The B List: 10 Best Songs Involving Monkeys

7. Tweeter and the Monkey Man – Traveling Wilburys

The Traveling Wilburys, the ubergroup made up of Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, George Harrison and Roy Orbison recorded this gritty song about a drug dealer named Tweeter and her partner in crime after a group writing session for their first album back in 1988.

6. Shock The Monkey – Peter Gabriel

You could be excused for thinking this song is about animal rights, but according to author Chris Welch’s The Secret Life of Peter Gabriel, Shock The Monkey is a love song that deals with jealousy. Shock The Monkey was released off of Gabriel’s fourth self-titled album back in 1982 and quickly found its home on the airwaves zooming to #1 on the Billboard Rock Radio.

5. Sleepy Monkey – Widespread Panic

When Michael Houser, John Bell and Dave Schools recorded their first single together in 1985, Coconut Image, they put another original composition named Sleepy Image on the B-side. Coconut Image soon became Coconut while Sleepy Image soon became Sleepy Monkey and nearly 25 years later the band still performs both tunes in concert. Sleepy Monkey features a nice reggae groove and John Bell often raps Bob Marley lyrics during performances of the tune.

4. Brass Monkey – Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys teamed up with producer Rick Rubin to write a catchy song about a cocktail for their debut album License to Ill and the album went on to become the first rap album to hit #1 on the charts and the best selling rap album of the ’80s. Brass Monkey is still a staple of the B-Boys’ live set and a crowd favorite.

3. Monkey Gone to Heaven – The Pixies

The Pixies’ first major label single was one of the finest efforts of their career – 1989’s Monkey Gone to Heaven. UK’s Melody Maker picked Black Francis’ environmentally-themed masterpiece as the Single of the Year in 1989 and the song was also near the top of Rolling Stone and NME’s lists as well.

2. Everybody’s Got Something to Hide, Except For Me & My Monkey – The Beatles

There’s so much to love about this masterful tune from The Beatles’ White Album, but Paul McCartney’s constantly changing syncopated bass line sticks out as one of the best he’s ever come up with. Between McCartney’s slick line, Ringo’s mashing, John Lennon’s biting words and George Harrison’s gritty leads it’s no wonder this incredibly crafted song has been covered by so many artists.

1. Monkey Man – Rolling Stones

One of the more intense Jagger/Richards songs on record, Monkey Man features Richards playing a savage riff while Jagger delivers passionate lyrics that may or may not be about our animalistic tendencies in regards to sex, drugs and rock and roll. Filmaker Martin Scorsese epic use of Monkey Man at the peak of 1990’s Goodfellas only added to this song’s mystique.

Honorable Mention: Sleeping Monkey – Phish, Apeman – The Kinks, I Wanna Be Like You – Louis Prima, Monkey – George Michael, Anything by Gorillaz, Monkey and the Engineer – Jesse Fuller, Monkey On My Back – Aerosmith, Leave My Monkey Alone – Warren Zevon, Too Much Monkey Business – Chuck Berry

Related Content

27 Responses

  1. Thanks for the nod to Sleepy Monkey… it is a beautifully constructed reggae rock tune that allows for Sleepy mellow segments and frenetic Monkey energy!

  2. Doesn’t have monkey in the title, but I’d add ‘Coupe De Ville’ by Neil Young (from This Note’s for You)…for the lyric “How long can I carry this monkey around all by myself?”. Great tune.

  3. I’d have to say Monkey Man would be my #1, however, I fucking love Black’s howl in the end of Monkey Gone To Heaven. Another fav is when Dave Ghrol spits right into the camera lens during the video for Monkey Wrench

  4. Fee… the antagonist Floyd the Chimpanzee is ultimately vanquished with a nipple paper cut. C’mon! PURE GENIUS.

  5. Can’t believe you forgot The Specials- Monkey man!
    Others that I have are: Monkey In Your Soul – Steely Dan, 10 Years After – Hard Monkey,
    Peter Gabriel – Shock the monkey, Jethro Tull – Steel monkey, Mark Knopfler – Punish The Monkey, Ian Brown – Dolphins were monkeys, Soft Machine – Sly monkey, 13th Floor Elevators – Monkey Island, Infectious Grooves – Feed the Monkey, Flower Kings – Monkey business…

  6. looking for a song from possibly year 1968 through year 1973 that has a monkey sound in its recording almost sounds like the theme from mash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Posts

New to Glide

Keep up-to-date with Glide