Call me immature, silly or just roll your eyes at me, but I am a fan of the one and only “Weird Al” Yankovic. To me, no other parodist has been as consistently successful as “Weird Al”, especially when you consider that the man’s instrument is an accordion. And, the man pulls off his art without being mean or crass, without cursing or without repeating himself. And, he rarely runs a joke in the ground. The man is not just a genius in life, but a genius in the music industry where the term is easily tossed about yet rarely sticks to an artist.
In comedy, the true geniuses make their craft seemed so easy, as though any of could do it. Yet, who out there can do a pratfall like Chevy Chase or Chris Farley? Or, be fun on a surreal level like Steve Martin? None of us. That’s why they are entertaining us. Yet, because of the ease with which their comedy flows from them, we all attempt to mock them to our friends with minimal success. Same can be said of Yankovic.
Personally, I know I have been trying to write parody versions of songs since I was little. But, when you notice that your subject matter consists mainly of body functions and body types, you learn pretty quickly that your success will be nil. Then, you hear “Weird Al” putting the story of Star Wars to the music of the classic song “American Pie” or his polka version of Queen’s all-time great “Bohemian Rhapsody”, you truly realize that you are listening to one of the all-time greats.
Recently, I noticed that “Weird Al” has released a box set that contains ALL 14 of his albums plus an album of rare cuts called Medium Rarities, which can only be purchased with the box set. This box set is called Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of “Weird Al” Yankovic. And for your information, six of those album have been certified platinum for one million in sales, while three more have been certified gold for a half-million in sales. The box also includes the first comedy album ever to debut at the number one position on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, 2014’s Mandatory Fun.
During the heady days of videos on MTV, “Weird Al” was known to extend his parody brilliance into the song’s video. His videos for his Michael Jackson parodies on “Eat It” (parodies “Beat It”) and “Fat” (“Bad”) are two of the greatest forms of video and song parody that were coupled in the history of mankind. Sure, the Yankovic has only had three Top 10 albums, but the fact that eight of his 14 albums have reached the Top 20 is an unprecedented statement on its own. If it sounds like I am making the case for a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for “Weird Al” Yankovic, I am. Besides, artists of the Eighties and Nineties all acknowledged that they knew when they had made it as musical artists when “Weird Al” wanted to parody their song. Most took it as a badge of honor.
So, today, I would like to present My Top 30 Favorite Songs by “Weird Al” Yankovic, listed in chronological order.
“My Bologna” (1980)
“Another One Rides the Bus” (1980)
“I Love Rocky Road” (1981)
“Eat It” (1984)
“Polkas on 45” (1984)
“I Lost on Jeopardy” (1984)
“Dare to Be Stupid” (1985)
“Like a Surgeon” (1985)
“Addicted to Spuds” (1986)
“Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies” (1989)
“Smells like Nirvana” (1992)
“Taco Grande” (1992)
“Achy Breaky Song” (1993)
“Amish Paradise” (1996)
“The Saga Begin” (1999)
“My Baby’s in Love with Eddie Vedder” (1999)
“Your Horoscope for Today” (1999)
“Couch Potato” (2003)
“A Complicated Song” (2003)
“Ode to a Superhero” (2003)
“White and Nerdy” (2006)
“Trapped in a Drive-Thru” (2006)
“Perform This Way” (2011)
“Mission Statement” (2014)
“Sports Song” (2014)
Now, that’s a playlist! Put it on. Kick back. And, enjoy the genius of “Weird Al” Yankovic. He really does keep getting better as he ages.