20 Best Songs About Monkeys | Top Monkey Music Picks

In this engaging article, we’ll explore the intriguing world of “20 Songs About Monkeys,” a diverse collection that spans various genres and eras.

Each song offers a unique perspective on our primate friends, weaving tales of humor, reflection, and social commentary.

Our goal is to introduce readers to the rich tapestry of music inspired by monkeys, ensuring that you’ll learn something new and perhaps find a few tracks to add to your playlist.

Prepare to embark on a musical journey that promises both entertainment and insight, all themed around the fascinating subject of monkeys.

1. ‘Tweeter and the Monkey Man’ – The Traveling Wilburys

This song, part of the Traveling Wilburys’ debut album in 1988, features a narrative style, weaving an intricate tale of two characters:

Tweeter and the Monkey Man. Infused with Bob Dylan’s iconic storytelling, the song explores themes of betrayal, crime, and the pursuit of a better life, all set against the backdrop of a drug-fueled underworld.

The song’s catchy melody and poignant lyrics have made it a standout track, showcasing the supergroup’s exceptional talent and creativity.

2. ‘Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey’ – The Beatles

Featured on the Beatles’ 1968 “White Album,” this energetic and upbeat song reflects the band’s experimentation during a period of artistic exploration.

John Lennon penned the song as a message about personal freedom and the joy he found in his relationship with Yoko Ono, metaphorically represented by the “monkey.”

The frenetic tempo, coupled with playful lyrics and raw, rock-driven instrumentation, encapsulates the band’s ability to blend profound messages with captivating music.

3. ‘Shock The Monkey’ – Peter Gabriel

Released in 1982, “Shock The Monkey” is a standout track from Peter Gabriel’s fourth solo album.

The song features a haunting blend of synthesizers, pounding percussion, and Gabriel’s distinctive vocals. It’s often interpreted as a metaphor for jealousy and the primal emotions that surface in relationships.

The innovative use of electronic music elements and its thought-provoking music video helped cement the song’s place as a significant work in the early MTV era, showcasing Gabriel’s artistic vision and the power of visual storytelling in music.

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4. ‘Monkey Gone to Heaven’ – Pixies

This 1989 release from Pixies’ album “Doolittle” explores environmental themes and man’s relationship with nature.

With its cryptic lyrics, “Monkey Gone to Heaven” addresses the impact of human actions on the earth and the inevitable consequences.

The song’s combination of abrasive guitar work, dynamic shifts, and Frank Black’s distinctive vocal delivery create a powerful and haunting soundscape.

This track exemplifies the Pixies’ ability to tackle profound subjects with their unique musical style, leaving a lasting impression on alternative rock.

5. ‘Monkey Man’ – The Rolling Stones

“Monkey Man,” from the Rolling Stones’ 1969 album “Let It Bleed,” is a raw and bluesy track that showcases the band’s rock and roll prowess.

The song’s gritty guitar riffs, Mick Jagger’s impassioned vocals, and the vibrant piano accompaniment combine to create a sound that’s both edgy and deeply groovy.

Lyrical references to debauchery and a chaotic lifestyle mirror the band’s reputation at the time, making “Monkey Man” a quintessential Stones song that captures the spirit of an era marked by excess and rebellion.

6. ‘Monkey and the Engineer’ – The Grateful Dead

Originally a Jesse Fuller song, “Monkey and the Engineer” was embraced by The Grateful Dead, giving it a distinctive folk-rock twist that resonated with their fans.

The song narrates an amusing story where a monkey takes control of a train while the engineer steps away, leading to unexpected adventures.

Its playful lyrics and easy-going melody encapsulate the Grateful Dead’s penchant for storytelling and its ability to infuse traditional tunes with their unique, improvisational style, making it a beloved piece in their vast repertoire.

7. ‘Brass Monkey’ – Beastie Boys

“Brass Monkey” is a party anthem from the Beastie Boys’ groundbreaking album “Licensed to Ill.”

Released in 1986, this funky hip-hop track is named after a cocktail, and its infectious beat and catchy chorus made it a huge hit.

The song showcases the Beastie Boys’ signature style: playful, braggadocious lyrics paired with innovative samples, creating a fun and rebellious vibe that epitomized the group’s contribution to the evolution of hip-hop culture.

“Brass Monkey” remains a classic, encapsulating the energy and youthfulness of the 80s rap scene.

8. ‘Come Monkey With Me’ – Gino Washington and the Rochelles with the Atlantics

“Come Monkey With Me” is a lively track that captures the essence of the 60s dance craze era.

Gino Washington, backed by the Rochelles and the Atlantics, delivers an upbeat and engaging performance that invites listeners to hit the dance floor.

The song’s blend of rock & roll and soul, paired with its call to dance the “Monkey,” exemplifies the fun and carefree spirit of the time.

It’s a vintage gem that evokes the joy and exuberance of dancing the night away to infectious rhythms and catchy melodies.

9. ‘Theme from King Kong’ – The Love Unlimited Orchestra

The “Theme from King Kong” by The Love Unlimited Orchestra, conducted by Barry White, epitomizes the 1970s blending of orchestral sound with cinematic flair.

This instrumental piece, drawn from the soundtrack for the 1976 King Kong film, showcases the orchestra’s opulent string arrangements, brass, and seductive rhythms, which Barry White’s productions are known for.

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The theme captures the grandeur and emotion of King Kong’s tale, ranging from moments of beauty and tenderness to dramatic crescendos, reflecting the movie’s epic scale and the timeless story of the majestic yet tragic creature.

10. ‘Steel Monkey’ – Jethro Tull

From Jethro Tull’s 1987 album “Crest of a Knave,” “Steel Monkey” features the band’s signature blend of progressive rock and folk elements, but with a distinct 80s rock influence.

The song’s lyrics metaphorically address the theme of industrial labor, with the “steel monkey” symbolizing the workers in the construction industry.

Ian Anderson’s flute work, a hallmark of Jethro Tull’s sound, takes a backseat to electric guitars and synthesizers on this track, showcasing the band’s versatility and willingness to explore new sounds and themes, making it a standout track in their extensive catalog.

11. ‘Punish The Monkey’ – Mark Knopfler

Mark Knopfler’s “Punish The Monkey” off the 2007 album “Kill to Get Crimson” is a masterful blend of blues and rock that features his signature guitar playing and wistful vocal style.

The song delves into themes of justice and retribution, using the metaphor of punishing the monkey while the organ grinder goes free to comment on scapegoating and the misdirection of blame in society.

With its catchy guitar riff and thoughtful lyrics, Knopfler crafts a narrative that’s both compelling and reflective, showcasing his storytelling prowess.

12. ‘Dolphins Were Monkeys’ – Ian Brown

Ian Brown’s “Dolphins Were Monkeys” from his 1999 album “Golden Greats” showcases his ability to blend dreamy melodies with introspective lyrics.

The song reflects Brown’s unique vision, combining elements of rock with electronic music.

Its lyrics present a whimsical, thought-provoking exploration of evolution and transformation, suggesting a fantastical scenario where dolphins evolve into monkeys.

The track stands out for its catchy chorus and Brown’s distinctive vocal style, making it a memorable piece that highlights his talent as a solo artist post-The Stone Roses.

13. ‘Sly Monkey’ – Soft Machine

“Sly Monkey” by Soft Machine is a track that embodies the band’s innovative approach to jazz and progressive rock.

Known for their experimental sound, Soft Machine uses complex rhythms and avant-garde compositional techniques to create a sonic landscape that’s both challenging and mesmerizing.

“Sly Monkey” features intricate instrumental interplay, showcasing the group’s technical prowess and their ability to push the boundaries of conventional music.

It’s a testament to Soft Machine’s role in the development of progressive jazz and rock fusion.

14. ‘Monkey’s Out’ – Lexxus

“Monkey’s Out” by Lexxus, a prominent figure in dancehall music, delivers a vibrant and rhythmically rich track that captures the energy and spirit of the genre.

Lexxus’s flow and lyrical dexterity shine as he navigates through the beats with ease, creating a dynamic and engaging listening experience.

The song exemplifies Dancehall’s power to create infectious grooves, combine storytelling with a party vibe, and keep the dance floor alive.

“Monkey’s Out” is a celebration of Lexxus’s talents and the genre’s cultural impact.

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15. ‘Monkey Magic’ (song)

“Monkey Magic” is the theme song for the Japanese television series “Monkey,” known in Japan as “Saiyūki.”

Performed by Godiego, the song was released in 1978 and became immensely popular, capturing the imagination of audiences with its catchy melody and uplifting lyrics.

Its blend of rock with traditional Asian elements creates a unique and timeless sound.

The lyrics, inspired by the classic Chinese novel “Journey to the West,” speak to themes of adventure, courage, and transformation.

“Monkey Magic” not only serves as a memorable introduction to the series but has also become an iconic piece of pop culture in its own right.

16. ‘The Monkey That Became President’

This witty and satirical song by Tom T. Hall, released in 1972, is a sharp commentary on political affairs, wrapped in humor and clever storytelling.

Hall uses the amusing tale of a monkey rising to the presidency as a vehicle to critique the absurdities and complexities of political systems.

Through catchy melodies and Hall’s engaging narrative style, the song subtly questions the qualities we seek in our leaders and the nature of political power itself.

It’s a testament to Hall’s talent as a songwriter, capable of weaving social commentary into entertaining and thought-provoking music.

17. ‘The Monkeys Have No Tails in Zamboanga’ (traditional song)

This traditional folk song, with its origins unclear but deeply rooted in military history, particularly among American soldiers during the Philippine-American War and World War II, captures a light-hearted, playful spirit.

Its lyrics, detailing a whimsical landscape where monkeys lack tails, provide a humorous glimpse into the imagination and camaraderie among soldiers.

Often performed with lively melody and rhythm, the song has become a staple of American military folklore, showcasing the ability of music to create bonds and lighten spirits even amid conflict.

18. ‘Coupe De Ville’ – Neil Young

“Coupe De Ville,” a track from Neil Young’s 1988 album “This Note’s for You,” showcases Young’s softer, more introspective side.

The song, featuring a mellow arrangement and Young’s distinctive, heartfelt vocals, reflects on themes of longing and reflection.

Its understated instrumentation allows the lyrics and Young’s emotive performance to stand at the forefront, creating a poignant and deeply personal listening experience.

“Coupe De Ville” exemplifies Young’s versatility as a musician and his ability to convey complex emotions through his music.

19. ‘Hard Monkeys’ – Ten Years After

“Hard Monkeys” is a track from Ten Years After’s 1971 album “A Space in Time,” offering a glimpse into the band’s blues and rock foundations.

The song delves into the gritty realities of addiction and its effects, with Alvin Lee’s impassioned vocals and potent guitar riffs driving its message home.

The band’s ability to blend blues rock with socially conscious lyrics highlights their musical prowess and reflective songwriting.

It’s a powerful example of how rock music can address serious topics while delivering compelling, high-energy performances.

20. ‘Monkey Man’ – Toots & The Maytals

Toots & The Maytals’ “Monkey Man,” released in 1970, is a seminal track in the reggae genre, embodying the infectious rhythms and soulful vocals that defined the band’s sound.

The song became one of their biggest hits, celebrated for its lively tempo, catchy melody, and Toots Hibbert’s unmistakable voice.

Beyond its immediate appeal, “Monkey Man” contributed to the global spread of reggae music, cementing Toots & The Maytals’ place as pioneers of the genre.

The track’s enduring popularity underscores the universal appeal of reggae’s upbeat, heartwarming vibe.

Conclusion

In conclusion, our journey through the “20 Songs About Monkeys” has offered us a fascinating glimpse into how these creatures have inspired a wide array of musicians across different genres.

From playful tunes to thoughtful reflections, each song provides a unique lens through which to view our primate counterparts.

We hope this exploration has enriched your appreciation for music’s power to connect us with the natural world and perhaps introduced you to some captivating new melodies.

Monkeys, with their complex behaviors and emotive expressions, continue to fascinate and inspire, proving that their influence on music is as profound as it is enduring.

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