Tchip Tchip – Dan Hill
Yes, I know ‘Tchip Tchip’ was just a version of ‘The Birdie Song’ and yes, I know it’s an irritating song that makes you cringe at parties when you are forced onto the dance floor by people who have drunk too much to do the stupid dance that goes with it. But it is part of our history and (dare I say) western culture. And Dan Hill’s version is the one that charted in South Africa, hence its appearance on the list.
The song started life as ‘Der Entendanz’ which translates as ‘The Duck Dance’ and it was composed by a Swiss guy called Werner Thomas some time in the 50’s. With it’s oom-pah sound it quickly became popular at Oktoberfests in Germany and then it began to infest the world like a virus, being recorded in The Netherlands (as ‘De Vogeltjesdans’ – ‘Dance Of The Little Birds’), in England as ‘The Birdie Song’ and in Canada (by a band called The Emeralds) and even Weird Al Yankovic has used part of it in one of his Polka medleys.
It is unsurprising that it would see a South African recording of it as there was a section of the population who loved the oom-pah sound (remember ‘The Clap Clap Sound’ by The Klaxons, another oom-pah hit, well that was the most successful instrumental to make the Springbok Charts). And it was also not too surprising that it was Dan Hill who recorded it as the song is essentially designed for a keyboard and he was the king of instrumental electronic music in SA. ‘Tchip Tchip’ would peak at number 4 on the Springbok Charts on 2 August 1974 and would be Hill’s biggest hit.
So, when everyone else is out of the house you can put the track on and do the silly dance if you want to, but be warned, too much exposure to it will severely damage your mental health. It is far better to listen to it in small doses and in between this, go outside and listen to real bird song.
Where to find it:
Various Artists – The Best of SA Pop Volume 1 (1994) GMP, CDGMPD 40485