Song “Walking the Dog”

Gary: “I was doing some maintenance on the blog and I ran across a song that was written by Rufus Thomas and it ended up as his signature song ‘Walking the Dog’.  By 1963, I was well into my R&B, Soul and Blues period, so I just loved the song. I have found 3 versions plus the original, so I hope you enjoy…

1963: Rufus Thomas
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Rufus does Walking the Dog

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Rufus Thomas / Walking the Dog / 1963

This song, written by Rufus Thomas, was released on his 1963 album Walking the Dog.

It was Rufus Thomas’  signature hit and also his biggest, reaching #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1963 and remaining on the Hot 100 for 14 weeks. The lyrics make frequent references to children’s nursery rhymes.

1964: The Original Rolling Stones
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The Rolling Stones
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The Rolling Stones / Walking the Dog / 1964

Unlike most Stones’ recordings, this recording features backing vocals by Brian Jones (most early Stones songs feature either Keith Richards or Bill Wyman on backing vocals) making their recording of the song unique among their catalogue.

1965: Jackie Shane
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Jackie Shane
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Jackie Shane / Walking the Dog / 1965

Lounge singer Jackie Shane was considered very risque during the more subdued Toronto club era of the early 1960’s, as a black androgynous soul singer with a flamboyant effeminate stage persona.

Shane was often backed by Frank Motley & The Hitchhikers (featuring saxophonist King Herbert) at Toronto’s Sapphire Club, where he commanded overflow crowds with his silky smooth voice and ad lib RAP during some songs.

With constant club engagements throughout Canada and parts of the US as far away as California and Hawaii, Shane was able to release his one and only hit record, “Any Other Way”, in April 1963. This song reached No. 2 in Canada and sustained itself on the charts for 9 consecutive weeks.

Russ played sax as part of the Canadian music scene during the 60’s and 70’s and saw Jackie Shane perform this song in Toronto’s Ascot Hall (above photo), as well as other places, with Frank Motley.


1965: The Sonics
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The Sonics / Walking the Dog / 1965

From their debut album “The Sonics”, released in 1965 on Etiquette Records. It was re-released in 1999 by Norton Records.

The Sonics are an American garage rock band from Tacoma, Washington, originating from the early and mid-1960s. Among The Sonics’ contemporaries were The Kingsmen, The Wailers, The Dynamics, The Regents, and Paul Revere & the Raiders. This movement is credited with founding Seattle’s music scene which survives to the present.

The songs that the band played were a mixture of garage rock standards (“Louie, Louie”, “Have Love, Will Travel”), early rock and roll (“Jenny, Jenny”, “Skinny Minnie”) and original compositions such as “Strychnine”, “Psycho”, and “The Witch”, all based upon simple chord sequences.

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3 responses to “Song “Walking the Dog”

  1. Once the Stones covered this song, EVERY rock band in Boston circa 1965 played this tune (along with “Louie Louie,” “Little Latin Lupe Lu,” “Carol,” and other Stones’ tunes).

  2. Yes, it seems once an iconic group has put their blessing on a song, it will become a classic.

  3. Thanks that was one of Peter ‘s favorite songs…. Loved to play it when driving with our dog… The dog got right into it also

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