Dead Skunk

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"Dead Skunk"
Dead Skunk - Loudon Wainwright III.jpg
Single by Loudon Wainwright III
from the album Album III
B-side"Needless to Say"
ReleasedNovember 1972
GenreFolk, comedy
Songwriter(s)Loudon Wainwright III
Producer(s)Thomas Jefferson Kaye

"Dead Skunk" is a 1972 novelty song by Loudon Wainwright III.

The song is musically a simple folk song based on banjo, but accompanied by guitar, drums and fiddle. The lyrics describe a dead skunk in the middle of a busy road and the smell it produces for people as they drive by. Wainwright has said that the song came out of an actual accident involving a skunk, and that he wrote it afterward in 15 minutes. ("Someone had already killed it, but I ran over it."[1])

Although the single was released in November 1972, it was not until well into 1973 that it caught on with radio stations, and its number 16 peak on the Billboard Hot 100 chart was not reached until the week ending 31 March 1973. It peaked at number 12 on the Cashbox charts on April 14.[2] It was the only record to chart for Wainwright.[3] "Dead Skunk" also reached number eight in Canada and number 12 in Australia.

The song has been played every Friday near 9 AM, on Top 40 radio station KRRY ("Y101") in Quincy, Illinois, since 1985. Y101 disc jockeys Dennis Oliver and Jeffrey Dorsey claim the two have played "Dead Skunk" more than any other radio station in the United States.[4]

The song has replaced the traditional "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" as the seventh inning stretch song at Georgia Institute of Technology's Russ Chandler Baseball Stadium.[citation needed]

Chart performance[]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-07-01. Retrieved 2014-01-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Dead Skunk by Loudon Wainwright III Songfacts". 2008-07-26. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  4. ^ "Why 'Dead Skunk' on Friday? Now You Know!". 2016-03-25. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  5. ^ David Kent's "Australian Chart Book 1970-1992" Archived March 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  7. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 4/14/73". 1973-04-14. Archived from the original on 2016-03-22. Retrieved 2017-03-03.
  8. ^ Archived October 6, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2017-03-03.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.
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