How Florence Welch was inspired to write Dog Days Are Over

11 April 2021, 20:00

A London commute gave Florence + The Machine a huge hit in 2009... here's how.

Dog Days Are Over is one of Florence + The Machine's best-loved hits, making Number 23 in the UK charts in January 2010.

Now a fan favourite and an uplifting anthem around the world, Florence Welch was inspired to write the song after seeing something rather special on her way into Central London every day.

Welch had spotted a work by the Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone: The words DOG DAYS ARE OVER, written in large, rainbow coloured letters on the side of the South Bank's Hayward Gallery.

Florence told MOJO: "It was plastered over the south Bank in London for six months and I rode past it on my bike every day."

She went on: "It's a reference to the dog star, Sirius. When it was closest to the Earth, all the animals would get languid and sleepy. When it moved away, they'd wake up."

Dog Days Are Over was a follow-up to a similar work in 2001, titled Hell, Yes! the New Museum explained that Rondinone "takes phrases from pop songs and everyday exclamations and makes them into rainbow-hued, neon-lit sculptures that are joyous affirmations of love and life."

Ugo Rondinone&squot;s "Life Time", on display in Latvia in August 2010
Ugo Rondinone's "Life Time", on display in Latvia in August 2010. Picture: GINTS IVUSKANS/AFP via Getty Images

Florence was inspired, and noted: "I've tried to get in touch with him to say thanks."

The song was co-written with Isabella "Machine" Summers and recorded in a studio which Florence claimed was "the size of a loo".

The track was originally released as Florence + The Machine's second single in December 2008, when it only crept as far as Number 89 in the charts.

Ugo Rondinone unveils his piece Liverpool Mountain in 2018.
Ugo Rondinone unveils his piece Liverpool Mountain in 2018. Picture: Anthony Devlin/Getty Images for Liverpool City Council

However, the song's performance on TV, appearances in a TV ad for the film Slumdog Millionaire, plus the festival favourite You Got The Love appearing on the b-side gave the single a new lease of life.

Dog Days Are Over was reissued in early 2010 with a startling new video, when it broke the Top 30 and stayed an impressive 32 weeks on the chart.

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