Country music singers are known for singing about real life. They sing about love, heartache, drinking, and they also sing about animals. Whether those songs are about a pet or an artist is using an animal to convey a deeper message, there are plenty of animal songs in country music. Yes, some of these songs fall into another country music stereotype -- songs about dogs -- but there are plenty of other animal songs in country music to choose from.
Of course, country music isn't the only genre to write about animals. Famous rock songs about animals include The Beatles' "Blackbird" and "I Am The Walrus," Elton John's "Crocodile Rock," Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog," Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird," Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," Suvivor's "Eye of the Tiger," Duran Duran's "Hungry Like The Wolf," Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit," The Rolling Stones' "Little Red Rooster," Ted Nugent's "Cat Scratch Fever," and Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog. The trend also made its way into folk rock and reggae with Harry Chapin's "Cat's In The Cradle," America's "A Horse With No Name," Al Stewart's "Year of the Cat," and Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" and "Buffalo Soldier."
Animal songs can also be heard in pop music old and new with Prince's "When Doves Cry," Baha Men's "Who Let The Dogs Out," and Katy Perry's "Dark Horse." And of course, plenty of animal songs show up in children's songs and cartoons, such as "The Chipmunk Song," "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Mary Had A Little Lamb," and more. While these are all deserving choices of other genres, here are the 7 best songs about animals for your country music playlist.
1. "Ol' Red," Blake Shelton
One of his most iconic songs, "Ol' Red" finds Blake Shelton assuming the character of a Georgia prison inmate who is booked on presumably violent charges after catching his wife cheating. In the song, the inmate works his way up the prison ranks and gets the job of taking care of ol' red, the prison's bloodhound that hunts down escaped convicts. In taking care of ol' red, Shelton finds one genius way to escape prison himself.
2. "Butterflies," Kacey Musgraves
In this sweet song from her Grammy-winning Golden Hour album, Kacey Musgraves uses "Butterflies" to describe how she feels inside when she's with a love interest. More than that, Musgraves uses the butterly as a metaphor for how she was trapped inside her cocoon but her lover set her free. The song is jam packed with colorful details about the flurry of feelings she has inside.
3. "Wild Horses," Garth Brooks
In his 2000 single "Wild Horses," originally on his 1990 No Fences album, Garth Brooks plays the part of a rodeo man who promises his love interest that he'll stop riding and settle down. However, those promises fall short when the rodeo, and the "Wild Horses," keep pulling him back in. Throughout the song, Brooks realizes that his relationship hangs in the balance as he continues to make the wrong choice, but he can't seem to fully commit. One could even argue that the horses that refuse to be tamed are a metaphor for the main character's wild spirit.
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4. "Maggie's Song," Chris Stapleton
Chris Stapleton broke hearts everywhere with the release of "Maggie's Song" from his latest album, Starting Over. With masterful storytelling and Stapleton's second-to-none voice, he tells an emotional story about a rescue dog named Maggie. As one can possibly tell from this synopsis, "Maggie's Song" isn't just another country dog song, and it will likely cause tears for anyone who listens.
5. "Tennessee Stud," Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash sings about riding around on his trusty steed in "Tennessee Stud." The song covers various adventures that start with Cash being rejected by his "sweetheart's pa" and riding out into the wilderness. It's there that he encounters other confrontations and even gets in a gunfight. Eventually, he rides back to Tennessee, where he wins his love interest over and they ride off into the sunset with his Tennessee stud and her Tennessee mare.
6. "High Horse," Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves recorded another animal song for her Golden Hour album, and while "Butterflies" was a sweet commentary on love, "High Horse" is a sassy southern tune. In the song, the Texas-born artist sings about someone who's constantly on their "High Horse," or thinking they're better than everyone. Musgraves also describes this person as someone who "kills the buzz every time they open up their mouth." While the singer doesn't hint at who she's singing about, that person's high horse sure isn't welcome at Musgraves' stable.
7. "Tennessee Hound Dog," Osborne Brothers
In this jubilant bluegrass song, the Osborne Brothers sing about a certain "Tennessee Hound Dog" who is something of a "backyard romeo." The humorous lyrics describe the poor dog as looking like "skin on a bone pile" and "ugly warmed over," but the canine has a way of chasing foxes and has a way with the "she-hounds."