Every once in a while, something happens in toss off culture that seems to capture everybody ’ s attention. Whether it ’ s Harlem Shake television, the frost bucket challenge, or Psy ’ s “ Gangam Style, ” these cultural phenomena are normally meteorologic : they get popular quickly, show up everywhere, and, mercifully, burn out equally quickly as they started. In early 2000, the omnipresent act of cultural ephemera clamoring for our attention was the Baha Men ’ randomness “ Who Let the Dogs Out ? ” You remember it, right ?
The song is attention-getting, bright, and driven by a simple insistent hook—all the things that make for a hit, the kind that gets played over and over and over and… And that, of course, happened. That translated into cosmopolitan achiever, with the song reaching the acme 10 in most of Europe. Interestingly, the song didn ’ thymine do that well in the US, charting no higher than # 40 on the standard Billboard Chart. ( It did hit # 6 on the US Dance chart, though. )
Its very US success came a class of thus former, when “ Who Let the Dogs Out ? ” was picked up as the de facto hymn for sports teams of all types and at all levels, american samoa well as appearing on the soundtrack of a couple of movies. shortly thereafter, the grocery store was saturated with Baha Men clothe, toys, and lots more. ( To this day, you can still buy Who Let the Dogs Out merch on both the primary and secondary markets. )
You might think that this sting of lightning in a bottle was a Baha Men original, but its history actually goes back decades, includes a pair of lawsuits, and is about american samoa colored as the Baha Men ’ s stagecoach outfits.
Let ’ s start right off with something colored. Junkanoo is a festival unique to certain parts of the Caribbean, particularly the Bahamas. The festival is marked by parades, floats dancing, and music. London hairdresser to the stars Keith Wainright was a frequent visitor to the Bahamas, and he loved to bring back recordings of the music he heard there to play for his clients. One song he heard there in the mid- to late 90s was Doggie by trinidadian singer Anslem Douglas. For this article, we ’ ll call Douglas ’ version the original .
A read producer heard Douglas ’ birdcall and smelled a hit. Through him, the birdcall ended up in the hands of music showman Jonathan King. King, who discovered the isthmus Genesis, signed 10CC to their first read bargain, invested in the original Rocky Horror Show theatrical production, and who has a hanker list of spell, performing and producing credits, decided to record the sung himself. His version was released under the diagnose Fatt Jakk and His throng of Pets. This version has more of an EDM feel, and uses a few well-known samples, most notably Tag Team ’ s “ Whoomp ! ( There It Is ). ”
not having much chart achiever, he passed the sung onto producer Steve Greenberg, who happened to manage the Baha Men. He thought that his group had the chops to make it a much bigger strike, but they initially balked at the candidate of making a cover record. Greenberg persisted and, after a personnel change within the ring, they went ahead and recorded it .
Before the Baha Men ’ s version record was released, another version popped up on the charts in deep 1998, this one by hip-hop artist Chuck Smooth .
This is a game mix, evocative of Sir Mix-a-Lot, that retains the hook and the choir, but changes the lyrics of the verses importantly. primitively written as a pro-woman hymn calling out oversexed guys, Smooth does a 180 and goes full-on horndog, spitting rhymes like “ I ’ m there when your husband ’ s workin ’ ; he comes home I hide behind the curtain ; he ’ sulfur leery but not certain ; I ’ megabyte poisonous, not equitable flirtin ’, ” and other verses less balmy. This translation alone stayed on the charts for six weeks, topping out at # 76 .
During the lapp five or so years that this was all going on, the song ( or at least the chorus ) was surfacing elsewhere. Remember Anslem Douglas ? well, he says that it was his brother-in-law who came up with the hook that Anslem based the sung on. The brother-in-law worked with a radio production company in Toronto. Two producers there, Leroy Williams and Patrick Stephenson, claimed that they originated the transition of the “ who let the dogs out ” from a simple speak phrase into a melodious doggerel for the station, and were the first to add the “ woof ” after the line was spill the beans. That may or may not be true, as we ’ ll see in a moment.
besides working in Toronto radio was Ossie Gurley, who is credited as an “ organizer ” on the master record by Douglas. Gurley claims a bigger role, saying that he told Douglas, “ You take worry of the words, I ’ ll take care of the music, ” and sued for 50 % of the royalties. To muddy the waters even further, Gurley has an association with Chuck Smooth ’ south record label, creating even more claims against the profits .
In 1992, 1500 miles from Toronto, a pair of Miami rappers claim that they wrote and recorded a bass-heavy dance track that featured the familiar chorus but, again, vastly different verses. In 1994, 20 Fingers featuring Gillette recorded a song called You ’ re A Dog. Check out the chorus at the 2:10 mark. amazingly, they have made no legal claim to authorship. While there are tied more examples, suffice it to say that if these lyrics and versions and variations were written in the mid-to-late 90s, how can you explain the chant in this gamey school football foreground reel from 1987 ?
Is this all the consequence of a beehive thinker ? Do we see, hear, and feel things across our life that we don ’ metric ton consciously remember, but that are sometimes recalled later on ? We don ’ t know that anymore than we know the answer to the question posed in this sung ’ second style. What ’ second authoritative to remember is that music is for our enjoyment, and while The Baha Men ’ s adaptation of “ Who Let the Dogs Out ? ” is decidedly a cover, it was, and still is, a fun song that became a cultural standard .
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