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A Brief History Of Dog Rock

List Of The Day

It's hard to believe after all these years, List Of The Day has never tackled the long revered tradition of "Dog Rock." After all, its fans are loyal and able to do many tricks. Its history is well-known in some circles, while other folks are simply oblivious to this long-held tradition. There was pre-dog rock with "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?," a canine call to free marker utopianism if there ever was one. There's even a chance that Bruce Springsteen covers "Knick Knack Paddy Whack, Give The Dog A Bone" on that Seeger Sessions album of his, but I've never finished it to find out.

Anyhow, Dog Rock is often elusive, but we've tracked it down and tried to settle on its 25 finest moments and/or practitioners.

I only left "Hey Bulldog" by the Beatles off the list because everyone's tired of me writing about the Beatles. Or more accurately, I'm tired of me writing about the Beatles.

25) The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band: A group of British art students with a sense of humor was only bound to fail. People demand their musicians be serious and stare off into the distance. Is there any other way to explain Sting and U2?

24) Iron & Wine--The Shepherd's Dog: A modern day singer-songwriter, Sam Beam, goes by the name Iron & Wine, so he can hide in public more easily. He named his album The Shepherd's Dog in hopes of selling more albums to the obscenely underserved Shepherd market. Have you seen a shepherd's record collection?

23) Rufus Thomas--"Walkin' The Dog": I've never understood what this song is about. But then I'm kinda dense. I'm the guy you make fun of to my face and I think I must've said something funny. The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith also covered this fine tune.

22) Sky Saxon: The late, great singer of the Seeds believed that a dog was God because dog is God spelled backwards. You can't fault the logic.

21) Doggystyle: There were always a million punk bands with goofy names. Someone told me these guys weren't exactly animal lovers and "Doggystyle" stands for something else. That's funny. The Snoop Dogg album didn't come out until 1993 and these guys were around in the 1980s. What could they possibly be referring to?

20) The Dogs D'Amour: There were a ton of glam metal bands in the 1980s who looked like they attended the "How to Succeed In Life" seminar by Johnny Thunders. Topics included, How to Properly Hold A Cigarette, How to Tease One's Hair and Where to Store Your Works. The seminar must've been a sell-out, since there were so many young men who followed in his footsteps.

19) The German Shepherds: I've got an album somewhere called Music For Sick Queers by a band from San Francisco called The German Shepherds. I think (hope) they were being ironic. Kids these days!

18) Paw--"Jessie": Any band that names themselves Paw must know A LOT about dogs. Their hit single even says something like "Jesse, you're a good dog." Do you think people love animals? Or just the idea of ownership?

17) Rush--"By-tor And The Snow Dog": Any chance to inject Rush into the conversation is a good day here at List Of The Day. I thought about writing a blog called "Songs About 2112" but I didn't get past the one by Rush. Then I tried songs about city planning and I didn't get past Rush's "Subdivisions." Songs about Mark Twain? Just "Tom Sawyer." It's like Rush don't even want to be part of my blog. Why couldn't they just sing about girls and partying like everyone else?

16) Three Dog Night: I've never known what a Three Dog Night is and I get the feeling I don't want to know. It doesn't sound pleasant.

15) Dogstar: If Keanu Reeves brings to bassplaying what he brings to acting, Dogstar must be one good looking band!

14) Pink Floyd--"Dogs"/"The Dogs Of War": Pink Floyd loved animals so much, they named an album Animals. They wrote "Dogs" while under the oppressive thumb of Roger Waters and then when he left just to assert their independence, they wrote a song called "The Dogs Of War" and put it on their Momentary Lapse Of Reason album, an album where Roger Waters was forbidden to appear with the group.

13) Tom Waits--Rain Dogs, Bone Machine: Once Tom Waits had named an album Rain Dogs he had to invent a contraption that would keep them well fed, so he made a Bone Machine. Tom's not weird. He's like GE. He sees a problem and comes up with a solution for today's world.

12) The RZA--Ghost Dog: Return Of The Samurai: A fascinating movie by Jim Jarmusch deserves a soundtrack equally odd. Word has it, the RZA album available isn't even the soundtrack to the movie, but the music he worked on for the movie. Isn't life confusing?

11) Thor--Keep The Dogs Away: One of the greatest album covers of all time is Thor's Keep The Dogs Away. So good, I've never put the record on, in fear that it would not live up to its cover.

10) The Fabulous Poodles: They formed in Britain before "New Wave" and then came of age right when "New Wave" was taking off. So they pretended their wackiness could be part of a genre. They opened for Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers, but while Tom later went on to become the subject of a four-hour documentary, the Fabulous Poodles have watched their albums go in and out of print. I'll bet they don't find this very amusing.

9) Temple Of The Dog: A bunch of future grunge superstars get together and form a side project that's more successful than most side projects. Just ask Bill Wyman.

8) Toto: The greatest band in rock history name themselves after the dog in The Wizard Of Oz. Boy, am I liberal with the term "greatest," huh?

7) Iggy Pop--"I Wanna Be Your Dog"/"Dog Food": If you're a dog, who would you rather have as your spokesman?

6) The Baha Men--"Who Let The Dogs Out?": Perhaps one of the most annoying songs of its time, "Who Let The Dogs Out?" is such a perfect tune for fraternity kids to "act out" that it's amazing that it took so long for someone to come up with it.

5) Led Zeppelin--"Black Dog": No one's every figured out the meaning of most Led Zeppelin song titles. Why start now?

4) Jane's Addiction--"Been Caught Stealin'": The barking at the beginning of the song is only matched by the lead vocal by Perry Farrell where you kind of wish they'd bring the dogs back more often.

3) Snoop Dogg: The man has made a career out of looking and acting like a dog that would rather be sleeping on the floor in the sun.

2) The Royal Guardsmen--"Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron": What kind of world do you live in when people sing about a fictitious dog (that would be Snoopy) fighting Baron von Richthofen, the Bloody Red Baron of Germany? It's like people think they have a right to make things up! We here at List Of The Day will always stand for truth and honesty. You can depend on "us."

1) Elvis Presley--"Old Shep," "Hound Dog": "Old Shep" was a Red Foley tune that Elvis sang because he loved dogs. Of course, Elvis' more famous cover was of Mike Leiber and Jerry Stoller's "Hound Dog" that was first made popular by Big Mama Thornton. Elvis brought it to teenagers everywhere who would be too scared to hear Big Mama sing it.

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