Friday Five: Songs About Monkeys

Juli Thanki | January 15th, 2010

I don’t like monkeys. But this isn’t the Friday Therapy Hour, it’s the Friday Five, so check out these monkey songs.

Honorable Mentions: “One Monkey” by Gillian Welch; “Monkey Let the Hogs Out” by Jerry Douglas; “One Less Monkey” by Lorrie Morgan; “Monkey Dance” by T-Bone Burnett; “Monkey on the Doghouse” by Th’ Legendary Shack*Shakers.

  • My Honky Tonk History5. “Monkey Around” – Travis Tritt

    Tritt sings that when you turn a man into a monkey, he’ll subsequently monkey around, which involves swinging from chandeliers, running through the neon jungle, and wearing a “little red hat.” Let that mental image of Travis Tritt sporting a fez carry you straight into happy hour.

  • Rattlin' Bones4. “Monkey On A Wire” – Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson

    Metaphorical monkeys are just as creepy as the real thing, but this song from Rattlin’ Bones is a joy to listen to.

  • A Friend Of A Friend3. “Monkey And The Engineer” – Dave Rawlings Machine

    The monkey in this Jesse Fuller tune hijacks a train when his engineer pal takes a lunch break. Luckily said monkey is a pretty good train driver (if a bit of a speed demon), so the song doesn’t turn into “Wreck of the Simian 97.” Be sure to check out the Grateful Dead version as well.

  • New York City Blues2. “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” – Little David Wilkins

    David Wilkins isn’t so little, and neither is this song, which went to #11 in 1975. Other artists such as Big Maybelle (linked here), Honey Cone, and The Animals have also recorded songs with the same title, suggesting that one monkey really won’t stop no show. Unless that monkey has Ebola.

  • Take This Job And Shove It & Other Favorites (Digitally Remaster1. “Don’t Monkey With Another Monkey’s Monkey” – Johnny Paycheck

    Paycheck wins with maximum monkeyage on this goofy single from 1967 that just barely missed the Top 40. Also, “don’t monkey with another monkey’s monkey/Unless you want a gorilla on your hands” is pretty good advice.

  1. Mike
    January 15, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Tommy Collins: All of the monkeys ain’t in the zoo

  2. Truersound
    January 15, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Tom T. Hall – The Monkey That Became President

    another favorite of mine is The Geezinslaws – Peel Me A Nanner (I don’t know if that’s really what it’s called, I haven’t heard the song in over 20 years)

  3. TimeO
    January 15, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Harry the Hairy Ape, by Ray Stevens!! Honorable mention for “I Want to Be Like You,” covered twice by Los Lobos?

  4. TimeO
    January 15, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Just remembered: George Jones’s “Old King Kong” (“was just a little monkey compared to my love for you”)

  5. Paul W Dennis
    January 15, 2010 at 10:38 am

    One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show – Little David Wilkins

    Too Much Monkey Business – Freddy Weller

    I’m A People – George Jones

    Don’t Monkey With Another Monkey’s Monkey – Johnny Paycheck

  6. Rick
    January 15, 2010 at 11:33 am

    My personal favorite:
    Hank Penny’s “You’re Bound To Look Like A Monkey When You Grow Old!”

    Also the strangest song on the latest Caitlin Rose EP is “Gorilla Man”. There is even some guy who posted a response song on YouTube begging Caitlin to let him be her gorilla man that was mentioned on the Nashville Scene website! Sheesh.

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