Dogs: The Leadership Lessons of the Floyd: DeMarco Banter [sort of]


Reading the other night… Dogs by Pink Floyd come through the headphones and I was struck by the leadership lessons (albeit cynical) in the song.  Had to share.

The song was written in 1974 by David Gilmour with the title “You Gotta Be Crazy”. Waters modified the lyrics in some parts and changed the title to “Dogs”. David Gilmour and Roger Waters share vocals in the song.

“Dogs” is the only song on Animals on which Gilmour sings.

The final verse explores a number of aspects of business life and how it compares to dogs, for example taking chances and being “trained not to spit in the fan”, losing their individuality (“broken by trained personnel”), obeying their superiors (“fitted with collar and chain”), getting treats for good behaviour (“given a pat on the back”), being better than everyone else (“breaking away from the pack”) and getting to know everyone but spending less time with family (“only a stranger at home”). Every line of this verse begins with the words “Who was”, which prompted comparison to Allen Ginsberg‘s poem “Howl“.

Always entertaining and educational to search other blogs for data: “The dogs are the Russians, the three Pigs are the United States, Great Britain and France… The sheep are everyone else who are forced to watch the superpowers duke it out. I wish I had a quote or something to really prove this.” (Interesting take)

The Orwell, “Animal Farm” resemblance was really retro-fitted on after the fact once Waters re-tooled the lyrics to these 3 year old tunes and added Pigs to it which directly references Mary Whitehouse who was a ultra-conservative, self-appointed guardian of censorship in Britain at the time of the album’s writing. And yes, Pigs on the Wing is indeed a love song in 2 parts that bridges the album and provides a first-person Waters reference where he places himself in the Dog column given the 3 choices there are in life. A dog with a heart I guess…I love the meatheaded sexual pun of “bury my bone.” he wouldn’t be that misogynistic until Pros and Cons which he wrote the following year in 1978 alongside The Wall. Gilmour was quoted as saying the original lyrics were very hard to sing live because there were just so many of them. The ending stanzas were a direct attempt at writing poetry like Ginsberg, with each line started by “Who…” (above from other blogs)

If indeed you share a love of Pink Floyd:  I highly recommend a search on iTunes under Entitled Opinions and Pink Floyd, there is a great podcast/iTunes U file from Stanford discussing all the finer points of the band and their music.

You gotta be crazy, you gotta have a real need.
You gotta sleep on your toes, and when you’re on the street,
You gotta be able to pick out the easy meat with your eyes closed.
And then moving in silently, down wind and out of sight,
You gotta strike when the moment is right without thinking.

And after a while, you can work on points for style.
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake,
A certain look in the eye and an easy smile.
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
So that when they turn their backs on you,
You’ll get the chance to put the knife in.

You gotta keep one eye looking over your shoulder.
You know it’s going to get harder, and harder, and harder as you
get older.
And in the end you’ll pack up and fly down south,
Hide your head in the sand,
Just another sad old man,
All alone and dying of cancer.

And when you loose control, you’ll reap the harvest you have sown.
And as the fear grows, the bad blood slows and turns to stone.
And it’s too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw
So have a good drown, as you go down, all alone,
Dragged down by the stone.

I gotta admit that I’m a little bit confused.
Sometimes it seems to me as if I’m just being used.
Gotta stay awake, gotta try and shake off this creeping malaise.
If I don’t stand my own ground, how can I find my way out of this

Deaf, dumb, and blind, you just keep on pretending
That everyone’s expendable and no-one has a real friend.
And it seems to you the thing to do would be to isolate the winner
And everything’s done under the sun,
And you believe at heart, everyone’s a killer.

Who was born in a house full of pain.
Who was trained not to spit in the fan.
Who was told what to do by the man.
Who was broken by trained personnel.
Who was fitted with collar and chain.
Who was given a pat on the back.
Who was breaking away from the pack.
Who was only a stranger at home.
Who was ground down in the end.
Who was found dead on the phone.
Who was dragged down by the stone.

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