The world of music is full of creative expressions, including those inspired by animals, such as monkeys.
Monkey-themed songs have been popular for decades, with music from many genres spanning multiple generations.
This article will explore the top fifteen songs about monkeys, providing a comprehensive look at the best musical pieces inspired by these fascinating creatures.
From classic rock to modern rap, this list will cover a variety of decades and genres.
Each song will be analyzed for its lyrical content and musical elements, providing insight into the musical history of monkey-themed songs.
1. “Monkey Man” by The Rolling Stones
“Monkey Man” by The Rolling Stones is a popular song from their 1969 album Let It Bleed, showcasing the band’s signature blues rock sound.
The track features a heavy guitar riff and a catchy chorus, with Mick Jagger’s vocals conveying a sense of dread and desperation.
Lyrically, the song is about a man who is being pursued by enemies, yet remains resilient and defiant.
Instrumentally, the song is driven by a strong rhythm section, with Keith Richard’s guitar solo adding an extra layer of emotion.
Overall, “Monkey Man” is a classic example of the Rolling Stones’ blues-rock sound, showcasing their talent for creating infectious and powerful tracks.
2. “Shock The Monkey” by Peter Gabriel
Inspired by animal rights activist Peter Singer, Peter Gabriel’s 1982 song “Shock The Monkey” is an exploration of the moral implications of animal experimentation.
The lyrics focus on the use of primates in laboratory testing, detailing the physical and emotional trauma that the animals endure.
Gabriel’s powerful message is conveyed through a combination of intense instrumentation, layered vocals, and sound effects.
His composition is striking and effective in its critique of animal experimentation, making it a memorable and powerful song about monkeys.
3. “Monkey Gone To Heaven” by Pixies
The Pixies’ 1989 track “Monkey Gone to Heaven” is a surrealist exploration of mortality and human mortality.
With its whimsical lyrics and catchy guitar riffs, the song captures the essence of the angst associated with death and the hope of a better afterlife.
The main instrumentation is based on the electric guitar and bass, with sparse drums, creating a dreamy atmosphere.
The chorus of the song gives a feeling of hope and longing.
While the message of the song is ambiguous, it is clear that the Pixies were attempting to explore the idea of mortality in a creative and unique way.
4. “Monkey On My Back” by Aerosmith
Aerosmith‘s 1989 track “Monkey On My Back” draws upon the thematic elements of addiction, and the struggle of overcoming it.
The song’s title is a metaphor for the burden of addiction that can feel suffocating and overwhelming.
Lyrically, the song conveys the narrator’s struggle to break free from the cycle of addiction, as well as the subsequent feelings of isolation and guilt.
Instrumentally, the song features a driving rhythm and a blues-inspired guitar solo, which further emphasizes the theme of addiction.
Ultimately, “Monkey On My Back” is a powerful anthem that speaks to the struggles of addiction and the resilience of those who strive to overcome it.
5. “Monkey And The Engineer” by Grateful Dead
Grateful Dead‘s “Monkey And The Engineer” is a country-folk song that speaks to the struggles of life and the beauty of resilience.
Written and composed by folk musician Jesse Fuller, the song tells the story of a monkey and his train engineer, both of whom are struggling with life’s hardships.
The song is a testament to the power of resilience, as it suggests that if the monkey and engineer can persevere, they might still be able to find joy in life.
The song has a simple yet intricate melody that conveys the complexity of life’s struggles and its rewards.
6. “Me And My Monkey” by Robbie Williams
Transitioning to another popular song about monkeys, “Me and My Monkey” by Robbie Williams is a whimsical, lighthearted look at the relationship between a man and his pet monkey.
The song is an upbeat pop tune that features clever wordplay and interesting instrumentation.
The lyrics are humorous and express the idea of having a companion who can always be relied upon.
The song has a catchy chorus and strong melody that is sure to stick in the listener’s mind.
7. “Punish The Monkey” by Mark Knopfler
Mark Knopfler’s song, “Punish The Monkey”, is a blues-rock ballad highlighting the consequences of misbehavior.
The song is an ode to the idea of meting out justice to those who have gone astray, with a bluesy melody and a catchy chorus.
The lyrics are set in a narrative that follows the journey of a misbehaving monkey, and how it is punished for its misdeeds.
Instrumentally, the song is driven by Knopfler’s signature guitar playing and a slow tempo that allows for the lyrics to be heard clearly.
The song is an effective representation of the theme of justice, and the consequences of misbehavior.
8. “Monkey” by Harry Belafonte
Harry Belafonte’s song, “Monkey”, is an upbeat and lively tune that recounts the story of a mischievous monkey and the humorous consequences of its mischief.
Lyrically, the song paints a vivid picture of the monkey’s misadventures as it attempts to steal from neighbors and evade capture.
The song is musically upbeat and features a catchy chorus. Belafonte’s vocal delivery is animated and brings the story to life.
The song paints a humorous, lighthearted picture of the monkey’s antics and provides a fun and entertaining listening experience.
9. “Shake That Monkey” by Too $hort
Too $hort’s song “Shake That Monkey” is an uptempo hip-hop track featuring a sample of the classic Harry Belafonte song “Monkey”.
It was featured on the album Married To The Game.
The track is characterized by a high-tempo beat and a heavy bass line.
The playful and humorous lyrical focus is on partying and having a good time.
The song was a hit in the hip-hop and rap scene and has remained popular since its release.
10. “Dance Monkey” by Tones And I
Continuing on the subject of songs about monkeys, “Dance Monkey” by Tones And I is a pop song released in 2019.
The song features a catchy beat and a cheerful tune.
The lyrics are about letting go of inhibitions and enjoying life.
The song is a call to dancing and letting go of any worries.
It encourages people to be carefree and enjoy life as it is.
The song has been successful in many countries and has been certified Platinum in various countries around the world.
It is an upbeat and cheerful song that can be enjoyed by all ages.
11. “New Monkey” by Elliott Smith
“New Monkey” by Elliott Smith is a melancholic folk-rock song about a monkey who is in search of a place to call home.
The song’s lyrics are a reflection of Smith’s fragile state of mind, as he sings of a lonely creature looking for love and acceptance.
Musically, the song is grounded in acoustic guitar and Elliott’s vulnerable vocals, with a chorus that builds to a wistful, haunting crescendo.
“New Monkey” is a powerful example of Smith’s songwriting and a poignant tribute to the insecurities of life.
12. “Monkey In Your Soul” by Steely Dan
Steely Dan’s “Monkey In Your Soul” provides a contrasting view of monkeys compared to Elliott Smith’s “New Monkey”.
This jazzy instrumental track features a prominent saxophone riff complemented by a syncopated drumbeat.
The lighthearted melody is a reminder of the beauty, humor, and joy that monkeys can bring to life.
The song has a playful yet soulful feel that captures the essence of monkey love.
13. “Lab Monkey” by Alice In Chains
Alice In Chains’ “Lab Monkey” offers an insightful critique of animal testing in the scientific laboratory.
The song’s lyrics highlight the ethical dilemma of using animals for research purposes, suggesting that the monkeys feel pain and distress in the lab environment.
Musically, the song paints an aural picture of the laboratory, using minor chords and a slow tempo to reflect the somber atmosphere.
While not explicitly advocating against animal testing, “Lab Monkey” calls into question the morality of such practices.
14. “Monkey” by George Michael
George Michael’s “Monkey” is an upbeat pop song that explores the roles of class and race in creating divisions between people.
The song paints a vivid picture of two people from different classes and races coming together, only to have their relationship ultimately fail because of the societal pressures that stand in their way.
Michael’s use of musical elements such as a catchy bass line and a driving beat create an auditory image of the difficulty of bridging the gap between people of different classes and races.
His lyrics are clever and thought-provoking, as he reflects on the consequences of societal pressures on relationships.
15. “Monkey Suit” Bruno Mali
After George Michael’s “Monkey”, Bruno Mali’s “Monkey Suit” provides a more upbeat and light-hearted take on the subject of monkeys.
The lyrics are filled with playful imagery of monkeys.
The use of such colorful language gives the song an upbeat vibe, lending itself to be an ideal soundtrack for a party.
Best Songs About Monkeys – Final Thoughts
Monkeys have been a source of inspiration for many musicians over the years, and the songs that they have written about them are a testament to this.
The 15 best songs about monkeys show a diverse range of styles, from the classic rock of The Rolling Stones to the alternative sound of Pixies.
Each of these songs has its own approach to the topic, and together, they represent a wide variety of perspectives on what it means to be a monkey.
Whether it is the rebelliousness of Aerosmith or the whimsical musings of Steely Dan, these songs have something to offer to any listener.
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