The illustrious Illinois blogger SamuraiFrog decided to rank all of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s songs, 165 of them, an impressive undertaking. So, I decided to come up with a list of my 33 favorite Weird Al songs. Why 33? Because LPs play at 33 revolutions per minute. And I’m going to break them up into three posts of 11 songs each, mostly because posting 11 posts of three songs each would be weird.
Part 1 is HERE, and part 3 will show up in a little more than a month.
22. Buy Me a Condo
(Parody of Bob Marley; from “Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D, 1984)
Will the Rastafarian falls into the trap of American consumerism. This is, as Mr. Frog noted, subversive.
21. Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies
(Parody of “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits; from UHF, 1989)
SamuraiFrog notes: “The theme song to The Beverly Hillbillies, adapted to the Dire Straits classic. Mark Knopfler and keyboardist Guy Fletcher actually play their parts on the track. The video is brilliant. One piece of neat trivia: Simpsons director David Silverman designed the computer-generated characters.”
The Dire Straits song was ubiquitous on MTV in its first decade. The Beverly Hillbillies was, for two seasons (1962-1964) the #1 most-watched program in the US, and individual episodes are STILL among the 60 most viewed along with Super Bowls, Roots, and final episodes of MASH, Cheers, The Fugitive, et al.
20. I Love Rocky Road; #106 in US, 1983
(Parody of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ cover of “I Love Rock and Roll” by Arrows; from “Weird Al” Yankovic, 1983)
I love the Al swagger in the video over a type of ice cream, which, now that I think of it, I’ve never tried. The Joan Jett song was all over MTV in the early ’80s, and I grew to like it quite a bit.
19. Canadian Idiot; #82 in US, 2006
(Parody of “American Idiot” by Green Day; from Straight Outta Lynwood, 2006)
I’m rather fond of “American Idiot” and the idea that would be a song about the “nicer” folks from north of the border struck a funny bone.
18. Ricky; #63 in US, 1983
(Parody of “Mickey” by Toni Basil; from “Weird Al” Yankovic, 1983)
Before I finally OD’ed on I Love Lucy reruns, I used to watch them all the time. I was impressed by the love Al obviously had watching them too. Toni Basil’s “Mickey” was just the perfect song for this.
17. Eat It; #1 in Australia, #5 in Canada, #6 in New Zealand, #12 in US, #36 in UK in 1984
(Parody of “Beat It” by Michael Jackson; from “Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D, 1984)
I have some friends in the music business, and one mentioned at the time that this was a particularly stupid song; I totally disagreed. I thought it was a variation on the remarkable Michael Jackson video, and I appreciated that MJ, who was a massive star, had enough of a sense of humor to allow this, and later, Fat, the parody of Bad.
This was Al’s first Top 40 hit in the US, and would be his highest-charting single until 2006.
(Parody of “Lola” by The Kinks; from Dare to Be Stupid, 1985)
The mix of familiar Kinks chords with Star Wars. Back in my FantaCo days, we used to sell some masks, including Yoda, which I might have bought if it had fit over my big head.
15. Stop Forwarding This Crap To Me
(Style parody of Jim Steinman, who wrote a lot for Meat Loaf; from Alpocalypse, 2011)
Yes, now people Facebook and tweet that crap to us, instead of email; we’ve so evolved. I love the sweet tone of the fairly angry message.
(Parody of “Happy” by Pharrell Williams; from Mandatory Fun, 2014)
Yes, I eventually tired of the original, but it took an amazingly long time. And just at that point, this parody, with great guest stars shows up, including Aisha Tyler, Margaret Cho, Eric Stonestreet, Kristen Schaal, and Jack Black. I’m impressed that this was all one shot, with Al changing clothes to be in the first and last segments. And the examples of tacky – selfie at a funeral – are totally believable.
13. Living with a Hernia
(Parody of “Living in America” by James Brown; from Polka Party!, 1986)
It’s a great video and a surprisingly strong recreation of the JB style. I’m not crazy about the original song; it’s VERY ’80s, in a bad way. Getting a hernia helped this position, I suppose.
12. King of Suede; #62 in US, 1984
(a parody of “King of Pain” by the Police; from “Weird Al” Yankovic In 3-D, 1984)
A song about a proud clothier next to an arcade. Love the reference to Blue Suede Shoes. The original song is about depression and rejection, so it’s a great diversion.