Let’s do the Chicken Dance!

You know da one. No? Well, let someone from Wisconsin show ya da way!

Ya hear da horns, ya hear da accordion, ya bend over, ya start flapping your arms and legs … and, yah, well, it helps to have a few beers in ya.

Here at AM, Then FM, we occasionally do our part to present (and thus preserve) small slices of our regional culture. That would explain all those Packers songs and last summer’s trip to the Pulaski Polka Days festival.

Today we honor the memory of Bob Kames. He’s the Milwaukee organist and music store owner credited with taking a 1950s Swiss song called “Dance Little Bird” or “The Bird Dance” and popularizing it (and polka-izing it) in America as “The Chicken Dance.” He passed away Wednesday. He was 82.

Growing up in central Wisconsin in the mid-’70s, you could not go to a wedding — particularly a Polish or German wedding — and not have polka music. When you had polka music, you always heard, and did, the Chicken Dance. You learn it when you are young, and you do it forever.

Here are the instructions.

Here is the music.

“The Chicken Dance,” Brave Combo, from “Group Dance Epidemic,” 1997. A must for any party.

Here’s where you can find Bob Kames’ version, on a single and on a CD. The latter comes with dance instructions!

But it’s not enough just to hear it. You must see it.

The folks at this wedding clearly have not had enough to drink yet.

Now watch Vince Neil of Motley Crue do the Chicken Dance. Classic.



Filed under April 2008, Sounds

4 responses to “Let’s do the Chicken Dance!

  1. classic stuff…..love this post!

  2. The Texas Gal worked for a while in the corporate office of Gold’n Plump, the producers of fine chicken and related products for our tables. The firm’s owner frequently dressed up in the company’s chicken suit for parades and danced his way along the parade routes to music provided by the Chickenmobile — truly! If you worked there, you had to know the chicken dance.

  3. TexasGal

    I’m rarely moved to comment on a blog as whiteray does enough of that for both of us, but as an ex-employee of a major chicken supplier, I have to say that if you have a legacy, then at least you have one that helps everyone have fun! Even at the time of your move to the light! I can’t count the times that we did the chicken dance while the company owner dressed up in the “infamous” chicken suit at ball games, parades, and company events. I hope my legacy is to make people have that much fun. Silliness is life!

  4. jb

    There is not enough liquor in the world to get me to do that.

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