20 Songs About Monkeys

Songs about monkeys span across genres and decades, illustrating how these primates captivate the imagination of musicians from rock to hip-hop. These tracks range from playful metaphors to profound statements, showcasing the diverse ways artists have been inspired by our close evolutionary relatives.

1. “Mickey’s Monkey” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

“Mickey’s Monkey” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles is a vibrant Motown classic that had everyone grooving to the dance craze known as “the monkey.” This hit not only showcases the infectious energy of Motown music but also immortalizes one of the fun, dancehall sensations of its time.

2. “Brass Monkey” by Beastie Boys

“Brass Monkey” by Beastie Boys has become an iconic party anthem within the hip-hop genre, spotlighting a catchy homage to the cocktail known as “Brass Monkey.” This track stands out for its ability to get listeners up and dancing, epitomizing the Beastie Boys’ knack for creating unforgettable party songs.

3. “Porcelain Monkey” by Warren Zevon

“Porcelain Monkey” by Warren Zevon delves into the rock genre with a biography song that reflects on the extravagantly luxurious lifestyle of Elvis Presley, symbolically represented by a porcelain monkey. This track offers a deep dive into the complexities and indulgences of fame, wrapped up in Zevon’s signature lyrical wit.

4. “Monkey Gone to Heaven” by Pixies

“Monkey Gone to Heaven” by Pixies merges the raw energy of alternative rock with profound environmental lyricism, addressing themes of pollution and destruction. Its compelling narrative and haunting melody capture the listener’s imagination, making it a standout track that speaks to the consequences of human impact on nature.

5. “Tweeter and the Monkey Man” by Traveling Wilburys

“Tweeter and the Monkey Man” by Traveling Wilburys stands as a testament to the power of storytelling within music, weaving a captivating narrative around the titular characters, Tweeter and the Monkey Man. This folk-rock masterpiece showcases the group’s ability to tell complex stories through their songs, engaging listeners with each verse.

6. “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” by The Beatles

“Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” by The Beatles dives into themes of personal freedom against a backdrop of classic rock. The song is renowned for its cryptic lyrics, inviting listeners to explore the depths of its message amidst the energetic beats that hallmark The Beatles’ experimental phase.

7. “Proudest Monkey” by Dave Matthews Band

“Proudest Monkey” by Dave Matthews Band gently explores themes of growth and self-reflection, set against the laid-back, improvisational style characteristic of jam bands. This track stands out for its introspective lyrics and soothing melodies, inviting listeners on a journey of personal evolution and understanding.

8. “Monkey Wrench” by Foo Fighters

“Monkey Wrench” by Foo Fighters channels an aggressive tone, mirroring the personal turmoil and heartbreak that inspired its lyrics. As a standout among alternative rock breakup songs, it captures the raw emotion and intensity of confronting one’s feelings head-on, amplified by the band’s powerful performance.

9. “Shock the Monkey” by Peter Gabriel

“Shock the Monkey” by Peter Gabriel utilizes vivid metaphors to delve into the complexities of relationships, wrapped in the distinctive sound of new wave music. Gabriel’s inventive use of language paints a compelling picture of emotional turmoil and the struggles inherent in human connections.

10. “Leave My Monkey Alone” by Warren Zevon

“Leave My Monkey Alone” by Warren Zevon uses the metaphor of a monkey to explore and address a range of societal issues, presented through the lens of rock music. This song stands out for its cultural critique, encapsulated in Zevon’s sharp wit and insightful lyrics, challenging listeners to think deeply about the world around them.

11. “Space Monkey” by Patti Smith

“Space Monkey” by Patti Smith merges punk rock with incisive political commentary, using the story of a monkey sent into space as a poignant metaphor for Cold War tensions. Smith’s powerful and poetic lyrics invite listeners to reflect on the era’s geopolitical climate through an unconventional lens, highlighting her unique voice in music.

12. “Monkey Man” by The Rolling Stones

“Monkey Man” by The Rolling Stones offers a gritty character study framed by the backdrop of 60s London, showcasing the band’s classic rock roots. The song captures the essence of the era’s cultural and social atmosphere, providing listeners with a raw, immersive narrative that’s both captivating and reflective of its time.

13. “The Monkey Time” by Major Lance

“The Monkey Time” by Major Lance is a soulful dance track that captured the hearts of listeners in the early ’60s. Its infectious rhythm and memorable melodies made it an instant hit, showcasing the vibrant energy and emotional depth of soul music.

14. “Monkey on Your Back” by Clinic

“Monkey on Your Back” by Clinic presents a raw and unfiltered take on the themes of addiction and dependency, framed within the indie rock genre. The song’s intense and gritty sound complements its honest exploration of these challenging subjects, resonating with listeners through its compelling narrative and powerful musicianship.

15. “Sleepy Monkey” by Widespread Panic

“Sleepy Monkey” by Widespread Panic showcases the band’s relaxed, Southern rock style, perfect for a deep dive into their laid-back approach to music. This track exemplifies the easygoing vibe and intricate musicianship that have become hallmarks of Widespread Panic’s sound, appealing to fans of thoughtful and mellow rock.

16. “Ape Man” by The Kinks

“Ape Man” by The Kinks offers a satirical glance at human evolution and society, cleverly wrapped in their distinctive rock sound. This song stands out for its humorous critique of modern life, serving as a reminder of The Kinks’ prowess in blending sharp wit with catchy tunes.

17. “Dance Monkey” by Tones and I

“Dance Monkey” by Tones and I captures the essence of viral success with its undeniably catchy rhythm and danceable beat, propelling the song to global popularity. This pop anthem has resonated with audiences worldwide, showcasing the power of a strong melody and infectious energy to transcend cultural boundaries.

18. “Gorilla, You’re a Desperado” by Warren Zevon

“Gorilla, You’re a Desperado” by Warren Zevon showcases Zevon’s unique ability to infuse humor and storytelling into his songwriting, crafting a narrative that is both engaging and distinctive. This classic rock track stands out for its quirky tale, underscored by Zevon’s witty lyrics and memorable melodies, making it a testament to his creative genius.