With all the hype about the release of Weird Al Yankovic’s latest album “Mandatory Fun” and the eight parody music videos being released day by day, the Encyclopedia of Music couldn’t help but compile a list of our favorite Weird Al parodies, from oldies to the newbies. Check out the top five Weird Al parodies below.
Honorable mentions go to “The Saga Begins” (1999) parodying “American Pie,” by Don McLean, “Smells Like Nirvana”(1992) spoofing Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and “Perform This Way” (2011) modeled after Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”
5. “Like a Surgeon” (1985)
Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” was just too easy for Weird Al to spoof with his hilariously accurate lyrics about a medical intern. Opening the song with, “I finally made it through med school / Somehow I made it through / I’m just an intern / I still make a mistake or two,” the catchy chorus goes, “Like a surgeon, cuttin’ for the very first time.” Meanwhile in the music video, Weird Al manages to do a very good impression of Madonna dancing over hospital equipment while wearing a scrub cap.
4. “Amish Paradise” (1996)
This song always amuses when you find out it’s a tripple-sampler: “Amish Paradise” parodies Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” which sampled Stevie Wonder‘s “Pastime Paradise.” Three very different tunes, all full of Stevie-style keys. Weird Al falls naturally into rapping as he very seriously introduces you to his Amish Paradise with “As I walk through the valley where I harvest my grain / I take a look at my wife and realize she’s very plain / But that’s just perfect for an Amish like me / You know, I shun fancy things like electricity.” Clothed in Amish wear, with cornrows under his hat, Weird Al stays in character throughout the entire music video.
3. “Tacky” (2014)
Weird Al’s list of social faux pas that make people incredibly uncomfortable are sure to earn him accolades later this year. A parody of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” Weird Al opens his version of the song with, “It might seem crazy, wearing stripes and plaid / I instagram every meal I’ve had / All my used liquor bottles are on display / We can go to see a show but I’ll make you pay.” Dancing around in painfully mismatched clothes in a manner similar to the 24 hour music video of “Happy,” Weird Al replaces Pharrell’s break down, “Bring me down / can’t nothin’ /bring me down / My level’s too high,” with “Bring me shame / can’t nothin’ / bring me shame / I never know why.” Well done, Weird Al.
2. “Eat It” (1984)
This classic Weird Al parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” earned itself a Grammy for best comedy recording. Mimicking the pop star’s anxious vocals over the the Van Halen- esque guitar lead, Weird Al sings, “How come you’re always such a fussy young man? Don’t want no Cap’n Crunch, don’t want no Raisin Bran / Well, don’t you know that other kids are starving in Japan / So eat it, just eat it.” This little number earned Weird Al cool points when previously he had had only weird/funny points. We also see for the first time just how well he can dance, as he puts on the Michael Jackson moves in the song’s music video.
1. “White & Nerdy” (2006)
One of Weird Al’s biggest hits until he released songs from his latest album “Mandatory Fun,” this other hip-hop song, which parodies Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone’s “Ridin’” reached No. 9 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Yankovic plays a wanna-be rapper who is fully aware that can’t be part of the hip-hop world because he’s just, well, too white and nerdy. although he’s just not gansta enough to role with the homies, he is too cool for nerd school, as he boasts, “First in my class here at M.I.T. / Got skills, I’m a Champion of D&D / MC Escher that’s my favorite MC / Keep your 40 / I’ll just have an Earl Grey tea,” and later, “ I’m nerdy in the extreme and whiter than sour cream / I was in AV club and Glee club and even the chess team! Only question I ever thought was hard was do I like Kirk or do I like Picard?”
Stay tuned for FDRMX’s full album review of “Mandatory Fun” coming out next week!