Dueling Disco Ducks

Believe it or not, toward the end of the disco phase in the late 1970s there were not one but two different disco songs featuring ducks.

In 1976, radio disc jockey Rick Dees (host of the syndicated radio show Rick Dees’ Weekly Top 40) wrote and recorded “Disco Duck”. Believe it or not, this novelty disco song actually spent one week in the #1 position on the Billboard Top 100, and a total of ten weeks in the Top 10.

The radio station Dees worked at when the song was released forbid him to play it on the air, citing a conflict of interest. One day when he mentioned the song on his radio program, they fired him.

For being a novelty song, Disco Duck was actually fairly popular. The song was featured in Saturday Night Fever, and Rick Dees and his backing band (the “Cast of Idiots”) actually made the late night talk show rounds to perform the song.

Three years later in 1979, Disney released “Mickey Mouse Disco,” a full-length LP featuring a total of nine songs. The album contained a few old songs (like “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Da”) that had been “disco-ized”, and several new songs — one of which was “Macho Duck,” a parody of the Village People’s own disco hit, “Macho Man”.

My local skating rink used to play this song every time we went. “Shooting the Duck” was a rollerskating maneuver that involved squatting down and rolling on one skate while sticking your other leg out straight. Whenever the DJ would start spinning “Macho Duck”, that was your cue to start shooting the duck!

Even though the 1980s brought about the death of disco, by some miracle, it did not bring about the end of duck-related songs. In 1985, Weird Al Yankovic released “I Want a New Duck,” a parody of Huey Lewis and the News’ “I Want a New Drug”.

Rob O'Hara

I'm into old video games, old arcade games, old computer games, writing, photography, computer/network security, and of course, the 1980s!

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