"It is a daily struggle for me not to buy more cats," Taylor Swift has tweeted, but the pop singer still hasn't written a song about any feline. Some rock stars, however, have shown their devotion to their dogs, cats, snakes and other beloved companions by making them immortal through song, or on an album cover or in a video. Here are 11 of the most famous rock pets (not to be confused with pet rocks). By Gavin Edwards
"Martha My Dear," on the Beatles' White Album, is about an Old English sheepdog, his first-ever pet, not a human girl. "Our relationship was platonic, believe me," Paul McCartney joked. "I remember John being amazed to see me being so loving to an animal. He said, 'I've never seen you like that before.' I've since thought, you know, he wouldn't have. It's only when you're cuddling around with a dog that you're in that mode, and she was a very cuddly dog."
Maybe Miley Cyrus learned to keep her tongue outside her mouth from spending so much time with Floyd, a rare breed of dog known as an Alaskan Klee Kai: basically, a miniature Alaskan Husky. Sadly, Floyd passed away on April 1st of this year — and although Cyrus's mom got her a new puppy (Moonie), the singer has made it clear she isn't done grieving, paying tribute by singing "Can't Be Tamed" and Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" to an enormous statue of Floyd that stands about 30 feet tall (roughly 29 feet taller than the actual dog).
In recent years, Elton John has owned a small army of dogs: over 20 of them, including an Irish wolfhound, a Labrador and nine or 10 border terriers. But when he had a civil partnership ceremony with David Furnish in 2005, reportedly only one canine served as honorary best man: Arthur, their cocker spaniel. Arthur also received a credit the following year on Sir Elton's album The Captain and the Kid, for "woof-bells."
Eric Clapton's Weimaraner Jeep, famous for looking mournful on the cover of his 1975 album There's One in Every Crowd, was his first dog since childhood. At Clapton's Hurtwood courntry estate, the guitarist let Jeep and his golden retriever Sunshine both "crap in the house because we were too stoned to clear it up." And just as Clapton wrote a song about George Harrison's wife ("Layla"), Harrison wrote a song about Clapton's dog ("I Remember Jeep," on All Things Must Pass).
The Dalmatian Louie belonged to Bradley Nowell of Sublime: The singer bought him as a puppy for $500 and named him after his grandfather. Louie became the band's mascot, allowed to wander onstage during performances, and was frequently name-checked in Nowell's lyrics, most famously in the hit single "What I Got": "Livin' with Louie Dog's the only way to stay sane." Louie outlived Nowell, however, and after his owner died of an overdose in 1996, Louie thought that every knock on the door signaled his return.
Winston, a Hungarian sheepdog, can be seen on the back cover of the CD booklet for Bush's 1994 debut album, Sixteen Stone, a happy mop of black fur jumping in the air. When singer Gavin Rossdale toured America behind that pop-grunge blockbuster, he so missed Winston that he brought along a stack of Polaroids of the dog. (Before he showed the photos to strangers, he had to flip through them to make sure there were no nude pictures of girls mixed in.)
Freddie Mercury paid tribute to his favorite cat with the song "Delilah" on Queen's album Innuendo: "You make me so very happy/ When you cuddle up and go to sleep beside me/ And then you make me slightly mad/ When you pee all over my Chippendale suite." (Remarkably, the song hit Number One in Thailand.) Mercury spent hours with watercolors trying to paint a portrait of the tortoiseshell Delilah — and when he was dying in 1991, one of his final actions was stroking her fur.
Slash, an avid herpetologist, is given many snakes by other people who don't know what to do with them. Pandora, a six-foot red-tailed boa constrictor, was one such creature: She was passed on to Slash by Lisa Flynt, Larry Flynt's daughter. Pandora ended up starring with Slash in the video for Guns N' Roses' "Patience." "He's a real sweetheart," Slash said of the male snake. "I named him Pandora because I thought it was a she. I didn't really check him out that well when I got him."
Rick Springfield put his "hair-shedding soul mate" Lethal Ron (sometimes known as Ronnie, Arnie or Arnfarn), a "bull-terrier-mix-mutt," on the cover of his 1981 breakthrough album, Working Class Dog, and its 1982 followup, Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet. Lethal Ron, who was found homeless in the parking lot of the library in Glendale, California, got his name, Springfield says, "because of his staggeringly bad gas."
"The Man of the Hour," on Norah Jones' 2009 album The Fall, features the lyrics "You give me lots of lovin'/ And you eat meat" and "Though we'll never take a shower, I know you'll never make me cry." The man in question is named Ralph, and he's a poodle. "I like to say that he's a scruffy, manly poodle. Because you say 'poodle' and people start rolling their eyes," Jones says. "My dogological clock started to tick, so I got a dog — it's great. I'm madly in love with him."
"Ain't but one thing to do/Spend my natural life with you/You're the finest dog I knew," Robert Plant sang on Led Zeppelin III's "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp." The dog in question was called Strider (one of the aliases for Aragorn in Lord of the Rings), a collie with blue eyes and a mottled merle coat. Live, Plant was known to follow the song's final line of "Hear me call your name" by shouting out "Strider!"