Classic Albums Revisted: Animals By Pink Floyd

Today we’re continuing our Classic Albums Revisited series with the Pink Floyd album named Animals. I promise that the next one won’t be about Pink Floyd, but I think they were the perfect way to start this series.

This is one of my favorite albums from the band, which follows a concept devised by resident musical mastermind and band leader Roger Waters, who is credited with writing every track except for one, “Dogs,” which David Gilmour has a co-writing credit on.

About Animals

Animals is the 10th album by Pink Floyd and saw its original UK release on January 21st, 1977, with its US release falling on February 12th. It is also the first project that the band recorded in their newly built Brittania Row Studios, located in London’s Islington district.

The music they created there falls under the progressive rock tag, and its concept was loosely based on George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Waters focused his lyrical content on the social-political conditions of mid-1970s Britain, with his songs describing the various classes in society as different types of animals; the predatory dogs (capitalist bosses), the greedy, ruthless pigs (the upper class), and the mindless, unquestioning herd of sheep (the masses). Classic Album Sundays expands on their symbolic meaning in their Animals 40th-anniversary article, saying that …

“The pigs are dictators, scared of the unknown but wanting to decide what is best for all. The dogs are cut-throat corporate stooges who will use any means necessary to climb to the top of the heap. The pigs use the dogs to keep the meek and subservient masses of sheep in line.”

The Songs

1. Pigs on the Wing (Part 1)

2. Dogs

3. Pigs (Three Different Ones)

4. Sheep

5. Pigs on the Wing (Part 2)

These five songs run for 41 minutes and 41 seconds, but, as Albumism pointed out in their January 2022 article, “it’s intense enough to feel like 82 by the time it’s through”and that it’s “a disservice if experienced as anything other than one long song.”

Wikipedia had a bit of info that I found extremely interesting …

“”Raving and Drooling” and “You’ve Got to Be Crazy,” two songs previously performed live and considered for Wish You Were Here, reappeared as “Sheep” and “Dogs,” respectively. They were reworked to fit the new concept and separated by a Waters-penned composition, “Pigs (Three Different Ones).”

The first and last tracks are called Pigs on the Wing. (Part 1) kicks the album off, while (Part 2) ends the album. According to,

“Essentially, they are love songs; written by Waters for his wife at the time, they are brisk and simple and are able to stand as mostly disconnected from the middle three songs.”

Both parts feature a lone acoustic guitar, with Roger’s vocals accompanying it. If I’m being honest, they could have been condensed into one song and been just as good as they are split in half.

“Dogs” is the longest of the 5, coming in at a whopping 17 minutes! It began life as an extended jam and was eventually turned into a song about the misery that comes from trying to find your place in the world while at the same time finding yourself getting stuck in the rat race of day-to-day life.

Interestingly enough, the page for “Dogs” says that …

“It has been suggested that the lyrics were in part inspired by the poem Howl by Allen Ginsberg, which describes a world corrupted by a love of money. There is a particular similarity in the repetition of lines beginning with “Who…?”. Waters, however, denies that this was his inspiration.”

Musically, this is a well-played but excessively long track. It utilizes psychedelic prog throughout its entirety, sometimes going a bit further than needed in its meandering tendencies. That being said, the performances of each member are extremely well done, with Gilmour’s incredible playing and guitar tone being one of the highlights.

“Pigs (Three Different Ones)” has long been my preferred song from Animals. It’s about 6 minutes shorter than its predecessor, making it easier for listeners to digest.

The lyrics are about the upper class, and each of the three “pigs” is a political figure or archetype from mid-1970s Britain. It was their policies, activities, or views that Rogers deemed objectionable, and of the three people described in the song, only the conservative morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse is identified.

I love the intro’s spacey psych; the keys and Roger’s fretless bass play off each other, and when David’s guitar enters, it joins in perfectly. This one has psych elements, but it is a rock song at its core.

I hear some similarities between this one and their song “Have a Cigar,” which is my favorite from them; Primus did an amazing cover of it on their Miscellaneous Debris ep. I love that David used a talk box for certain parts, adding a cool effect to his playing. His playing throughout is inspired and shows exactly why he is such a revered player.

This brings us up to “Sheep,” the shortest of the three main tracks, but it still hits the ten-minute mark.

I am both saddened and intrigued that the lyrics remain oddly relevant in the modern age, particularly in the US, where the masses seem unwilling or unable to think for themselves, overlooking the truth they feel for the “truth” they are given. As the song says …

“Meek and obedient, you follow the leader

Down well-trodden corridors into the valley of steel

What a surprise

A look of terminal shock in your eyes

Now things are really what they seem”

On the musical end of things, “Sheep” is another rocking song that utilizes prog, psych, and an upbeat vibe. That feeling comes from the concept concluding with the Sheep overcoming the Dogs, setting their world right in the process. The middle section is proggy psych, with Richard’s keyboard work setting the tone (his work on the album, particularly this song, is incredible). The rock elements don’t stop for long, as they fade in and out of these heavy prog sections with the perfection that comes from knowing exactly what you want and then grabbing it with both hands.

Final Thoughts

It is an amazing fact that 46 years after being released, Animals tells a story that is an ongoing one in modern society. The pigs and the dogs are still ruling the sheep, and those sheep hang on every word their supposed betters utter, most of which are lies and disinformation used to keep the masses under their control. This is also why people still talk about Animals in such high regard, as Roger Waters brilliantly brought the situation out of the dark with his words and music. Sadly, people have not learned the lessons contained within this album nor from Orwell’s book upon which it is based.

During my research for this article, I found a lot of info from and several pieces I discovered on the internet, some of which I quoted directly, while others were paraphrased, so thank you to those writers for unknowingly assisting me with this article.

This article was written by Tom Hanno, who has been writing reviews for the last 7 years but has been sharing his love of music for the majority of his life. Originally starting out at the now defunct Chimera Magazine, he is currently contributing to Doomed and Stoned, The Sleeping Shaman, The Doom Charts, Tom’s Reviews, and The Third Eye. Read more of Tom’s reviews by checking out his Linktree.

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