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Entertainment: The Birdie Song

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151805.  Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:02 am Reply with quote

While we were in the pub we were discussing the world's greatest and most innovative instrumental tracks in pop-music history.

Of course we all agreed that The Birdie Song by The Tweets is the instrumental-par-excellence:

It was written by Swiss accordian player Werner Thomas in the 1950s and he called it "Der Ententanz" (The Duck Dance). Throughout the world it has had various names such as "Dance Little Bird", "The Chicken Dance" and "The Ducky Dance" and is a popular tune for most oom-pah bands.

It is so popular at German-style festivals that at the Wustfest in Texas it is banned from being played more than once an hour.

The Spanish Lyrics are:

Pajaritos por aqui,
Pajaritos por alla,
Y el mundo a bailar.


Birdies over here,
Birdies over there,
And the whole world dancing.

...but I much prefer the German lyrics:

Gestern Abend in Verein,
Gestern Abend in Verein,
Trank ich zuviel roten Wein...


Last night in the tavern,
Last night in the tavern,
I drank too much red wine.


151809.  Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:23 am Reply with quote

Agadoo was a hit on the continent 10 years before it came to the UK.

It was called Agadou.

Intriguing is this post on a German talkboard:


The song was originally written by French songwriters after they heard a friend humming a tune he had picked up on holiday in Morocco.

The song became the hit of the French Club Med resorts in 1974 but was not picked up by British audiences until Black Lace released an English translation in 1984.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is a popular resort in Morocco called "Agadir". I wonder if this is too much of a coincidence?

151814.  Tue Feb 27, 2007 4:40 am Reply with quote

It's the rostromedial prefrontal cortex which is to blame for these annoying songs, according to this article from The Indie.

The study by researchers at the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, asked volunteers to listen to an eight minute melody and pick out a test tone in the piece. By doing so, they were able to track down the area of the brain which is responsible for the recognition of tunes.

151822.  Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:04 am Reply with quote

Joe Dolce's 'Shaddap You Face' was the best selling single in Australian history for around 17 years. The previous best-seller was "Up There Cazaly" and before that "Pub With No Beer".

According to wiki it was only overtaken in 2005 (it was released in 1980) by an un-named single, but this seems unlikely. According to this wiki article, Candle in the Wind sold over 980,000 copies in 1997 and went 14x platinum, compared to Joe Dolce's 350,000+.

Three years after his success with Shaddapa You Face, Dolce attempted to recreate his triumph with "You Toucha My Car I Breaka You Face". It didn't have quite the same effect.

After its great success in Oz, Elton John attempted to get the song covered in the UK by Andrew Sachs in his guise of Manuel from Fawlty Towers. The song was recorded, but Dolce got a court injunction, and all copies were recalled.

Non-wiki source

151824.  Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:11 am Reply with quote

If anyone has a spare day, why not check out In there are his weekly newsletters, a delicious mix of anti-americanism, myth debunking, Aussie Music News and and Mama's Recipes.

Dolce's latest album is out now, one of his favourite tracks takes the words from a 19th century lyric:

'Did you ever hear about Cocaine Lil,
She lived in Cocaine town on Cocaine hill,
She had a Cocaine dog and a Cocaine cat,
They fought all night with the Cocaine rat."

151839.  Tue Feb 27, 2007 5:35 am Reply with quote

Cocaine songs had a real vogue, 100-odd years ago. Does anyone know how old "Have a whiff" is? Sounds old; I know it from the Mungo Jerry version, which I suspect could not be bettered for lovely seediness. Their version is different from this, below; I suspect all these songs have mixes-in from other lyrics. Mungo Jerry's, for instance, has a verse "Got a little lady, ten feet tall - smokes in the kitchen, smokes in the hall. Hey Hey baby, have a whiff on me ... "

Walked up Ellum and I come down Main
Tryin' to bum a nickle, just to buy cocaine
Ho, ho, honey take a whiff on me.

chorus: Take a whiff on me, take a whiff on me
And everybody, take a whiff on me.
Ho, ho, honey take a whiff on me.

Went to Mr. Lehman's on a lope
Sign in the window said: "No more coke".
Ho, ho, honey take a whiff on me.


Goin' up State Street, commin' down Main
Lookin' for the woman that uses cocaine.
Ho, ho, honey take a whiff on me.


I'se got a nickle, you'se got a dime...
You buy the coke and I'll buy the wine.
Ho, ho, honey take a whiff on me.


The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
Takes a brown-skin woman, for my particular use.
Ho, ho, honey take a whiff on me.


I chew my tobacco, and I spit my juice
I love my baby 'till it aint no use
Ho, ho, honey take a whiff on me.


Cocaine's for horses and not for men
Doctors say t'will kill you but they don't say when.
Ho, ho, honey take a whiff on me.


Whiff-a-ree and whiff-a-rye
Gonna keep on a whiffin', boys, 'till I die.
Ho, ho, honey take a whiff on me.

152717.  Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:21 pm Reply with quote

A study has shown that The Birdie Song is the song which is most likely to get people dancing.

Source: Ahem Richard & Judy Cough Cough

152824.  Thu Mar 01, 2007 7:12 pm Reply with quote

I couldn't dance to The Birdie Song unless I was sober.

I much rather the gentle yet punchy refrains provided by the musical entourage best known as the Young Men's Christian Association.



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