Monday has arrived, it’s August – one more month of summer for the kiddos, the hubby will finally get his summer break mid-August, so we’ll have to cram a bunch of summertime fun into a couple of weeks before school starts.
Meanwhile, it’s Monday, and Monday means music! For the month of August, our Spotlight Dancer is our bloggy friend and regular Monday’s Music Moves Me participant, John from The Sound of One Hand Typing! He has chosen the theme for this week, which is “Songs about dogs (or any pets) in honor of the end of the Dog Days of summer.”
Our Dog Days of Summer are actually just beginning – we get the heat in August (and it’s started!) which will last through the start of school (which doesn’t happen until September 4th here – I do not miss school starting mid-August like it did when we lived in Pennsylvania!) Let’s get this party started!
Let’s start with a tongue-in-cheek track from a favorite American Country artist’s fourth studio album. The song finds the artist suggesting to his girl that she could take lessons in getting along with him from his pooch. He had to battle for this song to be included on the album – he was quoted as saying:
“I had heard that song so long ago, and I brought it to the table on the last album. But I had so many people fighting against me on [it]. It was my first time as a producer, and I wanted to work well with other people. I’m a team player, so in the end, I was like, ‘I know y’all hate this song, but I’m going to record this song one day because I have one to replace it for now.’ So, we moved on to this album and I’ll never forget the day I brought it up to the people who hated that song. They went, ‘Oh my God. I cannot believe you want to record this song.’ So, all the way to the end, I just had to keep fighting about this ‘Dog’ song, and ended up recording it.”
At the end of the song, the artist produces a howl. He said:
“I didn’t plan on keeping that on there, but I did it just being funny. We listened back to it. I didn’t know they recorded the howl, and when it played, we just laughed in the studio because it was funny. So, we decided to keep it on there.”
Next up is another dog song that was released as the third and final single from this country singer’s self-titled debut album. Although it was not a hit at the time, it has become one of his most commonly-requested tunes in concert, and he considers it his signature song.
The song’s narrator is a prisoner who is offered a job to take care of the titular prison dog, a bloodhound who is well-known among the inmates for his skill at tracking escaped prisoners. The song tells how the prisoner hatches a successful plan to escape from jail. The artist explained why it’s one of his favorite songs:
“It’s so strange to me that was the very first song I ever found accidentally when I moved to Nashville. I held onto it for many, many years and had to fight to get it on my album. Once I got it on my album, I had to fight to get it released as a single. Then it was another battle to get them to put it out as a video. Even though they liked the song, nobody ever thought that it would be something accepted in country radio and by country music fans in general. I think they thought that type of song was dead and gone. To be honest, I wasn’t sure, either. I just loved it that much and, thank God, on the first album I was lucky enough to have two of the biggest hits of my career. That’s awesome.”
“The video was a two-day shoot here in Nashville and Elliott [Sadler] played the part of my inbred cousin, which he nailed. It was so realistic. It was almost like we were making a movie. We did it here at the old Tennessee State Prison and actually had this guy that played the part of the warden who honestly did scare me when he was yelling at me, pointing and spitting, hitting me in the face and cussing me out.”
Here’s Blake Shelton with “Ol’ Red”:
Next up is a song that a lot of people might share today – and it’s popularity is funny with the fact that the writers and artists have said:
“We have yet to meet someone who can remember any words to this song other than the chorus.”
I’m guilty of that! The song does have verses and even a hint of meaning – the lyrics are about disrespectful men who hit on women at a party.
Considering what a sensation this song was in America, it had a surprisingly low chart position, peaking at just #40. While the song seemed to be everywhere, its omnipresence was due more to cultural references than to record sales or airplay. Few radio stations put the song in rotation, and in this pre-download era, consumers had little interest in owning the single. To put it in perspective of other one-hit wonders of the era, Lou Bega’s “Mambo No 5 (A Little Bit Of)” made #3, and “Macarena” spent a shocking 14 weeks at #1.
This won the 2000 Grammy for Best Dance Recording.
Last, but certainly not least, is a song that doesn’t have ‘dog’ in the title, but does have a pet. And I love this song, so there ya go. The artist explained the meaning of the song:
“It’s a metaphor for good and evil. One summer, I was traveling in Greece on a little moped and this massive black horse had broken free in an olive grove and was going nuts. It looked apocalyptic: a seed was sown. I wrote the song years later in a tiny studio in Shepherd’s Bush. I was about to tour Scottish coffee shops and was worried about coming across like Phoebe from Friends. At the same time I saw a brilliant guy called Son of Dave who looked like a ginger nylon 1980s’ Elvis: really raw blues with just voice and effects.
I got a pedal and one of my techie friends helped me put myself and my guitar through it. It’s probably the most scientific I’ve been, but the song was written in a 10-minute burst. The lyrics where my ‘Heart stops dead’ refer to a heart murmur I had as a baby. I got into this fantasy that my heart felt betrayed and had decided to stop working. The song is about having to dig incredibly deep to find out who you wanna be.”
In May of 2006 the song was covered twice by Katharine McPhee, a runner-up on Season 5 of the TV series American Idol. It was this performance that kickstarted interest in the song and really propelled it onto the charts. The artist said about granting Katharine McPhee permission to cover her song on American Idol:
“It was a bit of a quandary for me, because I don’t like reality pop shows at all. They’re great TV, but they’re not good for music. When Katharine chose ‘Black Horse,’ she demonstrated a bit of personality in what’s otherwise a puppet show, and that appearance did me a lot of favors.”
Have a great Monday – see you on the dance floor!
Now on to the particulars of Monday’s Music Move’s Me: I have the supreme honor and privilege of being a co-host with the inimitable Xmas Dolly and our musical cohort, the awesome Cathy from Curious as a CAThy, and while our beloved Callie of JAmerican Spice is taking a break, our friend Michelle from Musings and Merriments with Michelle is helping out with hostess duties!
Want to join in the fun? It’s easy – just find a tune that rocks your boat, post it and link up – don’t forget to grab Xmas Dolly…er, um, I mean her button…over at her place here. Check out Xmas Dolly’s sidebar for the random themes we sport each week – and you can always ask for a specific theme of music you like, too. Check out the other music lovahs and let’s jam!
John From The Sound of One Hand Typing