Animal songs are a great way for singers to get in touch with their wild side. You may have noticed that many of your favorite singers have animal songs in their discography. Songs about, or referring to, animals usually have a deeper meaning, and there are nuances beneath the lyrics. They’re not always referring to the obvious – but to something more.
Below is a list of the top 5 animal songs that we’ve compiled based on votes by music fans. If you’re in the mood, pick one and dance to the beat. You’ll feel the animal inside of you come to life.
Eyes on the Prize (Eye of the Tiger)
The song was released with the movie Rocky III – the biggest movie of 1982 – so even if you haven’t really heard Eye of the Tiger, you’ve heard it. It’s one of Survivor’s most famous songs, being the only one that managed to top the Billboard Top 100, and that too for six consecutive weeks.
The song is one of the most inspirational ones out there. It revolves around the events of the movie itself, telling you not to give up on your dreams, and to keep running after your passions despite setbacks. Glory, fame, recognition – if you run after temporary, fickle things like these, you’d eventually lose track of what you set out to do.
The Original African Song (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)
Who hasn’t heard of this one? Most likely, you heard it in The Lion King, but that still means you’ve heard it! Interestingly, this particular song has a lot of controversy behind it. Of South African origins, this song was essentially stolen from the person who’d first coined it, and he was only given credit after he and his direct family had all passed away.
The English lyrics were actually commissioned to be added to a song that was originally in Zulu. The English version sings about peace and relaxation – in that, the lion is ‘sleeping,’ so the villagers can rest easy. But the original Zulu lyrics sing about good luck and praise and have some nonsensical Zulu words (‘wimaweh’) added for the sake of rhythm.
Doing More Harm than Good (Cat People)
Cat People, also called Putting Out Fire, was originally an OST for the 1981 remake of a movie of the same name. It was brought to life only in 2009 when it was used for a sequence in Inglourious Basterds instead of in the original movie about zoophilic and incestuous cat-people.
The song on its own is about violence – an accidentally brilliant satire about the contemporary world – and the continuously ongoing wars mankind wages against its own self. It’s about people telling themselves they’re doing ‘good’ when they’re actually doing a whole bunch of harm.
Literal Horse or Metaphorical? (Wildfire)
Wildfire is a song about a horse. The lyrics themselves mention a woman upon that horse, so it’s easy to assume that it’s a love song, but Michael Martin Murphy, who wrote it, wasn’t thinking about a woman, but an actual mystical horse from the stories he’d heard from his grandfather as a kid.
The horse itself is neither literal nor metaphorical; it could be either one, depending on how you want to see it – as a horse to ride upon, or as a metaphor to getting away from hard times. Even Murphy himself says he isn’t sure, and that he’d leave it up to interpretation.
For Black Rights (Blackbird)
Is there anyone who doesn’t know The Beatles? Blackbird is their world-famous song from the self-titled album, and unsurprisingly, has a deeper meaning than just a blackbird learning to fly.
At the time, ‘bird’ was slang for ‘girl’, so ‘blackbird’ could be read as ‘black girl’, which was fitting since the song seems to refer to the civil rights movement of the 60s, after a black woman, Rosa Parks, refused to give up her seat for a white passenger in the coloured section of a bus. The song may be old, but its message is still relevant today – but then again, art never goes out of fashion, does it?