Dogs have served as muses for many musicians over the years - here are some of our favourite odes to canine companions, selected by our resident Travel Wags DJ Mufasa!
1. (How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window? - Patti Page
Originally written by Bob Merrill in 1952, the song’s best known version was released by Patti Page in 1953. In 2009 Patti re-recorded the classic for the Humane Society of the United States as “Do You See That Doggie in the Shelter?”, with new lyrics highlighting the need to take in animals from adoption centres.
2. I Want A Dog - Pet Shop Boys
This song appeared as a b-side to the band’s 1987 single “Rent” and uses a dog bark in place of a snare drum. Singer Neil Tennant laments, “I want a dog, a chihuahua. When I get back to my small flat, I want to hear somebody bark.” He even goes so far to add that he doesn’t want a cat, “scratching its claws all over my habitat, giving no love and getting fat”.
2. I Love My Dog - Cat Stevens
Before he was Yusuf Islam, Cat Stevens’ first ever single from his debut 1967 Matthew and Son was “I Love My Dog”, with lyrics that might make you question the strength of your relationship if you were Stevens’ partner: “I love my dog as much as I love you. You may fade, my dog will always come through.”
4. Cracker Jack - Dolly Parton
From her 1974 album Jolene, “Cracker Jack” tells the story of finding an abandoned dog by the river bank and nursing him back to health. She lovingly refers to Cracker Jack as “the best friend that I ever had [...] but he was more than that; a playmate, a companion, he was love and understanding.” Dolly also penned another song about her relationship with dogs, 1969’s “Gypsy, Joe and Me”.
5. Atomic Dog - George Clinton
A funky classic from Clinton’s 1982 album Computer Games, known for its catchy refrain of “bow-wow-wow-yippie-yo-yippie-yeah”, this song has been sampled by dozens of hip-hop artists since its release, perhaps most infamously on Snoop Dogg’s “Who Am I? (What’s My Name?)”.
6. Me and My Arrow - Harry Nilsson
“Me and My Arrow” is from 1970’s The Point!, a conceptual album about a boy called Oblio who is the only person with a round head in a village full of people with pointed heads. Arrow is Oblio’s dog who joins him on his quest to find his “point”. “Wherever we go, everyone knows, its me and my Arrow.”
7. Bull Dog - The Shangri-Las
From the band’s 1965 debut album Leader of the Pack, also featuring the hugely popular title track, “Bull Dog” is about a young woman falling in love with “the prettiest boy in the USA” only for his mother to buy a dog to keep her son’s admirer away from him: “You know he barks when he sees me, growls every time I touch his hair.”
8. Lester - Crowded House
From the band’s 1999’s rarities compilation Afterglow, “Lester” is an emotional tale about Neil Finn’s family dog being involved in a car accident and the fear he felt as he “saw my life go flashing past in the eyes of a faithful friend, four legs, for life, and the screeching tires never seem to end.” He further pleads, “I will change if Lester lives, not messin ‘round.”
9. Martha My Dear - The Beatles
Martha was Paul McCartney’s faithful sheepdog, and although she passed away in 1981 she left behind a litter of puppies that Paul kept - one of them can be seen on the cover of his 1993 album Paul is Live running along the infamous Abbey Road crossing. In “Martha My Dear” he speaks fondly of his dog, singing “Martha, my dear, you have always been my inspiration.”
10. Who Let the Dogs Out? - The Baha Men
While this 2000 hit isn’t actually about dogs, rather men who aggressively flirt with women at bars, even the Baha Men themselves have conceded the song’s popularity persists to this day because people just love their pets.
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It was an easy decision choosing this month’s Travel Wag’s hero.
Australian ultra marathon runner Dion Leonard is a man on a mission to save one small stray dog in China.