Dogs (Pink Floyd song)
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The cover of the Russian flexi-disc of "Dogs"
|Song by Pink Floyd from the album Animals|
|Published||Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd|
|Released||23 January 1977 (UK)
2 February 1977 (US)
|Recorded||April – November 1976|
|Writer||Roger Waters, David Gilmour|
|Animals track listing|
"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. This song was one of several to be considered for the band's "best of" album Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd.
The song was written in 1974 by Roger Waters with music co-written by David Gilmour with the title "You've Got to Be Crazy". From the start, the song featured both Gilmour and Waters taking turns as lead vocalist. Waters modified the lyrics in some parts, transposed the key, and retitled it "Dogs". The version on Animals is 17 minutes long.
The main theme features what were, for Pink Floyd, rather unusual chords. In the final version's key of D minor, the chords are D minor ninth, E♭maj7sus2/B♭, A sus2sus4, and A♭sus2(♯11). All these chords contain the tonic of the song, D—even as a tritone, as is the case in the fourth chord.
The song fades in with an acoustic guitar, in D tuning, strumming the chords with a lively, syncopated rhythm, with a droning Farfisa Organ playing chord tones (A, B♭, A, and A♭, respectively). After the first sixteen-bar progression, Gilmour begins the vocal. For the third repetition, bass guitar, Hammond organ, drums and lead guitar (playing a subtle drone of D) enter. After this repetition comes the first of several guitar solos, played on a Fender Telecaster, as opposed to Gilmour's usual Stratocaster. Next is another verse of lyrics, followed by a keyboard solo. Finally, after six repetitions of the main theme, the tempo is cut in half, dramatically slower, a new chord progression is introduced, resolving gradually to the relative major, F, with two lead guitars loudly playing a slow harmonized melody, and a quieter third guitar adding decorative string bends, with heavy use of reverb and echoes.
The song is then stripped back down to acoustic guitar, droning on the Dm9 chord, with the bass softly striking E, the ninth of the chord, in the same range as the guitar's lowest note, D. Another slash chord movement follows, B♭ to C/B♭, followed by the key's dominant, A Major, with the minor sixth heard first at the top of the chord, in an A(add♭6), and later, as its bass note (in a progression of A, A/F, A/E, to D minor). After another guitar solo over the new progression, Gilmour sings a melismatic vocal with overdubbed harmonies, ending with the lyric "Have a good drown/As you go down/All alone/Dragged down by the stone", as the dissonant A/F leads back to Dm9.
The middle section, in a slow, metronomic 6/4 time, is built upon several layers of synthesisers, sustaining the four chords of the main theme, with the sound of dogs barking processed through a Vocoder and played as an instrument. Gilmour's last word, "stone", echoes slowly for many measures, gradually becoming distorted and losing its human character, before fading out completely (It reappears later on the album, in the instrumental section of "Sheep"). There are no guitars in this section. Gradually, a synthesiser solo emerges, and as it reaches its climax, the acoustic guitar returns, at the original tempo, once again lively and syncopated.
The formula of the first section is followed, but this time, with Waters singing the lead. A third guitar solo ends in three-part harmony, playing descending augmented triads, leading to Gilmour's slow, harmonized guitar melody in F Major, in a section of music indistinguishable from its first appearance in the song. This leads to the final verse, with Waters singing a new, repeating melody for the sixteen lines beginning "Who was ...". Originally sung over the tonic only, in the final recording the multiple harmonized guitars alternate between D minor and C Major, while the bass further extends the harmony with a descending F, E, D, and C, creating the sense of an F sixth chord followed by C/E. Originally, Waters' lyrics ("Who was born in a house full of pain", etc.) were echoed by Gilmour and Richard Wright in a round style, but in the final recording, only the last few are repeated, and done so by Waters himself, using tape delay. This section resolves first to B♭, then to A, before concluding with the A, F, E bass movement to a sustained Dm9, as the lyrics again end with "dragged down by the stone".
"Dogs" is the only song on Animals in which Gilmour sings a lead part, or receives a co-writing credit.
Fitting in to the album's Orwellian concept of comparing human behavior to various animals, "Dogs" concentrates on the aggressive, ruthlessly competitive world of business, describing a high-powered businessman. The first two verses detail his predatory nature — outwardly charming and respectable with his "club tie and a firm handshake, a certain look in the eye and an easy smile", while behind this facade he lies waiting "to pick out the easy meat...to strike when the moment is right", and to stab those who trust him in the back. Subsequent verses portray the emptiness of his existence catching up to him as he grows older, retiring to the south rich but unloved: "just another sad old man, all alone and dying of cancer", and drowning under the weight of a metaphorical stone.
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"), working harder than the other workers ("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.]").
During 1974 performances of "You've Got to Be Crazy", which can be heard on the Immersion Box Set and the Experience version of Wish You Were Here, the band performed the song faster than it would eventually become, and in its original key of E minor, before they started using D tuning on their guitars, for a concert pitch of D minor. The lyrics, though different, were thematically similar to the final version of "Dogs". The lyrics were modified by the time the song was played live in 1975, and then the lyrics changed again when recording Animals.
Once in a while I would find something uncomfortable to sing. The first lot Roger wrote for "Dogs" when it was called "You Gotta Be Crazy", were just too many words to sing. ... "Dogs" had so many words, I physically couldn't get them in. [We] just cut out two-thirds of his words, to make it possible rather than impossible.
Equally impossible was for Gilmour or Waters to sing the song's highest part, "dragged down by the stone", in the original key, which would begin on the first B above Middle C. As any recording of the early performances will attest, neither singer could quite reach and sustain it, even when attempting it together. The line appears twice, as the climax to each singer's performance. It was likely for the sake of achieving high-quality lead vocals, specifically on this line, that they lowered the key before committing the song to record. (Waters, however, would go on to reach even higher notes on songs like "Hey You", "Every Stranger's Eyes" and "One of My Turns".)
- Roger Waters – bass guitar, vocals, vocoder
- David Gilmour – vocals, acoustic and electric guitar
- Richard Wright – Fender Rhodes piano, Farfisa Organ, Hammond organ, Minimoog, ARP String Synthesizer, backing vocals
- Nick Mason – drums, percussion
- Guthrie, James. "James Guthrie: Audio: Building A Compilation Album". Pink Floyd. Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- Pink Floyd: Animals (1977 Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd., London, England, ISBN 0-7119-1030-8 [USA ISBN 0-8256-1077-X])
- Guitar World magazine, Volume 22, Number 11, November 2002.
- Phil Rose: Which One's Pink? An Analysis of the Concept Albums of Roger Waters and Pink Floyd. Collector's Guide Publishing Inc. ISBN 1-896522-47-5 [US ISBN 1-896522-17-3]
- Review of the song "Dogs", AllMusic
- Interview with Roger Waters in Which One's Pink? An Analysis of the Concept Albums of Roger Waters and Pink Floyd by Phil Rose. Collector's Guide Publishing Inc. ISBN 1-896522-47-5 [US ISBN 1-896522-17-3]
- "Rock Compact Disc magazine, Issue 3, September 1992". Retrieved 21 July 2011.
- Pink Floyd: The Wall (1980 Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd., London, England, ISBN 0-7119-1031-6 [USA ISBN 0-8256-1076-1])
- Roger Waters: The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking (1984 Chappell Music Ltd., London, England, ISBN 0-86359-129-9)