Chicken Fat - The Youth Fitness Song (long version)
The Silly Pirate Song by Jack Hartmann
Verbal Blend - A fun mix of music that will keep students moving.
Note: Ignore the video portion. It was sort of a gag to see if participants were paying attention. - arranged by Jeff Jacobs
The History of “Chicken Fat”
a.k.a. The Youth Fitness Song
In the mid-1950’s an International study concluded that US children were far less fit than their counterparts around the world. As a result, President Dwight Eisenhower formed a Council on Youth Physical Fitness; however, not much became of it during his term in office.
Several years later, President-elect John F Kennedy wrote an article for Sports Illustrated entitled, “The Soft American.” In his article, Kennedy outlined four points of his proposed program and stated that physical fitness was very much the business of the government.
A month into his presidency, Kennedy reorganized the Presidential Council on Youth Fitness and named Charles “Bud” Wilkinson, a highly successful football coach from Oklahoma, as its Director.
One of the oddest contributions to Kennedy’s efforts had to be the “Chicken Fat” song a.k.a. the Youth Fitness Song.
About this time, the “Music Man”, written by Meredith Wilson, and performed by Robert Preston (Professor Harold Hill), was sweeping the nation. Meredith Wilson offered to write an inspirational song to motivate children to exercise and asked Robert Preston to perform the song. Capital Records donated a recording studio and an orchestra for the song to be produced.
Two versions of the song were recorded. The short version, just over 2:00 minutes, was for DJs to play on the radio. The longer, 6:00 minute, version was for use in schools. The records (45 rpm) were distributed to every public school in America so children could exercise to the song.
Only the Superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools refused to play it. She said it was “jazzy and tinny.” Also, the song was somewhat inappropriate because of the lyrics, “once more on the rise, nuts to the flabby guys.”
One time President Kennedy commented on how he liked the song but it always reminded him of “chicken sh--.” He asked that the name of the song be reconsidered but it never was.