anything I've ever written here. Which I guess shows that nobody is particularly enamoured by pop songs about household appliances. (So I'll be revisiting that again soon, dead horses need flogging.) I'll surely be on safer territory this week... everyone loves dolphins, right? (Although...that one it just me...or does it look a bit like the Alien?)

10. The Byrds - Dolphin's Smile

 A song about cutting your moorings and floating free away...sounds tempting, right?

9. Ian Brown - Dolphins Were Monkeys

Well, if anybody would know about being a monkey...

8. Prince - Dolphin

Leave it to Prince to write a sado-masochistic reincarnation fantasy about dolphins... weirdo. Of course, considering this was written during the Slave / Symbol / TAFKAP days, its lyrics are pointing straight at his record company...
U can cut off all my fins
But 2 your ways I will not bend
I'll die before I let U tell me how 2 swim
And I'll come back again as a dolphin
7. Martyn Joseph - Dolphins Make Me Cry

The grown-up world is seriously depressing Martyn Joseph... that's why dolphins make him cry.

6. Shed Seven - Dolphin

From the York yobboes' debut album, this was their first single to crash into the Top 30 at the dawn of Britpop in 1994. They'd go on to much greater things, but Dolphin stands the test of time pretty well.

The video features Rick and the band performing in a waterless swimming pool. Can't help but think it'd have been more interesting if they'd filled it up as the song went on... but I guess there might have been health & safety issues with that.

5. Terrorvision - Perserverance

From York to Bradford, and more brilliantly raucous Britpop hooligans... they were right about the whales and dolphins. (Terrorvision went on to name their greatest hits album after this very lyric, so it obviously meant something.)

4. Crosby, Stills & Nash - After The Dolphin

This Dolphin was the London pub where the first aerial bombing of WWI took place. Here, Graham Nash asks if the world was ever the same after that fateful night...? 

3. Ooberman - Dolphin Blue

Ah, Ooberman. They should have been so much bigger.We need more pop stars called Popplewell.

2. Beth Orton & Terry Callier - Dolphins

Written and originally recorded by Fred Neil (who also wrote the gorgeous Everybody's Talkin'), this is surely the most covered Dolphins song in history. Tim Buckley's is probably the most famous; Billy Bragg did a heartbreaking cover on Don't Try This At Home; but there's something about the dreamy combo of Beth O. and folk-jazz pioneer Terry Callier that just does it for me like no other...
I've been searchin'
For the dolphins in the sea
And sometimes I wonder
Do you ever think of me?
1. David Bowie - Heroes

Arguably Bowie's greatest moment, with a little help from Brian Eno, Tony Visconti, and Robert Fripp on feedback. Strangely, it wasn't that big a hit when it was first released in 1977, but time has been very decent to it. Shows what the recording buying public know!

I wish you could swim
Like the dolphins
Like dolphins can swim...

Which is your Flipper?


  1. It's hard to argue with your top 2, though it would've been nice to see Connan Mockasin's wonky and brilliant 'Forever Dolphin Love', make the cut.

    1. Cards on the table, Swede: until your recommendation, I'd never heard of Connan Mockasin. I'm currently midway through a youtube safari of his videos... one part intrigued; three parts terrified.

  2. Well I'm completely without vacuum cleaner songs in my collection...but dolphins that's a different matter. Bizarrely (as I really can't think out I got it I have a song by Keco Brandao (who?) which features the sounds of dolphins, it's called Danca Dos Golfhinos. Beat that. On a more relevant note as an admirer of Eddi Reader, I recommend her Dolphin song. I've had to re-listen to heroes as I had no idea it was a dolphin song. It was no hardship.

    1. I make no apologies for making you listen to Heroes again. That Eddi Reader song isn't on one of the albums of hers I own - I'll have to hunt it down. Top marks for Keco Brandao though.

  3. Since they're related, can I get a nod for The Monkees' Porpoise Song?

    1. Are you so sure I'm not secretly working on a Top Ten Porpoise Songs?

      No, you're probably right.

  4. I really liked the vacuum cleaner post.

  5. Are you KIDDING me? No mention at all of Fred Neil’s The Dolphins? He wrote Everybody’s Talking (theme to Midnight Cowboy), retired young on the mega millions of royalties fr that, and moved to FL to start the Save The Dolphins campaign with Ric O’Barry, former trainer for the tv show Flipper until he witnessed the stress exhibited by these dolphins behind such an unnatural environment. So, there’s THAT song, which is GORGEOUS bc Neil had a beautiful voice-Linda Ronstadt covered it as well.

    Dolphin’s Lullaby by Firefall is another very pretty melody.

  6. No love for Live's "The Dolphin's Cry"?

    Not even Hootie & the Blowfish "Only Wanna Be With You"? ("I'm such a baby 'cause the Dolphins make me cry")

  7. Any dolphin song list that would leave out the Dolphin Song by Olivia Newton John is an insult to anyone involved with saving the dolphins. As much as I like Bowie, a casual lyrical reference about dolphins does not constitute a dolphin song and the Terrorvision inclusion doesnt deserve my attention. Of course, when it comes to top 10 lists, who really cares what anyone thinks, its just an opinion

  8. Panda bear released 'dolphin' last year, good to see our dolphin friends are still serving as inspiration for musicians :)


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