Sunday, 30 August 2015

My Top Ten Dog Breed Songs

This is Nip. When I was a boy, she was my dog. We got her when I was 7 or 8 and she died when I was in my early 20s. She was rightly named for a small dog - she liked to nip strangers on the heel, or, occasionally, jump up and bite their bum.  Sadly, I couldn't find any songs called Lancashire Heeler... but here are ten other popular dog breeds, in Nip's honour...

Special mentions to The Bloodhound Gang, Pit Bull, The Pointer Sisters, The Korgis and, erm... Jarvis Cocker-Spaniel.

10. Furniture - Song For A Doberman

You must be out of your brilliant mind if you don't like Furniture.This isn't one of their best, but it's still brilliant in its own way.

9. Bow Wow Wow - Chihuahua

Taking self-deprecation to new heights, Annabella Lwin opens one of the most interesting Bow Wow Wow songs singing:
I can't dance and I can't sing, I can't do anything
I can't even find my way around town
And I'm 15 and a fool, can't you see
So don't fall in love with me
I'm a rock and roll puppet in a band called Bow Wow Wow
Better of to be a rabbit, at least they have more fun with a gun
I just go on and on, and on and on and on
I wasn't supposed to sing that one
She then goes on to explain that chihuahua is a Greek word that sums up her current predicament... except chihuahua is actually Spanish, and the dog is named after a Mexican state which translates its own name as "dry, sandy place" (according to 2 minutes research on t'internet, anyway).

All of which goes to prove one thing: that Malcolm McClaren, what a wag, eh?

Bjork and the Sugarcubes also had a pretty cool song called Chihuahua, but it wasn't as mental as Malcolm.

8. Half Man Half Biscuit - Corgi Registered Friends
You call Glastonbury “Glasto”
You’d like to go there one day
When they’ve put up the gun towers
To keep the hippies away
Stick this in your Volvo (glove compartment) - another righteous rant against the middle-classes from the best Liverpudlian band to feature in this week's Top Ten (heh, I can't help myself). But no, you're right - this isn't one of the Queen's precious pooches... it's Gas Safe by its a former name.

7. The Beatles - Hey Bulldog

Not one of their greatest moments, but one of the best songs from Yellow Submarine, nevertheless. Originally written as 'Hey Bullfrog'. But that would have been silly. 

6. Aimee Mann - Labrador

In which Aimee tires of being man's best friend...
When we first met
I was glad to be your pet
like a Lab I once had that we called Maisie
but fetching sticks
was the best I had for tricks
you got bored
you got mad then you got crazy
5.  Harry Chapin - Greyhound

OK, so Harry's greyhound is a bus, not an actually hound... but it is "a dog of a way to get around" and a "doggone easy way to get you down". Plus, it's Harry Chapin, one of the greatest unsung songwriters of his generation. Any excuse to give him a spin. 

4. Super Furry Animals - Golden Retriever

A tribute to two Golden Retrievers owned by Gruff Rhys's girlfriend, this wins the award for the week's best video... but it's surprisingly not the best dog-breed-themed song written by a Welsh indie band. Keep listening for that one...

3. Morrissey - Alsatian Cousin

The opening track from Morrissey's debut solo album, Viva Hate (now 27 years old, if you're counting), Alsatian Cousin is a characteristically defiant blast of noise defined by Vini 'Duritti Column' Reilly's guitar. Of course, everyone wondered what the track would have sounded with a Johnny Marr flourish, but Viva Hate stood the test of time and AC sounds edgier today than just about anything else Moz has released since. It also benefits from the sound of yelping dogs over the intro... though they don't sound like Alsatians to me.

2. Gorkys Zygotic Mynci - Poodle Rockin'

More intro-dogs, and here we have a song actually about a poodle - Oscar the poodle who belonged to the band's producer. Which is weird, because at the time of its release I thought it was a tribute to Joe Elliott and Def Leppard. The video leaves you in no doubt though...

1. Simon & Garfunkel  - The Boxer

Legend has it Paul Simon was walking home through downtown Manhattan one evening when a medium-sized boxer dog ran up and stole his guitar.

Of course, this could all be a lie... lie-la-lie... lie-la-lie lie lie la-lie...

Whatever, just listen to those lyrics: this must surely be one of the greatest songs of the 60s. No lie-la-lie.

Which is your Best in Show?


  1. ahh The Boxer - beautiful. But where is Elvis? Hound Dog - uncomplicated foot tapping fun. Unlike Hounds of Love suggested by OH. I can't be doing with Kate but OH is still heavily influenced by his feelings whilst watching TOTPs as a teenager! And every so often now I keep shouting 'Chihuahua' - much to families irritation, and mine considering it is this shit how did I even know about that song?!

  2. I watched that in horror. Don't ever show me anything like that again.

    Hounds aren't a specific breed, as far as I know. Are they? I mean, bloodhounds are... but isn't the word hound non-specific?

    As for Kate, I'm with HWMBO all the way. And on this one, at least, if you're listening to Dare... HMBO.

  3. Love that photo. Nip looks as if he was quite a character.
    Am I alone in loving 'Hey Bulldog' then?
    How about 'Saint Bernard' by Ron Sexsmith? It's not his strongest song, but I can't imagine that there are many more written about this particular breed. Much better is Cool Collie' by Hopeton Lewis and the toast on the same rhythm, 'Dread Dread Collie' by I-Roy.

    1. Nip was definitely a character (and a she too).

      I'm sure you're not alone in loving Hey Bulldog - 10 billion Beatles fans can't be wrong and all that.

      Love the Collie songs, and Sexsmith's St Bernard at least isn't as bad as Sting's dog song.

  4. What a clever list..The Boxer is a fabulous song. honourable mention to Bow wow wow. Can't face listening to Zappa's Poodle

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