With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“Form a string quartet and pretend your name is Keith” a.k.a Three French Hens December 15, 2012


So after my Partridge and pears post and yesterdays turtle Doves post can I assume that you’re now with the programme and you know what’s coming next in my 12 days of Christmas series? That’s good then, so now let’s chat about the three French Hens that my true love gave to me on the third day of Christmas shall we?


There are quite a few songs that I could have chosen and I have opted for two which I hope you will enjoy. Although if you wish to submit your own then feel free. So up first is the now rather twee spin-off from the excellent 80s/ 90s TV show ‘Spitting Image‘. yep it’s the one and only “Chicken Song”. I long for the return of ‘Spitting Image’ the politicians and celebrities these days really lend themselves to it don’t you think? The original puppets were created by Peter Fluck and Roger Law a.k.a Fluck and Law, frankly you couldn’t make up a better name could you?


The song was produced by Philip Pope and written by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor. It was seen as a parody of any number of Costa Del Booze holiday songs like “Agadoo”. “The Chicken Song” was number one in the UK for three weeks in 1986. It also reached the summit in Ireland. The B side of the single was another Spitting Image classic; “(I’ve Never Met A Nice) South African)”.


For my second French Hens song I have gone back a little further in time to 1969 for the wonderful “Do The Funky Chicken” from the late, great Rufus Thomas. One of the last big gigs from Rufus came in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics when he appeared with another soul legend, William Bell. After Rufus died in 2001 a street just off Beale Street in Memphis was named after him. He had also recorded for Sam Phillips‘ Sun label before Elvis. On top of that his daughter Carla was another hit maker from the Thomas family. Rufus had quite a few animal and bird related songs; “Bear Cat” (1953), “The Dog”, “Walking The Dog” (1963), “Can Your Monkey Do The Dog” (1964), “Chicken Scratch” (1965), “The Preacher And The Bear” (1970), “Do The Funky Penguin” (1972) and “the Funky Bird” (1973).


And finally a Billy Bonus, some instructions showing you how to do the “Funky Chicken”.


“My hopes, my dreams come true, my one and only you” December 9, 2010

That has to be a syrup, right?

December 9th is where we are, almost into double figures! Todays little chocolate delight (well ok chocolate substitute then) behind the cardboard on my UK Christmas Number Ones Advent Calendar is the song that was number one in the UK on the day I was born and was also the UK Christmas number one at Christmas 1958. For those of you that are curious I was born on Thursday January 1st 1959 and as I said this very song was the UK number one. It is Conway Twitty‘s “It’s Only Make Believe”. Considering what might have been number one when I was born I have never been too disappointed with this. What was number one the day you were born?

This is me with my Grandfather mere weeks after Conway Twitty held the UK number one spot!

Conway was born Harold Lloyd Jenkins in 1933, he died aged just 59 in 1993. He was turned on to rock n roll after hearing Elvis Presley’sMystery Train“. He made his way to Sun Studios in Memphis and actually recorded with head honcho Sam Phillips. Twitty resided near Nashville and built his own country music entertainment complex, as many country stars seem to do, his was called in a mildly amusing kind of way, Twitty City.

Conway on stage with Loretta Lynn. Any man who can openly wear a suit like that can only deserve our admiration and respect!

Chubby Checker teaches Conway Twitty and Dick Clark how to do the Twist

As with many big hits the song started out as a B Side to “I’ll Try” but radio stations just flipped the disc and played “It’s Only Make Believe” instead, which just goes to prove what poor judgement record companies often have! The song has been covered by many acts including Billy Fury, Glen Campbell, Gary Glitter and the Misfits. Twitty also rerecorded it as a duet with Loretta Lynn in 1970. You can check out the original and some of those covers below.

Incredibly you can actually purchase a Conway Twitty tribute pistol. It includes 5 portraits of him etched into the 24 carat gold!


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