Pink Floyd’s animalis epicus ‘Animals’ was primarily, all about pigs and sheep; animals being used to convey the concerns of political interference and social decay of the era.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Pink Floyd
SERIAL: SHVL 815
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: David Gilmour – vocals, guitars, bass, talkbox * Roger Waters – vocals, guitars, bass, vocoder * Richard Wright – keyboards * Nick Mason – drums, percussion
Additional Musicians: Snowy White – additional guitar
TRACK LISTING: 01 Pigs On A Wing (Pt 1) * 02 Dogs * 03 Pigs (Three Different Ones) * 04 Sheep * 05 Pigs On A Wing (Pt 2)
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Could you call this album from Pink Floyd a concept album? More so than ‘The Wall’ which came out two years later? Well yes you could, though initially at the start of recording for this album it probably wasn’t. Over the intervening months between late 1975 and 1976, a loose concept was developed which inevitably formed the basis of these five songs on this album.
Primarily, it’s all about pigs and sheep; animals being used to convey the concerns of political interference and social decay of the era. Maybe the weather wasn’t too flash over in England, while the rest of the world dined out on the sunny disposition of West Coast California! From what I understand, the album has a loose affiliation to George C Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’, so you can make an assumption that the album content is not bright, happy or breezy. Far from it.
The album was split into two parts/sides. The first side was dominated by the 17 minute ‘Dogs’ (excluding the short intro of ‘Pigs On A Wing (Pt 1)’ which is all of 1 min 25 sec.) ‘Dogs’ is a cerebral dig (not dog eh?) at British business and Government of the time. It shimmers with intent, but not quite as much as ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ did, I would suggest.
As for the lyrical content, I’ll take Messrs Gilmour and Waters word for it, as living on the other side of the world in New Zealand, I was too young and naive to know any better about life in the UK pre Margaret Thatcher.) All I knew was British 70’s pop and punk, TV comedies and various football players thanks to Brian Moore’s Big Match TV show.
Onto side two, the animals do indeed take over the farm. Listen to all the pig noises and talk box effects on ‘Pigs (Three Different Ones)’. The pigs mentioned in the song referred to those who climbed the top of the societal ladder. Due to the song having three verses, the song then referred to a separate ‘pig’ for each, hence the song-title.
‘Sheep’ (much like ‘Dogs’), was a reworked song from 1974 called ‘Raving And Drooling’. I don’t hear much reference to our ovine friends apart from the intro pastoral sound effects out in the countryside. Someone else might have the good oil on this song. Pray tellThe fifth and final track is ‘Pigs On A Wing (Pt 2)’, with vocals and acoustic guitar strumming picking up where Pt 1 left off. It’s just as short as the first part.
I’ll admit to not giving ‘Animals’ the attention it probably deserved back in 1977. My focus was elsewhere, i.e. the USA, however ‘Wish You Were Here’ was still an overplayed record in my household back then, so Pink Floyd weren’t entirely forgotten. ‘Animals’ did good business for the band, the album heading high into the national album charts around the world, with the notable exception of Canada where it only clocked as high as #12. Naughty Canadians.
The album was released in the third week of January 1977, Pink Floyd would go on to tour the record right through the thawing winter, spring, then concluding toward the end of summer. As much as the tour upset the band members for numerous reasons especially Roger Waters, it would give them more fuel to write the 1979 concept album ‘The Wall’. But that is another story for another time.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)
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