4 Classic Rock Songs About Creatures

Fans of the classic rock genre know the songs about cars, rebellion, and even about rock music itself. But there are other subjects that the bombastic musical style covers, too: the world of creatures and animals.

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We wanted to dive into four such songs. Four classic classic rock songs, that deal with fictitious and very real creatures of the world. From rabbits to fish to farm animals and pets, these four songs know how to make listeners howl along.

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1. “White Rabbit,” Jefferson Airplane

Released on the 1967 Jefferson Airplane album Surrealistic Pillow, this song isn’t just about any old rabbit, but rather a very specific one. The white rabbit from the 1865 Lewis Carroll book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The book is, of course, psychedelic, with its mushrooms and pills that make Alice both giant and tiny. So, the character of the white rabbit is perfect for a 1960s psychedelic rock song, too. Written by Grace Slick even before she was in Jefferson Airplane, the song features a storybook girl who was not saved by a Prince Charming but who did, “feed her head” with drugs.

2. “Black Dog,” Led Zeppelin

Released on Led Zeppelin’s fourth album, Led Zeppelin IV, this song was inspired by a literal black dog (a retriever) that would hang out around the Headley Grange recording studios where the band was working on its album. With a big rock riff and a celestial call-and-response from lead singer Robert Plant and the band, this song was perhaps less about the animal itself than it was about rock music and women, but it’s not the only song from the band to feature a dog. The 1970 Led Zeppelin song, “Bron-Y-Aur Stomp,” includes lyrics about Plant’s dog Strider, whose name he calls out at the end.

3. “Barracuda,” Heart

This 1977 song by the Seattle-born sister-led rock band Heart was released on the group’s album, Little Queen. While the song describes and uses the word barracuda, the animal term is a metaphor for the sleazy and relentless culture of men that bothered the band. As the band’s guitar player, Nancy Wilson, told American Songwriter:

“There was this one sleazy guy at a record company or promoter—I can’t even remember where from, exactly. You know that type; there’s a lot of those kinds of guys in this business. And he was like, because of our album cover where we had bare shoulders touching … ‘So, Ann [lead singer], how’s your lover?’ And she goes, ‘Oh, yeah, Mike’s great!’ And he goes, ‘No, no, I mean your sister, haha!’ So, the insinuation that we were lovers was, of course, not anywhere near true and really sleazy and inappropriate.”

4. “Pigs (Three Different Ones),” Pink Floyd

This song comes from the British-born band Pink Floyd’s 1977 album, Animals, which is all about creatures. According to the band’s Roger Waters, the song is about those at the top of the financial food chain in the West. In each of the song’s three verses, a different kind of pig is highlighted. The first pig is the businessman. Then he gets more specific. The second is a conservative politician, and the third is a type of morality police.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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