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The Singing Dogs (Holiday)

The Singing Dogs was a recording project created in the mid-'50s by Carl Weismann, a noted Danish ornithologist who specialized in recording bird calls. Inspired by having to frequently edit dog barks out of his scientific field recordings, Weismann came up with the idea to splice together several recordings of dog barks into a short melody, manipulating the tape speed to change their pitch and tune them to music. While this may be deemed a tacky novelty by contemporary standards, in the late '40s and early '50s, when tape experimentation was in its infancy, this was an impressive and arduous task. Working with producer Don Charles, who supplied the musical backing tracks, Weismann walked around Copenhagen recording various dogs barking then chose the best of the bunch to edit onto the recordings as if the dogs were singing the melodies. The four brief songs included "Oh! Susanna" and a medley of "Pat-a-Cake," "Three Blind Mice," and "Jingle Bells." Four photogenic dogs named Dolly, Pearl, Caesar, and King were photographed to accompany the record sleeve which was released as a 7" single in Scandinavia in 1955 on Metronome Records. It was billed as Don Charles Presents the Singing Dogs with Weismann credited as director. The novelty record quickly gained traction around Europe and was picked up in the U.S. by RCA Victor, who had long used the image of a dog named Nipper as their company logo. Its overwhelming success spawned a follow-up single in 1956 cashing in on the rock & roll craze with the songs "Hot Dog Rock & Roll" and "Hog Dog Boogie," which featured an additional fifth dog named P**sy pictured on the sleeve. Many years later in 1973, RCA reissued "Jingle Bells" as a single and it became a major hit, perennially reappearing every year for many holiday seasons to come. ~ Timothy Monger
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