Friday 18 June 2010

News, Views and Music Issue 65 (Top Five): Songs Abouty Canines

Doggone it, those canine songs just keep coming up on my mp3 player – ever since Elvis Presley scored big with ‘Hounddog’ every musical pooch seems to want to get in on the act of an AAA album. So this week in a specially extended version of the top five, we celebrate the groups and artists who went to the dogs...with some added commentary by the AAA resident canine Bingo (with a big hello to Max The Singing Dog).

6) Neil Young: “Old King”, a track from “Harvest Moon” (1992): Other than rock and roll, the genre with the biggest canine count is surely country, with that my-little-ol’-dog-just-died genre that proved so successful/awful depending on your taste. Neil adds his own take on the genre for his ‘country’ album, recounting the story of his genuine pet Elvis, who faithfully guarded Neil’s many ranches for him while he was away and died suddenly while out walking with his master. Neil changed the name of his pet to ‘King’ , just in case furious Elvis fanatics got the wrong end of the stick about the death scene in the song. No Bingo, you’re not old, just sleepy. Key line: “I had a dog and his name was King, I told the dog about everything”

5) Belle and Sebastian: “Dog On Wheels”, a track from “Push Barman To Heal Old Wounds” (1996): A song about a childhood toy from B and S, pictured on the cover of the original ‘Dog On Wheels’ EP from which this song was taken. Somewhere the dog on wheels confident to the narrator’s childhood’s angst and woes gets muddled with the present day narrator’s latest troubles in his love life. A typical yearning and nostalgic melody from Stuart Murdoch is matched by a typically weird set of lyrics that nevertheless conjures up perfectly the idea of man’s best friend always being there for his master. Come back Bingo, where have you gone now?!  Key lyric: “When I was a kid I was astounded by you, now I’m still a kid I am indebted to you”

4) The Monkees: “Gonna Buy Me A Dog”, a track from “The Monkees” (1966): We’ve had the death scene and the childhood companion, now the theme that the narrator’s pet loves him more than his girlfriend. At least, I think that’s what’s going on in this song, it’s really hard to tell what with Micky and Davy giggling over the top of it and making jokes. Not that ‘Dog’ could ever be anything other than hilarious in its very nature, what with lines like ‘she used to keep me so contented, but I can teach a dog to do that!’, although writers Boyce and Hart swear they wrote it as a genuine ‘straight’ song. How this song ever ended up being released given the ridiculous amount of originally unreleased gems in The Monkees’ canon is anybody’s guess, although true to the spirit of the TV series the outtakes were used instead of the ‘proper’ version. Stop making me laugh Bingo! Key line: “I’m gonna buy me a dog because I need a friend now”

3) Cat Stevens: “I Love My Dog”, a track from “Matthew and Son” (1967): A dog song on similar lines, written by a Cat, err, Cat Stevens (hang on....) Cat’s first single, released when he was all of 17, is a rather sweet and naive song in stark contrast to what’s to come later although its idea that the narrator’s love may fade for his girl but never for his dog is quite cute. A classic catchy chorus and a typically (for this era) lush arrangement gets this song out of the dog house. Ahh Bingo, I love you too! Key line: “All he needs is love and that he knows he’ll get”

2) The Beatles/Paul McCartney: “Martha My Dear” from “The White Album” (1968)/”Hey Bulldog” from “Yellow Submarine” (1969)/”Jet” from “Band On The Run” (1974): Macca was well known for his love of animals, even in the days before he met Linda. Many Beatle interviews have recalled since how Paul’s pet sheepdog Martha often broke the ice between the Beatle and ordinary mortals, becoming as popular within the Beatles fan club as her master. ‘Martha, My Dear’ is the canine’s only real appearance in song, although her name is just an excuse for a typically breathless piece of made-up Macca nonsense. Cracking tune though. John Lennon was less well known for his love of pets (although he did keep cats in later life) and his take on the subject ‘Hey Bulldog’ is a much more acerbic and possibly self-hating diatribe set to a pounding beat and nonsense lyrics. To be honest, title aside, it has very little to do with dogs at all, but we couldn’t avoid including it on this list given Paul’s quite simply amazing dog impression on the fade-out! Finally, Macca moved on to owning a group of black Labradors after Martha died and the eldest – named Jet – became the subject matter of one of Wings’ better rockers in the 70s. Another confused lyric, involving a suffragette and apparently a diatribe against the media attacking his wife (and this was before Heather Mills!), means you probably wouldn’t call this a ‘dog’ song, but you can imagine Macca calling his dog in with the chorus of this song (‘Jet!...oohooooh ooohooooh...Jet!’) Stop doing that Bingo, you silly dog!

1) Pink Floyd “Seamus”, a track from “Meddle” (1971)/”Dogs”, a track from “Animals” (1977)/The Dogs Of War”, a track from “A Momentary Lapse OF Reason” (1987): Even that long list can’t compete with the most dog-loving band of all however. Pink Floyd don’t strike you as natural dog owners (most of them infamously owned cats as ‘political statements’ about being ‘apart from the pack’) but the idea of a dog-eat-dog world still inspired quite a few tracks from the band. ‘Seamus’ is the joker in the pack, a bluesy instrumental starring fellow AAA member and Small face Steve Marriott’s dog howling his way through the song. Seamus was apparently taught by his master to howl whenever music was being played and although Steve never got round to including Howling Dog-Wolf on his records, David Gilmour decided he’d ‘borrow’ the dog one day when he was house and dog sitting for Steve, his near-neighbour and a star was born. That’s a different dog you can see in the ‘Live At Pompeii’ film, by the way, the one and only time the band tried doing the song live. The second song on our list, ‘Dogs’ is an 18-minute opus from an album that divided all of humanity into dogs, pigs and sheep: dogs were the loners, a slightly crazy lunatic bunch that didn’t believe what the ‘pigs’ were telling the ‘sheep’, but it never did them any good, what with their dying alone and being ‘dragged down by the stone’. Finally, ‘Dogs Of War’ is a far less convincing stab at the same idea, with unseen military commanders unleashing their ‘pack’ of lies onto us all. What are you doing in the pub, Bingo! Put down that glass!

So, as the doggedly determined canine tries to sing ‘New York New York’ to annoy The Face Of Bo one last time, we say good bye for another issue. We’ll return next time, when David Cameron’s budget will be out and he’ll yet again be in the dog house with us...

A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo

3) Credit Crunch Songs

4) Songs For The Autumn

5) National Wombat Week

6) AAA Box Sets

7) Virus Songs

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector

11) Political Songs

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

15) AAA Existential Questions

16) Releases Of The Year 2008

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs

18) Notable AAA Gigs

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day

21) Hollies B sides

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era

26) AAA Autobiographies

27) Rolling Stones B-sides

28) Beatles B-Sides

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time

30) Kinks B-Sides

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary

35) Brightest Album Covers

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments

37) Songs About Superheroes

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers

41) Music Segues

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009

49) Songs About Trains

50) Songs about Winter

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)

56) AAA Party Political Slogans

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories

59) AAA Artists In Song

60) Songs About Dogs

61) Sunshiney Songs

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star

67) Songs To Tweet To

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes

70) Songs For Halloween

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia

72) Purely Instrumental Albums

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions

76) Top Releases of 2010

77) Songs About Snow

78) Predictions For 2011

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups

83) Strange Censorship Decisions

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)

86) Top AAA Music Videos

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge

88) AAA Documentaries

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums

97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up

98) Top Songs About Sports

99) AAA Conversations With God

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator

103) AAA Court Cases

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook

108) Classic Debut Releases

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1

111) Part #2

112) Part #3

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records

115) AAA Instrumental Songs

116) Musical Tarot

117) Christmas Carols

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1

121) #2

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)

131) Top Crooning Classics

132) Funeral Songs

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon

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159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!)

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale)

164) AAA Songs About Islands

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012

166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest

168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically

171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) 

180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars

185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With

188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives!

190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars

193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric:

200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation)

202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew?

217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year

221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links)

222) Five Random Recent Purchases

223) AAA Grammy Nominees

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums

227) Top ten AAA drummers

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides)

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams!

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year)

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015)

249) The Revised AAA Crossword!

251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry)

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown

254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019

257) Tiermaker

258) #Coronastock

259) #Coronadocstock

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