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Even a Dog Can Shake Hands is a song from Warren Zevon's 1987 album, Sentimental Hygiene.

About the SongEdit

The song describes the life of a successful musician dealing with fans, tag-alongs, and agents in the general theme of everyone trying to benefit from his fame. The song describes how old "friends" are trying to mooch his money, how everyone is trying to get him to sign contracts by making grand and likely unsubstantiated promises, and how everyone seems to be trying to live off his success. The musician thinks cynically how all this supposed friendliness is phony noting that "even a dog can shake hands." This is a reference to a popular canine trick of getting a dog to stick out is paw on command so its owner can shake it. Given that Zevon never really acquired the mass fame described in the song, outside of the initial success of Excitable Boy, it seems a little odd that he would write a song like this. Though he was friends with many notable musicians and probably knew people in this position. Also, given that the album was his return to record producing, it might have been a slight wish for success with his comeback. The track was composed alongside Bill Berry, Peter Buck and Mike Mills and they might have also affected the lyrics.

LyricsEdit

Note: the text of this song's lyrics is not under the same copyright license as the wiki's encyclopedic text, it is used under fair use/dealing.

Well, he's trying to survive up on Mulholland Drive

He's got the phone in the car in his hand

Everybody's trying to be a friend of mine

Even a dog can shake hands


He wants twenty per cent 'cause he knew you back when

Now they all want a piece of the band

Everybody's trying to be a friend of mine

Even a dog can shake hands


All the worms and the gnomes are having lunch at Le Dome

They're all living off the fat of the land

Everybody's trying to be a friend of mine

Even a dog can shake hands


Sign Page 42

We'll do the rest for you

Find a way to make it pay

Don't lose your head

You'll end up dead

Or you'll be living in the Valley someday


Abandon all hope and don't rock the boat

And we'll all make a few hundred grand

Everybody's trying to be a friend of mine

Even a dog can shake hands


You'll be making the scene 'til they pick your bones clean

No, they don't leave much for the fans

Everybody's trying to be a friend of mine

Even a dog can shake hands


Sign Page 42

We'll do the rest for you

Find a way to make it pay

Don't lose your head

You'll end up dead

Or you'll be living in the Valley someday

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