Weird Al's Mount Rushmore of Inspiration

He who's tired of Weird Al is tired of life.

Who is your favorite head on this Mount Rushmore?

Allan Sherman
1
7%
Stan Freberg
2
13%
Tom Lehrer
9
60%
Spike Jones
3
20%
 
Total votes : 15

Weird Al's Mount Rushmore of Inspiration

by TMBJon » Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:53 am

"Allan Sherman, Stan Freberg, Spike Jones and Tom Lehrer are my all-time heroes. They're my Mount Rushmore of inspiration."

As he did in this interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Al has namechecked each of these four comedy musicians in nearly every interview he's done since the 80s where someone asked about his influences. I have become a fan of all of them based on Al's recommendations. Listening to their music, you can really hear direct influence on what Al eventually did. I thought that these guys collectively deserve a topic of their own. It could be a place to discuss each of their careers, latest projects, or your thoughts on their music.

Which is your favorite among these four?
I have always liked Tom Lehrer most, but this weekend I was inspired to listen to "My Son, The Nut" since it was the previous comedy album before Mandatory Fun to reach #1 on Billboard. That is a really amazing album of parodies!!
I couldn't tell a dirt clod from a plate of caviar.
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Re: Weird Al's Mount Rushmore of Inspiration

by anthontherun » Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:56 am

Unfortunately I can only claim to be semi-familiar with Allan Sherman, and I don't really know the others' work off the top of my head. Any recommendations for where someone should start with each one?
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Re: Weird Al's Mount Rushmore of Inspiration

by yankochick38 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:06 am

You can only choose one???!!?!? Aaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!

I went with Tom Lehrer because he's a babe.
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Re: Weird Al's Mount Rushmore of Inspiration

by TMBJon » Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:42 am

I recommend "My Son, The Nut" for Allan Sherman. It has his biggest hits, and it's the most accessible (least Jew-y) of the three big albums. There are a lot of other good songs in the "My Son, The ___" series, but most are just making the originals about Jewish names or traditions. I think My Son, The Nut is the blueprint for a lot of the best Weird Al parodies.

For Tom Lehrer, I strongly recommend "An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer" which is a live concert where he explains each song before playing it. It contains most of his biggest hits, and I'd even say these are the definitive recordings for most of them.

My favorite Stan Freberg collection is "Stan Freberg presents the USA" which is a bunch of skits and songs about American History.

I'm not as knowledgeable on Spike Jones as the others, but I've mostly listened to his hits: Der Fuhrer's Face, Hawaiian War Chant, etc. It seems like there is a lot of influence in Al's overall "sound" from Spike, especially early on and even now in the polkas.
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Re: Weird Al's Mount Rushmore of Inspiration

by algonacchick » Mon Aug 04, 2014 3:15 am

Anth - As far as Spike Jones, "Cocktails For Two" and "You Always Hurt The One You Love" are my favorites. The songs that Jon mentioned are great, too. I heard all of those songs on Dr. Demento. Spike used to take popular songs and do hilarious covers. A lot of the sound effects and funny vocal sounds Al uses are due to Spike's influence. I chose Spike Jones for sentimental reasons, because my mother (may she RIP) used to work at what used to be called The Harper Theater in Detroit. She worked the concession stand. She told me Spike Jones was there for several weeks, and she just loved it. That place is a rock club called Harpo's now, and it's where I met my husband.
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Re: Weird Al's Mount Rushmore of Inspiration

by amzo39 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:01 am

Tom Lehrer is the greatest
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Re: Weird Al's Mount Rushmore of Inspiration

by Big Spoon » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:13 am

Allan Sherman's "Best of," "My Son, The Greatest" is where I started with him, and it worked. Although some of the tracks definitely should not belong on a Best of, it's still a solid compilation.

My favorite is easily Tom Lehrer, though. My grandfather got me into him at a young age, when he ripped me a cassette from a record player he used to have. It contained several of his records, can't remember all of them. Song & More Songs is a great compilation of a few of his albums, some rerecordings he did of some of his bigger tracks (his Poisoning Pigeons In The Park and The Hunting Song, to name two of them) and one previously unreleased one.

Don't know Stan and Spike quite as much as the other two, but definitely like what I've heard of them.
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Re: Weird Al's Mount Rushmore of Inspiration

by minnick27 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 12:25 pm

Tom Lehrer will always be number 1 to me. He was just so damn funny. And the fact that he got away with some of the stuff he did in the 50s is amazing. His first record was a limited pressing of 400 copies and a few years ago I had a bit of fun buying up as many as I could. I found one on ebay for just a couple bucks and had to have it. A little while later I found one at a flea market. Then I found one at a record shop. I ended up with 10 copies eventually. Pretty good run considering the first pressing was only sold in the Boston area and Im in Philly. When he released the Remains of Tom Lehrer box set I read an interview where he said that he doesnt hide from fans and if you want to find him its rather easy so I checked the white pages and called him up and had a very nice talk with him for about 10 minutes. Very nice man.

Stan Freberg would be number 2 on my list. So much of his work is top notch. I find it hard to think of a bad track from his prime. The only thing Im not too fond of is about half of his 2nd volume of The United States of America. A few years ago I got a collection of discs that was all b sides that were never put out on cd. I was like a kid on christmas when that came in the mail. Sometimes I find myself hunming his commercial jingles. And actually when I heard of Foil i was wondering if Al would give a nod to Stan and his Kaiser Aluminum Foil ads.

Spike Jones is my number 3. It took me a little while to get used to him, but once I started listening I realized I had been hearing the originals my whole life because my grandfather listened to the very oldies station and we used to go to a WWII themed restaurant that played them as well. I actually showed my grandfather my Spike Jones greatest hits cd that I had right before he passed, and he got a huge smile on his face.

Allan Sherman is 4th, but that by no means is a bad thing. His music is wonderful. My Son, The Greatest is easily the best way to listen, but all the albums are very good. My favorite parts of his albums are the medleys. Shticks of One, Half a Dozen of the Other, Shticks and Stones. Fantastic. Plus he name dropped a town thats like 10 minutes from me, so thats cool too. Its just a shame that his life crumbled so badly.
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Re: Weird Al's Mount Rushmore of Inspiration

by mrmeadows » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:38 pm

While I love Tom Lehrer, and he would be a solid #2 pick for me, I'm going with Allan Sherman. I think he really put parody on the map and probably had the most influence on Al's early work (i.e. food and TV-inspired song parodies). I find that when I'm not listening to Al, I often times will put my Allan Sherman playlist on shuffle and listen to that. I agree that "My Son, the Nut" is his most accessible and funny, but I also recommend the two earlier albums, as well: "My Son, The Folk Singer" and "My Son, the Celebrity". Some great stuff on those albums. . .I even like a lot of the "Jew-y" stuff. "Streets of Miami" and "My Zelda" are killer! After the "My Son" series his work becomes less consistent, but even "Allan in Wonderland" and "My Name Is Allan" contain some gems. His last two--"Allan Sherman Live!" and "Togetherness"--are the only two albums that are almost complete duds, IMO.

Tom Lehrer was more outwardly subversive, and certainly paved the way for Sherman (as Spike Jones and Stan Freberg likewise opened the door for Lehrer). I agree that "An Evening Wasted" is his best compilation, but "That Was the Year That Was" is also very good, and worth it all for "National Brotherhood Week". The "Tom Lehrer: Revisted" album is a little more hit-and-miss, but strong. Lehrer was more topical than Sherman, so much of his work suffers from being outdated, but you can still sense how sharp it was at the time simply by listening to the audience responses on certain songs.

I enjoy Freberg and Jones as well, but return to their stuff less often than the above. I haven't memorized their discography or anything, but familiar with much of their more famous output. Can definitely see their influence on Al, particularly Jones when it comes to his polka medleys or odd sound effects/instruments in his songs (e.g. gargling and kazoos in SLN.)
Last edited by mrmeadows on Mon Aug 04, 2014 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Weird Al's Mount Rushmore of Inspiration

by minnick27 » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:50 pm

The thing i find funny about Tom Lehrer is he wrote a song called The Old Dope Peddler and basically introduced it as a song for a profession that had yet to be written about, and now there have been countless written about dealing, and his song was sampled in one
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