"Black Dog on My Shoulder" as written by and Bradfield/jones/moore....
There's a black dog on my shoulder again
Licking my neck and saying she's my friend
Solitude the one thing that I really miss
Guess my life is a compromise

There's a black dog on my shoulder again
I'm playing with it but it's gone to my head
Like Carlito's Way there are no exit signs
Freeze me there until I am numb

My mouth is so dry
My eyes are shut tight
There's a black dog a coming tonight
Black dog's a coming tonight

My dilemma but not my choice
Winston Churchill can you hear my voice
Melodrama there in my kitchen sink
Double vision the way it is

Am I coming home to you again
Or am I stupid just by design
Does it matter if you really ever know
This black dog is out of control

My mouth is so dry
My eyes are shut tight
There's a black dog a coming tonight
Black dog's a coming tonight

Am I coming home to you again
Or am I stupid just by design
Does it matter if you really ever know
This black dog is out of control

My mouth is so dry
My eyes are shut tight
There's a black dog a coming tonight
Black dog's a coming tonight


Lyrics submitted by Thom Webbe

"Black Dog on My Shoulder" as written by

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Black Dog on My Shoulder song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI'm the first one to comment? Cool. I love this song. :)

    The first time I heard this and read the lyrics, I thought it was stupid, and one of the Manics' worst pieces. I liked the tune, but at the time, the lyrics meant nothing to me. Then I read in an interview/article somewhere that Winston Churchhill called his depression a "black dog", and that's where the song title came from. Now I feel dumb for not looking deeper into it, as the Manics almost always have a deeper, sometimes implied, meaning.
    the kittenesson November 25, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWinston Churchill suffered from Bipolar disorder, and his depression was described by him as his black dog.
    "Winston Churchill, can you hear my voice?" basically says it all.
    HateBreedsHateon May 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI feel that the line "Winston Churchill, can you hear my voice" is a bit too forced to work in this song. He obviously wanted to leave a clue as to what the song was about.
    The problem is that the clue is not likely to lead anyone to the answer, but if you know about the Churchill Black Dog quote it is not necessary to include the line. A bit like using a hammer instead of using subtlety like the rest of the song.
    4fouron May 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song kind of reminds me of the phrase "hair of the dog that bit me" as well - when he sings "there's a black dog on my shoulder again" it implies a sense of continuity, as if he dislikes the black dog/depression, and yet still keeps coming back to it.
    boredombredbrickson May 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell, I never knew about winston churchill and his depression, so actually the winston churchill line did help me to learn a bit more knowledge about the man.

    my appreciation and love for these lyrics have increased so very much in the past couple of years. i really hope it's not an underappreciated song.
    manic_ashon July 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy favourite song off the album. Also:
    "Does it matter if you really ever know?"
    Can that be about anything other than Richey?
    ShakerMaker1994on March 23, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentUntil I learned the Winston Churchill depression thing, I thought it was about anorexia.

    "Licking my neck and saying she's my friend"
    "I'm playing with it but it's gone to my head"
    "My dilemma but not my choice"
    And such.
    iltlfon March 07, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI read a bizarre folklore tale about black dog apparitions that supposedly appeared to people in times of trouble as either warnings or as protectors. These stories go back a long way, so I suppose the black dog labelling of Churchill's condition was related to that. The song was to me the most obvious on the album as far as meaning goes... The depressive is anticipating his imminent down swing, or he's 'seen he ghost of the black dog' as those folklore stories stated.
    lateleighon August 07, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis song is about depression, nothing more and nothing less. There are several references that point this out.

    "Black Dog on my shoulder", yes. Winston Churchill referred to depression being the black dog on his shoulder, and this has to many become a way of referring to the illness.

    "My mouth is so dry" Dryness of the mouth is a common symptom associated with the use of SSRI and other anti-depressant mediciation.

    "Double vision the way it is", again, another common symptom of this medication.

    pickefooon February 21, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIsn't there a Led Zeppelin song called Black Dog? The two could be similar?
    manic4manicson October 25, 2012   Link

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