By Laurie Darroch
With dogs being a loved part of millions of lives, it is inevitable that our loyal companion appears in song tributes or references in one musical genre or another. Although there are many such songs, these five famous dog-related songs reach across rock, folk, blues, novelty and family friendly genres of music.
Me and My Arrow
Produced as an album, a staged musical and an animated film made for television in 1971, Harry Nilsson’s The Point told the story of a boy named Oblio, born as the round headed oddball in a world of pointy headed people. His dog Arrow is his faithful companion.
Little Oblio was ostracized by the citizens of the town after the spoiled son of the count is beaten in a game of Triangle Toss by Oblio and Arrow. The sweet natured boy is thrown out of town.
Oblio and Arrow go on a long coming of age journey where they meet odd characters and run into strange situations, each teaching Oblio and Arrow a lesson. The journey gives Oblio the self-realization that even though he was born physically different than the rest of the people in his close minded community, he has a valid point in life. Through it all, his dog Arrow remains loyally by his side, eager to be a part of every step of the colorful journey.
The song “Me and My Arrow” is a lighthearted song about the loyal companionship of a boy and his dog. The song was later used as part of a 1970s advertising campaign for the Plymouth Arrow playing on the symbolic closeness of man and dog, making it man and car. “Me and my Arrow, taking the high road, wherever we go, everyone knows, it’s me and my Arrow.”
Dog and Butterfly
Released in 1978 by the rock band Heart, Dog and Butterfly was both the album title name and the title of the second song released as a single from the album of the same name in 1979.
One of the most poignant and beautiful songs sung by the Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy, “Dog and Butterfly” was reportedly inspired by Ann’s sheepdog while she watched her dog chase a butterfly around the yard.
The heart touching and somewhat spiritual song speaks to the wish that a dog (or man), could fly like a butterfly. It is a tribute to our constant attempts as human beings to reach for something higher and better in our lives, and the indomitable spirit to never give up the attempt, in spite of failures to reach the highest heights.
The song “Dog and Butterfly” is performed with a definite leaning toward the ballad and folk influence side of Heart’s rock music.
Written by Mike Stoller and Jerry Weiber, and released for the first time in 1953, “Hound Dog” has been recorded in many different versions by various recording artists. The version recorded by Elvis Presley in 1956 crossed musical genre barriers and made its way to the top 10 of the rhythm and blues, pop and country charts.
Elvis Presley introduced “Hound Dog” to the viewing public on The Milton Berle Show in 1956, with his instantly popular and often viewed as shocking hip swiveling style. The rebellious recording told the world that rock and roll was not a passing fad.
The original recorded version was by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton. Making the number one spot on the R&B charts, Thornton’s earthy and gritty original version of “Hound Dog” was her one-hit wonder.
Rolling Stone magazine listed “Hound Dog” in its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, giving it the number 19 berth, just behind number 18, Maybellene by Chuck Berry.
Who Let the Dogs Out
In 2000, “Who Let the Dogs Out” by the group Baha Men, was the title track of the album. Despite making lists of worst ever songs, the song title and line in the song that said, “Who let the dogs out? who?” took off in popularity, becoming a catch phrase.
“Who Let the Dogs Out” did reach number 40 on the song charts in the United States, but never reached the top in spite of the fact that the catch phrase was and is still used. Originally titled “Doggie,” the song was written and recorded first by Anslem Douglas in 1998.
The Baha Men’s later cover version was recorded for Rugrats in Paris: The Movie. It has been used in other movies or movie trailers including The Hangover and Open Season 2.
Although the song lyrics referred to something different, the catch phrase took on a life of its own with various meanings. In the world of sports it became synonymous with achieving an eventful play during a game.
“Who Let the Dogs Out” won a Grammy Award in 2001 as the Best Dance Recording.
Doggie in the Window
Categorized as a novelty song, the 1953 released sweet rendition of “Doggie in the Window” (in later releases titled “How Much is That Doggie in the Window”), ran to the top dog spot on the U.S. music charts. It was written by Bob Merrill and recorded by Patti Page.
The simple cheery song is about a woman going on a trip far from her sweetheart. She looks in a shop window for a canine companion to adopt so her sweetie will have some company while she is away. The recording sold more than two million copies.
“Doggie in the Window,” loved by all ages and demographics, is an easy sing along song for children. The original recording included dog barks in the song. Often sung and imitated by children, the song was credited with inspiring an increased number of American Kennel Club dog registrations that year.
Grab a snack for yourself and some CANIDAE Pure Heaven treats for your dog, sit down and listen to some dog themed music, or get up and dance with your dog. Dogs have long earned their place in the lyrics of popular music.
Read more articles by Laurie Darroch