-- Alpha Dog --
(unreleased) circa 1995


Let me tell you 'bout a friend I had
Mostly good and seldom bad
Buy me a beer, 'cause I'm feeling sad
Alpha dog is gone

He was a pal, I wish he'd stayed
He got tired and he went away
Left this world at the break of day
Alpha dog is gone

He was a prince with a crooked crown
He loved to howl and play the clown
Blackbirds sang when they laid him down
Alpha Dog is gone

Known comments by Bruce Cockburn about this song, by date:

  • 24 June 1995: "This concerns a dog, actually, it strikes me that if you live long enough you get to write 'Ol Shep'. I always hated that song- I liked everything about Elvis in his early years except 'Ol Shep'- I thought it was a piece of shit. So, now I have a sentimental song about the death of a dog. And I guess somebody's gonna say that about me. I guess I asked for it..." - from performance 24 June 1995, Philadelphia. Anonymous submission.

  • 11 June 1995: Another anonymous visitor confirms this song was played at an 11 June 1995 performance in Buffalo, New York.

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    This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.