Atomic Dog

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"Atomic Dog"
Atomic Dog by George Clinton US vinyl.jpg
US picture sleeve
Single by George Clinton
from the album Computer Games
B-side"Loopzilla," "Man's Best Friend"
ReleasedDecember 1982
FormatVinyl record (7", 12")
Length4:15 (7" single version)
4:42 (LP and instrumental versions)
10:00 (Atomic Mix)
LabelCapitol 5201
George Clinton singles chronology
"Atomic Dog"
"Nubian Nut"

"Atomic Dog" is a song by George Clinton from his 1982 album Computer Games. The track was released as a single in December 1982 and became the P-Funk collective's last to reach #1 on the U.S. R&B Chart. The single failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 although it has attained a level of stature since then, partly due to its having been sampled in several hip hop songs.


George Clinton's P-Funk reached its commercial and conceptual height during the late 1970s after the release of Mothership Connection and a series of spectacular concert tours. Each of these concerts ended with a climactic descent of a giant spaceship from the rafters. However, as the band and their concept of funk grew, the organization became entangled in internal dissension, legal disputes, and creative exhaustion.[1] “Atomic Dog” was the P-Funk collective's last single to reach #1 on the U.S. R&B chart.

According to Clinton, most of the song's lyrics were ad-libbed during the recording process.[2]

Critical reception and charts[edit]

Although "Atomic Dog" is now regarded a classic in black popular music,[3] it was at first held back from radio stations.[citation needed] George Clinton's bad reputation in the industry, his political consciousness (as seen in his previous albums and recordings), and a general move towards more youthful-looking acts, kept his songs from being circulated on radio stations.[citation needed] Only after very strong sales was the song finally put on the air.[citation needed] The single “Atomic Dog” was released in December 1982[citation needed] and reached #1 on the R&B charts, but missed the Hot 100 by just one position.

The song's music video was nominated two Billboard Video Music Awards, one for best special effects, and another for best art direction.[4] However, the video lost to Billy Joel's "Pressure" and Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" respectively.[5]

Chart (1983)[citation needed] Peak
UK Singles Chart 94
U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 1

Sampling in other songs[edit]

Artist Song
11/5 "Cell Phone"
2nd II None "The Dogg N' Me"
69 Boyz "All Men R Dawgs"
8Ball & MJG "Players Night Out"
Aaliyah "Back & Forth (Mr. Lee & R. Kelly's Remix)"
Above the Law "4 the Funk of It"
Alexander O'Neal "The Yoke (G.U.O.T.R.)"
America's Most Wanted "Addicted to the Dope Game"
AMG "Dog From Around the Way"
Articolo 31 "Intro"
ATL “Process Of Elimination”
“Why Must I Feel Like Dat”
Big Daddy Kane "Get Down"
"The Beef Is On"
Biz Markie “The Dragon”
Blackstreet “Booti Call”
Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. "Knee Deep (All Up in That P-Funk)"
Bow Wow "Bow Wow (That's My Name)"
Brotha Lynch Hung "Jackin' 4 Joints"
Cage "I Lost It In Havertown"
C-Bo "Hard Core"
Celly Cel "Why Must I Be Like That?"
Chubb Rock "Keep It Street"
Compton's Most Wanted “I Don't Dance”
“I Gots Ta Get Over”
College Boyz “Underground Blues”
Consolidated “You Suck”
Crooked I "Crookz N Doggz"
Damian Dame "Reversal of a Dog"
Damu Ridas "2 Famous Dogs (To All Dogs)"
"Li'l Hawk"
"Why Must I Be Like That"
De La Soul "En Focus"
Dibiase "Atomic Slop"
Digital Underground Doowutchyalike
“Bran New Swetta”
“Good Thing We're Rappin'”
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince A Dog Is A Dog
"Can't Wait to Be With You (Brixton Flavour)"
"Code Red"
DJ Quik "Hoorah 4 Tha Funk (Reprise)"
DMG "Pay the Cost"
Doug E. Fresh "I-ight (Alright)"
Domino "Daddy Mack"
Dr. Dre "Fuck wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin')"
E-40 "Brownie Points"
Erykah Badu "Jump Up in the Air and Stay There"
Esham "Homey Don't Play!"
Father MC "I Want Your Lovin'"
Finesse & Showbiz "Pete's Theme"
Fu-Schnickens “Back Off”
“Let Me Make...”
Funkdoobiest "Bow Wow Wow"
George Clinton "Martial Law"
Gerardo "We Want the Funk (Raw Dog Mix)"
Geto Boys “Homie Don't Play Dat”
Girl Talk “Get It Get It”
Guy "D-O-G Me Out (Rap Remix)"
"Teddy's Jam 2"
MC Hammer "Don't Stop"
“Pumps And A Bump”
"Somethin' for the O.G.'s"
Herbie Hancock “Vibe Alive”
Hi-C "I'm Not Your Puppet"
"Punk Shit"
Ice Cube “Better Off Dead”
"Bop Gun (One Nation)"
“Ghetto Bird”
“A Man's Best Friend”
No Vaseline
“Summer Vacation”
“The Nigga You Love To Hate”
“2 N Tha Morning”
Ice-T “Funky Gripsta”
Inner City Posse "Dog Beats"
Insane Poetry “How Ya Gonna Reason With A...”
KAM “Peace Treaty”
"Ya'll Don't Hear Me Dough"
King Tee "At Your Own Risk"
Kris Kross “Party”
K-Solo “I Can't Hold It Back”
"Letterman (Pete Rock Remix)"
Konnan "Bow Wow Wow"
Kool Moe Dee "Here We Go Again"
Layzie Bone "Grab a Drink"
Litefoot "Tribalistic Funk"
LL Cool J "Dear Yvette"
Low Profile "The Dub B.U. Just Began"
"Think You Can Hang?"
Marvaless "J Cats & Big Dogs"
MC Breed "One Time"
MC Ren “Hound Dogz”
Methods of Mayhem "Get Naked"
Nas “American Way”
Natas "Bitches on My Mind"
New Kids on the Block "Dirty Dawg"
Nine "Hit Em Like Dis"
The Notorious B.I.G. "Whatchu Want (Original Unreleased Version)"
"Cars & Sex"
Nuttin' Nyce "Froggy Style"
NWH “Ice Froggy Frog”
Oren Waters "Digga Digga Dog"
Organized Rhyme "Rollin' With Bass (Big Foot Remix)"
"Warm and Easy"
Osdorp Posse "Rijmtest"
Paris "Act Right"
“Bush Killa”
“Coffee, Donuts & Death”
"It's Real"
"Thinka 'Bout It"
P-Funk All Stars "Copy Cat"
Pitbull "Girls"
Poison Clan "Christmas Spliff"
Prince "Love Sign"
Public Enemy "Brothers Gonna Work It Out"
PM Dawn “Comatose”
Red Hot Chili Peppers “Love Rollercoaster”
Redhead Kingpin and the F.B.I. "We Don't Have a Plan B"
Redman “Bobyahed2dis”
“Process Of Elimination”
“Slide And Rock On”
“Watch Yo Nuggets”
Rodney-O & Joe Cooley "Sleepa'"
"This Is for the Homies"
Ruff Endz "Phone Sex"
San Quinn "Leavin' Ya Lost"
Scarface “Diary Of A Madman”
South Central Cartel "My Hood Yo Hood"
“South Central...”
Schoolly D “Where'd You Get That Funk From”
Sean T "Stay Off the Dick"
Shaggy "Bow Wow Wow"
Sir Mix-a-Lot "Nasty Dog"
Slick Rick "Lick the Balls"
Snoop Dogg "Doggz Gonna Get Ya"
"Snoop Dogg (What's My Name Pt. 2)"
“Who Am I? (What's My Name)?”
South Central Cartel "South Central Madness"
Stetsasonic “Speaking Of A Girl Named Suzy”
Stezo "It's My Turn"
Sublime "New Song"
Success-n-Effect "Crusin"
"Forty Acres and a Mule"
Suprême NTM "Popopop!!"
Terminator X "DJ Is the Selector"
Too Short "Chase the Cat"
Total "Love Is All We Need"
Totally Insane "Maggot Ass Bitches"
"The Times"
TQ "Westside Part III"
2Pac “Holler If Ya Hear Me”
UTFO "I'm a Dog"
Volume 10 "Pistolgrip-Pump"
X Clan “Earth Bound”
"Funk Liberation"
X-Raided "Call Tha Guardz"
WC and the Maad Circle "Intro"
Yo-Yo "You Should Have Listened"
Young Soldierz "Flex Back to My Dog House"
"Tough Guy"


The song has been included in trailers and TV spots for many films (many dog-related), including 102 Dalmatians, Toy Story 2, Rugrats Go Wild, Hotel for Dogs, The Shaggy Dog, Finn on the Fly, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Boomerang, Scooby Doo (2002), and Menace II Society.

In popular culture[edit]

The song is also used during timeouts of New York Liberty basketball games, during which the team's canine mascot Maddie will pump up the home crowd by dancing to the song.

The song appears in a 2019 TV commercial for Etrade.[6]

Copyright lawsuit[edit]

"Atomic Dog" was the subject of Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. UMG, Inc., et al. (Case No. 07-5596, 6th Cir. 2009),[7] a lawsuit filed in 2007 by the holders of the composition rights to "Atomic Dog" against the producers of "D.O.G. in Me," a song recorded by the R&B and hip-hop group Public Announcement and included on their 1998 album, All Work, No Play. In its complaint, Bridgeport claimed that "D.O.G. in Me" infringed its copyright by repeating the phrase, "Bow wow wow, yippie yo, yippie yea" and the sound of rhythmic panting throughout the song, and by repeating the word "dog" in a low tone of voice at regular intervals as a form of musical punctuation. A jury found that the defendants had willfully infringed Bridgeport's rights and awarded statutory damages of $88,980. In a November 2009 decision affirming the lower court ruling, Circuit Judge Martha Craig Daughtry of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit described the circumstances surrounding the creation of "Atomic Dog":

Songwriters David Spradley, Garry Shider, and George Clinton created "Atomic Dog" in a recording studio in January 1982, working without a written score... Testimony at trial indicated that the song was composed spontaneously – Spradley recorded the initial tracks in the studio and recalled that "when George arrived he had been partying pretty heavily so he was, you know, feeling pretty good," and was unsteady at the microphone. Spradley and Garry Shider "got on either side of him. We just kind of kept him in front of the microphone" while Clinton recorded the vocal tracks that same night... Testimony by David Spradley... also demonstrated that Clinton exercised some degree of creative control over the panting by instructing the performers to create a certain rhythm.

The court further described the "Bow Wow refrain" as the best-known aspect of the song – "in terms of iconology, perhaps the functional equivalent of 'E.T. phone home'" – and held that the jury did not act unreasonably in concluding that there was substantial similarity between the two works.


  1. ^ ""Making it Funky" by Ted Friedman". Archived from the original on February 27, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2009.
  2. ^ George Clinton, Still Radiating the Funk
  3. ^ "BET's 25 Influential Hip Hop Samples"
  4. ^ "Billboard Congratulates the Video Music Awards Nominees" (PDF). Billboard. 89. November 5, 1983. p. 36. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  5. ^ "Jackson Cops Five Music Vid Awards" (PDF). Billboard. 89. November 26, 1983. p. 1. Retrieved May 4, 2019.
  6. ^ "E*TRADE Core Portfolios TV Commercial, 'Cruise Control' Song By George Clinton". Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  7. ^ U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (November 4, 2009). "Bridgeport Music, Inc. v. UMG, Inc., et al. (Case No. 07-5596)" (PDF).
  • Bulmer, John. Devil Music: Race, Class, and Rock And Roll. Troy, New York: Russell Sage College Press.
  • Friedman, Ted. "Making it Funky: The Signifyin(g) Politics of George Clinton's Parliafunkadelicment Thang".1993.
  • Vincent, Rickey. Funk: The Music, The People, and the Rhythm of One. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996. ISBN 0-312-13499-1.

External links[edit]