I’ve seen animals cute and cuddly animals and I’ve seen strong and vicious types also. They can be small and slimey or big and fluffy, we have them as pets and some roam free in the wild. In music, animals can also have a strong metaphorical meaning.
Maybe for some or even all of these reasons, I’ve put a playlist together of 20 of what I believe are the best songs on animals. Some of these songs might even remind you of your fur baby or perhaps your favorite wild creature.
Let’s get into it.
Top Songs with Animals in the Title
“I am The Walrus” – The Beatles
The Beatles have written and recorded several different songs with animals in the titles including “I am The Walrus,” “Octopus’s Garden,” and “Rocky Raccoon.” Their lyrics are often playful and even childlike, so it makes sense that they write a lot of silly songs about animals. The song “I am The Walrus” was released by The Beatles in the year 1967. It was included on the full length album ‘Magical Mystery Tour.’
“Hungry Like the Wolf” – Duran Duran
If someone says that they are hungry like a wolf, that means that they are absolutely ravenous, either for food or for something else. The new wave pop song “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran was released in 1982 as a part of the Capitol Records full-length album ‘Rio.’ It was the fifth single from the popular album. The song “Hungry Like the Wolf” is about being hungry for another person’s love and attention.
“Crocodile Rock” – Elton John
The song “Crocodile Rock” by Elton John was written and released as a part of the 1973 rock album ‘Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player.’ The song “Crocodile Rock” was also featured on the soundtrack for the charming children’s animated film ‘Gnomeo and Juliet.’ This song has also been covered by multiple artists including Taron Egerton, Baha Men, and Larkin Poe.
“Rock Lobster” – the B52s
Some songs that mention animals only do so in a metaphorical way. The song “Rock Lobster” by the B52s is more literal. It is about a real-life lobster found beneath a real-life rock. It was written by B52s members Fred Schneider and Ricky Wilson and released in April of the year 1978.
“White Rabbit” – Jefferson Airplane
The psychedelic rock song “White Rabbit” was released in the 1968. This song was included on the full-length album by Jefferson Airplane titled ‘Surrealistic Pillow.’ This song refers to the classic children’s novel ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ Many people have interpreted this song as being about psychedelic drug use and hallucinations. Before they were known as Jefferson Airplane, the band was known as Jefferson Starship.
“War Pigs” – Black Sabbath
“War Pigs” was released by the English heavy metal band Black Sabbath in the year 1970. The song “War Pigs” was the opening track for the full length Black Sabbath album ‘Paranoid.’ This song has been covered by several popular rock artists, including Faith No More, Cake, and Zakk Wylde.
“Karma Chameleon” – Culture Club
The catchy 80s pop song “Karma Chameleon” was released by Culture Club in the year 1983. The song was featured on the full length Culture Club album ‘Colour by Numbers.’ The song “Karma Chameleon” was nominated for a Brit Award for Best Selling Single. The song has also been re-recorded by several popular artists including Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Dolapdere Big Gang, and Kevin Johansen.
“Cats in the Cradle” – Harry Chapin
The song “Cats in the Cradle” was released in the year 1974. It was featured on the full-length album ‘Verities and Balderdash.’ The song is in the Grammy Hall of Fame. It was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal performance. Other popular releases from American singer-songwriter Harry Chapin include “30,000 Pounds of Bananas,” “Remember When the Music,” and “I Wanna Learn a Love Song.”
“Union of the Snake” – Duran Duran
Snakes often represent evil and loss of innocence. The song “Union of the Snake” by British new wave band Duran Duran is not about a literal snake. The lyrics are metaphorically written about being taken over by an evil subconscious part of the mind. “Union of the Snake” was released in the year 1983.
“Octopus’s Garden” – The Beatles
‘Abbey Road’ is one the most famous rock albums of all time. The classic British pop rock band The Beatles released the song “Octopus’s Garden” as a part of their full length album ‘Abbey Road’ in the year 1969. It was the last song by the Beatles that featured Ringo Starr on lead vocals.
“Wild Horses” – The Rolling Stones
“Wild Horses” was recorded by the Rolling Stones in 1969 and released in 1971 on their “Sticky Fingers” album. It’s a collaborative effort with Keith Richards writing about the emotions he felt as he left his newborn son to go on the road and Mick Jagger reinventing it as a man weary of working on a waning relationship.
Many believe that Gram Parsons should get a writing credit as well, since the three of them had worked on the song, but Gram left the project very early on in the process.
“Bat Out Of Hell” – Meat Loaf
Written by award-winning songwriter Jim Steinman as part of his musical, “Neverland.” “Bat Out of Hell” is also the title of the mega-hit album that was released in 1977. The so-called motorcycle guitar solo that’s heard at around the five-minute mark is performed by the album’s producer, Todd Rundgren. Steinman also plays keyboards on the album.
“Shock the Monkey” – Peter Gabriel
“Shock the Monkey” is found on Gabriel’s self-titled fourth album and was released in 1982. He’s been quoted as saying the monkey in this song is a metaphor for our feelings of jealousy. The video was obviously interpreted differently and many people fall into one of two camps. The first group believes it’s a song about drug use, while a second group thinks it’s about outside influences controlling our behavior.
“Dog Days are Over” – Florence + The Machine
The song is from the debut album “Lungs” which was released in 2009. The song is about the character’s unwillingness to believe that the happiness she’s found is real. Florence Welch was moved to write the song after riding past South Bank’s Hayward Gallery every day and seeing artist Ugo Rondinone’s work which read, “DOG DAYS ARE OVER.”
The song skyrocketed in popularity and received critical acclaim. If she didn’t believe the title before the song was released, she probably did afterward.
“Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor
The story goes that Sylvester Stallone requested the recording, and it’s heard as the theme song to the film “Rocky III.” The film, song and the album of the same name were released a day apart in 1982. The theme song is actually their demo release and not the final studio release.
“Cool for Cats” – Squeeze
Released in 1979 on the album of the same name, “Cool for Cats” is a ska/rock song that foreshadowed the coming New Wave scene. Squeeze composed the song as a social commentary about how they were living their lives.
“Free Bird” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
From their 1973 album, “(Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd),” “Free Bird” is a simple ballad that morphs into what would become a Southern Rock anthem. “Guitar World” magazine listed the guitar solo at number three on their rankings of “100 Greatest Guitar Solos.”
“Bulls on Parade” – Rage Against the Machine
This is the second song released from their album, “Evil Empire” in 1996. True to Rage Against the Machine’s mission statement, the song is a powerful commentary on how governments, the United States in particular, use aggressive and often violent measures against its own citizens in order to protect the agendas of the rich and powerful members of the upper-class.
“Zebras and Airplanes” – Alicia Keys
A song about the power and freedom you feel when you’re in love. The song was written for the album “The Element Of Freedom,” but was ultimately cut. It was later released as a single on her old website, premiering on Valentine’s Day, 2014.
“Black Dog” – Led Zeppelin
“Black Dog” is a call-and-response song that was inspired by songs written by Fleetwood Mac (“Oh, Well”) and Muddy Waters. The dog in question is a real dog that was in the studio while they were recording their fourth album, “The Song Remains the Same,” which was released in 1971.