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Chicken Dance- the Birdie Song

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Chicken Dance- the Birdie Song

Postby admin » Wed May 21, 2014 1:55 pm

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

The "Chicken Dance," also known as the Birdie Song, is an oom-pah song and its associated fad dance is now a contemporary dance throughout the Western world. The song was composed by accordion (Handharmonika) player Werner Thomas from Davos, Switzerland, in the 1950s.

Contents [hide]
1 History
1.1 Chart success
2 Dance steps
3 This song in other languages
4 Notable performances
5 See also
6 References
History[edit]
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This article or section appears to contradict itself. Please see the talk page for more information. (September 2010)


Flap the wings
The name of the original Swiss song was "Der Ententanz" (The Duck Dance). It is rumored to be a drinking song sung at Oktoberfest. Sometime in the late 1970s, the song acquired the name "Vogeltanz" (The Bird Dance) or "Vogerltanz" (Little Bird Dance or Birdie Dance), although these names never caught on seriously in Germany. On some sheet music and recordings it is called "Dance Little Bird." It appears that no one in Germany uses the term "Kükentanz" or "Huhn/Hühnertanz" (Küken means chick, Huhn/Hühner means chicken (sg./pl.)). Since 1963 Werner Thomas had played it in restaurants and hotels. During one of Thomas' performances, Belgian producer Louis van Rijmenant heard the song. Van Rijmenant had some lyrics created and in 1970 released it to the public through his publishing company Intervox Music (later on co-publishing with his other company Eurovox Music) without much success. However, on subsequent releases of the song, Van Rijmenant was listed as co-author under the pen name of Terry Rendall. Eurovox Music now manages the publishing rights worldwide, except for the US (September Music), UK (Valentine Music) and the Netherlands (Benelux Music), sub-publishers.

In 1980, Dutch local band "De Electronica's" released an instrumental version called "De Vogeltjesdans" ("The dance of the little birds") as the B-side of a single. The A-side wasn't a hit, but local radio stations in the south and east of the Netherlands decided to flip the disc and started playing "De Vogeltjesdans". The record entered the Dutch charts and stayed there for over seven months, and started the international success of the song. On some recorded releases of the music Werner Thomas is listed as the sole composer, while on others other authors are listed, e.g., as "Thomas/Rendall/Hoes", the last name referring to Dutch singer/producer Johnny Hoes, who re-arranged the song for the Electronicas recording (which was released on Hoes' own record label, Telstar Records). He also wrote new Dutch lyrics for the song, although the Electronicas version is an instrumental one (Hoes himself recorded the vocal version, but that did not become a hit).



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Ozseeker the Clown doing the "Chicken Dance" at a Municipal Band concert in Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Since then the song has become known under numerous other "birdie" names, including "Vogerltanz" (Bird Dance), "Danse des Canards", "Baile de los Pajaritos", "Chicken Dance" and "Dance Little Bird". Over 140 versions of it are recorded worldwide, including various versions that were released by Walt Disney Records, together making over 40,000,000 records.

The dance was introduced in the United States in 1981 during the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Oktoberfest. They wanted to demonstrate their love through dance in costumes, but there were no duck costumes available anywhere near Tulsa. At a local television station, however, a chicken costume was available which was donated for use at the festival, giving the "Chicken Dance" its name.[1]

In 1982, polka-loving cover band "The Emeralds", from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, recorded a polka-inspired version of the song, released by K-Tel records. The album "Bird Dance" went double-platinum in Canada, and gold in Australia.[2] The song also contributed to the success of multiple gold albums for the Emeralds in 1983 and 1984. The song went on to further fame when it was used in two movies: John Paizs's cult classic Crime Wave, and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.[3]

In the Hispanic realm around this time, "Pajaritos a bailar," a localized version of the song, was popularized by acordeonista Maria Jesús in several television appearances. The dance and song was originally brought from Germany to the US by Eddie Duling and Larry Karhoff of Glandorf Ohio in 1974. They gave a copy of the song to the local radio station and history was made.

Despite other claims as to the name "Chicken Dance", the name had come about because an Austrian tour guide translated "Bird Dance / Dance Little Bird" and other similar names, from German to English by calling it "The Chicken Dance" when Norm Edlebeck's Band appeared in Austria in the fall of 1981.[citation needed] Edlebeck recorded it on the "End of The Trail" record label and used his nickname "Whoopee" as the artist. It was introduced to the United States In April 1982 on the Nationwide Television Show "P M Magazine" produced by "Group W Productions" of San Francisco as "The Chicken Dance" and featured Wisconsin Orchestra Leader Norm Edlebeck playing it on a $25K Electronic Organ and presented in a "Blue Grass" rendition. "Group W Productions" repeated the segment again nationwide on August 9, 1983 and included Edlebeck's picture in their weekly ad slick sent to every station in their network for publication in TV Guide. Group W titled the segment the "World's Stupidest Dance".[citation needed]

The LP "Bird Dance" sold millions of copies in the first year. It has become a standard request at weddings and family gatherings. Contrary to some misconceptions, it is not an Austrian folk dance, although it was presented as one in the Austrian film Das Fest des Huhnes. In the United States, the publishing rights for the song were acquired by a New York publisher Stanley Mills.[citation needed] In Denmark, a version of this song is used by the brewery Tuborg in their commercials for their "Easter Brew" ("Påskebryg" in Danish).[citation needed]

Chart success [edit]
In 1981 Henry Hadaway produced a version of the "Chicken Dance", which was released in the United Kingdom as an instrumental novelty tune "The Birdie Song" by The Tweets. It reached number two in the singles chart in October 1981, making it the most popular version.[4][5] In 2000, this version was voted "the most annoying song of all time" in a poll commissioned for the website dotmusic.[5] The song is often sung with lyrics with a little bit of this and a little bit of that and shake your bum to the tune. Alternative lyrics are "I don't want to be a chicken, I don't want to be a duck, So I wag my butt, Quack, quack, quack, quack!"

Dance steps[edit]


Chicken Dance
The "Chicken Dance" song is accompanied by a dance requiring a group of people, and it goes as follows:

At the start of the music, shape a chicken beak with your hands. Open and close them four times, during the first four beats of the music.
Make chicken wings with your arms. Flap your wings four times, during the next four beats of the music.
Make a chicken's tail feathers with your arms and hands. Wiggle downwards during the next four beats of the music.
Clap four times during the next four beats of the music while rising to your feet.
Repeat this process four times.
At the bridge, hold your arms straight, in imitation of an aeroplane. All dancers spin around the room in "flight" until the bridge ends.
(Alternately: At the bridge, link arms with the nearest person, turn right eight steps, switch arms and turn left eight steps, then repeat until the bridge ends)
(Alternatively: Assume close position with partner and polka until bridge ends.)
The dance repeats, progressively getting faster and faster, until the music stops.
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