"Weird Al" Yankovic

 Posted by at 2:00 pm  1 Response »
Oct 192009

“Weird Al” Yankovic is one of the smartest men in music. Think about it. How many other wannabe jokesters have tried to do exactly what he does? And how many have even achieved one-tenth of his success? Everyone feels like they have a hilarious parody up their sleeves – in middle school my friend had a food-themed version of the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” that never failed to kill us – but Al has taken the genre to another level. The guy’s been around for thirty years and he still sells out concerts coast to coast. Pretty good for a funny-haired accordion-player.

Covering a parody seems somewhat counter-intuitive. The parody is the evil twin of the cover. A good cover keeps the lyrics but changes the music. A parody does just the opposite. So it’s not surprising that most of the fifteen (!) covers below are of Al’s original songs. I’ve long wanted to compile this post for Cover Me. I believe it’s worth the wait. Oh, and later this week I’ll be posting some covers that didn’t make this post on Twitter, so follow Cover Me now!

Laura Barrett – Smells Like Nirvana

After all that, the first choice here is a parody. A brave choice by Barrett, who surely would have gotten more blog love with a cover of the original. Damn thing features a kalimba, after all! Wikipedia it. [Buy]

Stiff Bristles – Frank’s 2000″ TV

When Al wrote this in ’93, it probably seemed like more of a joke than it does today. With flat screens now all the rage, two-thousand inches may not be far off. [Buy]

James Eric – The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota

[audio: https://ia800306.us.archive.org/18/items/WeirdAlRuinedMyLife/02TheBiggestBallOfTwineInMinnesota.mp3]
Fact: There is a biggest ball of twin in Minnesota, located in the tiny town of Darwin (population: 276). One Francis Johnson created it in 1950, spending four hours a day wrapping twine. For 23 weeks. Another fact: James Eric was our first Cover Commissions artist. Final fact: October’s Cover Commissions is on now, so go vote! [Buy]

Your Mother – I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead

A dead-on spoof of the entire new-age moment, “I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead” doubles as a pretty good rule to live by. Your Mother put this out on the vinyl-only The Weird Al-Bum tribute disc. Well worth the $8. [Buy]

The PowerChord Men – Amish Paradise

Here’s a famous song in Yanko-lore. Coolio supposedly gave his permission for the parody (Al always asks, and has been granted it from everyone but Prince) but then publicly claimed otherwise. Publicity stunt or genuine miscommunication? The world may never know (or care). Still, I’ll bet neither ever envisioned the song as a minor-key acoustic duet. [Buy]

Lager Rhythms – Since You’ve Been Gone

[audio: https://lagerrhythms.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/LagerRhythms-SinceYou.mp3]
A cappella groups are the most reliable source of Weird Al covers. This song was vocal-driven initially anyway, so it’s a perfect match for the Lager Rhythms (get it? har!). [Buy]

The iMAniaC – Hardware Store

Al could give Twista a run for his money as fastest rapper alive. OK, maybe not, but he sure blasts out the shopping list in the bridge. The iMAniaC guys take it a different way. Though turning a Weird Al song into something about Star Trek doesn’t seem like a huge stretch. Also, check out this top-notch fan video. [Buy]

Take Away – Eat It

The final parody cover of the bunch. Weird Al has taken on Madonna in the past; if she ever covered him, it might sound like this. Don’t miss the parody video…of the parody video. [Buy]

Mike Odd & the Oddities – Nature Trail to Hell

With Halloween on the way, this couldn’t be more timely. If this was an actual movie, I know I’d see it. Frankly, I’m surprised it isn’t. You listening, Dreamworld? [Buy]

Double Down – This Is the Life

Weird Al wrote a recession-themed parody of T.I.’s “Whatever You Like” last year. This seems to be the bull-market companion piece. [Buy]

Yoni Gordon – Dare to Be Stupid

Lots of covers of this one (I get a kick out of the synth-dance version over here). But if you’re feeling punk rock, this Yoni’s for you. [Buy]

Yulenog & Nathan Kuruna – Christmas at Ground Zero

“The Night Santa Went Crazy” tends to be the go-to Weird Al Christmas tune, but I think this one’s more clever. “We can dodge debris while we trim the tree underneath the mushroom cloud.” That’s right, internal rhyming. [Buy]

Sudden Death – Happy Birthday

‘Tis the season to be born! Cover Me’s second birthday is on the 30th and my own is on Wednesday. One year maybe I’ll celebrate with broccoli and beer. Not this year though. One other birthday coming up too…oh yeah, Al’s, this Friday! We celebrate the season with this selection from the Prosthetic Lips tribute album (free to download). Oh, and happy birthday Micaela and Chiara Klein! [Download]

Throwing Toasters – Good Enough for Now

The acoustic cover is excellent, but what really gets me is the pre-song intro. The Toasters guy explains why covering Al is tough. Listen and learn. [Buy]

Marc and Jon – Polka #27

On every album Al puts the lyrics of a dozen recent pop hits into a polka medley. In a way, it’s the closest he gets to a traditional cover. The idea of putting Al’s own songs into such a melody seems so obvious once you hear it, but it takes a special kind of genius to blend “Albuquerque,” “Dog Eat Dog,” and “Let Me Be Your Hog.” [Buy]