Get Down

Album: I'm a Writer, Not a Fighter (1973)
Charted: 1 7

Songfacts®:

  • Despite the line, "You're a bad dog baby, but I still want you around," this song is not about an actual dog, although it has long been rumored to be. Gilbert O'Sullivan says it's about "an over-zealous lady," not a poorly trained pooch.

    The dog rumor started when the BBC played it on their Christmas 1973 edition of Top Of The Pops. Their dance troupe, Pan's People, did a routine to the song where the five dancers chastised four very patient pooches (one ran off early on) as part of the choreography. This very literal interpretation of the song has hung around for decades.
  • In America, O'Sullivan is best known for his #1 hit "Alone Again (Naturally)," but in the UK, his chart-toppers were "Clair," followed by "Get Down." This made O'Sullivan the first Irish-born artist with two UK #1 hits (he grew up in England, where his family moved when he was young).
  • This funky, rock-oriented song marked a change in direction from O'Sullivan's previous singles, which were mostly ballads. The musicians supplementing Gilbert's piano included Chris Spedding (guitar) and Herbie Flowers (bass).
  • This was only a modest hit in America, but it was huge in the UK, where it won the Ivor Novello Award for Most Performed British Song of 1973.
  • "Get Down" is a great example of O'Sullivan's very percussive piano technique. "I play the piano like drums, so my left hand is basically hitting the high hat, and the right hand is the snare," he told the SodaJerker podcast.
  • According to Rick Finch, this song inspired the KC & The Sunshine Band hit Get Down Tonight, which Rick co-wrote.
  • In March 1973, this was released in the UK backed by "A Very Extraordinary Sort Of Girl" on the MAM label. Over the years, it appeared on various records, including a 1985 Dutch release on the BR Music label as the B-side of "Matrimony," and the 1986 release on the Kitty label, Japan, as the B-side of "Alone Again (Naturally)." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England

Comments: 5

  • George from Vancouver, Canadathe girl is a dog = b*tch, without running afoul of censorship. . . he wants her away from him, because she's a b*tch, but, like often happens, she was very sexy &/or good in bed, so he wants to keep her around.
  • Seventh Mist from 7th HeavenBut unlike Elvis's Hound Dog, maybe this one could catch a rabbit.
  • Chuck Long from CaliforniaFrom the August 2, 1973 edition of Rolling Stone:

    "My lyrics are very British, and to me the girl in 'Get Down' is behaving like a dog - she's jumping up on him, so 'get down!' That's all."

    http://www.gilbertosullivan.net/in_print/rolling_stone_02.htm
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 17th 1973, "Get Down" by Gilbert O'Sullivan entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #76; and on August 12th it peaked at #7 (for 2 weeks) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on April 7th it reached #1 (for 1 week) on the United Kingdom's Singles chart, it also peaked at #1 in his native Ireland...
    Between 1972 and 1974 he had six Top 100 records; with half of them making the Top 10, his other two Top 10 records were "Alone Again (Naturally)" (peaked at #1 for 6 weeks in 1972) and "Clair" (reached #2 for 2 weeks also in 1972)...
    Mr. O'Sullivan, born Raymond Edward O'Sullivan, will celebrate his 68th birthday this coming December 1st, 2014..
  • Steve from Whittier, CaI always knew that this was about a dog!
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