Music/Lyrics: Sam “Lightnin’” Hopkins
Original Artist: Sam Hopkins
Original Album: Something Blue (1967)
Historian: Dan Mielcarz (ColForbin)
Last Update: 2016-03-09
"Shaggy Dog" – part of the Phish dog canon along with “Dog Log,” “No Dogs Allowed,” “Dogs Stole Things,” and “Runaway Jim” – was played on thirteen known occasions from ’86-’88, after which it disappeared. Many people assumed this fun Lightnin’ Hopkins cover was gone forever, or at least only played during soundcheck. After a long absence, an a cappella version was played on 5/6/92, and then it made another surprise appearance on 10/29/95.
Nearly everyone in the Phish universe probably thought this was a tune that would never be played again, but as part of a quest to play 200 different songs in their 2012 summer tour, after a sixteen-year absence “Shaggy Dog” busted out of the pound in Cincinnati on 6/22/12. Taken together, these last three appearances means “Shaggy Dog” has three of the longest gaps between performances at 449, 359 and 574 shows respectively.
The most famous “Shaggy Dog” recording is no doubt the version played on 8/21/87 at Ian McLean’s Farm that contains a continuous refrain of barking dogs (one of them being Trey’s dog, Marley) in the background. Interestingly, the original Lightnin’ Hopkins version of this song is titled “Shaggy Dad,” but for whatever reason, Phish changed the title and the lyrics to “Shaggy Dog.”
"Shaggy Dog" 8/21/87, Hebron, NY