Tuesdays Tunes: “Hey Bulldog”, The Beatles

Hey Bulldog - Wikipedia

Recorded at EMI studios, London in 1968. “Hey Bulldog” was classified…by some…as psychedelic rock or even hard rock. I classify it as a great Beatles tune.

Video of “Hey Bulldog” was recorded during the filming of the promo video for “Lady Madonna”. In many ways there are similarities between the two songs. One clear one is that “Hey Bulldog” is the only Beatles song…except “Lady Madonna”…with a piano riff instead of guitar. John Lennon wrote most of it although, as usual, it was credited to Lennon/McCartney. One peculiarity about the song is that Paul does the low register harmonies on this one.

Actually a song hidden away in the least popular of all Beatles albums (Yellow Submarine), but a rocker and one of my faves. It was going to be called something else…possibly “She Can Talk to Me”…but Paul started making barking sounds on the recording and the name “Hey Bulldog” was adapted…

Beatles: Cincuenta años de 'Yellow Submarine'

Lennon supposedly said he felt ashamed of having subjected Yoko to the recording to a song about utter nonsense. But, I ask myself, isn’t everything Yoko did…and has ever done…utter nonsense?

This song is one of the most covered. It has been covered over 30 times, including by such artists as Alice Cooper, Elvis Costello, Manfred Mann and Dave Matthews!

Lennon might have thought it was rubbish. Well, he probably thought that during the days he was composing “Imagine” or “#9 Dream” (another one he later said was a throwaway), and Yoko might not have liked it. But does anyone like anything Yoko has ever done? Isn’t the body of her work something that can certainly be classified as rubbish?

The Beatles no sabían hacer rock - WikiRocK

“Hey Bulldog” is what it is supposed to be, a rocker. If the words don’t mean anything, then maybe it was describing life in 1968. In effect, even the sound engineers for the Beatles recognised that they played the song incredibly well. It was remarked that this was one of Paul’s best bass lines…up until that moment…and that George nailed his solo from the get-go.

The Beatles no sabían hacer rock - WikiRocK

Paul said in 1994:

I remember (it) as being one of John’s songs and I helped him finish it off in the studio, but it’s mainly his vibe. There’s a little rap at the end between John and I, we went into a crazy little thing at the end. We always tried to make every song different because we figured, ‘Why write something like the last one? We’ve done that.’ We were on a ladder so there was never any sense of stepping down a rung, or even staying on the same rung, it was better to move one rung ahead.

I agree with you Sir Paul, one hundred percent!

Here are the lyrics to “Hey Bulldog”. You can play the video and sing along…

Sheepdog, standing in the rain
Bullfrog, doing it again
Some kind of happiness is
Measured out in miles
What makes you think you’re
Something special when you smile
Childlike no one understands
Jackknife in your sweaty hands
Some kind of innocence is
Measured out in years
You don’t know what it’s like
To listen to your fears
You can talk to me
You can talk to me
You can talk to me
If you’re lonely, you can talk to me
Big man (yeah) walking in the park
Wigwam frightened of the dark
Some kind of solitude is
Measured out in you

You think you know me, but you haven’t got a clue
You can talk to me
You can talk to me
You can talk to me
If you’re lonely, you can talk to me
Hey hey
Roar
Hey, bulldog (hey bulldog)
Woof
Hey, bulldog
Hey, bulldog
Hey, bulldog
Hey man
Whats up brother?
Roof
What do ya say
I say, roof
You know any more?
Ah ah (you got it, that’s it, you had it)
That’s it man, wo ho, that’s it, you got it
Woah
Look at me man, I only had ten children
Ah ah ah ah ah ah ha ha ha ha
Quiet, quiet (ok)
Quiet
Hey, bulldog, hey bulldog

I hope you have liked this entry of Tuesdays Tunes and if you did, I would greatly encourage you to comment, to reply, to create a conversation. As artists, poets, musicians, or lovers of these and all others art forms, we should establish clear and continuous lines of communication. I would also appreciate a like, a follow and perhaps even a re-blog (this would extend the conversation to your community).

THANKS!

Hey Bulldog: la última canción Beatle - Ecos Del Vinilo
(The Beatles in studio, 1968)

CHEERS!

N.B.

All images and photographs used are, and remain, the property of their respective owners and used here solely for educational purposes.

THANKS!

11 comments

  1. beth · August 11, 2020

    i love the story behind this. there is so much to their songs and how they came to be

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · August 11, 2020

      Hello Beth! Yes, there is always something behind each Beatle song…this one is one of my faves, though a relatively obscure tune. Thank you so much and I really appreciate your replies always! All the best and best wishes for a lovely week!
      Francisco

  2. Brad Osborne · August 11, 2020

    I have not heard this song in years, Francisco! Thanks for sharing and providing such well-researched background. As for Yoko, she was a sycophantic gold-digger who didn’t have an artistic bone in her body. But that is just an opinion. I have often wondered what would have become of the lads if she had never entered the picture. I believe, as some others do, that she may have well been the demise of the band. Great post and entertaining to read! Stay well, brother!

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · August 11, 2020

      Greetings my friend and I am glad you had a chance to recollect on this great song. Yes, I agree fully with you reference Yoko, she is no artist, she is just rich. After inheriting hundreds of millions from John, she can set up anything as art and it would be accepted even at the MoMA and at the Guggenheim Bilbao (where they had exhibitions of her “art”). I also wonder what would have happened if John had not fallen in love with her…thank you so much for your reply and i wish you a great week, Brad, stay well and all the best!
      Francisco

  3. tiffanyarpdaleo · August 11, 2020

    Thanks for this post, I’ve always loved this song, but I didn’t know anything about it, now I do!

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · August 12, 2020

      Yes, it’s a great song and the back story is pretty cool. Thanks Tiffany! All the best,
      Francisco

  4. myplace3187 · August 19, 2020

    This is one song I have not heard for many years. I had the Yellow Submarine Album back in the day. I thought it was a good song that some might have thought of as just a filler. They are wrong. Thanks for educating us once again Francisco !! Have an incredible Wednesday !

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · August 19, 2020

      Thank you! I always liked that song and I’m glad you like it too

      • myplace3187 · August 20, 2020

        You are welcome ! It is a good song. Thanks for sharing this one again Francisco !

  5. Mary Ann · August 24, 2020

    Interesting story behind the music..
    It is sad his life was cut short, and still shrouded in conspiracy..

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