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Pets Who Inspired a Song

Updated on August 21, 2016

I was watching YouTube the other day and came across a review of the Queen album Innuendo. The song that caught my attention was Delilah (not the Tom Jones version or the song by the Plain White Tees) this was a song by Freddie Mercury about his cat. Delilah was one of his favorite cats.

It led me to thinking what songs were inspired by pets? Here is the list and the songs are great songs, and even better knowing the story behind them.

Delilah by Freddie Mercury. It is fitting we start with this song. The song appeared on Queen’s 14th album entitled Innuendo in 1991. Delilah was Freddie’s favorite cat it was tortoise shelled colored. Freddie wrote the song in Switzerland. The song was released in Thailand as a single, and the song reached number one there, but that was the only country that did that. Roger Taylor a fellow band mate didn’t like the song and didn’t want it on the album. Freddie was so insistent he agreed to let the song be included on the album.

The song is sweet and poignant because Freddie wrote the song before he died and he put in the lyrics just how much he loved his cat all the things good and bad about her. He even tried to paint a water color of her. He created a loving tribute to a cat that brought him so much joy.

Shannon written and performed by Henry Gross and it was released in 1976. Henry sang the song in a falsetto because he admired Brian Wilson and his style of singing. The song was about Carl Wilson’s (from the Beach Boy’s) Irish Setter. The song went gold and was a hit worldwide. There seems to be different stories floating around about the song. In one version Brian Wilson was depressed and someone gave him the Irish Setter and the dog got Brian energized and feeling positive. They romped on the beach, and then one day the dog was taken out to sea and Brian became depressed again. The second story is from the songwriter himself, so this version must be the correct one. He stated that he was telling Carl Wilson about his Irish Setter at home named Shannon when Carl Wilson told him he had an Irish Setter named Shannon too and it had been hit by a car and killed. Out of tragedy came a beautiful song.

Martha My Dear written and sung by Paul McCartney this song appeared on the Beatles White album in 1968. The song is actually the name of his muse which inspires him to write his songs, but he named his Sheepdog Martha. This song has different versions of what it means just as the song Shannon did. While one article had Paul saying it was about his muse, another version has him saying it is about his Sheepdog, and another story Paul admits it may have been a song influenced by his girlfriend Jane Asher. No matter who the song is really about it is a cheery song with a piano music hall sound saying don’t give up on love.

I Love My Dog by Cat Stevens it was first released in 1966. He was inspired to write it when he found a dachshund tied to a post when he was young and he took him home and became fond of him. The lyrics say what any dog lover knows, the love he has now with his girlfriend may fade, but the love he has for his dog will last forever because they love unconditionally.

The Cat’s in the Window (the Bird in the Sky) was written by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon in 1967. Petula Clark recorded the song in her album The Other Man’s Grass is always Greener. It isn’t known whether the song writers had a cat that inspired the song, but seems very likely there was an animal that led to this analogy of a cat wishing to be a bird and fly out the window, and a person in the song longs to be free and fly to a rainbow, but at the moment both the cat and the person are stuck where they are. The song has flutes, tambourines, rainbows, and is a very 60’s song, but the lyrics are touching.

Old King by Neil Young I don’t think the song was ever released as a single. The song is about Neil’s dog but his name was really Elvis. He was a hound dog. Neil said in order to avoid confusion he changed the dog’s name to Old King for the song. He told a story before the song began at a concert. He let the dog go run around, but the dog didn’t come back and Neil had a show to do. He kept calling for the dog and it was raining and the dog couldn’t pick up the scent. Neil left the dog’s bowl and his lucky shirt at the place by the side of the road. He figured he would go pick him up after the concert. This guy drives up and asks Neil what he is doing. He tells him about his missing dog and the guy says me and my wife will wait here and when the dog returns we will take him to Eureka, California to you. Neil went to the show and before the concert started he got a call stating the dog was found. That story had a happy ending, but in the song King met his maker, but Neil will never forget how special he was.

Super Sonic by Oasis was written by the bands singer Noel Gallagher for the album Definitely Maybe in 1994.It is Noel’s favorite song. The funny thing is everyone thought the person named Elsa was about teenage prostitution, but Noel said it was about a Rottweiler name Elsa who had a flatulence problem. She belonged to the sound engineer Dave Scott. His dog was in the studio that day. Noel is said to have written the song in 10 minutes. The lyrics are a bit strange with this lyric

I know a girl called Elsa
She's into Alka Seltzer
She sniffs it through a cane on a supersonic train
She made me laugh

No one would have guessed it was about a dog. Dogs bring out the joy in a person and she helped save the day by being an inspiration for a song.

Man of the House by Nora Jones. This song was from the album The Fall in 2009. The song is inspired by her poodle named Ralph. She stated her biological clock was ticking and she ended getting a manly poodle. The lyrics are cute with Nora singing

It's him or me
That's what he said
But I can't choose
Between a vegan and a pot head
So I chose you, because you're sweet
And you give me lots of lovin' and you eat meat
And that's how you became
My only man of the hour

It sounds like Nora made the right choice.


Here’s to all the animal lovers out there that know the animals in our lives are so very special and worthy of honor in a song just for them.

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