The chicken dance song was originally titled "Der Ententanz" (The Duck Dance). It was created by Swiss accordion player Werner Thomas of Davos, Switzerland. Thomas created it in the 1950's. This song was inspired not by chickens, but rather by skiers.
While watching vacationers zip down the slopes Thomas noted their resemblance to a certain water bird. Skiers, he said, use certain hand movements that—at least to him—evoked “the beak of a duck.” Other gestures utilized by the winter sports enthusiasts reminded Thomas of flapping wings and waddling feet. He then adapted these into a playful series of movements he called “Der Ententanz” or “The Duck Dance.”
The song’s history came in the early 70s, when Belgian music producer Louis Julien van Rijmenant heard Thomas playing it at a hotel in Davos, Switzerland. In 1973, Rijmenant collaborated with a band called Bobby Setter's Cash & Carry to publish the song as a single. Titled “Tchip, Tchip,” this version of the tune was created via synthesizer.
Thomas’s accompanying dance didn’t become widely known until the Dutch band De Electronica released a new cover of “Tchip, Tchip” in 1980. The band’s version— called it “De Vogeltjesdans,” or “Dance Little Bird". De Electronica combined the melody and duck-like movements that Thomas had invented more than two decades earlier.
The song made its way to the U.S. after music producer Stanley Mills first heard the song at a convention in Cannes, France in 1972. In 1981, at Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Oktoberfest, a German band decided to play “Dance Little Bird” and taught the crowd how to do Thomas’s Duck Dance. “Since visual aids are always helpful, the event organizers scoured the greater Tulsa area in search of a duck costume before the party got started. None could be found, but a local TV station was able to loan them a chicken suit—and the rest is history.”
How To Celebrate Dance Like a Chicken Day
For instructions on how to dance the chicken dance (and more chicken jokes, word games and chicken fun than you thought were possible) check out this great site
I wonder what other songs were created from animal-like resemblances?