The Greatest "Weird Al" Yankovic Songs Of All Time

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Postby Elvis » Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:15 am

#18 (tie):

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"MIDNIGHT STAR"
Points: 90
Highest ranking: #2
Album: In 3-D
Track number: 2
Style: Original

"Midnight Star" is Al's tribute to the supermarket tabloid. Perhaps the song was inspired by the Weekly World News article about the Incredible Frog Boy that Al had taped to his wall for several years. Al spent a few weeks collecting old tabloids and writing down headlines as research for the song. A lot of the headlines used in the song are actual tabloid headlines. Initially, Al wanted "Midnight Star" to be the lead off single from the In 3-D album. Eventually he regained his senses and went with "Eat It" instead. An unofficial quarterly fanzine about Al, published in Houston, TX, from 1994 through 1998, took the name of this song as the title of their publication.
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Postby Elvis » Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:20 am

#16 (tie):

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"UHF"
Points: 91
Highest ranking: #4
Album: UHF: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack And Other Stuff
Track number: 6
Single B-side: "Attack Of The Radioactive Hamsters From A Planet Near Mars"
Style: Original, theme to Al's 1989 movie

In 1989, Al starred in his own feature film for Orion Pictures, called UHF. While the film was overshadowed in the theaters by much larger summer blockbusters, it went on to achieve a cult following through cable TV, VHS, and eventually DVD. "UHF" was the theme song to the movie. The song was released as a single, though the single version is about 1:20 shorter than the album version. The accompanying music video was Al's most complex and ambitious at the time. Al visually parodied many artists and music videos that were popular during the 1980s, including The Beatles, Prince, Billy Idol, George Michael, INXS, Randy Newman, Robert Palmer, David Byrne, Guns N' Roses, Peter Gabriel, and ZZ Top.

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Postby Elvis » Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:25 am

#16 (tie):

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"EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG"
Points: 91
Highest ranking: #8
Album: Bad Hair Day
Track number: 2
Style: Original, in the style of They Might Be Giants

The lyrics tell of a wild adventure that starts with the narrator driving on a freeway and ends with him in Heaven in a room next to a noisy ice machine. Along the way he visits an alternate dimension, meets aliens that look like Jamie Farr, time travels, and see Colonel Sanders' disembodied head. If that doesn't make sense, don't worry, it's not supposed to because, remember, everything you know is wrong. While the title is very similar to the title of the They Might Be Giants song, "Everything Right Is Wrong Again," Al's inspiration for his title actually came from a Firesign Theatre album.
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Postby Elvis » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:00 am

#15:

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"MELANIE"
Points: 93
Highest ranking: #2
Album: Even Worse
Track number: 7
Style: Original

At the time it was released, Al considered "Melanie" to be a PG-13 song. The lyrics tell a story from the point of view of a stalker who is obsessed with a girl who lives across the street from him named Melanie. Despite all the attention he lavishes upon her, she has no interest in dating him. The song ends after the stalker commits suicide by jumping off the building she lives in. By themselves, the lyrics are pretty disturbing, but their meaning is all but lost when coupled with the beautiful music and instrumentals. "Melanie" occasionally finds its way into the concert setlists, having been performed on The Bad Hair Tour and, most recently, the Poodle Hat Tour.
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Postby Elvis » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:05 am

#14:

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"HARDWARE STORE"
Points: 96
Highest ranking: #1
Album: Poodle Hat
Track number: 2
Style: Original

"Hardware Store” likely found its place in the Top 20 because of the verse. Yes, that verse. The lyrics chronicle the narrator's obsession over a new hardware store that's about to open in town. Once the store opens, he finds himself overwhelmed by all the products it offers. Al has conceded that the song will probably never be performed live because it would be too difficult to perform. In the studio, Al used Pro Tools to take out the pauses between words and compress them so he could achieve the rapid-fire pace of the lyrics, while still keeping words from getting intelligible. While the song is a true original, it did not start out that way. Al started by writing to song in the style of a particular group, but got it so wrong that he just gave up and did it his own way instead.
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Postby Elvis » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:10 am

#13:

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"FAT"
Points: 98
Highest ranking: #3
Album: Even Worse
Track number: 1
Single B-side: "You Make Me"
Highest Billboard chart position: 99 (US Hot 100)
Highest ARIA chart position: 11
Highest UK Singles Chart position: 80
Style: Parody of "Bad" by Michael Jackson

"Fat" was the second time Al parodied Michael Jackson. Because he was still primarily known as The "Eat It" Guy, Al wasn't really looking to do another Michael Jackson parody, but once he heard "Bad," the idea for "Fat" came to him almost immediately and he knew it was too funny to pass up. While Al's song only peaked as high as #99 on the Billboard Hot 100, it helped the album Even Worse reach Platinum certification in the U.S. and Gold certification in Canada, as well as receive a Grammy nomination for Best Comedy Album. Again, Michael Jackson was a very good sport about things, even offering Al a subway set to shoot the "Fat" music video on. During the shooting of the music video, it took Al between three and four hours each morning to put on the makeup and costume. The makeup was done by Kevin Yagher, who's is best known for his work on the Child's Play movies and Tales From The Crypt. Al met Kevin while taping an episode of Amazing Stories, in which Kevin transformed Al into an alien that looks like a cabbage. To cast the video, Al put an ad in the paper for very fat dancers. One of the dancers was a guy who just happened to be delivering pizzas to the the casting office that day. He had no training as a dancer, but he fit the other criteria and was hired. Another dancer was Lou B. Washington, who also played the cameraman in Al's movie. UHF. The music video won the Grammy for Best Concept Music Video, his second Grammy overall. "Fat" is a huge fan favorite at concerts, in part due to the custom-made fat suit and mask Al wears while performing the song. The suit and mask are designed to be applied quickly in between songs. Though Al has had laser surgery to correct his vision, he wears glasses with plastic lenses for the performance, as they are needed to keep the mask on.

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Postby Elvis » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:15 am

#12:

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"DOG EAT DOG"
Points: 114
Highest ranking: #2
Album: Polka Party!
Track number: 2
Style: Original, in the style of Talking Heads

"Dog Eat Dog" is one of Al's favorite songs off of Polka Party!. Musically, the song is a style parody of Talking Heads. The lyrics, which take a tongue-in-cheek look at corporate life, were inspired partly by Al's only desk job, in the traffic department at Westwood One. The song is a concert favorite of many fans, and was performed live on the Opening For The Monkees Tour, Deep End Tour, and most recently, the Poodle Hat Tour which had Al dressed in a large white floppy suit, visually parodying the dancing from Talking Head's "Once In A Lifetime" music video.
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Postby Elvis » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:20 am

#11:

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"EAT IT"
Points: 145
Highest ranking: #2
Album: In 3-D
Track number: 1
Single B-side: "That Boy Could Dance"
Single Reissue #1 B-side: "I Lost On Jeopardy"
Single Reissue #2 B-side: "I Lost On Jeopardy"
Highest Billboard chart position: 12 (US Hot 100)
Highest ARIA chart position: 1
Highest UK Singles Chart position: 36
RIAA certification: Gold (U.S., Canada, Australia)
Style: Parody of "Beat It" by Michael Jackson

In the early 1980s, Michael Jackson was arguably the biggest celebrity in the world. His second studio album, Thriller, was insanely popular, and "Beat It," the third single from the album, was a huge hit. On the other end of the spectrum, Al was not a household name, and only had a small loyal following, made up mostly of listeners who found him from The Dr. Demento Show. While working on his second studio album, Al set his sights on "Beat It." This was a bold move, but Al had a philosophy that it never hurts to try. He took the chance, fully expecting Michael to deny permission. But not long after he asked, he heard back from Michael's people that Michael thought it was a funny idea and Al could proceed. "Eat It" was the last song recorded for In 3-D, and Rick Derringer performed the guitar solo on the track. The song changed Al's life dramatically, and made him a household name overnight. It was huge. "Beat It" was being played and shown all over America and the world, and "Eat It" followed. Al traded in the camper he used for touring for a real tour bus, and started getting top billing over Dr. Demento, who was touring with him at the time. Al's song peaked as high as #12 on the Billboard Hot 100, and reached Gold certification in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. It won a Grammy for Best Comedy Recording, and helped the album In 3-D become one of People Magazine's Top 10 Albums Of The Year, and reach Platinum certification in the U.S. and Gold certification in Canada. The music video won Best Male Performance at the 1984 American Video Awards, and was a fixture on MTV. The response to the video prompted MTV to give Al his own four-hour special called Al-TV, a tradition he still keeps alive with almost each new album. The song remained Al's most successful, in most aspects, until 2006, when "White & Nerdy" was released.

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Postby Elvis » Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:00 am

#10:


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"YODA"
Points: 146
Highest ranking: #1
Album: Dare To Be Stupid
Track number: 5
Style: Parody of "Lola" by The Kinks


Just edging out "Eat It" by one point -- one stinkin' lousy point, arrgh!! -- to start off the Top 10 is a song whose history goes back to 1980. "Yoda" was written during the initial run of The Empire Strikes Back, with the lyrics examining the relationship between Yoda and Luke Skywalker, and told from the point of view of Luke Skywalker. Al recorded a demo and gave the song to Dr. Demento to play on his radio show. The song was very popular among listeners, and during live shows, but was not included on either of Al's first two albums because he had difficulty obtaining permission. Eventually, the song's publishers turned him down, and Al figured the song would remain unreleased. By chance, Al ran into Ray Davies, the songwriter, and asked him why he denied permission, and it turned out Ray was never asked, and gave Al permission. As a result of this, Al now tries to go directly to the songwriter to obtain permission whenever possible. Al rerecorded the song for Dare To Be Stupid, but did not see it as a potential single because "Lola" was 15 years old, and The Empire Strikes Back has been out for 5 years, at that point. He also felt it would be too legally difficult and expensive to do a proper music video for it. The song remains a concert favorite, having been in the setlist on every single tour to date. "Yoda" was the encore song on The Stupid Tour, and during The Off The Deep End Tour the song moved back to the encore, where it remained until The Straight Outta Lynwood Tour. Also during The Off The Deep End Tour, Al added what has become to be known as The Yoda Chant, a section near the end of the song in which the entire band stops what they are doing and starts chanting in unison with choreographed movements. Each tour since, he has added another verse to the chant. Touring With Scissors paired "The Saga Begins" with "Yoda" for an encore of Star Wars songs. In 1997, Al performed the song on The Weird Al Show as a birthday gift for Harvey The Wonder Hamster.
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Postby Elvis » Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:05 am

#9:


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"IT'S ALL ABOUT THE PENTIUMS"
Points: 155
Highest ranking: #1
Album: Running With Scissors
Track number: 9
Single B-side: none
Style: Parody of "It's All About The Benjamins" by Puff Daddy


With the home computer boom of the late 1990s, Al decided to tackle the subject of computers. "It's All About The Pentiums" was the very last song to be recorded for Running With Scissors, and almost missed out on being recorded. By the time Al received permission from Puff Daddy, he was already in the studio recording other songs. He recorded all the instrument tracks and background vocals first to buy more time to come up with the lyrics. By the time he finished writing the lyrics, they last few songs on the album were being mixed, and the lead vocals were recorded just a couple days before the album had to be mastered. Al was concerned about getting the jargon wrong and losing credibility among computer nerds, so he frequently consulted with Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz and Jim West on the lyrics. The song was only the second single to have its own official web site at ThePentiums.com (Note: The website no longer active). On the website, one could see exclusive photos, and download a screen saver, among other things. The music video for "It's All About The Pentiums" was his most expensive to create at the time. The video parodies several rap videos which were popular at the time, and contains cameos by Drew Carey, Emo Philips, and a Bill Gates lookalike. The video was filmed in an office building late at night after the staff had gone home. Although Al's ears appear to be pierced in the video, he was actually wearing magnetic earrings. At one point, the video shoot was stopped, because one of the earrings had flown off, and it took several minutes to find it.

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