Last Updated: 8 March 2023

La danse des canards is a song composed by the Swiss accordionist Werner Thomas in 1957 and interpreted in French by Belgian singer J.J. Lionel in 1981.

The story of the song

La Danse des Canards (literally The Duck Dance) was composed by the Swiss accordionist Werner Thomas while working in Davos in 1957 under the title Der Ententanz, later retitled Der Vogeltanz (literally "The Bird Dance").

In 1973, the owner of the Belgian record label Intervox spent his skiing holiday in Davos. He met Werner Thomas who gave him the music for his song. Cash & Carry (Bobby Setter & Co.) released an electro version (Tchip Tchip) which was a first success.

A song relived in the 1980s

But it was mainly in the early 1980s that the song gained new fame, especially with its French interpretation.

As a musician in the orchestra of the accordionist Hector Delfosse, J.J. Lionel played the Swiss instrumental piece Vogeltjedans, at a concert in the Brussels region one evening.

The audience's enthusiastic response prompted Hector Delfosse and his brother Georges to put lyrics to the tune, and they asked the lyricist Eric Genty, a successful singer in Belgium in the 1960s, to write them.

A popular success

Thus was born in 1981 the French version of the Swiss song, interpreted by J.J. Lionel in 1981. 

La danse des canards was a worldwide commercial success, selling 3.5 million records. The song is listed in the Guinness Book of Records for 1983 as the best-selling single in France on vinyl, with over 2.5 million copies sold. 

La danse des canards owes its success not only to the simple, even childish melody and lyrics, but also to the associated choreography and appropriate body movements.

La danse des canards

Lyrics, music, free download... let's learn more about the popular song:

The lyrics in French

The original song of La danse des canards has 4 verses and a chorus.

Check out the lyrics on this site...

French Nursery Rhymes

My challenge for the year 2023 is to publish 80 French Nursery Rhymes lyrics and descriptions (list below). Come back as time goes by to discover the new articles:

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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