Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: Walking the DogReleased: 1963
Thomas was a Mississippi soul singer who recorded several popular songs about dancing - including this one. Other dance/novelty songs he recorded include "Funky Chicken" and "Do the Penguin." He recorded for Stax Records
and is the father of Carla Thomas, who also became a successful R&B singer.
Some of the many artists to record this song include The Who and Aerosmith (it was the last song they recorded for their first album). The Rolling Stones recorded it on their first album, thanks to their guitarist Brian Jones, who was the leader of the band at the time. He was a big fan of American Soul music and wanted them to record the song.
The only time this song has charted in the UK was a version by the Merseybeat group The Dennisons, which peaked at #36 in 1964. This proved to be the band's biggest hit, but their drummer Clive Hornby found success in another field. After turning to acting, Hornby played the popular character Jack Sugden in the ITV soap Emmerdale for 28 years until his death in July 2008.
According to Mojo
magazine, September 2002, Rufus Thomas was king of the dog songs. He also recorded "Can Your Monkey Do The Dog," "The Dog," "Somebody Stole My Dog," "Can't Get Away From This Dog" and "Stop Kicking My Dog Around."
In his memoir Fortunate Son: My Life, My Music, John Fogerty tells a story about his band The Golliwogs (which would later become Creedence Clearwater Revival) opening for Sonny and Cher. They got an encore, and started playing "Walking the Dog" when the curtain suddenly dropped - it turned out that was Sonny and Cher's opening number.