Where did the phrase "bow-chicka-wow-wow" originate?
February 3, 2004 7:53 AM   Subscribe

Meme origin question: The phrase "bow-chicka-wow-wow" has become the standard way to signify "porn movie music." I remember seeing a stand-up comic in the late '80s/early '90s who spoke that phrase, and that was what got my circle of middle schoolers using it, although I doubt that was the real progenitor. But it's too specific of an expression to have been developed independently. Thoughts?
posted by blueshammer to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I say "bow-chika-wow-chicka". Not that it helps much...
posted by Orange Goblin at 8:07 AM on February 3, 2004

it refers to the ubiquitous wah pedal effect used on virtually every recorded guitar part in the decade after it was featured in the popular song "shaft". the sound became a staple of the mindless, lame funk that was the sountrack du jour of porn.
posted by quonsar at 8:09 AM on February 3, 2004

I thought I was the only person who remembered that the "bow-chicka-wow-wow". I, too, am amazed that this PARTICULAR snippet has lasted so long and so ubiquitously.

If it helps, I first remember it from the MTV Half Hour Comedy Hour in a bit from a guy who was talking about the power of backstage laminates.
posted by ColdChef at 8:17 AM on February 3, 2004

I can't seem to find the name of the comedian, but it was a white guy, and the first part of his set was about porn music (that's where he introduced the "bow-chick-wow-wow") and then later he was talking about backstage laminates. He was saying how much power was in them (I strongly believe that Mike Meyers stole this bit for the "Wayne's World" movie) and then he segued back to the "bow-chicka-wow-wow" as if the laminate was powerful enough to even get a guy like HIM laid.

That's all I remember.
posted by ColdChef at 8:29 AM on February 3, 2004

Was Brian Reagan the comic? It seems like it could have been him.
posted by mathowie at 8:48 AM on February 3, 2004

The variant - "bow-chicka-bow-bow" - is used by everyone I know.
posted by MsVader at 8:51 AM on February 3, 2004

in central texas, in the last 80's, everyone i knew used "bomp-chicka-bow-bow"
posted by crush-onastick at 8:52 AM on February 3, 2004

I even once asked Cecil, and got no definitive answer.
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:54 AM on February 3, 2004

I don't think it was Brian Reagan, but this was back in the eighties, so he might have looked differently.
posted by ColdChef at 8:56 AM on February 3, 2004

I would guess Andrew Dice Clay. But it'd only be a guess.
posted by me3dia at 8:57 AM on February 3, 2004

Nope. Not the Diceman. I know that for sure. I'd probably recognize the guy if I saw him.
posted by ColdChef at 9:05 AM on February 3, 2004

Response by poster: No, I would have known if it were the Diceman. Brian Reagan is a possibility, but I'm in no position to make a positive ID after 15 years.

That it's alternately remembered as "bow-chicka-wow-wow" and "bomp-chicka-bow-bow" and "bow-chicka-bow-bow" does suggest that its original appearance was spoken, rather than written. But that everyone but Orange Goblin knows it to the same cadence does suggest it's all from the same wellspring.
posted by blueshammer at 9:05 AM on February 3, 2004

My memory insists it's "bow chicka bow wow", and Googlefight backs me up.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:03 AM on February 3, 2004

I remember it as bowmp-chikka-wah-BOWMP. But that's the sort of wrong-thinking pervert I am.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:24 AM on February 3, 2004

Ahh, memories. I was back home from college, riding in the car, me and Dad up front, Mom in the back. Dad’s telling me what he’s heard about various high-school friends. Roddy’s in Wilmington, installing pools. Greg’s a drummer at Euro Disney. And Patrick is doing independent films in DC. I turn to Dad, and give my best bow-chicka-wow-wow, which was actually more of a “bomp-bomp-CHICK a-bompa-bomp-CHICK.” Mom was clueless.

Good times, good times.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:50 AM on February 3, 2004

I've long preferred "bow chikka wang wang."
posted by grrarrgh00 at 8:10 PM on February 3, 2004

It's onomatopaeic!
posted by cheaily at 5:45 AM on February 4, 2004

Heh heh--aforementioned Patrick.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:37 AM on February 4, 2004

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