Ever since songs have been created, animals have been used as the subject matter for lyrics. This trend continues today, with animals being written about in songs both literally and metaphorically.
One particular animal that has featured in a large number of songs is the wolf. Wolves create a sense of mystery for many people and often conjure images of howling at the full moon.
Some songs make it more obvious that they are about wolves than others. In this guide, we’ve identified the 22 best songs about wolves from a wide selection of genres and time periods.
- Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf
- Of Wolf and Man – Metallica
- Mumford & Sons – The Wolf
- Radiohead – A Wolf At The Door
- Florence + the Machine – Howl
- Biffy Clyro – Wolves of Winter
- Aurora – Running With the Wolves
- The Spencer Lee Band – The Wolf
- Of Monsters And Men – Wolves Without Teeth
- Rainbow – Run With The Wolf
- U2 – Raised by Wolves
- Phosphorescent – Wolves
- Ben Howard – The Wolves
- Bon Iver – The Wolves
- The Prodigy – Run with the Wolves
- Shakira – She Wolf
- The Black Keys – Howlin’ for You
- Queens of the Stone Age – Someone’s in the Wolf
- All Time Low – Dancing with a Wolf
- Motorhead – In the Year of the Wolf
- Kanye West – Wolves
- Selena Gomez – Wolves
Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf
Released in the spring of 1982 by British synth-pop band, Duran Duran, “Hungry Like the Wolf” would go on to be certified gold after reaching no. 5 on the UK Singles Chart, making it one of the best-known wolf songs.
This song was recorded at the London EMI headquarters and was essentially finished in one day. It features a combination of the Roland TR-808 drum machine, which was very popular at the time, and the Jupiter-8 keyboard.
“Hungry Like the Wolf” was released as part of Duran Duran’s hugely successful 1982 album, Rio, which spawned hits such as the title track and “Save a Prayer”.
Of Wolf and Man – Metallica
Metallica’s self-titled fifth studio album was released in August of 1991 and features many great songs. One of the tracks that, in my opinion, doesn’t get the recognition it deserves is “Of Wolf and Man”.
Written as a collaboration between lead singer and guitarists James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist Kirk Hammet, “Of Wolf and Man” features descriptive lyrics about wolves.
The guitars in this song are crunchy and distorted, and Ulrich’s crashing drums complement the powerful vocals brilliantly. If you like references to wolves in music, you’ll love this track.
Mumford & Sons – The Wolf
“The Wolf” was released as the second single from British alternative rock group Mumford & Sons’ third studio album, Wilder Mind. The song was released in June 2015 on Island Records.
Compared to many of Mumford & Sons’ other tracks, “The Wolf” has a rougher sound, to match the dark and mysterious lyrics. It combines elements of folk-rock with garage rock and received critical acclaim from several music publications including Rolling Stone.
Radiohead – A Wolf At The Door
Radiohead’s sixth studio album, Hail to the Thief received widespread praise for its inventive musicianship and production. One of the highlights of the album was the closing track, entitled “A Wolf At The Door”.
The song begins with an eerie guitar that is made to sound like an organ and is accompanied by singer Thom Yorke’s lazy, rhythmic vocals. It’s one of the most innovative songs featuring wolves in the lyrics.
Florence + the Machine – Howl
Florence + the Machine rose to stardom in their native UK towards the end of the 2000s, and have continued to enjoy popularity since then, headlining the Glastonbury festival in 2015.
The song “Howl” was released as the fourth track on the band’s debut album, Lungs. Lead singer Florence Welsh describes the song as being about “Gothic horror, werewolves and wedding dresses…”
Biffy Clyro – Wolves of Winter
Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro released “Wolves of Winter” in March 2016. The track, which is from the band’s seventh album, Ellipsis, was chosen as Zane Lowe’s “World Record” on Beats Radio.
The concept behind this song is exploring the behavior of wolves in the wild, with lead singer Simon Neil stating that he was inspired by watching a BBC documentary about the creatures.
Aurora – Running With the Wolves
Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora released the track “Running with the Wolves” as the second single from her debut studio album, All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend”.
In 2020, Apple released an animated film entitled “Wolfwalkers” and Aurora recorded a new version of the song to be featured in the movie.
The Spencer Lee Band – The Wolf
Featured in the soundtrack of the movie “Fifty Shades Freed”, The Spencer Lee Band’s pop hit, “The Wolf” features a funky bassline with compressed drums and Jimiraqui-style vocals.
The track was released in 2018 and has gone on to become one of the best-known songs from the soundtrack it was recorded for.
Of Monsters And Men – Wolves Without Teeth
“Wolves Without Teeth” was released in 2015 as part of Icelandic fold band, Of Monsters and Men’s second studio album, entitled Beneath the Skin.
The song’s simplistic music video provides the lyrics, which describe various aspects of wolves and other animals. It combines elements of folk, with electronic music and pop.
Rainbow – Run With The Wolf
Released in 1976, “Run With The Wolf” was the second track from British-American rock band, Rainbow’s second album, Rising. The track wasn’t released as a single but became a popular live track for the band.
“Run With The Wolf” features a tight rhythm section, crunchy guitar lines, and typically dramatic vocals from lead singer Ronnie James Dio.
U2 – Raised by Wolves
Irish stadium rockers U2 released “Raised by Wolves” as part of their 2013 album, Songs of Innocence. The song was produced by Danger Mouse and Declan Gaffney, with lyrics coming from Bono and The Edge.
This is one of my personal favorite songs about wolves, and it features a simplistic, pulsating piano line with wolf-like sounds entering periodically, plus lyrics that explore the topic of what it would be like to be raised by a pack of wolves.
Phosphorescent – Wolves
American singer-songwriter Phosphorescent has released a total of seven studio albums, with his 2007 offering, Pride, amongst his best work. On that album, the third track was titled ”Wolves”.
This song features a fingerpicked acoustic guitar that accompanies soulful, heartfelt vocals, with the singer seemingly using wolves as metaphors for his feelings and state of mind.
Ben Howard – The Wolves
British singer-songwriter Ben Howard is, in my opinion, a highly underrated musician. He’s an exceptional guitar player with a unique feel and expressive style of playing, and his vocal and songwriting skills are also impeccable.
Howard’s debut studio album, Every Kingdom, was released in the summer of 2011, and the second single was a popular folk-rock track entitled “The Wolves”. This song was later certified silver in the UK, and the single featured an acoustic version that was two minutes longer than the original track.
Bon Iver – The Wolves
Bon Iver is now a household name, but back in 2007 lead singer and songwriter, Justin Vernon was on the verge of giving up music. He traveled to his feather’s hunting cabin in Wisconsin with a basic recording setup and created the album, For Emma, Forever Ago.
The fourth track on that acoustic folk album was entitled “The Wolves (Act I and II)”. This song features a sparse acoustic guitar, with rung-out chords, and dreamy vocals which are pitch-corrected using Autotune.
The Prodigy – Run with the Wolves
Featured on The Prodigy’s 2009 album Invaders Must Die, “Run with the Wolves” features an aggressive vocal take by lead singer and songwriter, the late Keith Flint.
Another interesting fact about this song is that it features Dave Grohl of Foo Fighter, and formerly Nirvana, on the drums. Grohl also helped The Prodigy to pen the song, after forming a relationship with the band when gigging together over the years.
Shakira – She Wolf
Released as the title track of Shakira’s 2009 album, “She Wolf” performed impressively on global music charts. It reached the top 10 in many European countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, and also in the USA and Canada, making it one of the best-selling werewolf songs ever.
The music video which accompanied this song also won critical acclaim, and the song was a staple in the Colombian singer’s set for her 2010 world tour. Musically, the track is classified as synth-pop blended with funk and dance music.
The Black Keys – Howlin’ for You
The Black Keys recorded their hit 2011 album, Brothers at the legendary Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama. The song, “Howlin’ for You” was one of the standout tracks from the album.
With its catchy, overdriven guitar melody and pulsating drum beat, “Howlin’ for you went on to become one of the band’s most popular live songs.
Queens of the Stone Age – Someone’s in the Wolf
“Someone’s in the Wolf” is the ninth song on desert rock band Queens of the Stone Age’s fifth studio album, entitled Lullabies to Paralyze. This song’s music video also includes a lot of wolf references.
The use of guitar harmonies and syncopated drum beats characterizes this song, and it was often played as the opener of the band’s set around the time that they released the album it featured on.
All Time Low – Dancing with a Wolf
The song “Dancing with a Wolf” was included on All Time Low’s 2015 album, Future Hearts. The track features confrontational lyrics, a saturated synth-like guitar line, and a catchy hook sung by lead vocalist Alex Gaskarth.
“Dancing with a Wolf” combines electronic elements with traditional rock and features a blend of acoustic drums with percussive samples.
Motorhead – In the Year of the Wolf
Motorhead’s longevity is all the more impressive when you consider the amount of touring the band did throughout their careers. In 2004, the iconic metal guitar band released the album Inferno, which featured the catchy tune, “In the Year of the Wolf”.
The song features Lemmy’s classic snarling vocals, with highly overdriven guitars playing chord patterns, a rumbling bass tone, and a cymbal-heavy drum track. Lyrically, the song describes running with wolves in a pack.
Kanye West – Wolves
There’s no denying the artistry of Kanye West, and his 2016 album, The Life of Pablo is an example of his fearless creativity. The track “Wolves”, is a dark, melodic hip hop track that also features Caroline Shaw, Sia, and Frank Ocean.
The rap vocals on this track are draped in reverb and autotune. West repeats the same phrases for the most part before the featured artists make cameo appearances. A music video was released for the song, directed by Steven Klein.
Selena Gomez – Wolves
American vocalist Selena Gomez recorded the track “Wolves” in 2017 in collaboration with EDM music producer, Marshamello. This song was written by Gomez and a songwriting team and was released on Interscope.
The song was hugely successful in Australia, Europe, and the USA. It blends the genres of trap with EDM music, and the music video was premiered on November 17th of 2017, garnering hundreds of millions of views.