Dogs ~ Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd are an English rock band that initially earned recognition for their psychedelic or space rock music, and, as they evolved, for their progressive rock music. They are known for philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative cover art, and elaborate live shows. One of rock music’s most successful acts, the group have sold over 200 million albums worldwide including 74.5 million albums in the United States alone.

Pink Floyd had moderate mainstream success and were one of the most popular bands in the London underground music scene in the late 1960s as a psychedelic band led by Syd Barrett; however, Barrett’s erratic behaviour eventually forced his colleagues to replace him with guitarist and singer David Gilmour. After Barrett’s departure, singer and bass player Roger Waters gradually became the dominant and driving force in the mid-1970s, until his eventual departure from the group in 1985. The band recorded several albums, achieving worldwide success with The Dark Side of the Moon (1973), Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977), and The Wall (1979). In 1985, Waters declared Pink Floyd “A spent force”, but the remaining members, led by Gilmour, continued recording and touring under the name Pink Floyd. Although they were unsuccessfully sued by Waters for rights to the name, they again enjoyed worldwide success with A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994). Eventually they reached a settlement out of court with Waters allowing them use of the name.

Waters performed with the band for the first time in 24 years on July 2, 2005 at the London Live 8 concert.

Richard Wright, keyboardist and pianist for the band and wrote significant parts of the music for classic albums such as Meddle, The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, as well as for Pink Floyd’s final studio album The Division Bell.  He frequently sang background and occasionally lead vocals onstage and in the studio with Pink Floyd (most notably on the songs “Time”, “Echoes”, and on the Syd Barrett composition “Astronomy Domine”).

Richard Wright passed away on September 15, 2008 at the age of 65 from an undisclosed form of cancer.

Dogs

Dogs“, originally composed as “You’ve Got to Be Crazy“, is a song by English progressive rock band Pink Floyd, released on the album Animals in 1977.

The song was written in 1974 by David Gilmour and Roger Waters with the title “You’ve Got to Be Crazy”. Waters modified the lyrics in some parts, changed the key, and retitled it “Dogs”. The version on Animals is more than 17 minutes long.

The final verse explores a number of aspects of business life and how it compares to dogs, for example taking chances and being “trained not to spit in the fan”, losing their individuality (“broken by trained personnel”), obeying their superiors (“fitted with collar and chain”), getting treats for good behaviour (“given a pat on the back”), being better than everyone else (“breaking away from the pack”) and getting to know everyone but spending less time with family (“only a stranger at home”). Every line of this verse begins with the words “Who was”, which prompted comparison to Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl”. However, Waters has denied the Ginsberg poem was any influence on his lyrics. Instead, these lines can be seen as subordinate clauses to the lyric line that precedes them (“And you believe at heart everyone’s a killer/Who was born in a house full of pain/Who was [etc.]“.).

You got to be crazy, you gotta have a real need
You gotta sleep on your toes and when you’re on the street
You got to be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed
And then moving in silently, down wind and out of sight
You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking

And after a while, you can work on points for style
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake
A certain look in the eye and an easy smile
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to
So that when they turn their backs on you
You’ll get the chance to put the knife in

You gotta keep one eye looking over your shoulder
You know, it’s going to get harder, and harder, and harder
As you get older
Yeah, and in the end you’ll pack up and fly down south
Hide your head in the sand
Just another sad old man
All alone and dying of cancer

And when you lose control, you’ll reap the harvest you have sown
And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone
And it’s too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw around
So have a good drown, as you go down all alone
Dragged down by the stone

Gotta admit that I’m a little bit confused
Sometimes it seems to me as if I’m just being used
Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise
If I don’t stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this maze

Deaf, dumb and blind, you just keep on pretending
That everyone’s expendable, and no one has a real friend
And it seems to you the thing to do would be to isolate the winner
Everything’s done under the sun
But you believe at heart everyone’s a killer

Who was born in a house full of pain
Who was trained not to spit in the fan
Who was told what to do by the man
Who was broken by trained personnel
Who was fitted with collar and chain
Who was given a pat on the back
Who was breaking away from the pack
Who was only a stranger at home
Who was ground down in the end
Who was found dead on the phone
Who was dragged down by the stone
Who was dragged down by the stone

  • Audio from the 1977 album, Animals:
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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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