Rock ’N’ Roll Animal: Five notable moments in cross-species collaboration
Recently in the Paste office, we received a press release about an Oct. 6 event called Gimme Shelter, which will feature Debbie Harry, Moby and Earl Greyhound, and which was described as a “concert benefiting NYC’s at-risk animals.” Being dog-owners ourselves, we were moved by the whole idea—moved, that is, to commemorate Gimme Shelter with a list of other significant collaborations between musicians and animals. We’re sure we missed some good ones. Add yours in the comments.
1) Bob Dylan harmonizes with a pooch (1980): The gorgeous, tender version of “Every Grain of Sand” on Dylan’s first Bootleg Series album (released in 1991) feels all the more handmade when, in the background, a dog begins to bark. Dylan being Dylan, the song continues as though nothing has happened. Later, the dog is reincarnated as Soy Bomb.
2) Snoop teaches us his name (1993): When the young California rapper dropped his debut album, he was still known as Snoop Doggy Dogg, and he was obsessed with branding himself. His first single was “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” and his album cover featured an illustration of Snoop as an anthropomorphic dog-man, straddling a doghouse with “Beware of Dogg” tacked onto the side. In this moment, Snoop became a caricature—literally. The metaphorical conversion came later.
3) The Smiths release Meat Is Murder (1985): The band’s sophomore album is actually not all that political until the very last song, the title track. And then, suddenly, we hear the sounds of lowing cows juxtaposed against what sounds like a buzzsaw. A generation of music fans instantly becomes vegetarian, or at least feels really guilty about eating animals.
4) The Beach Boys make Pet Sounds (1966): God only knows how much has been written about this pop masterpiece, so let us simply toast the cover photo, in which our boys feed barnyard animals. As one blog commenter shrewdly noted, “What’s so cute about the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds cover is that even the animals know to avoid Mike Love.”
5) Andrew Lloyd Webber
foists Cats onto the world (1981): We made it through Gigli. But we can’t watch more than two minutes of “The
Rum Tum Tugger.” The idea of sitting through an entire production of feline tomfoolery makes us want to
claw our eyes out.