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Old Shep

4.1 / 5

Words & Music: Red Foley

When I was a lad
And old Shep was a pup
Over hills and meadows we'd stray
Just a boy and his dog
We were both full of fun
We grew up together that way

I remember the time at the old swimmin' hold
When I would have drowned beyond doubt
But old Shep was right there
To the rescue he came
He jumped in and then pulled me out

As the years fast did roll
Old Shep he grew old
His eyes were fast growing dim
And one day the doctor looked at me and said
I can do no more for him Jim

With hands that were trembling
I picked up my gun
And aimed it at Shep's faithful head
I just couldn't do it
I wanted to run
I wish they would shoot me instead

He came to my side
And looked up at me
And laid his old head on my knee
I had struck the best friend that a man ever had
I cried so I scarcely could see

Old Shep he has gone
Where the good doggies go
And no more with old Shep will I roam
But if dogs have a heaven
There's one thing I know
Old Shep has a wonderful home

Recordingdate: 1956/09/02, first released on: Elvis (album)


Musicians who contributed to the first recording of Old Shep:



Find available albums with Old Shep.

Jerome wrote on April 14, 2008
heartbreaking ballad, should be on any K-Mart 50's compilation..
old shep wrote on April 23, 2008
One of the very first Elvis songs I remember listening too, so it brings back fond memories. A good tear jerker.
Steve V wrote on January 27, 2009
One of the few 50's songs I don't care for. I liked it as a kid, but it hasn't aged well for me and I skip it.
Natha wrote on February 25, 2009
I vividly recall hearing this song for the very first time. My sweet dog just died and hearing this made me feel terribly sad for over a year. And as I liked the LP too much I had to listen o it regularly (in those days it was not possible to skip without damaging the vinyl!). Though I have lost quite a number of dogs I can easily listen to it. I like it for the sentiment, but it has never been a favorite of mine.
derekd wrote on February 25, 2009
I'm sure this was a big favourite of Elvis, sadly i usually skip this track if it's on the cd i'm playing. As someone once said, 'it don't move, lets get real, real gone for a change'.
commoneverybody wrote on February 25, 2009
Never liked it. I always wondered why on earth Elvis did record this trash. Ofcourse he liked it, but things like Old Shep or True Love should be left out of his cataloque.
Jay wrote on February 25, 2009
Not a big fan of this song but each to their own i guess.
NONE000000 wrote on February 25, 2009
I admit I usually skip it because it kind of drags, but it really is a nice song. It's interesting to hear Elvis on piano for the first time (I think), and no one could deny that he sings it beautifully and with lots of emotion. I tend to think that Elvis knew this was sort of a children's song (a really sad one, but a children's song nonetheless). Elvis always tried to please a very wide audience and this is an early example of reaching out to a different group than the great rock and roll songs he was recording at the same time. I think he justified some of the later movie songs (Old MacDonald) in the same way. Elvis was a very very varied performer and right up until around 1968 I think he considered it important to continue reaching out to children in his music. 1968 was a turning point where I think he decided to let that go and fully become an adult mature performer. But tracks like this helped bring in young fans and still do, generation after generation.
JerryNodak wrote on February 25, 2009
Do I like it? Yes. Do I ever skip it? Yes. But I'll skip Hound Dog, Don't Be Cruel, Suspicious Minds, Burning Love or any other Elvis song if I'm not in the mood for it. Elvis does a great job on this song. A truly heartfelt performance.
Ruthie wrote on February 26, 2009
I never considered it to be a "kid's" song. It's a song for anyone. When I was little Red Foley had a recording of it that was played on our local country station. His rendition was pretty boring. Then Elvis put his own touch to it & to this day it tears me up. I can't listen to it in the morning on the way to work because I have a tear streaked face when it's over. The song always reminds me of my two most loyal, best friends - the dogs I've had in my life. This song is a treasure to me.
dgirl wrote on April 22, 2009
This is a country song, not a kids song. He sings it great but it just doesnt seem to fit with the rest of the album and I sometimes skip it. It drags a bit too much.
ElvisSacramento wrote on December 04, 2012
This is such a heartbreaking, emotional, unique and brilliant song and Elvis easily has the very best rendition of it. I've never skipped this song while listening to any Elvis CD that it's on. I rate this song and Elvis' rendition of it 5 Stars.
Gorse wrote on December 04, 2012
I am playing it now, the first time for a very long while. It's nice enough but had a greater impact years ago. I don't object to Elvis singing songs of this type as I think it added to my interest with all the variations he encompassed, but this rendition does not totally ring my bell.- 3 stars.
kink56 wrote on December 04, 2012
Even on vinyl, I have always skipped this song when playing the Elvis album.
john804 wrote on December 04, 2012
1 zillion stars!
Deano1 wrote on December 05, 2012
This one and "First In Line" really don't fit in well on his 2nd LP. It isn't bad and it even made it to #47 on the Billboard Top 100 (featured song on the extended play "Elvis, Vol 2"), but it really does drag down the full length LP. Not a song I play a lot and I give it 2 1/2 stars.
sugartummy wrote on April 19, 2013
Elvis won second price when he sang it a capella at the age of 10. It's not boring at all. The storyline is very interesting. I've always liked this one. It's on the first LP I bought in 1978, Seperate ways. Robert Plant refers to this song in a Led Zeppelin track. (can't remember which one).
jwedwards835 wrote on November 20, 2014
A true classic! I give it the same amount of stars that are in the heavens.
sugartummy wrote on August 01, 2015
The Led Zeppelin track is of course Bron-Y-Aur Stomp. Old Shep is not boring. It's heartfelt. I can relate to it. It's great.
Cruiser621 wrote on June 24, 2018
I actually like the outtake version of this song on the "Elvis" FTD release as compared to the released version and yes, it drags and doesn't seem to fit within the scheme of the entire album, but you could also say that about a few other tunes on this album.
atomic powered poste wrote on September 23, 2018
Naturally elvis music is very old fashioned in general, but this one is nothing you can imagine from a modern artist. It's seems outdated even on a more than 60 years old lp. Personally i find it decent sometimes, when I'm in the right mood, other times it bores me to death. Not bad for what it is, but overall it's not for me really. ... the lp in a whole is of course absolut fabulous.
Milky White Way wrote on July 31, 2019
Not for me, it’s a toss up between this and Datin for the bottom spot. But it meant something to Elvis as he got 2nd prize for singing it at the Tupelo fair as a boy. It might of sounded better if Elvis recorded it in the 70s with a better arrangement IOM.
Miknik7077 wrote on October 09, 2020
Its vocally not his best but I love the song and he does have an innocence to it that IMO only works in the 50's genre.
The Hawk wrote on June 03, 2022
My favorite cut off of 'Elvis'! The King at total vocal perfection.
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