Sheep (song)

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"Sheep"
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 – May, July 1976
Genre Progressive rock, hard rock
Length 10:20
9:46 ("Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd" version)
Label Harvest (UK)
Columbia/CBS (US)
Writer Roger Waters
Producer Pink Floyd
Animals track listing
Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd track listing

"Sheep" is a song by English band Pink Floyd, released on the album Animals in 1977. In 1974, it was originally titled "Raving and Drooling".

History[edit]

During their tours in 1974, Pink Floyd played three new songs in the first half of the shows, followed by The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety. Those three new songs were "You've Got to Be Crazy" (which would later become "Dogs"), "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and "Raving and Drooling" (which would later become "Sheep").

During performances of "Raving and Drooling", a recording of a DJ at BBC Radio called Jimmy Young was played after being cut up and reassembled randomly. This was Roger Waters' idea of a man "raving and drooling" (or being insane). The lyrics of the song at this point were quite different from the ones that were to become "Sheep".[1]

"Raving and Drooling" was originally a more jam-based song. While the basic motif was already in place -- a held note from the vocalist (Waters) being crossfaded into the same note on a synthesizer, with various inhuman effects applied -- Waters had yet to write anything for the sections repeating F♯7 and A7 (such as "You better watch out! There may be dogs about", and so on), and so these sections, while clearly part of the song structure, were rendered instrumentally. Ironically, while Gilmour would later state that "Dogs" in its earlier incarnation as "You've Got To Be Crazy" simply had too many words for him to sing, "Raving and Drooling" appeared to suffer more from a lack thereof.

Both "You've Got to Be Crazy" and "Raving and Drooling" were originally planned to be on the album following the tour (Wish You Were Here), but the plans were changed and they both ended up in different forms on Animals. In November 2011, versions of both tracks recorded at Wembley in 1974 were officially released as part of the Experience and Immersion versions of the Wish You Were Here album.

In live versions from 1977, backing guitarist Snowy White played bass guitar as Waters shared electric guitar duties with David Gilmour. The performance was almost identical to the album version except that it would give way to a slower ending with Richard Wright playing an organ solo.

Ian Peel, a musical columnist for The Guardian, noted the resemblance of "Sheep" to the Doctor Who theme, due to its bassline and sound effects.[2] Some critics have suggested that the song essentially reuses the bass part from "One of These Days", another track which had similarities to that same science fiction theme tune.

Psalm 23[edit]

Starting at 6:27 and ending at 7:08, a parody of Psalm 23 ("The Lord is my shepherd...") is spoken in the background, by means of a vocoder,[citation needed] with the words changed to suit the subject of the song ("Through quiet reflection and great dedication, Master the art of karate").

Originally (during live shows) this was performed by Nick Mason, but on the album this was spoken by Waters.[citation needed]

Recording[edit]

The song was recorded during April, May and July 1976 at the band's own Britannia Row Studios, Islington, London.

On Animals Roger played bass on "Dogs" and I played bass on "Sheep" and "Pigs." Most of the bass line on "Sheep" (apart from the ending) was what Roger had been playing onstage, as we had been performing it as "Raving and Drooling" for a couple of years. However, in the studio Roger had a rhythm guitar part he wanted to play, so we swapped roles. On "Pigs" the part and the playing are mine.

Live performances[edit]

The song was also featured on the In the Flesh tour as the show opener. It was later almost a part of the setlist for the 1987–90 tour supporting the album A Momentary Lapse of Reason, but Gilmour felt like his voice couldn't reach high enough like Waters. It wasn't performed by any Pink Floyd member until Roger Waters performed it on his The Dark Side of the Moon Live tour.

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "What were the original lyrics to Animals?". Ingsoc.com. Retrieved 5 March 2004. 
  2. ^ Peel, Ian (7 July 2008). "Doctor Who: a musical force?". The Guardian Music Blog. Retrieved 20 December 2011. 
  • Fitch, Vernon (2005). The Pink Floyd Encyclopedia (3rd ed.). ISBN 1-894959-24-8.