What music video isn’t bumped up a few hundred views once the world knows there are animals in it? Artists have been teaming up with furry (and not) creatures for years for publicity, whether or not it goes over well. Every once in a while, the famous collaboration is met with mixed emotions, confusion, or opposition. Still, it’s one way to make a video go viral. Here are five times singers and animal combos drew attention.
Alice Cooper and The Chicken. It may have been Alice Cooper’s idea to throw a live chicken to a screaming crowd, but Shep Gordon (his manager and still close friend today) sent the bird onstage. Alice started out with almost anti-popularity (booed out of a few early performances as he swore at the crowd), but Shep helped out. He managed to get Alice Cooper to play a set between John Lennon and The Doors at The Toronto Rock and Roll Revival in 1969. He then let the chicken loose onstage, and Cooper (“I was thinking, it has feathers, it should fly”), tossed it to the masses clamoring below him. They threw is back to him – in pieces. Shep later said, “I saw blood – so I turned my head cause I faint when I see blood.” Talk about shock rock.
Dog Police and Dog… police… Rarely do music videos actually follow a narrative dictated by the song, but Dog Police’s “Dog Police” sure does – almost too much so. The song is about a blind date with a woman, who gets apprehended by dog police while her date is in the bathroom. And yes – every dog police member is an oddly-constructed dog, standing upright in trench coats and hats. Are they real? Clearly not, but there are real puppies near the end to balance out some of the weirdness we’ve just seen.
Guns N’ Roses and Dolphins. How do you draw a crowd to the “Estranged” music video? Tell them they’ll get to see Axl Rose get rescued from a suicide attempt by dolphins (among many, many other things in this nearly 10-minute video). Maybe it was excessive, but it’s considered an iconic move by Guns N’ Roses enthusiasts. In honor of the heroism, Slash emerges from the ocean jamming hard with a climactic guitar solo. And yes, by all appearances each dolphin is real (except the one wearing Axl’s flannel shirt and appearing on the couch beside him at the end).
Britney Spears and Albino Python, and a Tiger. It’d be wrong to leave the infamous Britney Spears incident off this list. At the 2001 MTV VMAs in New York, Britney performed “I’m a Slave 4 U” with an albino python draped over her shoulders and a white tiger caged by her side. You better believe PETA was mad, but she didn’t seem to mind as she proceeded to team up with lions and elephants in 2008’s “Circus” (PETA status at that point: more mad).
Best Coast and Cats. Cats make for an instant web sensation in anything, so it makes sense that they show up in Best Coast’s music video for “Crazy For You.” What makes a little less sense is that fluffy felines sit in the director’s chair, operate behind camera one, and chill in the bag with a bag of catnip (ha ha, yes we get it). Camera One Kitty looks particularly disgruntled, and when the subtitles tell us he’s saying “Ain’t No Thang,” it looks like he really has a different kind of thing to say. Still, nobody got hurt in this one, and there’s an adorable kitten assembling “Teaz + Coffyz” for the crew – aww.
Just in case none of the above gave you the warm and fuzzies, here’s a bonus: Weezer and Puppies, Kittens, Baby Bears, and a Monkey. They got it right the second time around. Weezer’s first video for “Island in the Sun” was less than a sensation, but then they brought in Spike Jonze to direct a reprise. In addition to warm, cuddly puppies, there’s a baby lion, kittens, a monkey to cuddle with, and a baby black bear that nuzzles up to Rivers Cuomo’s guitar. You’re welcome.