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The Meaning Behind The Song: Too Fat Polka by Arthur Godfrey


The song “Too Fat Polka” by Arthur Godfrey is a lively and amusing tune that has entertained audiences for decades. Released in 1947, this catchy polka has a humorous undertone that addresses the topic of weight in a lighthearted manner. In this article, we will delve into the meaning behind “Too Fat Polka” and explore the reasons why it has resonated with so many people over the years.

The Story Behind the Song

“Too Fat Polka” was written by Ross MacLean and Arthur Richardson in 1947. The song was made popular by the legendary American radio and television host Arthur Godfrey, who recorded and released his version of the song the same year. Godfrey’s rendition became a massive hit and even peaked at number one on the Billboard charts. The comedic lyrics and spirited melody made it an instant favorite among listeners.

Exploring the Lyrics

The lyrics of “Too Fat Polka” revolve around the humorous depiction of overweight individuals and the challenges they face. The song comically addresses the notorious struggles faced by those trying to shed some pounds, covering topics such as dieting, overeating, and societal perceptions of weight. The playful and catchy nature of the song ensures that its message is conveyed in a light-hearted and enjoyable manner.

The Lighthearted Message

While “Too Fat Polka” might seem to poke fun at individuals struggling with weight, the underlying message of the song is one of acceptance and embracing oneself. The song emphasizes the importance of not taking oneself too seriously and finding joy in life, regardless of societal standards. It encourages listeners to have a positive attitude, fostering self-confidence and self-acceptance.

Impact and Popularity

“Too Fat Polka” quickly gained popularity not only for its catchy tune and witty lyrics but also for its relatable subject matter. The song resonated with audiences, many of whom identified with the challenges and stereotypes portrayed within the song. Moreover, Arthur Godfrey’s popularity as a radio and television personality helped catapult the song’s success. His infectious personality and ability to connect with his audience further endeared “Too Fat Polka” to the masses, making it a timeless classic within the realm of comedic music.

Controversy and Cultural Context

It is important to acknowledge that the song’s portrayal of weight-related issues may seem controversial in today’s society, where body positivity movements are working to challenge harmful stereotypes. It is essential to approach “Too Fat Polka” with an understanding of the era in which it was produced. The song should be viewed through the lens of historical context, recognizing that societal attitudes towards weight have evolved significantly since its release.


1. What inspired the creation of “Too Fat Polka”?
The comedic song was inspired by the struggles many people faced when it came to weight loss and societal expectations surrounding body image.

2. Who popularized “Too Fat Polka”?
Arthur Godfrey, a renowned radio and television personality, popularized the song with his recording and subsequent performances.

3. Is “Too Fat Polka” intended to offend overweight individuals?
No, the song’s intention is to entertain and use humor to highlight common struggles in a lighthearted way.

4. How did people respond to the song upon its release?
“Too Fat Polka” was met with overwhelming popularity and positive reception, and it topped the charts thanks to its catchy melody and relatable lyrics.

5. Does “Too Fat Polka” perpetuate harmful stereotypes?
While the song may reflect outdated societal views regarding weight, it is crucial to consider the era in which it was produced and acknowledge its historical context.

6. How did Arthur Godfrey’s rendition contribute to the song’s popularity?
Arthur Godfrey’s charm and popularity as an entertainer played a significant role in the success of “Too Fat Polka”. His lively performance and connection with the audience further boosted the song’s fame.

7. Has “Too Fat Polka” faced any criticism over the years?
Like any other song, “Too Fat Polka” has faced some criticism due to its portrayal of weight-related issues. However, it is important to interpret it within its historical context and appreciate it as a product of its time.

8. Is “Too Fat Polka” still well-known today?
While it may not be as widely recognized as it once was, “Too Fat Polka” remains a beloved tune among fans of comedic music and those interested in classic hits.

9. Are there any cover versions or adaptations of the song?
Over the years, various artists have covered “Too Fat Polka” or used it as inspiration for their own comedic compositions, demonstrating the enduring appeal of the song.

10. What is the significance of “Too Fat Polka” within the polka genre?
“Too Fat Polka” serves as a testament to the versatility of polka music, showcasing how the genre can incorporate humor and engage audiences beyond its traditional characteristics.

11. Are there any other notable comedic songs that address weight-related issues?
There are several other comedic songs that touch upon weight-related topics, including “I Enjoy Being a Girl” from the musical “Flower Drum Song” and “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen.

12. Can “Too Fat Polka” be considered body-positive?
While the song may not align with modern body-positive ideals, its intention is not to criticize or shame individuals based on their weight. Instead, it aims to evoke laughter and encourage self-acceptance.

In conclusion, “Too Fat Polka” by Arthur Godfrey is a witty and playful song that addresses weight-related issues through a lens of humor. Despite potential controversy surrounding its portrayal of weight, the song has stood the test of time and continues to bring joy and laughter to listeners. By understanding its historical context and embracing its lighthearted message, one can appreciate “Too Fat Polka” for its comedic value and cultural significance.

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