Wednesday, October 12, 2005

She did the chicken in the middle of the floor

In 1960, U.S. rockabilly artist Billy "Crash" Craddock had a number one hit in Australia (of all places) with Boom Boom Baby. It's a great song, but I still wonder what "the chicken" and "the chicken bop" were. They are dances mentioned in the song.

The dance called "the chicken" in Boom Boom Baby would seem not to be the silly disco dance that's best known as "The Bird Dance" in Europe. [The lyrics of Heino's version of "The Bird Dance", by the way, say that he learned the dance while on his "first flight to Canada"!]

The only information that I can find on the "chicken bop", there being no Wikipedia entry on the dance, is that this is a slang term for moving one's head like a chicken to music.

Australians, for their part, liked to put their own spin on dance crazes in the 1960s. "Twistin' USA" was transmogrified into the Johnny O'Keefe cover version "Twistin Australia Way", in which teens in various Australian towns named in the song were even "twistin' to the didgeridoo."