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View Full Version : Origin of "bow chikka wow wow" to denote porn music in conversation.


WolfDaddy
01-16-2003, 06:54 PM
The title of the topic says it all. Nearly everyone I know uses some variation of the "bow chikka wow wow" onomatopoeia to signify the horrible music in pornography. No one, though, knows how it originated, and it keeps me awake at night. Since there's an almost limitless number of ways to actually spell the onomatopoeia, researching its origins on the web have turned up nothing useful.

I and several others remember a nameless stand-up comic who used the onomatopoeia in his comedy routine, but sadly none of us remember his name or if indeed this is where the whole thing got started.

Help?

Quintas
01-16-2003, 07:14 PM
have you ever watched a 70's porno?

Slugworth
01-16-2003, 07:15 PM
Find a copy of the CD, "Pornogroove", and all your questions will be answered. Quite simply, that's the way porno music from the 70s sounded.

Re-reading your post, it sounds almost like you already knew that, in which case I'm not sure of the answer, or even exactly what you're asking. If you already know that's what the music sounded like, it's pretty self explanatory how that became the onomatopoeia.

KidCharlemagne
01-16-2003, 07:16 PM
I always considered it to be "bow chikka bow bown"

KidCharlemagne
01-16-2003, 07:19 PM
It's a basic funk rhythm.

WolfDaddy
01-16-2003, 07:23 PM
I've been around since the 70s, and I know what funk is, but as far as I know, the usage of the phrase in the common vernacular in America began in the late 80s or early 90s. I'm trying to find out who or what was responsible for its propagation. Unless you're all saying we woke up one day and started to use the phrase all at once and all spontaneously...

cstamets
01-16-2003, 07:53 PM
There was a comedian several years ago - I forget his name or which TV show I saw him on or when it was (late 80s or early 90s maybe?) - who did a pretty funny bit about porno music and how when you heard the "bow chikka", someone was about to get some. After that was when people I knew started using it during the course of conversations.

For some reason, I'm thinking I saw the guy on MTV's "Half Hour Comedy Hour". But, being that it was that long ago, it's hard telling. If anyone know who that was or has the clip, I'd like to know.

Zsofia
01-16-2003, 07:58 PM
I've always heard "whomp whomp chikka chikka bow wow", personally. Perhaps it's a regionalism.

Quintas
01-16-2003, 08:02 PM
you said you're been around since the 70's. I assume that means you were born in the 70's in which case the late 80's early 90's you would have been a teenager. I think the 'bow chikka wow ow' was around before then, you just didn't notice or didn't get it because you were too young for such things.

WolfDaddy
01-16-2003, 08:12 PM
Quintas, I should have said around during the 70s, not since. I still stand by my assertion that the phrase didn't enter the vernacular until the late 80s or early 90s...though it's entirely possible the phrase was in use til before then, it didn't, uh, explode in its usage til around that time if I'm remembering correctly.

Mr. Blue Sky
01-16-2003, 08:14 PM
I thought it referred to the wah-wah pedal used in the music that accompanied many a porn flick.

astro
01-16-2003, 09:22 PM
IIRC I think Dennis Leary the comic has been using these exact words for 10-15 years (at least) in one of his comedy routines to describe 70's porn music. This might explain how the specific "bow chikka wow wow" entered the popluar vernacular.

Fern Forest
01-16-2003, 09:52 PM
Having watched several 70s (mid and late) pornos I have yet to hear anything like that. In fact most of the music set to those pornos could have been written by "The Carpenters" it seems.

I imagine the saying did get a huge boost in popularity from the episode of "Friends" where Joey and Chandler get free porn and refuse to turn off the TV or change the channel. After a few days Rachel finds her self walking around singing "Bow chika bow-wow" not knowing where it's from. I believe they said it was the theme song to "Good Will Humping."

Teebone
01-17-2003, 03:27 AM
Quintas that's exactly what I was thinking. Nothing like seeing two (or more) go at it to some funk-kay music.

Mangetout
01-17-2003, 04:25 AM
Shaft!

GuanoLad
01-17-2003, 06:49 AM
Originally posted by Quintas
have you ever watched a 70's porno? No. Is it expected that most people have? I can't see why, considering porn, being much more widespread and accepted now, is by an enormous majority of a more recent vintage.

Coil
01-17-2003, 08:41 AM
Originally posted by WolfDaddy
... it keeps me awake at night.

If it is keeping you awake, maybe you should consider turning off the TV.

:)

Recliner
03-03-2010, 04:44 PM
I thought it referred to the wah-wah pedal used in the music that accompanied many a porn flick.

Bingo, I think. The classic porn soundtrack would be a "raunchy" and highly suggestive bass-lline: anything where you can draw out and bend a note (booooowwwwwppppp...), and you've got an aural approximation of...making sweet love.

tacoloco
03-03-2010, 04:50 PM
No. Is it expected that most people have? I can't see why, considering porn, being much more widespread and accepted now, is by an enormous majority of a more recent vintage.

An enormity of suck, more like it.

Or so I've been told. :D

I always thought the bow chik-a chik-a was the sound of a guitar through a wah wah pedal (as someone else noted above), which was a common thing in 70's porn.

Hampshire
03-03-2010, 04:51 PM
What are the two dirtiest animals on a farm?

Brown chick & brown cow

MeanOldLady
03-03-2010, 04:58 PM
What are the two dirtiest animals on a farm?

Brown chick & brown cowNo you did not just make the brown chicken brown cow joke. I knew a girl who would tell that joke, then giggle endlessly. You now remind me of her.

sqweels
03-03-2010, 05:01 PM
I'm just a stuck-in-the-70s kinda guy. I think the music was better and the porn was better.

acetylene
03-03-2010, 05:09 PM
There was a comedian several years ago - I forget his name or which TV show I saw him on or when it was (late 80s or early 90s maybe?) - who did a pretty funny bit about porno music and how when you heard the "bow chikka", someone was about to get some. After that was when people I knew started using it during the course of conversations.

For some reason, I'm thinking I saw the guy on MTV's "Half Hour Comedy Hour". But, being that it was that long ago, it's hard telling. If anyone know who that was or has the clip, I'd like to know.

I know exactly what you are talking about. I just can't think of who it is. I think I saw him on Comic Strip Live. But I agree that this was how the whole joke entered into popular culture.

acetylene
03-03-2010, 05:17 PM
Got it. Jordan Brady (http://comedians.comedycentral.com/jordan-brady/videos/jordan-brady---porno). Definitely the 80's

Hampshire
03-03-2010, 05:22 PM
No you did not just make the brown chicken brown cow joke. I knew a girl who would tell that joke, then giggle endlessly. You now remind me of her.


No, I heard it a couple of years ago from a friends daughter.

Squink
03-03-2010, 05:51 PM
Daddy Dewdrop's 1971 smash hit Chick A Boom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daddy_Dewdrop) might have something to do with this thread.

Lyrics here (http://oldielyrics.com/lyrics/daddy_dewdrop/chick-a-boom.html).

I opened the third door and there she was
And she whispered so sexy, hello-ooh
I tried to do the same
And impress her with my style
But why I said this
I'll never know

Chick-a-boom-chick-a-boom
(Mmmmm-aaaah)
Don't ya jes' love it
Chick-a-boom-chick-a-boom
(Mmmmm-aaaah).....

HorseloverFat
03-03-2010, 06:09 PM
No one, though, knows how it originated, and it keeps me awake at night.

Is this really such a mystery? Its just a funky guitar riff created by a wah pedal that was used it a lot of 1970s porn. Funk was pretty popular back then and musicians who made music for movies were influenced by it. Im sure it was very modern sounding in 1977.

Rent some non-porn movies, especially actions movies, from the 1970s. You'll hear a lot of the same riffs.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
03-03-2010, 07:50 PM
I'll say this again: As someone who's actually seen a lot of '70s porn, that's just not the way the music sounded. Usually it was some Clarence Clemons wannabe, not the "Theme from Shaft."

Wendell Wagner
03-03-2010, 10:46 PM
I suspect what happened to make "bow chikka wow wow" a standard reference to pornography is the following: For the past fifteen years or so, it's been a common claim that the golden age for pornography (at least in the U.S.) was the late 1970's. See the 1997 movie Boogie Nights (which is set in the late 1970's) to understand just how much this era is treated as being the classic period for pornography. There's some truth in this claim. Before the late 1960's, most pornography was cheap stuff (and frequently illegal). In the 1970's, it became more common to spend a reasonable amount of money in filming these movies. But in the 1980's, video cameras became cheap. A lot of amateurs were making their own pornography. There was no point in spending a lot of money in making good professional pornography, so the quality of pornography went down again.

Whether or not this period was really a golden age of pornography or not, this is what was commonly believed. So when comedians made jokes about pornography, they tended to talk about it as being from the late 1970's. By this time people had begun to forget just what music was like then. They assumed that it was all funk, even though it mostly wasn't. So it became standard to refer to the music to this pornography as "bow chikka wow wow" stuff.

fuzzypickles
03-05-2010, 04:59 AM
Maybe it's just me, but The Match Game (http://youtube.com/watch?v=hxTMknTnOzM&feature=related) theme always sounded to me like porn music.

Serenata67
03-05-2010, 11:02 AM
What are the two dirtiest animals on a farm?

Brown chick & brown cow

I came here just to post that joke... and you beat me to it! Argh! I knew a 6 year old who told that joke and didn't know why it was funny, but knew all the adults laughed hysterically when she told it...

standingwave
01-06-2012, 03:02 AM
it keeps me awake at night.That's odd. I usually just doze right off afterwards. :o

mlees
01-06-2012, 01:48 PM
That's odd. I usually just doze right off afterwards. :o

Did you... notice the dates on these posts?

The guy you quoted last posted almost nine years ago.

Simplicio
01-06-2012, 02:17 PM
Did you... notice the dates on these posts?

The guy you quoted last posted almost nine years ago.

And someone made pretty much the same joke 9 years ago to.

(also, this thread appears to be a rare "double zombie". It got bumped in 2010 and then again today. People apparently like to search for "Porn" as a keyword on the dope. Who would've thunk)

mlees
01-06-2012, 02:18 PM
And someone made pretty much the same joke 9 years ago to.

Mentioning zombies would have been a joke. I made no such mention. :confused:

pulykamell
01-06-2012, 02:19 PM
Mentioning zombies would have been a joke. I made no such mention. :confused:

The reference is to the reply in post #17. standingwave is the one repeating a joke from 9 years ago.

mlees
01-06-2012, 02:20 PM
The reference is to the reply in post #17. standingwave is the one repeating a joke from 9 years ago.

...

I don't get it.

Spoke
01-06-2012, 02:28 PM
I suspect what happened to make "bow chikka wow wow" a standard reference to pornography is the following: For the past fifteen years or so, it's been a common claim that the golden age for pornography (at least in the U.S.) was the late 1970's.

Ah the 70s...when all the classic porn plots were developed:

Pizza guy delivers more than expected
Pool boy gets a surprise
Teacher keeps Johnny after class

In my memory, if not in actuality, the "bow chikka wow wow" music cued at the exact moment the "plot" ended and the sex commenced.

pulykamell
01-06-2012, 02:32 PM
...

I don't get it.

Both standingwave and Coil are responding to the line "...it keeps me awake at night" with similar, but not identical jokes. Simplicio is pointing out that fact. Basically, that standingwave revived a zombie to riff on a line in the OP that's already been riffed on.

mlees
01-06-2012, 02:37 PM
Both standingwave and Coil are responding to the line "...it keeps me awake at night" with similar, but not identical jokes. Simplicio is pointing out that fact. Basically, that standingwave revived a zombie to riff on a line in the OP that's already been riffed on.

Ah. I thought Simplicio was talking about my behavior.

I git it now. Thanks!

Alley Dweller
01-06-2012, 02:57 PM
Ah the 70s...when all the classic porn plots were developed:

Pizza guy delivers more than expected
Pool boy gets a surprise
Teacher keeps Johnny after class

In my memory, if not in actuality, the "bow chikka wow wow" music cued at the exact moment the "plot" ended and the sex commenced.

They don't make classics like the X-Rated Cinderella (1977) any more. (Not to be confused with the later R-Rated edit.) Just check out these clips from Youtube:

Note: There is no sex or nudity in any of these clips. (A few mild curse words and perhaps some offensive stereotypes.) There was an actual plot. However, I think you would be wise not to watch these from work.

Cinderella meets her "fairy" godmother. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=ManLcjjSkaM)
Cinderella and fairy godmother round up transportation (http://youtube.com/watch?v=1O80QwLhxxs) .
A song and dance number by the evil step-sisters. (http://youtube.com/watch?v=P5R_DPJM8XA)

standingwave
01-06-2012, 03:18 PM
Did you... notice the dates on these posts?

The guy you quoted last posted almost nine years ago.My bad. I was searching the archives for something similar, saw this and thought ti was current for some reason.

Sunspace
01-06-2012, 03:36 PM
Ah the 70s...when all the classic porn plots were developed:

Pizza guy delivers more than expected
Pool boy gets a surprise
Teacher keeps Johnny after class

In my memory, if not in actuality, the "bow chikka wow wow" music cued at the exact moment the "plot" ended and the sex commenced.:confused: Porn has plots?

Leo Bloom
01-06-2012, 08:01 PM
That's why 70s porn is classic. They were, in my opinion at least, more pornographic; it is possible to keep your mind all the more at edge with the f and s ing awaiting.

But that's just me.

In some 50s B-level (non-porn) movies I have seen, the stripper works to a straight chick-a-boom.

Elendil's Heir
01-06-2012, 10:39 PM
What are the two dirtiest animals on a farm?

Brown chick & brown cow

I don't get it. Do you say it "musically," so it sounds like "Bow chikka wow wow"?

thorox
10-05-2015, 05:01 PM
http://cc.com/video-clips/9w1tvk/stand-up-jordan-brady--porno

Here is the comedy routine from 1992 in which I remember hearing the phrase for the first time in reference to porn music.

Exapno Mapcase
10-05-2015, 05:51 PM
http://cc.com/video-clips/9w1tvk/stand-up-jordan-brady--porno

Here is the comedy routine from 1992 in which I remember hearing the phrase for the first time in reference to porn music.

Jordan Brady, mentioned five years ago in post #24.

I'll say this again: As someone who's actually seen a lot of '70s porn, that's just not the way the music sounded. Usually it was some Clarence Clemons wannabe, not the "Theme from Shaft."

Earl has it. Nothing from the 70s ever sounded like that. It's an urban myth.

Smapti
10-05-2015, 05:55 PM
So this thread is 12 years old, and this is the third time it's been zombied, and on each occasion it's resulted in some original commentary.

I'll just chime in then and say that I first encountered the meme in 1996, in WCW wrestling, when Scott Hall referred to the New World Order's theme music (https://youtube.com/watch?v=Juqm94sUV_E) as being "the soundtrack from your favorite porno movie".

Leo Bloom
10-05-2015, 06:53 PM
OP is actually on an issue not being particularly addressed (including me back when): the topic of onomatopoeia.

Like the Twilight Zone motto referenced as "dee-dee dee-dee | dee-dee dee-dee | dee-dee dee-dee." This example is borderline, because I believe it's used most often (solely?) with some attempt to sound the pitches.

Pigs only say "oink" in English speaking countries. Why those spoken syllables referencing the porn soundtrack/generic funk --even devoid of most imitation of the sonic envelope of the musical model--have been attached to those sounds and rhythmic marks, and not other ones available to the speaker of English (in this case) is a real question. Answers to which I have no clue.

Simplicio
10-05-2015, 06:56 PM
Got it. Jordan Brady (http://comedians.comedycentral.com/jordan-brady/videos/jordan-brady---porno). Definitely the 80's

(Realizing I'm responding to a thread from 2010. On the other hand, the link still works, so props to Comedy Central for keeping their videos up and linked.)

Wikipedia credits Brady as well, though I can't follow the citation. And I don't think anyones come up with an earlier case. Plus the joke in the clip doesn't really work if the audience had already hear the meme.

So unless someone has something earlier, I agree its probably Brady who originated the joke.

TSBG
10-05-2015, 09:05 PM
I worked with Jordan Brady long, long ago; and while he probably was not the first to joke about 70s porn music (accurately or not), he did make "bow chicka bow wow" his trademark line for a while.

SpyOne
10-06-2015, 12:47 AM
So we have identified point of origin, but when did it jump into popular culture?

I'll go with Friends, but that isn't where I first heard it. I first heard it on the webseries Red vs Blue, where Tucker uses it.
The series started in 2003, but it was a season or two in before Tucker first says that I think.
So I had made it to 2004 or 2005 without encountering that, at least not in a way that would stick in my head.

PS: I was born before 1970, I have watched plenty of 1970s porno, and I think the porno music referenced by "Bow chicka bow-wow" is more early 80s. Heavy bass, lotsa wawa pedal, derivative while being different enough to avoid copyright lawsuits. And it fits the meme because, as described above, the start of the music was the signal that you'd gotten to the part with sex in it.

I will admit that, once upon a time, I used to VCRs to copy rented porno, and to save tape I copied only the sex scenes. But I see some merit to the "porn was better in the old days" position. Movies with plot and also sex were pretty good, and even a lame plot makes the sex scenes better.
OTOH, in the 70s (and into the 80s) they were still learning about camera angles and lighting and stuff.
I have heard an excerpt from a (male) porn star's book where he says that making porn isn't about either you or your partner enjoying themselves, it is about making it look good on camera. Frequently that involves uncomfortable poses and multiple takes and, like a regular film, an hour of filming for a few usable minutes.
By that standard, I don't think there were really any "porn actors" in the 1970s, there were actors who were also willing to have sex on camera, which isn't the same thing.

And most of the attempts to re-create the 1970s "this is a film with plot that also happens to have sex in it" in the modern era seem to fall flat, delivering neither satisfying sex nor satisfying story.

And by porno with a plot, I don't mean stuff like New Wave Hookers, "Lets write a story that ties a bunch of sex scenes together, then film them." I mean stuff like The Opening Of Misty Beethoven, "Let's make Pygmalion, only make it about sex."

Doughbag
10-06-2015, 08:46 AM
Then there is Porn groove (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porn_groove)

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