Disco Duck Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots
Song Title: Disco Duck
Artist: Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots
Date of release: 4th of September 1976
Description: ” Disco Duck ” is by Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots, the 1970s novelty act. The song was written by Rick Dees ( Rigdon Osmond Dees III ). Production for the single was by Bobby Manuel.
Bobby is an American guitarist, but better known as the producer for ” Disco Duck “. Towards the end of the 1960s he was hired by Stax Records ( Concord Music Group ) as an engineer, he also began doing studio work as a guitarist, becoming one of their most dependable and frequently session players. Bobby released a one-off novelty country record under the pseudonym Dale Yard.
” Disco Duck ” was released on the 4th of September 1976 by record labels Fretone for the original release and RSO ( Universal Music Group ) for wider international distribution. The single appears on the Album The Original Disco Duck.
Rick Dees, the popular American entertainer, has a successful internationally syndicated radio show The Rick Dees Weekly Top 40 Countdown which can be heard on over 200 radio stations worldwide.
In the Billboard book of USA Number One Hits by Fred Bronson, Rick Dees explained about the song ” I was working out in a gym in Memphis when disco was coming out, and I also worked in a club called Chesterfield’s telling jokes and spinnina record, the more I played the songs, the more i knew it might be time for a disco parody. One of the guys who worked out in the gym did a great duck voice, and I remembered a song called ‘The Duck’ (by Jackie Lee) back in the ’60s, so I said, how about a Disco Duck? “.
According to Rick, the song took one afternoon to write and after three months he went into the studio, it took that long for him to convince people to do the song.
Rick recorded his tune for Fretone Records, a local Memphis label owned by Estelle Axton, one of the founders of Stax Records. The song really took off starting in Birmingham, Alabama.
As the song spread throughout the South, Rick flew to Hollywood to sell the idea to a major label. “We talked to everybody in the business, and everybody passed on the song, except Al Coury (president of RSO Records). He said, ‘Let me take it home and play it for my kids ‘ “. His kids laughed at the song and Al Coury leased ” Disco Duck ” for $3,500.
The song combines orchestral disco styles with a Donald Duck style voice as the main plot point, the story within the song centers around a man at a dance party who cannot stop his urge to get up and “get down” in a duck-like manner. When the music finishes, he sits back down, but when he get the urge to get up and dance again, he finds that everyone in the room is now doing his dance.
To this day, there is a mistaken belief about who voiced the duck on the song, many believe it was provided by the original voice of Donald Duck, Clarence Nash. Disney repeatedly said that Clarence Nash never appeared on the song. The voice was in fact performed by Ken Pruitt, a colleague of Rick, which is clearly stated on the RSO record release label. For the live tour, the vocals for the duck were performed by Michael Chesney, another of Rick’s colleagues.
The song even made an appearance in the movie Saturday Night Fever. It featured in a dance club scene in which a group of senior citizens were learning to dance disco-style. It was also featured in a deleted scene added back to the PG version.
As it stands, Rick could have made an even larger amount of money from the song. According to Rick, his manager at the time made the unwise decision to deny the use of the song on the soundtrack to the film, the reason being that it would compete with sales of Rick’s own Album. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack has to date sold in excess of 40 million copies worldwide, and is the second best-selling soundtrack of all time.
” Disco Duck ” was a huge commercial success for Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots. In the United States the song peaked at Number One on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, staying at the top for 1 week. The song spent a total of 25 weeks on the chart there.
In the United Kingdom the song entered the UK Singles Chart on the 18th of September 1976 and peaked at number 6. It spent 4 weeks in the top ten and a total of 9 weeks on the UK chart.
BillBoard Hot 100 Highest Chart Position: 1
UK Highest Chart Position: 6
Other Countries Highest Chart Positions: Australia (Kent Music Report) 4, Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders) 3, Canada Top Singles (RPM) 1, Germany (Official German Charts) 7, Italy (FIMI) 4, Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 4, New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ) 7, Norway (VG-lista) 3, Sweden (Sverigetopplistan) 3
Official Website: Rick.com
FaceBook Page: Facebook.com/RickDees1
Wikipedia Page: Wikipedia.org/RickDees