10 of the best animal cameos in music history

With a cat-sampling hip hop album now scarily imminent, let’s take a look at the high standard that all animal cameos have to compare to

[Andre 3000’s owl: effortless cool]

It’s officially happening. The internet has raised enough money for a cat-sampling remix of the latest album by hip hop duo Run the Jewels (Killer Mike and El-P), which will be titled, appropriately, Meow The Jewels.

At times like this, it’s best to stop and reflect on the important issues, and the key question raised by this news is: what are the greatest animal cameos in music?

We never avoid the big questions, and so here we present a full list of some of some of the finest non-human contributions to the world of music.

1. The anonymous horse in America – ‘Horse With No Name’

The aforementioned horse fails to get a credited mention in America’s country-tinged rock classic, despite the video being full of fine wild stallion action. The horse with no name doesn’t make an audible cameo on the song – but the guitar solo in the middle sounds suspiciously like it was played using hooves.

2. The rapping owl in Outkast – ‘Ms. Jackson’

The video for Outkast’s breakout hit features a pretty extensive selection from the animal kingdom, all of whom seem to be capable of nodding their heads along perfectly in sync with the song. Despite a strong performance by the canines, the ‘forever forever?’ rapping owl steals the show around the 2:38 mark. It’s a shame the owl never became more than Andre 3000’s hype man, but that’s hip hop for you.

3. The dancing apes in Gorillaz – ‘Clint Eastwood’

Being a completely animated group does have it’s advantages, such as finding an army of undead apes to dance around a graveyard to the sounds of Del The Funkee Homosapien. The zombie-simians of the first Gorillaz first single featured sporadically throughout the years in various promotional material, but it’s that initial shoulder shuffle which gets them on this list.

4. Morris Day’s howler monkey in The Time – ‘Jungle Love’

When it comes to Purple Rain, you’re either in the sullen Prince’s corner – or you’re cool enough to recognise the raw ability of Morris Day & the Time. Morris’ screeching howler monkey impression is one of various highlights of this performance of ‘Jungle Love’, but the commitment to the sound with the accompanying tiger fur jacket clinches The Time’s spot on the list. Take that, Prince.

5. The donkey in The Bees – ‘Chicken Payback’

That may be a lot of animal imagery to take in all at once, but the main thing to pay attention to is the ‘donkey interlude’ halfway through the psychedelic rockers’ 2004 single, which is delivered with a big hearty ‘hee-haw’ noise by one of the band members.

6. The untrustworthy snake in Al Wilson – ‘The Snake’

The slippery serpent in Al Wils0n’s northern soul classic may not have been the most trustworthy house guest, but he sure could sing. The half-frozen snake mentioned in the song is nursed back to health by a friendly woman before delivering a deadly poisonous bite to her. A lesson in tough love from the snake community.

7. The screeching cat in The Cure – ‘The Lovecats’

Perhaps not the best move by Robert Smith to perform their best meowing whilst surrounding by, erm, stuffed dead cats. But still, in terms of cat-themed songs The Cure’s indie disco staple is still the gold standard with which Meow The Jewels is competing.

8. The assorted animals in Pink Floyd – ‘Pow R. Toc H.’

It must be difficult when you’re recording your debut album next door to The Beatles: it’s quickly going to dissolve into a battle over who can be more ‘far out’. The Floyd may have won on this occasion, with the band resorting to bizarre animal sounds at the beginning of their psychedelic instrumental ‘Pow R. Toc H.’

9. The dog-man in Daft Punk – ‘Da Funk’

It’s not easy being a New Yorker, especially when you’re a dog-man with a broken foot. The surreal video for Daft Punk’s instantly recognisable track ‘Da Funk’ was directed by Spike Jonze and has been analysed for deeper meanings, related to urbanisation, segregation and isolation – but mainly it’s just about dog-man with a ghetto blaster in New York.

10. The lovely horse from The Divine Comedy – ‘My Lovely Horse’

Surely the grand champion of animal cameos? Father Ted’s Eurovision song contest entry (penned by Neil Hannon) is a runaway winner, despite the dubious saxophone solo.

What are your favourite animal cameos in music?

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