Album Animals
Length 17:03
Track Number 2
Writer(s) Roger Waters, David Gilmour
Previous Track
Pigs on the Wing 1
Next Track
Pigs (3 Different Ones)

"Dogs" (originally composed as "You've Got to Be Crazy") is a song released on the album Animals  in 1977. This song was one of several to be considered for the band's "best of" album Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd .

Composition Edit

The song was written in 1974 by Roger Waters  with music co-written by David Gilmour  with the title "You've Got to Be Crazy". From the start, the song featured both Gilmour and Waters taking turns as lead vocalist. Waters modified the lyrics in some parts, transposed the key, and retitled it "Dogs". The version on Animals is a bit over 17 minutes long.

The main theme features what were, for Pink Floyd, rather unusual chords. In the final version's key of D minor, the chords are D minor ninth, E♭maj7sus2/B♭, Asus2sus4, and A♭sus2(♯11). All these chords contain thetonic of the song, D—even as a tritone, as is the case in the fourth chord.

The song fades in with an acoustic guitar in D tuning strumming the chords with a lively, syncopated rhythm, with a droning Farfisa organ playing chord tones (A, B♭, A, and A♭, respectively). After the first sixteen-bar progression, Gilmour begins the vocal. For the third repetition, bass guitar, Hammond organ, drums and lead guitar (playing a subtle drone of D) enter. After this repetition comes the first of several guitar solos, played on a Fender Telecaster, as opposed to Gilmour's usual Stratocaster. Next is another verse of lyrics, followed by a keyboard solo. Finally, after six repetitions of the main theme, the tempo is cut in half, dramatically slower, a new chord progression is introduced, resolving gradually to the relative major, F, with two lead guitars loudly playing a slow harmonized melody, and a quieter third guitar adding decorative string bends, with heavy use ofreverb and echo.

The song is then stripped back down to acoustic guitar, droning on the Dm9 chord, with the bass softly striking E, the ninth of the chord, in the same range as the guitar's lowest note, D. Another slash chord movement follows, B♭ to C/B♭, followed by the key'sdominant, A Major, with the minor sixth heard first at the top of the chord, in an A(add♭6), and later, as its bass note (in a progression of A, A/F, A/E, to D minor). After another guitar solo over the new progression, Gilmour sings a melismatic vocal with overdubbedharmonies, ending with the lyric "Have a good drown/As you go down/All alone/Dragged down by the stone", as the dissonant A/F leads back to Dm9.

The middle section, in a slow, metronomic 6/4 time, is built upon several layers of synthesisers, sustaining the four chords of the main theme, with the sound of dogs barking processed through a vocoder and played as an instrument. Gilmour's last word, "stone", echoes slowly for many measures, gradually becoming distorted and losing its human character, before fading out (It reappears later in the instrumental section of "Sheep"). There are no guitars in this section. Gradually, a synthesiser solo emerges, and as it reaches its climax, the acoustic guitar returns, at the original tempo, once again lively and syncopated.

The formula of the first section is followed, but this time, with Waters singing the lead. A third guitar solo ends in three-part harmony, playing descending augmented triads, leading to Gilmour's slow, harmonized guitar melody in F Major, in a section of music indistinguishable from its first appearance in the song. This leads to the final verse, with Waters singing a new, repeating melody for the sixteen lines beginning "Who was...". Originally sung over the tonic only, in the final recording the multiple harmonized guitars alternate between D minor and C Major, while the bass further extends the harmony with a descending F, E, D, and C, creating the sense of an F sixth chord followed by C/E. Originally, Waters' lyrics ("Who was born in a house full of pain", etc.) were echoed by Gilmour and Richard Wright in a round style, but in the final recording, only the last few are repeated, and done so by Waters himself, using tape delay. This section resolves first to B♭, then to A, before concluding with the A, F, E bass movement to a sustained Dm9, as the lyrics again end with "dragged down by the stone".

"Dogs" is the only song on Animals in which Gilmour sings a lead part, or receives a co-writing credit.

Concept Edit

Fitting in to the album's Orwellian concept of comparing human behavior to various animals, "Dogs" concentrates on the aggressive, ruthlessly competitive world of business, describing a high-powered businessman. The first two verses detail his predatory nature —outwardly charming and respectable with his "club tie and a firm handshake, a certain look in the eye and an easy smile", while behind this facade he lies waiting "to pick out the easy strike when the moment is right", and to stab those who trust him in the back. Subsequent verses portray the emptiness of his existence catching up to him as he grows older, retiring to the south rich but unloved: "just another sad old man, all alone and dying of cancer", and drowning under the weight of a metaphorical stone.

The final verse explores a number of aspects of business life and how it compares to dogs, for example taking chances and being "trained not to spit in the fan", losing their individuality ("broken by trained personnel"), obeying their superiors ("fitted with collar and chain"), being rewarded for good behaviour ("given a pat on the back"), working harder than the other workers ("breaking away from the pack") and getting to know everyone but spending less time with family ("only a stranger at home"). Every line of this verse begins with the words "Who was", which prompted comparison to Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl". However, Waters has denied the Ginsberg poem was any influence on his lyrics. Instead, these lines can be seen as subordinate clauses to the lyric line that precedes them ("And you believe at heart everyone's a killer/Who was born in a house full of pain/Who was [etc.]").

Early Versions Edit

During 1974 performances of "You've Got to Be Crazy", which can be heard on the Immersion Box Set and the Experience version of Wish You Were Here, the band performed the song faster than it would eventually become, and in its original key of E minor, before they started using D tuning on their guitars, for a concert pitch of D minor. The lyrics, though different, were thematically similar to the final version of "Dogs". The lyrics were modified by the time the song was played live in 1975, and then the lyrics changed again when recording Animals.

Equally impossible was for Gilmour or Waters to sing the song's highest part, "dragged down by the stone", in the original key, which would begin on the first B above Middle C. As any recording of the early performances will attest, neither singer could quite reach and sustain it, even when attempting it together. The line appears twice, as the climax to each singer's performance. It was likely for the sake of achieving high-quality lead vocals, specifically on this line, that they lowered the key before committing the song to record. (Waters, however, would go on to reach even higher notes on songs like "Hey You", "Every Stranger's Eyes" and "One of My Turns".)

Live versions Edit

The song was performed nightly during the 1977 tour.

When played on the 1977 tour, David Gilmour played his acoustic parts on electric guitar making it easy to switch between lead and rhythm with his Telecaster played in dropped D tuning. Also, the song had some different solos performed live to its studio counterpart. Also, David would sing all but the final verse live. Also before the final guitar solo, David would perform an extra solo. Roger would sing the "who was brought in a house full of pain" section. Then for the last part, Waters would sing "breaking away from the pack" with Gilmour and Wright singing it circular (like on the 1974/75 Gotta Be Crazy performances) and both Gilmour and Waters singing the final "who was dragged down by the stone".

Roger Waters would regularly perform this song on his In the Flesh Tour with Jon Carin and Doyle Brahmall II replacing Gilmour on the vocals and guitars respectively.

Personnel Edit

  • Roger Waters – bass guitar, vocals, vocoder
  • David Gilmour – vocals, acoustic and electric guitar
  • Richard Wright – Fender Rhodes piano, Hammond organ, Minimoog, ARP String Synthesizer, backing vocals
  • Nick Mason – drums, percussion

Lyrics Edit

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.