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Go, You Chicken Fat, Go

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If you attended grade school during the 60’s, you probably heard “Chicken Fat” several times a week. Well, it’s available today on mp3 at Otis Fodder’s amazing and wonderful 365 Days Project.

A song written by Meredith Wilson of “Music Man” fame. It was commissioned by John Kennedy for his new Youth Fitness Program. A copy of this record was sent to every school in the U.S. with the idea that it would be played over the P.A. every morning while students did calisthenics.

(After today, try here, but you’ll want to investigate the Archive Page anyway.)

It’s sung by Robert Preston, also of “Music Man” fame.

I’m somewhat amazed they found a copy of the record that wasn’t scratched, worn and chalk dusted within an inch of its life on one of those classic 4 speed school record players. If you’re too young to have had first hand exposure to this treat, download it anyway and annoy a baby boomer with it.

(Insert snarky Natalie Maines joke here.)

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About Hazy Dave

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    That was evil, man, EVIL. The second I read that title, that stupid song popped into my head and memories of the embarassing exercise routine we were forced to go through while listening to this awful song over and over . . .

  • Eric Olsen

    Though I was born in ’58, I do not remember such a thing. I do remember Wo Fat from Hawaii Five-O though.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    It won’t go away . . . chorus keeps repeating in my head . . . “Go you chicken fat go! Go you chicken fat go! Go you chicken fat go! Go you chicken fat go! Go you chicken fat go! Go you chicken fat go!”

    I knew I should have just stayed in bed this morning.

  • http://oakhaus.blogspot.com/ Bill Sherman

    Oh man, I remember this from gym class, too. (Deep shudder. . .)

  • acp

    I need to get this song on CD if it is available? Sounds sick I know but my sister absolutely adores her memorys and happened to bring it to mind a couple months ago!

  • Suzeiki

    send that chicken fat back to the chickens, and don’t be chicken again…..
    i hated that song

    i woke up this morning with it in my head and wondered if the entire thing were real or imaginary.

    i guess it was real

  • HW Saxton Jr.

    I remember this demonic ditty from back
    in grade school. A local Horror movie
    host(Seymour)in L.A. back in the early
    1970’s used to use this on his weekly
    TV show once in a while. He would loop
    some footage of Godzilla jumping up and
    down and play this damn tune so that it
    looked as though the Big G was actually doing exercise to it.What a great gag &
    what an annoying song.

  • Mike Fehn

    I’m the Executive Producer of a morning show in Evansville, IN. Chicken Fat recently came to our attention…and we’re about to make it a new segment on our show by getting local schools involved. Problem is we don’t have the actual steps to the routine. If anyone has them could you please pass them along to me. Thanks.

    mfehn@14wfie.com

  • Ev

    In a small town in Northern NY that @#$! record was played as recently as the early 90’s in gym class…it was ghastly.

  • http://blogcritics.org/mt/mt-comments.php Donna

    Oh Lord love a duck!! I cannot believe I found this!! I was JUST telling a co-worker, who is Japanese, about how young americans back in the 60’s were tortured with the Chicken Fat song! It is one of those songs that just sticks with you, doesn’t it?! But torture me some more!! I would just LOVE to have it to play to my now grown children! That way I can reminisce about the good old days when–though forced to excercise–this is what kept me so slim and trim!!!

  • Tom

    I NEED a copy of the Chicken Fat song for a class!!!!!

    Help!

    ASAP!!!

    Tom

  • http://www.daveross.com/songs/chickenfat.mp3 boozer
  • Eric Olsen

    ASAP is relative

  • http://www.mobiusstreet.blogspot.com/ Hazy Dave

    Thanks, boozer. I believe Tom already found what he needed, but if you have the bandwidth available, maybe the next Seeker can be rewarded by the joy and horror of Robert Preston exhorting Kennedy Youth to shed that excess poultry poundage.

  • http://www.mobiusstreet.blogspot.com/ Hazy Dave

    I just noticed the Natalie Maines reference has not aged well. Insert snarky Michael Moore joke, instead.

  • Whitewatermom

    Oh Boozer, thank you so much!!! I just loved this song in gym class, it brings back such wonderful memories and blots out the horrid green gym uniform!!! This kept me thin and trim back then.
    lol Now I can share it with my grandkids!!

  • http://CHICKENFATCD Kathy

    For anyone interested you can order the Chicken Fat CD from:

    http://store.teachchildren.com/chickenfatcd.html

    I ordered mine and it is the same one we worked out to in grade school.

    Kathy

  • Ralph Marshburn

    “Chicken fat on you, Batman!” shouted Robin.

    “Chicken fat on YOU, Robin!” replied Batman.

  • kelsey

    Ha…My science teacher makes us listen to this song and go along with it every MORNING …

  • PGX – 13

    “Just give that chicken fat back to the
    chickens and don’t be chicken again…”
    Aaaah yes, poultry in motion.

  • Marsh

    The Chicken Fat song. Is this a a hive-mind thing or what? For the last few days I was thinking about that song. Back in the 60s it was an everyday event. One particular exercise routine in the song has really helped me burn sugar, and strengthen my knee, so I have no complaints. Also since a recent article in the Wash.Post about kids needing not only cardio, and strengthening exercises but impact routine to strengthen bones, this oldie may make a significant comeback.
    Thanks for the song, my overweight 10yr old will soon be on his way to the Twilight Zone. Peace

  • ben

    I have come across a copy of the original that doesen’t appear to be used at all.
    $800
    No. Really. Is it worth anything?

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    It’s the Zeitgeist… I recieved an eMail from my mom this morning saying one of my grandnieces got a record for Christmas, and “Remember that Chicken Fat song? It’s on her record.” ARGGH!

  • Terri

    Some things just never die! The second I clicked on that like and the music started it took me back to Jr. High School and I sat at my desk cracking up – listened to the whole dang thing!

    I’m going to email it to my sisters so they can also enjoy this trip down memory lane :)

  • scott

    check out chickenfatkids.com

  • Georgie

    I honest to God had a copy of that record years ago. I have tried to download it to no avail. Any idea where it might be? The link above is no longer working.

  • SquareDancer

    I have the chicken Fat record but miss placed it in a move. I had also put it on a tape and used it every so often. It is a good quick generic exercise routine and I am thankful that you all pointed me to a copy of it so I can start useing it again. I started school in 1961. The target group.

  • http://paperfrigate.blogspot.com DrPat

    Try this link for a CD version, guys!

  • Mark Esch

    Wow…I just returned from a week at “Camp Dearborn”..and it was a staple there since I was 5 yrs. old…umm…i’m in my 40’s.I did not know until this week that is was Robert Preston. Incredible….oh, the memories…

  • daria

    this is funny. i got given a tape and book set for my 8th birthday (16 years ago) and it is called “chicken fat – irwins aerobic dance party”. i am actually looking for the tape/cd as i misplaced mine a few years back. i use to love this set. i didnt realise that people were tortured with it at school though.

    if anyone has any idea as to where i might be able to find this i would really appreciate it.

  • http://none.com Bob A. Booey

    I too want a copy of “Irwin’s Aerobic Dance Party.” It sounds super fun.

    I’ll out-bid whatever Daria will pay for it by one cent.

    That is all.

  • Ziggy

    I was cooking a chicken tonight and I found myself humming the song. Weird. Then thinking I was the only boomer still haunted by this freak of musical nature…I googled it and got all this. I am not alone!!! Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you! Damn you JFK and all your mindless gym teachers….at least I’m still not fat…
    Freakin’ cool and warm fuzzies. Aaaarrrgh!

  • KYS

    My middle school still used this in the 80’s. Was it really released in the 60’s? Lame…

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Surely the Chicken Fat song must be banned to spare the sensitive psyches of our children!

    Dave

  • KYS

    Most notable is the interjection of “HALT!!”, as we transition from one drill to another. Priceless.

  • Todd

    I have several original records if anyone is interested. I am going to list them on Ebay one at a time. They are unplayed as far as I know. My dad had a whole box (about 20-some) back in the 60s that he gave away when he as a memeber of the Jaycee organization. After he passed away, I found that box. Each one of them are in mint condition, I don’t think they’ve ever been played. Check out my auction.

    I remember my sister and I as kids listening to that over and over and over again. I don’t have a record player any more, but I d/l’d the mp3 a while back. Crazy me, huh? : P

  • Dori

    omg Thank you ! I am not crazy ! No one remembered this song. They busted out in laughter when I asked them.

  • Mian Dickie

    omg…at work we play music trivia…”who was the bass player for Cream?” kind of thing..and this sick tune came to my mind…been there all day…and it goes” GO you chicken fat GO” NObody ever heard of it and I felt like an a##hole..now I have fuel… ITS NOT JUST ME

  • Sherry

    I had a single record along time ago, and lost it during a move. I use this record as my workout excercise daily and lost a 20 plus weight (of fat) and toned up in 6 months. I recently purchased a CD and only 2 minutes is vocal with command in excercise and the rest is just music. I did not like it. The original is the best!!!

  • Carolyn

    With the obesity crisis going on today, I think they should go back to playing this in school. If six minutes every day will undo all those pizzas and fries, that would be wonderful.

    I remember doing this at the Y when I was a kid. I liked that it was perky. I didn’t realize that everyone else hated it. (But come to think of it, our gym teacher had quite a gut, and he would saunter around clapping to the music and shouting to make sure we were all moving, while he didn’t lose an ounce.)

    Just think, if this gets stuck in your head, you might do it more than once a day! :)

  • http://url jan

    my husband laughed when i told him about this song. i remember it so well…now !! but must of blacked it out until now…. thinking of kfc and chicken skin ..it all came back to me 3rd or 4th grade gym class……………arm circles hahaha!!!

  • Terri

    I’m the captain of a weight loss group and “Chicken Fat” is perfect!!! It’s so embedded in the pyche you can’t help but move when you here it. Hurray for brainwashing!

  • http://mobiusstreet.blogspot.com Hazy Dave

    An anonymous contributor sent me the following information. I can’t vouch for its veracity, but it sounds believable enough to pass along to the occasional questing “Chicken Fat” Googler…

    For the curious and the satanic, the Chicken Fat song has been put back into print in glorious 5.1 surround stereo on a CD-Single thru the American Jaycees. CEMA Special Markets (a-k-a Capitol Special Products) printed the CD after accidentally discovering the original 3-track session tapes unlabeled in their vault.

    One reel has the Basic Tracks (brass on 1 strings on 2 and woodwinds on 3) another reel has all that blended into mono on 1, mens’ choir on 2 and womens’ choir on 3, and a third reel has all THAT blended into mono and a choice of Preston singing in the lead vocal we all know, plus a harmony track that was discarded.

    So some bright young digital engineer lifted all three of the same take from all three reels, spent what I assume to be weeks in a digital post suite retiming the tracks to each other, and created the Dolby Pro Logic 5.1 mix that’s out now.

    Preston sings holophonically in the middle of the room, the girls choir is in the left-rear with the stereo track and the boys’ choir is in the right-rear with the stereo track, brass on the right, strings on the left and woodwinds in the center.

    In addition to the recreated master take described above, there’s several other master-quality takes, plenty of material for Dick Clark and some hilarious studio chatter.

    A very interesting—or very terrible–experience, depending on the point of view.

    Pushups! Every morning! Ten times!

  • Rory

    As a kindergartner in 1979 we started every gym class with this song. We’d line up in single file rows and our gym teacher would blare the music. My older sister had to do it for years. But one day the gym teacher had a heart attack and died at school. We all got sent home early and Chicken Fat was never played again.
    I was recently telling a first grader about this song and found it online. It is now stuck in our heads.
    Is the Kimbo CD version the original with Robert Preston?

  • http://25% Nickademis + Wenis

    This is such a funny song we wish that we could dance to this at our school! We love chickens very much and we would wish that u will please give the poor chickens there fat back! So that when we get hungrey we can have some good plump chicken to EAT!!!

  • Campus Lab

    Growing up in the sixties was great… except for this song! Luckily, I’ve found a way to get it out of my head…. “Where, oh where are you tonight, Why did you leave me here all alone? I searched the world over and thought I found true love. You met another and PFFT! you were gone.” (Now if I can just find a way to get rid of that one!!)

  • Dawn

    Believe it or not, the Chicken Fat song is available in a downloadable form on the JFK Library archive site! Try jfklibrary.org, then go to Historical Resources, JFK in History, and The Federal Government takes on Physical Fitness. There’s a multi-media link to Chicken Fat at the top of the page. Enjoy!

  • Nivasi

    Ms. Lipscomb really worked our butts off in Alief many moons ago.. I hope that woman got hers!

  • Kimberly

    I love “Chicken Fat”. Preston was a treasure. My mother had a record and to her dismay my little brother and I insisted on listening to it and doing the exercises several times a day. We thought it was much more fun than doing chores.

    Dang, my favorite P.E. teacher just died. She also had us warm up with “Chicken Fat”. I was born in 1960. If a woman can get a bunch of sullen adolescent girls worried about their Farrah Hair to do Chicken Fat, she’s must be in, well, wherever she wants to be.

    God speed you, Miss Black.

  • Deanna

    I remember this song from the 60’s and have been looking for it for a couple of years to get my over-video-gamed students moving! I love that so many others share my fond (and not so fond) memories of this song. I’ll put it to good use!

  • Bev

    I need the chicken fat program with music for classroom exercising. Help!

  • Linda

    Exercising to “Chicken Fat” was a daily routine in my fourth and fifth grade classes at Karlsruhe American Elementary School back in the mid 60’s. Back in the day, we had a dress code. Girls were not allowed to wear slacks, so you can imagine what it was like to do the bicycle with a dress on.

  • Brenda

    I never, never thought I’d really find this song on the internet. I was a tad young to have this in school, but my mother used to watch “The Morning Show” and the hosts did this routine every morning. My husband has never heard this and I had to find it for that reason. Thanks for the great laugh it gave me.

  • Leann Wexler

    WHOA! My husband and I were driving to work this morning and he was griping about traffic, saying “Go…go…go…” and out of the blue, I said, “Go, you chicken fat, go!” He had no idea what I was talking about, even though we’re the same age. I explained about the song we exercised to in PE, and said I’d have to find it for him. This is amazing. I love it that people are remembering it as fondly as I am.

  • Jim–Arlington, Massachusetts

    Clearly, this song invites no ambivalence. People either love or hate it, but they sure do remember it!

    Me, I’m in the former camp–and no version can best “Music Man” Robert Preston’s rendition of it–his delivery commands authority. If Preston had been a broad, he’d have been called “brassy,” a term of endearment(?) usually reserved for performers such as the late Ethel Merman, and Bette Midler.

    For the vaudeville-challenged, that basically means that unlike Madonna and other pretenders to the throne of versatile entertainment (who wear those silly contraptions making them appear as air traffic controllers), Preston’s voice could be heard at the back of a theater without peripheral device assistance. Beyond that, these unique performers don’t so much occupy a character as it inhabits them.

    More recently, Matthew Broderick, an actor whom I admire generally, reprised the role of “Professor Harold Hill” in a TV version of “The Music Man.” It translated as nothing so much as “Ferris Bueller” having another “off day,” making one realize there’s truth to that adage of one actor defining a character, and in that role Preston is Webster’s!

    This song was used in the schools’ physical education classes to motivate the kids of an era to exercise, and one couldn’t ask for a better drill sergeant in such matters than Preston–certainly inspires more confidence than, say, someone like Richard Simmons or Jane Fonda.

    Though some baby boomers may have become out of shape, due partly to slower metabolisms that come with aging and not enough caloric burn, at least in their youth were more mobile than many of today’s young, who are already starting off at a disadvantage with less physical education, more sedentary lifestyles and both unsupervised & unstructured eating habits.

    So maybe a supplemntal tool like this recording could be a motivator, as part of increased physical activity, both in and after school!

    As for which version of this song to use, let me put it another way–Carole King wrote “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman,” but it is Aretha Franklin who soars with it! Just as Bob Dylan wrote “Mr. Tambourine Man,” but The Byrds took it to another level. Preston soars to another level with this very simple work chant, making anyone with ears realize who is the commander and who is commanded to sweat!

  • AJ

    Where, oh where, can I find a CD (not the video)of this song? I had one that I regularly used in my classroom, but it fizzled after 30 years of use!

  • Patricia Perry

    I remember this song. We excersised to this song at the beginning of every PE class. We performed this song for the parents at the May fair. Oh my goodness!!!!

  • PD FOGEL

    Boy am I glad I found this. I had forgotten how intense it could be. After hearing the whole song again I remembered how we would fall on the ground after we had to do this in PE. If schools did more stuff like this, childhood obesity would not be an issue.

  • jbw

    I found the original Chicken Fat by Robert Preston. To my great pleasure it was the entire ten minute version. They only have it available to listen to.

    I promise this is where I found it.

    Happy listening and may the memories flow.

  • Schmaltzedicke Faygele

    Boy, does this song bring back memories! I don’t remember hearing it at school, but we had a copy of this record on a mini-album (45RPM size, but played at 33RPM, and only had the small center hole). As kids, my sisters, my brother and I wore this record into scratchy non-existence, playing it over and over and actually doing the exercises. You would think that after all of that, we’d all be toned and buff. No such thing. Out of the five of us, four of us have strugged with being overweight and obese throughout our lives. Go figure….

  • sp hackney – Orginally from Williamstown, Mass

    I have been talking about this song with my husband for years. He had never heard of the song. We were both born in 1960. We figured it must be a regional thing.

    What a riot! I hated that song. We always had to exercise to it when it rained. Which is a lot in New England. Our gym teacher Miss Flag and her double canes made us work out to it in our danskin shorts and bad page boy hair cuts.

  • Marcia Neil

    The song annoys baby boomers because it was illegally marketed. “Freedom of the press’ is not a law, it is an ethic and it is unethical to seize and market any music without adequate infor-mation.

  • dangel

    Ah, what memories this brings back. P.S. 41 Bronx, NY, Mrs. Vittaglione (the best gym teacher). I don’t remember having anything but fun exercising to this record and the Alley Cat. I know 45 years later I’m not overweight. I think this was good conditioning even though I’m a slug about exercising.

  • Thud

    In May of this year I had a small heart attack: more of a bar-room brawl than an outright attack. I am now back to exercising and long walks including the steep hill that put me in the hospital. Yesterday while walking the hill with my wife, the “Go You Chicken Fat, Go” song popped into my head totally unannounced and without any provocation. I couldn’t wait to get back home to Google it.

    Surprised? You could have knocked me over with a Hummer. I thought that only MY warped mind would hold onto those lyrics and memories of school-wide exercise mornings at good old Colonel Wright Elementary.

    And to see so many postings of the actual recording, including the link posted by JBW in April. And, it IS downloadable not just for listening. Click on the downward facing arrow in the lower-right and scroll down to the save function.

    I’m making several CDs of that song and sending them to people I would like to torture; friends from way back in the early 1960s.

    PLUS… I tried to do the entire routine about an hour ago. Geez! I’m gonna be sore tomorrow! But I plan to keep doing it until Christmas to see if it helps with my recovery.

  • JOAN PLEFKA

    OH I LOVED THOSE TIMES IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WHEN I ALONG WITH OTHER CLASSMATES HAD DONE THESE. WE SURELY HAD A BALL OF FUN. TEACHERS EVEN HAD US DO THEM ALMOST EVERYDAY OF THE SCHOOL WEEK. AS FOR WHAT THE TEACHERS SUGGESTED FOR US GIRLS WAS TO DOING SOMETHING ELSE IN PLACE OF THE SITUPS. BOY THE BOYS WERE MAD AS ANYTHING OF THAT. I PURCHASED THE RECORD AT SCHOOL LONG BACK THEN COSTING US 45 CENTS THEN.

  • Anna

    I will listen and dance cause it will make me slim.

  • mary

    touch down…UP… every morning … TEN TIMES…not just now and then…..oh yeah, I remember that too (THE HORROR!)

  • jen

    They were looking for a way to fight childhood obesity? We have the answer:Chicken Fat record every day at gym class Everyday.

  • JEP3232

    Anyone out there have the full version???

  • Shelley

    Woke up this morning with”Go you chicken fat go” on my mind. Just had to check it out. We not only heard it at school, our radio station WCCO played it every morning when we were in the barn milking cows before we went to school.Can’t wait to hear it again!!!