Rolling Stones songs: Walking the Dog
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
Silver buttons all down her back/ High hose, tippy toes/ She broke the needle and she can sew…
Written by: Rufus Thomas
Recorded: Regent Sounds and IBC Studios, London, England, Jan. 29-Feb. 1964
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
Rufus Thomas was a Mississippi soul singer who recorded several popular songs about dancing – including this one. Other dance/novelty songs he recorded include “Funky Chicken” and “Do the Penguin.” He recorded for Stax Records and is the father of Carla Thomas, who also became a successful R&B singer.
Some of the many artists to record this song include The Who and Aerosmith (it was the last song they recorded for their first album). The Rolling Stones recorded it on their first album, thanks to their guitarist Brian Jones, who was the leader of the band at the time. He was a big fan of American soul music and wanted them to record the song.
The only time this song has charted in the UK was a version by the Merseybeat group The Dennisons, which peaked at #36 in 1964. This proved to be the band’s biggest hit, but their drummer Clive Hornby found success in another field. After turning to acting, Hornby played the popular character Jack Sugden in the ITV soap Emmerdale for 28 years until his death in July 2008.
According to Mojo magazine, September 2002, Rufus Thomas was king of the dog songs. He also recorded “Can Your Monkey Do The Dog,” “The Dog,” “Somebody Stole My Dog,” “Can’t Get Away From This Dog” and “Stop Kicking My Dog Around.”
In his memoir Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music, John Fogerty tells a story about his band The Golliwogs (which would later become Creedence Clearwater Revival) opening for Sonny and Cher. They got an encore, and started playing “Walking the Dog” when the curtain suddenly dropped – it turned out that was Sonny and Cher’s opening number.
George Clinton copped to getting the vibe for “Atomic Dog” from Thomas and his explorations of the canine inside of all men.
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
The name Rufus Thomas inevitably evokes the Memphis scene. After
starting out as a singer at Elks Club on Beale Street, Thomas joined Sam
Phillips’s Sun stable before moving to Jim Stewart and Estelle Axton’s Stax
(originally called Satellite), where he recorded “Cause I Love You” with his
daughter Carla in 1960. He even provided this record company with one of
its first resounding hits with “Walking the Dog,” which reached number 10
on the Billboard pop chart in December 1963.
As with so many blues and rhythm ’n’ blues numbers, double entendre
plays an important part. As well as its obvious meaning, walking the dog
has overtones of masturbation and oral sex. If you don’t know how to do
it/I’ll show you how to walk the dog, sings Mick Jagger in the role of a
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Categories: Can You Hear the Music?
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