*Not to be confused with the album Alapalooza.
Music is behind religion and politics as the #3 most divisive topic of conversation one can bring up. What sounds good to one person sounds terrible to another. If you want to bring a room of cheery people into disarray, just make a bold statement on which band you think reeks. However, there is one unifying musical subject just about everybody can agree upon:
Everyone loves Weird Al.
Whether it be rock, grunge, hip-hop or country, Al's made fun of them all. Everyone squeals a little inside on the rare occasion they hear a Weird Al song played on the radio. His fanbase hasn't diminished with time or the passing of generations. Al simply makes something everyone can relate to--a good joke.
If "humor" can be called a music genre, it has zero competition other than Al, that one song by the Offspring, and possibly a few old Tom Lehrer records. It's odd that, given Al's success, we've never seen another musical satirist gain international recognition the way this guy has. What happens when Al retires or kicks the bucket? Music will still be made, but who will ridicule it? And if anyone does try to take his place, how can they not be seen as anything but a Weird Al ripoff?
We must enjoy Al while he exists, as he is a
phenomenon not to be repeated. Here's a collection of his
music videos, with interesting trivia on the sides. I'm going to
break my rule of never linking to the unstable YouTube video
library for this one, as most of these videos come directly from
Al's own account and are unlikely to be deleted.
UPDATE: Spoke too soon. They're still there, but embedding was turned off, so to see them now, you must click on the videos more than once to bring up the pages they're on.
One of the parodies most synonymous with Al is his parody of "Beat It," released in 1984. Many of the same sets and actors from the original video were used in the parody. The "scary" ending is meant to poke at a different video entirely, "Thriller."
Wikipedia states that the man opening the manhole cover is Michael Winslow from Police Academy, and that it's him making the sound of the cover opening, not the cover itself. But Wikipedia also says Matt Groening worked on The Fox and the Hound, so I don't know what to believe.
Silly me thought this was going to be a parody of Phil Collins' "Su-Su-Sudio." Come on, Al, you've neglected Phil for too long.
Instead, it's an original grungy screamfest in the style of Rage Against The Machine. Many of the lawsuits mentioned here resemble ones that have actually been tried in America's courtrooms.
|I LOST ON
This parody of "Jeopardy" by Greg Kihn looks somewhat different because it's based on the original 1960's version of the game show, and not the more familiar Trebek version. In fact, it was released mere months before the modern Jeopardy made its debut.
The original Jeopardy announcer, Don Pardo, voices the announcer in this song.
Greg Kihn himself makes a cameo in this video, as does Jeopardy's original host Art Fleming. So does Dr. Demento, whose radio show made Al a star in the first place. As a result, Demento has had cameos in many of Al's videos.
Later on, Al did become a contestant on a Jeopardy episode. And he indeed lost.
Perhaps the weirdest thing you can point out about "Like a Surgeon" is that it was the target's idea first. Madonna said to some friends that "Weird Al should parody this and call it Like a Surgeon." The suggestion traveled by word of mouth to Al's manager, and then to Al, who said "why not?"
The "Like a Virgin" video was shot in Venice. Here a hospital is substituted, with gurneys instead of gondolas.
The original video also features a lion. Hence....a lion.
The shots of Al lounging around in a "sexy" manner are spoofing a different Madonna video, "Lucky Star."
|I WANT A
There's a video for "I Want a New Duck"? Well...sort of. Not officially. Disney used the song to make their own music video in the 1987 TV special "Down and Out with Donald Duck." I don't have it, but I do have what they played on Entertainment Tonight...
Hey, I like it. It works.
|DARE TO BE
The target here is Devo, filleted expertly. If you're of a certain age, you already know this song made it into the original Transformers movie.
This parodies no specific Devo video, but instead goes after them all: weird outfits, jerky body movement, stock footage, and a brief scene where a man must choose between a banana and an accordion (which, believe it or not, actually happened in a Devo video).
Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo actually thought this tune was an improvement upon everything else he'd done, and was jealous of Al for coming up with it.
An original song, and the first of Al's several demented love croons; he actually wrote this with an ex-girlfriend in mind. It is her photo that gets torn up at the beginning. Bitter? Nah....
I wish there was a video for "Melanie." Seriously.
This was the theme song to the comedy gangster movie "Johnny Dangerously," and is a gangster genre parody (which isn't a musical type of parody; one of the few Al songs to be targeting something else).
Because the video contains clips from "Johnny Dangerously," it's appeared on Al's early music video collections in edited form (stock footage appears where the movie otherwise might). The original video was finally released on DVD in 2002.
"White and Nerdy" is Al's most
popular song of recent origin, landing him his highest
point on the sales charts in 22 years.
PATTERNS! THE PATTERNS THAT REPEAT!
If you're like me, and you probably aren't, the first Al song you came into contact with was his 3-minute stint on PBS, singing about the mathematics of patterns. As Al songs go, this one's become as rare as decent copies of Square One, the show it appeared on. (It was the 1991 season; I remember it all.)
This appeared in Weird Al's feature film UHF.
What you see above is the exact wording (including asterisk) of this tune, implying in no subtle terms that this is a song about The Beverly Hillbillies set to the tune of Money for Nothing. Al would have just called it "Beverly Hillbillies," but the lawyers said no, and demanded that title as the substitution.
David Silverman designed the characters in this video. He later went on to The Simpsons.
"Fat" is another song that's become synonymous with Al.
It was filmed in the same subway area that "Bad" was filmed in and every scene was spoofed shot-for-shot with an obese twist.
This'll probably be funnier if you watch the original "Bad" first.
Parody of "Macarthur Park," regarded as the most horrible song ever to hit the top of the sales charts.
What amazes me is that they rendered this in full claymation and got it out the door in such a short length of time, given how time-consuming claymation really is (it takes a full eight-hour day to complete only seconds of film). The video, as well as the album it came from, hit stores in October of 1993 and you could still pay to see Jurassic Park in a theater at that point.
Until "Weasel Stomping Day" came out this was Al's most violent video.
Whether you "get" this one or not depends on how well your memories of the mid-90's are. This is Al's single most dated parody.
What's lampooned here are the Singapore caning incident, the Kerrigan/Harding debacle, and the resolution to John and Lorena's domestic dispute. Actually, I doubt you have trouble remembering that stuff, but I read a few YouTube comments from people who were actually surprised this song was based on real events. Oh come on! It wasn't THAT long ago!
Al resurrected this song for his "Straight Outta Lynwood" tour, and refreshed the lyrics to be about Britney Spears and/or Paris Hilton.
|SMELLS LIKE NIRVANA
Weird Al nipped the grunge craze at its roots with this 1992 single.
Again, many of the same people from the original video--the janitor, for example--are also in this parody. And just in case you still feel it's "too soon," Mr. Cobain thought this video was hilarious.
It ends and starts here: Al's very first video, for his very first track on his very first album, even though the first thing he successfully sold was "My Bologna."
Al is barely recognizable as Ricky, but you should be able to identify Lucy as the one and only Tress MacNeille.
Whether Al will add more videos to his account is the question, but it looks doubful, as he now has 27 of them there.
RETURN TO THE MAIN PAGE