Released in 1986, The Chicken Song spent three weeks in the UK number one slot, despite it being one of the most irritating novelty songs ever written. To be fair though, being irritating was always the point of the song as it was intended to be a parody of songs such as Agadoo and Superman, and any of the rest of cringe worthy group Black Lace’s records.
The song was penned by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor, the creators of sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf, when they were writers for the satirical adult puppet show Spitting Image, which featured rubber charicatures of famous people of the day, the majority of whom were political in nature, although anybody famous was a possible target. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan were two particularly memorable puppets from the show. The song featured in the show initially, but eventually was released as a single where it found success amongst young and old alike.
Taking Black Lace’s Superman as its primary inspiration, the chorus of the song informs you to perform a series of different tasks purporting to be the songs accompanying “dance”. It went something like this:-
Hold a chicken in the air
Stick a deckchair up your nose
Buy a jumbo jet
And then bury all your clothes
Paint your left knee green
Then extract your wisdom teeth
Form a string quartet
And pretend your name is Keith
There were further lines beyond this but these are the most often repeated and best remembered. The entire thing was accompanied by a video showing most of the Spitting Image puppets going on their summer holidays to some cheap and cheerful holiday destination in France or Spain, essentially parodying the embarassing concept of “The British Abroad”.
One rumour I heard regarding this song was that the very band it was taking the mickey out of asked if they could record the song themselves. If this was true I really don’t know whether Black Lace were really that naive not to realise it was a parody of themselves or whether they truly liked the song anyway. The biggest clue for them must surely have been that the song is attributed to being recorded by “The Wet Gits”. Anyway, sing (or groan) along with the song by playing the video below!