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Sheep by Pink Floyd

Album: AnimalsReleased: 1977
  • Along with pigs and dogs, sheep are one of 3 animals represented on the album. The sheep represents the mindless people who follow the herd.
  • Pink Floyd started performing this in 1974. It was known as "Raving And Drooling," but was changed to fit the animal theme of the album.
  • This was the only song from Animals included on Pink Floyd's 2001 retrospective album Echoes.
  • After Pink Floyd toured for this album, they took some time off, got back together, and recorded their legendary album The Wall.
  • There is a "subliminal" message on this song that is a parody of the "Lord's Prayer". It is heard beneath the music in a robotic, distorted voice, with sheep heard in the background. "The Lord is my shepherd, He converteth me to lamb cutlets....". (thanks, Shawn - Boston, MA)
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Comments: 55

I think this song is about the vast majority of American and British citizens, mindlessly following the latest trends, losing all individuality, mistakenly thinking they can become rich (Dogs) or powerful (Pigs). Little do they know that the Dogs, unknowingly working for the Pigs, are making sure that that never happens. (Think giant corporations like McDonald's or Walmart). Even when they do eventually start an uprising, it's against the Dogs, not the Pigs, who are causing all the problems. After the uprising, a select few of the Sheep become Dogs, and the rest slowly sink back to where they started. Quite a depressing, but true, song. Thank you Roger!Dave - St Paul, Mn
What an awesome song!Nate - New York, Ny
"Sheep" is one of my very favorite Floyd songs. The rumor around my grammar school was that the electronic voice was reciting a version of the 23rd psalm written by Anton LaVey for the Satanic Bible (note: I went to catholic school, and this was during the backward masking / subliminal message mass hysteria of the early 80's - if you were around at the time, I'm sure you remember what I'm referring to.) Every time I hear this song, I vividly recall sitting with my friends around their older brother's record player, playing that section over and over trying to decipher what the hell they were saying, because we didn't have the lyric sheet. I felt so scared that we were going straight to hell for listening to it. Now that I'm MUCH older, I just enjoy the musicality and spooky atmosphere - I interpret it as a rant against organized religion and blind faith in general.Kasey - Chicago, Il
love the ending guitar passage, when i hear it i think of people cheering, it just sound like victoryBen - Rohnert Park, Ca
@ Niko, Davis, CA, Pigs was indirectly pointed at Mary Whitehouse, but more directly pointed to people such as Donald Trump and those who have power, money and an air of superiority, as well as towards the hypocrisy of the ruling class. By the way, her name is Mary Whitehouse and, with permission from WikipediA, here is brief synopsis of Mary's importance in the song "Pigs."

"Mary Whitehouse, CBE (born Constance Mary Hutcheson, 13 June 1910 – 23 November 2001) was a British campaigner against the "permissive society" particularly as the media portrayed and reflected it. The motivation for her activities derived from her traditional Christian beliefs, her personal strong political conservatism and her work as a teacher of sex education.
She became a public figure via the 'Clean-Up TV' pressure group, established in 1964, in which she was the most prominent figure. Whitehouse particularly found a lack of accountability in the BBC, an organisation pursuing radical changes in its broadcasting policies at this time. At the beginning of the 1970s she broadened her activities, and was a leading figure in the Nationwide Festival of Light, a Christian campaign which gained mass support, and initiated private prosecutions against Gay News and the director of the theatre play The Romans in Britain."
Joseph - Wilmington, De
Sheep are followers, like most of usTrenton - Oklahoma City, Ok
I'm a Christain who loves the Lord. I have the grace to sit down and enjoy the awesome-God-given talent of Pink Floyd. What the lyrics actually mean does not really matter to me--I'm not responsible for writing them, But you can't get much better than Floyd-all albums, from Sid to Live 8.James - Redding, Az
Whatever the song is actually about - Roger was a rather dark individual - I would like to comment on one of the most innovative production tricks I've ever heard in any music. The fact that the Floyd were not afraid to use synthesizers is great enough, but in this track they came up with a legendary and HIGHLY INNOVATIVE and tricky idea! That is at the end of every verse the voice fades into their VCS3 synth and every time after every verse the sound does something different. Simply put, it's an AWESOME trick and I've NEVER heard anything like it before or since. Studio mastery is what Floyd was all about! And the Floyd also helped usher in the era of techno music acceptance through their innovations. It certainly made me admire synthesizers!Jesse - Madison, Wi
Im gonna have to disagree, this is about the sheep in Animal Farm. Its about revolution at the end it says the dogs are dead.Daniel - Iuka, Ms
sorry, bryan from NJ, but yes, that IS a poke at religious people.its pointing out how religion is all about bowing down and obeying blindly. the song is about how the sheep are the people that make up most of the world- the ones who try to be good christians and lead innocent, normal lives, and do whatever the leaders tell them to.Chloe - St. Louis, Mo
PS SHEEP- the people PIGS- cops, shock troops DOGS- government, elected officals, judgesMike - Jew City, Ny
The reason why the Animals album seems to be based on the book Animal Farm is cause Pink Floyd and George Orwell based the characterization of the animals from the same source, REAL LIFE. To think that Pink Floyd copied their ideas from a book is as stupid as thinking a college education makes you smarter. Animal Farm is about the Russian Revelution. But all the Russian Revelution was, was a cog in the New World Order machine. A social experiment orchastrated by International bankers in England led by their agents Lenon, Trotsky, and others. The purpose was to try and consolidate a huge amount of people (the Soviet population) into one coheasive machine (communism) and how to implement and control it. This was an experiment, a dry run, now their new target is the whole world. A world wide Communist dictatorship, with the global banking elite as the ruling oligarichal class. Pink Floyd songs are about this New World Order, that's why the characters from Animal Farm and Animals are similar, they are based off of REAL LIFE.Mike - Jew City, Ny
PS- The lyric that talks about Jordan is about the End of the World. Armageddon takes place in Meggido, Israel on the JORDAN river on the border of the kingdom of JORDAN. According to Revelations their is supposed to be an end all battle their, over 100,000,000 soldiers on each side. Being led to your death in the valley of steel "Meggido is in a valley", that is what you get for pretending the danger is not real. This song is 100X more revelant today than when Pink Floyd 1st performed it.Mike - Jew City, Ny
The song is about the New World Order. Even back in the 1970's people who hob nobbed with rich and powerful elite of this world, such as pink floyd, knew about these satanist scum and their plans to take over the world. The passage that sounds like 23 Psalm is NOT a swipe or spit at God. It is a future slave of the New World Order talking. "The Lord my sheppard I shall not want" is not talking about God but the slave's master, a lord like in the era of Fuedalism. The passage then goes on to say that the lords of the land will lead all you slaves to your deaths by wars and death camps. Then the passage goes on to tell about the day the slaves will rise up against their future masters after years of planning and training in the martial arts, slaves dont have guns, thats what gun control is about. The uprising will make the bugger's eyes water is the lord being hanged by his serfs. Many of Pink Floyd's songs are about the New World Order: On the Turning Away, Welcome to the Machine, and pretty much the whole Wall 2X album. Wake yourself up to the New World Order, Pink Floyd is trying to wake you up the truth.Mike - Jew City, Ny
Rock and Roll is about anarchy. Anybody that wants to preach on the bible has no business crtiquing a rock and roll song or group. However, that being said, leave the interpretation to the artist and just enjoy the music. This is one of Floyds finest albums and one of the finest songs on the album. Who cares what the artist thought when he wrote and orchestrated the song? It's just damn good!Thomas - Somerville, Al
first off its not the lords prayer. its like the 22'd or 23'd psalm. second off i really dont appreciate the distortion of the psalm but you do have to look out for the false prophets that say its gods will but really their just manipulating you.(like david koresh)Al - Philidelphia, Pa
I too am Christian, but I absolutely love this song, because it just rocks. The secret passage is not a poke at God, nor at religious people. It's aimed at religious fanatics, who let religion take advantage of them. That's mainly what religion did for a majority of the first two millenia A.D. The keyboard solo in the beginnning is the perfect touch, and Gilmour's guitar rocks on this song! One of Floyd's absolute best.Bryan - New York, Ny
I don't think pink floyd is specifically bashing on christianity as a whole just on poeple who act like sheep and follow without thinking. Just becuase someone says something is the will of God doesn't mean its rightSimon - Pittsbugh, Pa
Ok, My opinion about the prayer thing is that Pink Floyd took this passage and modified it to make it fit the theme of the song. In that case, the whole meaning changed and it is not saying what it seems literally.
What I understand of it, is that it is talking in the "sheep" point of view, and they are talking about "pigs" and not God.
Mauricio - San Jose, Ca
Its sad becuase i really like floyds music this song has a buetiful arrangement but the words and ideas behind it are blasphmey. I have know the Lord my whole life and he is anything but a butcher man in his evil ways put him on the cross and evil men should be at the heart of floyds complaint not the lord who protects his sheep from the wicked and in the end will avenged them the lord is loving but he also is the King of Kings. I hope someday they see thru there misunderstanding and rebuke their own words it really makes it hard to listen to them after hearing those words i wish to find there comments on it to gain more insightDaniel - Ventura, Ca
you're overreacting to the animals=animal farm thing. the album's idea IS loosely based on the books basic idea. 1. waters said so himself. 2. the three major animal groups in the book were pigs, sheep, and dogs.Achory - Warner Robins, Ga
look people, it's the 23rd psalm, not the lord's prayer. just thought i'd point that out. personally, i think that this is lyrically the best song on the album, although musically, pigs is better.Achory - Warner Robins, Ga
Amanda, even if sheep was about the war, and you somehow managed to tie in dogs, what are the pigs?Bryan - New York, Ny
Animals is NOT based upon Animal Farm, although there is a superficial similarity in the imagery. The similarity might (or might not) be a conicidence - on the one hand, both sets of imagery are both internally consistent and also align well with the world (in that the animals are well selected to represent the types of people they are used to represent); on the other hand, it may be that Waters had read the book and intentionally used the images similarly either as a reference to the work or as a parody - a response, if you like - of Animal Farm. But it is indisputable that the two "story lines" are totally distict from one another and that the album is not based upon the book.Michael - Pittsburgh, Pa
This song,or maybe the entire album, reminds me of the beatles song Piggies, on the White Album.Daniel - Cincinnatti, Or
The original title of this song was "Raving And Drooling I Fell on His Neck With a Scream" or more concisely, "Raving and Drooling". It had been slowly evolving in Floyd tours since 1973, and was originally slated with "Dogs" (then called "You Gotta Be Crazy") for the album "Wish You Were Here", but they were shelved because they didn't fit in with the album's overall theme of absence.Bill - Erie, Pa
To John from Davis, CA: While I agree that the song deals with poverty and greed in a capitalist society, you can't deny that Waters was influenced by Animal Farm.Max - Orlando, Fl
In the Lords Prayer, people are the sheep, dumb animals that follow the crowd and need to be lead and looked after by a shepherd, God. This song points out that shepherds look after their sheep and then kill and eat them.
"When cometh the day we lowly ones [humans],
Through quiet reflection, and great dedication
Master the art of karate,
Lo, we shall rise up,
And then we'll make the bugger's[Gods] eyes water."
Basically saying that we should kill God, because he is not the kind and caring God that the Bible potrays him to be.
-Caren, Traverse City, MI
Caren - Traverse City, Mi
Anytime I hear someone say that "Animals" is about Animal Farm I want to punch them in the face! Listen to the lyrics you freakin' idiot! They have nothing to do with the story of Animal Farm, the characters, or Communism, its about greed and power in a capitalistic society.John - Davis, Ca
Greatest guitar and bass work
fun to trip out to
Ej - New York City, Nc
"Animals" and "Animal Farm" use the same tools to achieve their ends, but the result is very different. Orwell used animals to symbolize very specific people within the realm of Soviet communism (Napoleon was Josef Stalin, Snowball was Leon Trotsky, etc.) while Waters used animal symbolism to symbolize types of people within the realm of Western capitalism (Pigs= self-appointed moral police who decide what we should be watching or doing to be Christians, ex. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. Sheep= People who think the pigs are right, and serve as innocent bystanders. Dogs= greedy, backstabbing businessmen.Bill - Erie, Pa
Well I'm sure Waters got the idea of personifying the animals from the book Animal Farm, but the album is not about Animal Farm. It is about Waters' views on politics and society. I think Waters is a genious, his lyrics are so meaningful and creative, well...I actually think that the whole band are geniouses, they put out a lot of great music back then. I personally don't like much after Animals...Roger Waters made Floyd, but then again...so did Syd, but after Waters was gone, they were never the same.Jeremy - Mariposa, Ca
5:40 through 6:07 are the same tune used in super mario world for the SNES during boss fightsMatt - La Vista, Ne
Orwell wasn't talking about just Russian Communism, lol.Michael - Alpharetta, Ga
It's hard to put any stock in a theory from someone who says "Jordan is like some jewish place." That has to be one of the most (unintentionally) hilarious comments I've ever seen on this site. Hey Amanda in Palm Coast, FL: Jessica Simpson called. She wants her cognitive ability back.Ash - Charleston, Wv
This song ends with what I consider the greatest, most powerful guitar passage ever recorded. It is mind-blowingly majestic in its grandeur. Gilmour is God.Ash - Charleston, Wv
Actually, Here's how the middle section goes:

"The Lord is my shepard
I shall not want,
He makes me down to lie,
through pastures green,
He leadeth me the silent waters by,
With bright knives,
He Releaseth my soul,
He maketh me to hang hooks in high places,
He Converth me to lamb cutlets,
For lo he hath great power and great hunger,
When cometh the day we lowly ones
Through quiet reflection,
And Great Dedication,
Master the art of Karate,
Lo we shall rise up,
And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water."

And Also, it's the 23rd psalm, not The lord's prayer.
Takashi - Tokyo, Japan
Actually, Here's how the middle section goes:

"The Lord is my shepard
I shall not want,
He makes me down to lie,
through pastures green,
He leadeth me the silent waters by,
With bright knives,
He Releaseth my soul,
He maketh me to hang hooks in high places,
Takashi - Tokyo, Japan
I think it's very cool to see what some people think this song is about. It gives you a new perspective of the song. Personally, i think it is about sheep being the mindless followers of the time. I just dont think Pink Floyd would say that cruel stuff about sheep and intend it to really be about their fans, but who knows?Matthew - Downers Grove, Il
The prayer ends "... he leadeth me the silent waters by. With bright knives he releaseth my soul. He converteth me to lamb cutlets, and makes me to hang on hooks in high places. For lo, he hath great power, and great hunger. But when one day, we lowly ones, through patience and quiet dedication, master the art of karate, lo, we shall rise up, and then we'll make the bugger's eyes water." Vive la revolucion!Connor - Turlock, Ca
Kieran, I believe Lacy is correcting Eddio who stated that another George Orwell book is 1982, when it is in fact 1984. I'm pretty sure she's not saying that 1984 was the only novel he wrote. Also, Alex, please, this is a place for comments, not for your criticism of other people's interpretations of the song. Also, you seem to have minimal support for your idea that this is purely about Western Capitalism, while in Animal Farm, there are the greedy pigs, the aggressive, violent dogs, and the sheep who repeat everything the pigs say mindlessly in fear of being attacked by the dogs as the other animals were. I'm sure there had to be some influence from Orwell on this album, but I'm sure it wasn't Water's sole source of influence.Spencer - Fixing A Hole
Lacy, George Orwell wrote animal farm as well.Kieran - Albury-wodonga, Australia
I dont really care what it's about, its an awesome song. sometimes knowing what people think it's about just ruins it for me..but still im curious. heheh well curiosity killed the cat.Krystal - Victoria, Canada
You people are all wrong!!! Okay the song (sheep) isnt about fans its about THE WAR!! Jordan is like some jewish place and the sheep are the jews, the dogs are the natzis. IT MAKES SENSE! "the DOGS are dead." Bleating and bablling.. they were hearded into death!
-Amanda USA
Amanda - Palm Coast, Fl
People, this isn't a place to post random ideas of what songs are about. It's for the truth. I'd hate to think we have kids out there BELIEVING that crap that it's about George Orwell's "Animal Farm", because it isn't. It's almost a polar oposite. It has meanings related to the greed and sadness of Western Capitalism. Dogs is my favorite with Sheep a close second, and Pigs a close third, and Pigs on the Wing a very close fourth. Ok, I love the whole album <3Alex - Town, Ct
I'm a vegitarian and I love it. (Of course I know vengeful sheep are not really the base of the song, but I like it nonetheless)Pinky - Wellington, New Zealand
Hm, the official version I heard is that it was indeed about the fans and the record company, but what is so great about the album, is that u can twist in how you like, it has lots of meaning. and about the heil hitler, indeed, you cand hear some effects in the background. at first i thought it was HH myself, it was weird. but it's actually fret noise, or a synth or something, I edited the song, split the channels, and it's not HH, though the idea is good for a "remake" :)Stefan - Bucharest, Romania
Besides the subliminal message stated up there, I swear I can hear German chants of "heil hitlar" during the sublimial message in the lyrics. You have to turn it up real loud and listen carefully to hear it. I don't think my mind is playing a trick on me because it would indeed fit into the description of this song.Don - Philadelphia, Pa
Eddio, FYI, the novel was called 1984.Lacy - Yukon, Ok
Funny, I thought the The Dogs were Pink Floyd performing for the Sheep (Their fans) and the Pigs were the record company.Phil - Liverpool, England
This album is NOT based on George Orwell's book!
Both attempt to show people as being like animals. Orwell was talking about Russian communism, Waters about Western capitalism.

The psalm in Sheep is:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me down to lie
Through pastures green he leadeth me the silent waters by
With bright knifes he releaseth my soul
He maketh me to hang on hooks in high places
He converteth me to lamb cutlets
For lo, he hath great power, and great hunger
When cometh the day we lowly ones
Though quiet reflection, and great dedication
master the art of karate
Lo, we shall rise up
And then we'll make the buggers eyes water
Ric - Melbourne, Australia
The Animlas album wasn´t based in Roger Waters point of view, but George Orwell´s (the same of the 1982 novel)Animal´s Farm.
Just ask for the book and you´ll see the dog, the sheeps and of course, the pigs. anyone of them with thier our role inside the story.
Reggards
Eddio - Cantaura, South America
Gotta love that funky guitar.Corey - Dark Side Of The Moon, Other
Pigs is about Mary Whitenhouse, or whatever her name is.Niko - Davis, Ca
The Album "Animals" was based on frontman, Roger Waters' point of view on what society is about. The Pigs are the goverment workers and people with high power and greed. The sheep are the people who obay the pigs and believe that it is the "christian" thing to do and are just your normal, hard working innocent bystanders. Dogs are people who are against the pigs and are backstabbers.Lee - Durham, Nc