From The Stooges to Johnny Cash, we look into the different re-incarnations of dogs on album covers.



From Johnny Cash to The Stooges, dogs many re-incarnations in album covers have come to represent loyalty, rage, despair, England’s working class, loneliness, redemption and hope.

We dig deep into three of our favourites, all released in 1994 (which was, believe it or not, the year of the dog in Chinese calendar).

Johnny Cash — American Recordings
The album that marked the return of Johnny Cash by the hand of Rick Rubin gave us back the essence of the Man in Black. The cover was shot in Australia (where Cash was touring with Kris Kristofferson) by photographer Andy Earl, whose initial idea was to shoot Cash on railway tracks. A last minute change of plans saw Cash posing against wheat fields wearing a long, black coat, holding onto his guitar case, under growing menacing clouds. The legend goes that, as Cash was getting ready, the two dogs appeared from nowhere and posed with him, flanking him at either side.

Blur — Parklife
The third album released by Blur confirmed their place in British music and won Best British Album at the 1995 Brit Awards. It has since been acknowledged as one of the best British pop records of the 90’s. Most of the artwork included on the album booklet was shot at Walthamstow Stadium, the famous greyhound track in London (which shut down in 2008). The album cover was also chosen by the Royal Mail to be included on the set of ‘Classic Album Cover’ postage stamps issued in January 2010 (Led Zeppelin’s IV, New Order’s Power, Corruption and Lies, Primal Scream’s Screamadelica, and The Clash’s London Calling were also selected, amongst others).

Beastie Boys – Some Old Bullshit
A compilation of early Beastie Boys EPs recorded in the early ’80s, the album’ sound linking the band to the New York hardcore scene. The legendary Bob Mack interviewed MCA (Adam Yauch), and Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz) about the mutt. Here is the transcript: Mack: What kind of dog is on the cover of Some Old Bullshit? Yauch: He’s a giant golden retriever. Ad-Rock: He was the team mascot for a long, long time. Still is. Yauch: I had him from when I was like 12 or something until I was like, uhh, college. Ad-Rock: What’s the coolest thing about Samson? Yauch: That I could get in my sleeping bag or on a mattress and slide down the stairs, and he would attack me’. So there you go.



Have you ever imagined Amy Winehouse or Nick Cave as a Chihuahua, Neil Young as a Vizsla, or PJ Harvey as an Afghan hound? That’s exactly what San Francisco-based artist Michael Gillette has done through his unique illustration project, blending beloved, iconic music legends, both past and present, with their dog counterparts. Pack of Dogs, our first foray into book publishing, is a celebration of pup and pop culture for music and dog lovers alike.


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