“The Chicken Dance” AKA “The Bird Dance” by The Emeralds – A Canadian Polka Band from The 80s as Featured in The New Weird Al Yankovic Biopic on Roku

The song had been done by other polka groups before. I remember hearing it on the radio but with lyrics and in German by some other group. The Emeralds did an instrumental version which became an international hit. Soon it acquired a goofy dance routine to go with it. You may have seen it at performed a wedding reception.

Shortly after I first heard the song on the radio, TV commercials started to air for a hits compilation titled Bird Dance by The Emeralds (Show and Dance Band), a group from Canada. It came out on K-Tel Records which had some distribution in the USA, especially in the Midwest.

There are two versions of the song. This one was recorded and released first, but also appears listed as “version 2” on the compilation. Originally called “Bird Dance” people quickly nick named it “Chicken Dance” and that became the alternate song title.

This exact recording is heard in the Weird: The Al Yankovic Story while the actors do the dance. You can watch it for free on the Roku Channel. If you have not you should. it’s a great time. The song also appears on the forthcoming CD and Vinyl soundtrack to be released in January 2023. I’ve heard the new mix and I prefer the original. The new mix is too tinny.

I believe my Grandma found her copy on a merch table at the Yack Arena in Wyandotte, Michigan. Dozens of ethnic festivals were held there every year in the 1980s. Polka music was popular among the elderly population that had immigrated from Central and Eastern Europe decades before.

But because I was a weird kid, the story does not end there. You see, ever since I was about 9 years old I knew that I wanted to own a radio station some day. I was also a bit of a nerd that liked to tinker with things.

One Christmas I received an electronic projects kit from Radio Shack that looked like this.

You would follow the wiring instructions in the manual to create a host of different circuits. It was fun to put them together. One of the projects was a low-power AM radio transmitter.

I put that circuit together but I wired in my cassette recorder and connected the TV antenna located on out roof. The tape in the cassette recorder was of course Bird Dance by The Emeralds (Show and Dance Band). I went out to the back yard to find my grandmother. I tuned her radio into the broadcast and it worked like a charm. Good times. :)

courtesy of discogs

“Love Rollercoaster” by Red Hot Chili Peppers As seen in Beavis & Butthead Do America

The Peppers are releasing their second album this year with returning guitarist John Frusciante. Beavis & Butthead are back with a recent movie and new episodes on Paramount Plus. Both of these GenX favorites are hot again. I love it!

Fans will remember that the movie Beavis & Butthead Do America features a song performed The Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was 1996 and Dave Navarro was the lead guitarist in the band.

In the film, the boys find themselves at a Las Vegas casino dancing to the music of a cover band. The band is dressed in look-alike blue suits. They look nothing like Red Hot Chili Peppers.

It cracks me up that The Peppers played a cover band in the movie. They could have just covered any RHCP hit but it’s a lot funnier having the band play a cover as a cover band. RHCP also made an animated video for it, but it’s just not as entertaining as the scene from the movie.

Decades before Beavis and Butthead were seen dancing to this song as performed by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1996, it first made famous by The Ohio Players in the 1970s. Here is footage of them playing live-to-tape on Midnight Special as introduced by Wolfman Jack.

The RHCP version was released in North America and Spain as a CD single that also functioned as a promo for FM radio. It included three mixes of the song. Today it’s a collector’s item.

courtesy of discogs

The song was released as a single on cassette as well as CD in the UK. The UK release was different than the North American one. The UK version featured only one mix of the song but also included Engleberth Humerdinck’s version of “Lesbian Seagull”.

Believe it or not, “Lesbian Seagull” was not written for the movie. The song was first released in 1979 by an obscure folk singer called Tom Wilson on his album Gay Name Game. That makes it a cover version also.

courtesy of discogs

If you want to jam out to the album version, here you go!

“Money For Nothing / Beverly Hillbillies” by Weird Al Yankovic (from UHF)

May 15th is International Family Day. It was founded by the United Nations in 1994. What better way to mark the occasion then with a song about the Beverly Hillbillies? The poorest and most rural family imaginable becomes fabulously wealthy by a lucky strike. Hooray!

Weird Al included the music video in the 1989 movie UHF which he co-wrote and starred in. The film is now considered a cult classic and everyone should check it out. The song is a parody of “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits and the recording features guitarist Mark Knopfler.

-Wacky Alex