Chickenfat

When I was in elementary school the teacher would often put a record on the Close-n-Play called “Go You Chicken Fat, Go” and we would get up and dancercise to the lyrics, which instructed us to “Push up / every morning / 10 times / not just / now and then / give that chickenfat back to the chickens / and don’t be chicken again.” After a while this song was completely burned into the faraway nether regions of the brain. Like knowing how to ride a bike, I know this song.

At the time I thought that only our class exercised to this song. But it turns out that the record was actually released by the President’s Council on Fitness and distributed to every classroom in the country! As a result, I’m finding that lots of people roughly my age also have the Chickenfat song indelibly burned in. I played it for Amy the other morning and she knew most of the words too though she grew up in the Midwest.

Wonder why youth obesity is an epidemic today? No Chickenfat song. Thanks Defective Yeti.

Speaking of music permanently etched into the crannies of the brain, I love this animation of The Hustle. The hideous font too. Our time was a good time.

Update 2007: Video version from the archives:

Music: Suba :: Abraso

50 Replies to “Chickenfat”

  1. that hustle animation RAWKS!!!

    the chickenfat song though….. i think that draws a distinct generational line between you and i ;) never heard anything like it and it sounds like it was recorded no later than 1964. all i remember is schoolhouse rock. then again i went to cathlick school, they wouldn’t be playing anything recorded by evil protestants lest students become brainwashed by the backwards masking.

  2. The Go you Chickenfat song pops into my head at times so I actually did a search about it on google! Who knew? I thought we just had a kind of flashy 6th grade gym teacher who loved some crazy song that not too many self-respecting Mid-westerners would be dancing around their livingroom to. How times have changed.

  3. Oh, my gosh! My sister and I are both almost 40 years old and we STILL remember and laugh about this song. I like schoolhouse rock, too. I think the chicken fat song is silly, but school house rock is cool. I learned to multipy listening to these programs. Highly creative!

  4. I am the rather aged (52) mother of ten year old twins going to public school in Estero Florida. They came home singing the same Chicken Fat song! I think if I heard that song in my sleep, my body would automatically start doing the exercise routine I did in Junior High School in NYC!

  5. The first time I heard Chicken fat was
    on Luci’s Toyshop,a local kids TV show
    in the 1960’s in Columbus Ohio on
    channel 10.I am very fond of it.

    Doug

  6. Hi, I honestly cannot remember when I first exercised to this record, it could of been elementary school, it could of been in high school. I graduated in 1966. As a young adult I went to the local high school in the evening and sweated my butt off to this record. Love it. It’s perfect. Been wanting a copy for a long time. Been telling people about it a long time too. NO ONE has heard of it. Please tell me where to get a copy. Thank you!!!!

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  8. I, too, first heard “Chicken Fat,” or as I called it at the time (about 7 or 8 years old) “Go, you chicken fat, Go!,” on Luci’s Toyshop a kids’ show locally produced and broadcast on WBNS-TV (Channel 10) in Columbus, Ohio, in the 1960s. Yes, I can hear it now as Luci gets on her back and does the bicycle showing off her polka-dot petticoats! For those of you who remember her, Luci Van Leeuwen died this past October. You can get a copy of her show at the 10tv.com website. Proceeds go to feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless–good cause!

  9. This song brings back great memories of 5th and 6th grade. Back then we had maybe 2 or 3 children who were “overweight ” in each grade. Now it is about 30% in each class. I think all classes nationwide should be doing this. All of the booklearning won’t do anyone any good if they drop dead of a stroke , heart attack or diabetes.
    Our children need to get off their fannies and outside and play, run exercise. Mom’s are the ones who stock the cupboards, shop wisely. Parents need to take back our rol;e of being in charge and shut off that $#&* television , video games and get them out and doing something.
    We are looking at the most unhealthy overweight group of children ever. Moms, Dads educators need to insist on activity and shut down the non-kid powered activities.
    I plan to get this video for my daycare kids to get them on the right track early!!

  10. My best friend and I can pretty much sum up our funniest years in school, and I have to say, gym class, listening to Chickenfat stands out. I would get maybe, to the jumping jack part, look over to my friend and then lose control. Many days I walked back into the gym locker room with a wet, yellow stain in the crotch of my lovely white gym uniform. When I say lovely, I mean a one piece white romper type garment, complete with built in pantaloons under the shorts part, that cut off the circulation to your legs. If you didn’t have a big butt, this outfit was sure to make you look like you had one. If your butt was generous to begin with, gym days were wretched. But the real highlight of the class was always chickenfat. We laugh about it until this day.

  11. For years this song has popped into my head from time to time. First time I heard it was while living in Chicago I must have been in 1st or 2nd grade I moved to the subburbs going into 3rd grade and know I heard it while living in the city I’m 35 now. If that says anything about the brain etching ability of this song, it’s scary. I’ve actually looked for this song using Limewire a few yeas ago and never found it glad you linked to it my search is now complete I can’t wait to play it for some of my younger co-workers that I have mentioned it to.

  12. Ah, the Chicken Fat song! Yes, it is burned into my brain as well from elementary school gym class every day. EVERY DAY!!! YEAR AFTER YEAR!!!

    I’m 41 years old now, and I still remember the lyrics. This song should be brought back to schools, except the “Girls, you’re in this too” part might not sit well with a certain group of people.

    Oh, but the fond memories of childhood this song brings back are priceless. It reminds me of the song “Duck And Cover” in the event of a nuclear blast. Like ducking under your desk and covering your head was any protection against a nuclear blast! Heheh!

  13. We still have an original 45 record of the Chicken Fat song. Mother infringed on copyright laws and copied it onto a cassette for each of us kids. Ahhhh, the best memories of Luci’s Toy Shop. Heyyyy Draaaagooonnn. Singing along to Wake up, Mr. Tree…don’t say, ‘sleep’. Bless Luci for giving us pure innocent TV instead of all the junk being promoted as entertainment now. I’m 43 now and was in the 1st Grade that I was allowed to take the record to school for ‘show and tell.

  14. the chicken fat song continues to a new generation. My son just started kindergarten and he came home singing this song. I had no idea what it was as I went to school in the mid to late seventies and by than, the chicken fat had gone back to the chicken man. This song was the one thing he wanted Santa to bring him for Christmas. thankfully, we were able to download it.

  15. Hey its really odd how the song chicken fat stays with us all and those funny gym teachers mrs cotton and mrs oakes… Any one remember them we use to call them turkey legs and chicken legs…. hahahah Remember when someone from the science class cut off the frog legs and put them in our pe teachers desk…. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA This is great if any one has that song I so want it bad… I have told my children about it and they dont believe me that there is really a song called chicken fat…. so if you have it I want a copy… PLEASE!!!! I cant wait to hear it again.. and remember go chicken fat go!!!!!!!! gotta love it

  16. Just thought I would let everyone know… I found a site that has the video you can order of chicken fat… omg this is way tooo funny.. so enjoy and have a good laugh at your class reunion its been 20 years for me and omg its way tooo funny.. here’s the link have fun http://www.chickenfatkids.com/

  17. Ah, Luci’s Toyshop. Good times, good times. I still have a dragon puppet I won in one of her drawings from the toy box. Sorry to hear of her passing. :(

    I downloaded and played the song for a younger co-worker. She’s going to play it for her pre-school daughter in the hopes of getting her to exercise.

    One question. Does anyong remember how to do the pogo that Preston sings in his song? I don’t remember that one or how I’m supposed to be going higher and higher.

    Alane

  18. Chicken Fat has been going through my mind since 1963. My own son hates P.E. and I was wishing that he could have the chicken fat song to work out to like I did. I fould a video at Amazon and the original tape to. We will be chicken fat dancing at my house. I’m amazed that so many people remember it. It was definately a generational thing. Most of my friends are in their 30’s and have never heard of it.
    “Go you Chicken Fat go away, Go you chicken fat go”

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  20. Ah, Miss Katydid played Chickfat over and over during my elementary school PE classes. She was very unpopular. She dressed like a Soviet Pioneer instructor (for South Carolina) and made us go outside regardless of the weather.

    She was a basketball coach at the new Jr. High School and it was beneath her to teach 2nd grade kids. I remember my first act of student revolution/revenge in Miss Katydid’s class. Five or six kids scratched and squeezed gum into her records at the end of the year. I guess we did it as an act of kindness to her next class. Our brains were already damaged.

    In the fall, she marched her new class out to the basketball courts in full view of all of the third grade classrooms and playing the fucked up Chickfat records as loudly as possible to demonstrate to everyone that she knew we tried to off Chickfat.

    One more time, NOW!

  21. WOW!!! I thought I was the only person left around who knew this song from elementary school P.E. days! I loved this song and sing it to my grandbaby when she voluntarily does crunches because she wants to sit up.

  22. The first time I heard the “Go you Chicken Fat go away, Go you chicken fat go” song I was in summer camp upsate New York ” Kfar Masada” in Albany and although I am not an excersize buff by any means ths song made me laugh inside.

  23. OMG! I can’t believe someone else knows the chickenfat song. I’m 51 and from 4th grade to 7th grade we had this song inflicted on us. I used to go the local malt shop for lunch after PE and have a large malt just for spite!

  24. I just downloaded the “chickenfat” song and had a psychological breakthrough. Let me explain. As a youth, I had an over zellous lezbian fat gym teacher with a 5 oclock shadow who love to screw with fat kids. Unfortunately, I was a fat kid (now love working out and physical fitness, but not due to that f&&&ing song) That rotten bitch would torment me with that song at least twice a week. Just imagine her shrill voice over that horrible song yelling things like “GET YOUR LEGS HIGHER IN THE AIR!!!!”, “GO ALL THE WAY DOWN ON YOUR PUSHUPS” and “RUN! RUN! RUN! FASTER”. I hated that bitch with every once that my fat little 10 year old body had in it. Being able to hear that song and punch a hole through my wall was great therapy. All I can say is…I hope that rotten, tubby lezbian bitch has alzheimers and is singing the song in hell with her mouth foaming….heh, heh, heh.

    I think I’ll wake up tomorrow morning very refreshed. Thanks for letting me vent.

  25. I would like to get a DVD of the “Chicken Fat Song” because I am a PE teacher and I think my kids would get a kick out of it. Any idea how to purchase?

  26. Liz, I seriously doubt you’ll find it on DVD anywhere. Just grab the MP3 above and burn it to CD. If you want to be sure you’re legal, try searching for it at amazon or itunes or other legal music site.

  27. I haven’t heard this song since we had the 45 rpm record in kindergarten in Central Jersey in 1976/77!!!! We used to keep playing it on our teacher’s record player. That’s crazy!

    There’s also one called “Gravity” that we used to play a lot. Wonder who did that one.

    Then Grease took over our consciousness the following year, and that never left the record player.

  28. Hi – My sister and I were just talking about Chicken Fat – we did it in elemntary school around 1964/65. It was a hoot! Think it is just as great for kids today as well. Was trying to find the lyrics and found this site.
    Where to buy? Someone mentioned Amazon but it is also available through http://www.kimboed.com (DVD – $19.95).
    Just thought that I would put my 2 cents worth in on the subject – and somewhere packed away in a box, I have an original 45!

  29. Yo Shacker,

    It’s not a displaced memory or anything, I was just testing the collective consciousness to see if maybe I missed it. All I remember distinctly about the Captain K was the bunny rabbit, ping pong balls, a stupid moose and Dancin’ Bear! (And Alice Cooper’s father Green Jeans didn’t hang himself in the courtyard!)

  30. I am from Overland Park KS, and am 51. I have no idea why I looked up “chicken Fat” this morning, and I too thought that I would be the only person to have excercized to this silly toon! So happy that I have peers that recall it! I was thinking,, If we were to ALL download it and burn a copy for all the elementary schools in our respective communities and send it to all the local gym teachers, we might just start a trend!

  31. It popped into my head this morning, and now it won’t leave! I have to download this and play it (50 years just enough and 50 pounds too many)

  32. OMG i don’t know you an di googled the chicken fat lyrics and it was like reading my life…i have nightmares where i wake up hearing that song….and i am almost 50 LOL thanks for the laugh, see you in chicken fat rehab LOL

  33. I had the LP and would exercise to this record every morning in the 1960’s. I am 69 now and want to bring it back to my household. How can I purchase this “Chicken Fat” song? thank you

  34. We always warmed up to the Chicken Fat song in my tumbling class when I was about 6 or 7 years old (mid-60s). I can’t find the lyrics, though. “Go You Chicken Fat Go” is all I remember!!!! Anyone??

  35. My third grade teacher used to play that for our class (especially after Thanksgiving). That was in 1991, so I imagine we’re the only generation who’ll have it stuck in our heads. :) So very pleased to have found this! Thank you!

  36. The only generation? LOL, you very funny girl :)

    I was in elementary school in 1970-1976, which was when I was hearing the song. But I’m pretty sure it goes back to the 1950s.

  37. Doh. Only ones *of* our generation, not the only generation. Two little letters make all the difference.

  38. Amy, that’s amazing. It took me quite a while to locate info about the song on the JFK site, but I eventually did. Here it is.

    Possibly the oddest contribution to the effort was the “Chicken Fat Song.” Written by Meredith Willson, creator of The Music Man, and sung with enthusiasm by Robert Preston, the actor most responsible for that musical’s success, the “Chicken Fat Song” was produced in a three-minute, radio-friendly version and a six-minute version to accompany schoolchildren during Council-approved workout routines. The song didn’t get much airplay, but for tens of thousands of children doing sit-ups in school gyms around the country, the cajoling chorus of “go, you chicken fat, go!” became ingrained in their memory. Today, sites on the World Wide Web still nostalgically recall the song, and a new version, with expanded exercise routines, has recently been released. But apart from the song’s infectious quality, it also marked a change in policy by the Council on Youth Fitness. The song was meant to accompany a physical fitness program, which the Council was endorsing for the first time.

  39. At the top of that page, if you click on chicken fat, it will give you a chance to download the song and the lyrics. On youtube
    ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEHbQqthU4M )
    you can watch the first episode of chicken fat that appeared on the Dinah Shore Show back in Oct. 1961. While there check out some of the other videos.

  40. At the top of the jfklibrary page, if you click on chicken fat, it will give you a chance to download the song and the lyrics. If I’m not mistaken, from doing them myself in the 60s; the pogo is you jumping up and down while swapping you front foot as you land. I ordered a copy of the song from store.teachchildren.com/chickenfatcd.html

    Good luck everyone listening to it.

    I believe they need to bring this back to all the schools.

  41. OMG!! I’m 58 now, and still have nightmares about “Chicken Fat”. Our wonderfully wise Phy Ed teacher decided it would be great if we would do the Chicken Fat during half time of a basketball game!!!! See you in Chicken Fat rehab Marty!!!

  42. I am amazed that so many other people remember this song! I thought that I was one of very few who thought about it. :) LOL! My son actually found someone online who practically gave him her 45. I think she just charged him shipping, which was so very nice of her. She was a retired gym teacher and still had the record. My son thought it was made up for the longest time. I would go around the house singing it, and driving him crazy. :) Finally, he checked into it and saw that I wasn’t! ….well…;)
    Anyway…I’m 50 years old now, and this song STILL motivates me! It’s nice to read all the comments about it on here. A trip down memory lane. :)

  43. Just found out that Robert Preston was a distant cousin on my maternal family tree. He’s always been one of my favorite actors, just did’t know there was a family connection, thatreaally made me happy. I remember exercising to this song in the early 60’s in grade school. I am now 52 years young and exercise to this song just about every morning. I think it would be great if elementary schools used it again, it makes for a great workout for kids of any age. I would love to find an original recording in decent shape. I wish I’d known there was a family connection before he passed in 1987.

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