Your Lying Eyes

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05 December 2007

Just Like the One in Our Backyard

Ever wanted to know the story behind the 1976 Henry Gross hit Shannon? Sure, we always knew it was about a dog, but Henry provides the full backstory here (page down about halfway), in detail! Quite compelling. Seriously, I'd say Shannon is the 2nd best song about a dog. I can only think of three, though there's no doubt others - I don't mean songs like Hound Dog or Move It on Over which reference dogs as metaphors, but songs about a dog. The best would be Martha, My Dear, which Lewisohn in his Complete Beatles Recording Sessions absurdly denies being about Paul's sheepdog, which it most assuredly is. (As an aside, Lewisohn also claims that no organ can be heard on Rubber Soul'sI'm Looking Through You despite the album credit to the contrary, though you can clearly hear one during the little Munsters-inspired instrumental break between verses.) The third (and worst) dog song is the hideous Get Down by the execrable Gilbert O'Sullivan, though it is the only one of the three to overtly address a dog. There's an old video of the great man himself performing his gem with none other than LuLu. Brace yourself.

Related: Casey Kasem melts down prior to playing Shannon for a "long distance dedication."


Blogger Cedric Morrison said...

"Old Shep" comes to mind.

December 06, 2007 7:15 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

Ok, yes, that is the best dog song, and probably Elvis's best song (after The Wonder of You, of course.

December 06, 2007 7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always been a fan of "Seamus" from Pink Floyd's Meddle if only because it makes the dog I have howl along.

December 06, 2007 9:36 AM  
Anonymous jth said...

Red Peters' "The Ballad of a dog named Stains" is quite moving.

December 06, 2007 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Harlem said...

As you correctly note, "Martha, My Dear" is clearly about Paul's sheepdog. He acknowledges it in several interviews and books.
You have missec several of the best, however. "Me & You & a Dog Named Boo" by Lobo is a classic. Probably the most recorded and highly regarded "dog" song is "Mr. Bojangles" (that's the dog) which has been recorded by everyone from Bob Dylan to Neil Diamond to John Denver to Jerry Jeff Walker although the definitive recording is by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
The only "dog" song that may eclispe "Mr. Bojangles" (though I do love Shannon") is "Augie, the Litigatin' Pup" by the Sacramento String Quartet. It's a winner!

December 07, 2007 8:05 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Harlem, Bojangles and the Lobo song have dogs in them, but they're not about the dog. Bojangles is about an old, pathetic street performer who gets a little respect from the boys in the drunk tank - granted, his sad dog tale helped garner some sympathy. Te other one's about free-wheelin' or whatever - the dog Boo is incidental.

I'm partial to Bromberg's version, partly because he tells the true story behind it during the middle break and of course he's a miraculous musician.

December 07, 2007 10:07 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

About Martha, My Dear, just listening to that piano intro, the talent of this guy was just beyond measure, that he could create what is basically a throwaway song of this musical depth. How could such talent completely disappear in the years since then? Can the creative juices fade that dramatically with age?

December 07, 2007 10:15 PM  
Anonymous Harlem said...

I think some degree of laziness might set in. As a guy who has never been a great "Paul" fan, though, he has written lots of great songs since then so let's not look at "Martha, My Dear" as his zenith.
"Ram" is an incredible album from begining to end. "Band On The Run" is a terrific album with many great songs.
I think he had several good songs on the "Off The Ground" album, including "Looking For Changes", "Get Out Of My Way" & "Peace In The Neighborhood". I also think that "Figure of Eight" from "Flowers In The Dirt" is a good song and "My Brave Face" and "Put It There" are reasonably good songs. Finally, I think "Ever Present Past" from his latest album "Memory Almost Full" (clever title by the way) is a good song.
I think tastes change and that his tunes are less "in vogue" as is the same with Jethro Tull, YES, the Doobie Bros, etc. but I wouldn't say he has "faded juices", certainly not for everything after "Martha, My Dear.
Paul is a commercially driven artist and certainly hasn't always hit the mark, particularly in the last 10 years. That having been said he is, ultimately, a musical icon.

December 07, 2007 11:16 PM  
Blogger Brent Lane said...

Another favorite canine cadenza: "Ghost of a Dog" by Edie Brickell and The New Bohemians.

My wife's late Siberian Husky used to love accompanying "Seamus" as well.

December 18, 2007 1:31 AM  
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April 29, 2011 1:46 PM  
Anonymous buy generic viagra said...

Henry Gross is an asshole, he is having problems with differents persons every day, and the scandal he suffered when everybody knew he hit Shannon is the principal reason for which I hate him.

May 19, 2011 12:58 PM  
Anonymous viagra online said...

why you don't post the entire Beatles Recording Sessions it would be nice to start the year!

January 11, 2012 10:54 AM  

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