Having postponed doing this yesterday, I’ve decided to return to my usual weekend-style posts of videos to, hopefully, entertain you. Anything else would, in my view, be letting the terrorists win. So, on with the show.
Last weekend I posted about cover songs and today I’m taking that thought a step further: parodies. Some rock and pop stars are so far up themselves that they deserve to be parodied. Others don’t, but that doesn’t stop it happening to them. As a kid growing up in the sixties my first introduction to parody songs was a group called the Barron Knights, who had a string of hits with medleys of alternative versions of current pop songs, reworked in their own ‘inimitable’ style. To be fair, their impressions were often very accurate, but they seem very dated nowadays, as this typical example shows:
Of course, it helps if you recognise the bands being covered, but surely everyone can spot the Rolling Stones song, even if the Honeycombs have long been consigned to their tiny little space in pop history. Fortunately, it wasn’t too long before the style and content of parodies improved dramatically, and appeared in colour! Other parodists are, of course, available, but the master of the genre for me – by the proverbial country mile – is Weird Al Yankovic. He has been doing this for around 40 years, having started as a 16 year old schoolkid, and I’m going to share a few of his videos with you. Do watch them: they are guaranteed to raise smiles and the occasional ‘LOL’ moment.
Weird Al (a nickname from school that fits him so well!) rose to fame with a perfect parody of Michael Jackson’s Beat It, with a retake on Jackson’s video and what Al himself described as his ‘uncanny resemblance’ to Jackson. Judge for yourself!
Ten years or so later he produced this next video. The song was a parody of Coolio’s massive hit Gangsta’s Paradise, which itself was a reworking of Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise (from Songs In The Key Of Life) and even sampled the Stevie Wonder song. In my view all Coolio did was show how far superior the original was, but by the mid 90s I’d lost all claim to being down with the kids! Following on from the hit film Witness, which starred Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis, Weird Al produced Amish Paradise, complete with a line stolen and slightly amended from Prince:
If you’ve seen Witness you’ll appreciate just how good that is, especially the barn building scene! And to prove that he hasn’t lost it, my final Weird Al video for today is a more recent one. This is his take on the Lorde song, Royals:
I could post loads more, but if you’ve enjoyed these, look him up on YouTube. There are many more there for you to enjoy: a personal favourite is his eBay song, to the tune of I Want It That Way by the Backstreet Boys, but he has made over 150 in total so you could be there a while!
A final word for today. The title for this piece is a song in itself, although it is actually a 70s protest song rather than a complaint about cover versions. Some of you may know it from the recent Miley Cyrus cover – in which she keeps her clothes on – but here’s the original, by Melanie Safka:
Till tomorrow, then. Have a lovely Sunday 🙂