The Greatest "Weird Al" Yankovic Songs Of All Time

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Postby Elvis » Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:10 am

#8:


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"ALBUQUERQUE"
Points: 173
Highest ranking: #1
Album: Running With Scissors
Track number: 12
Style: Parody Original, in the style of "Dick's Automotive" by The Rugburns


At close to 11 and a half minutes, "Albuquerque" is the longest song on any of Al's studio albums. More so than any of his other style parodies, musically, the song is almost identical to "Dick's Automotive" by The Rugburns. Al collected ideas for the lyrics by carrying a notebook with him, and writing down whatever crossed his mind for several days. The lyrics tell the simple story of a man's dislike for sauerkraut, but goes off on many of tangents, which take us through various aspects of his life in Albuquerque, before finally getting back on track at the end of the song. The constant screaming in the song took a huge toll on Al's voice. He would save the song until the end of a recording session, because his voice would be too strained to sing anything else afterwards. The first time Al performed the song live, at a 1999 concert in Albuquerque, his voice was trashed for a week afterwards. However, because the song is such a fan favorite, and the demand to hear it performed live was great, Al added it as the encore song on The Straight Outta Lynwood Tour.
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Postby Elvis » Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:15 am

#7:


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"THE SAGA BEGINS"
Points: 175
Highest ranking: #1
Album: Running With Scissors
Track number: 1
Single B-side: none
Style: Parody of "American Pie" by Don McLean

The second of Al's Star Wars songs, "The Saga Begins" recaps the entire plot to The Phantom Menace from the point of view of Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Phantom Menace was one of the most anticipated movies of all time, and as such, Al wanted to commemorate it by using a classic song for his parody. He chose "American Pie" partly because the lyrics start with "A long, long time ago...", which is very similar to how the Star Wars movies start. While "American Pie" has 6 verses, "The Saga Begins" only has 4. Al decided to shorten the song because he felt it would get more radio airplay, and a music video with 6 verses would be too expensive to make. Al gathered most of his information for the lyrics from Internet spoiler sites. The spoilers were accurate enough that after attending an advance screening, he ended up making only very minor changes. The song got a lot of airplay on Radio Disney, but they took issue with the line, "hitting on the queen" and physically cut it out. Once Al found out about this, he rerecorded the line as "talking to the queen" for them. While he usually doesn't like to adjust his lyrics to suit other's needs, changing the words this time was much preferable to him than hearing a bad edit. Don McLean has said that his children have played Al's song so much that he has a tendency to accidentally sing Al's lyrics when performing "American Pie" in concert. The song was the first single to have its own official web site, SagaBegins.com (Note: The website no longer active). For the music video, Al came up with the idea of Star Wars Unplugged. The desert scene was filmed in The Mojave Desert in California. Al's first cousin once removed, Tammy, played the part of Queen Amidala in the video. Tammy also later appeared on the cover of Poodle Hat. The Jedi robes in the video were made from scratch by wardrobe designer Nancy Fisher, who has done a number of projects with Al. They are the same robes Al and and the band wear when performing the song in concert. Upon seeing the video, George Lucas was very pleased. Since Touring with Scissors, the song precedes "Yoda" in a block of Star Wars songs. Occasionally Al invites members of the 501st Legion, a Star Wars fan club in which members dress as characters from the movies, on stage with him.

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Postby Elvis » Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:20 am

#6:


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"THE BIGGEST BALL OF TWINE IN MINNESOTA"
Points: 194
Highest ranking: #3
Album: UHF: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack And Other Stuff
Track number: 13
Style: Original, in the style of Harry Chapin and Gordon Lightfoot

"The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota" was inspired by a book that was given to Al called Roadside America, which featured offbeat tourist attractions. At the time the book was written, all the places mentioned in the song actually existed. Al originally planned to only make the song about 4 minutes long, but decided to make it longer in the vain of the storyteller songs of Harry Chapin and Gordon Lightfoot. At the time it was recorded, it was the longest song in his catalog. The lyrics tell the story of a family who chooses the largest ball of twine built by one person as the destination for their family vaction. The actual ball was built by Francis A. Johnson, and is on display in Darwin, MN. Francis started the ball in 1950 and worked on it until 1979. Every year, on the second Saturday in August, the town of Darwin celebrates Twine Ball Day. The Twine Ball Inn is actually a restaurant and souvenir shop, not a motel as suggested in the song, and the actual weight of the ball is 17,400 lbs, not 21,140 as stated in the lyrics. On August 16, 1996, Al visited the twine ball for the first time and was allowed inside the makeshift pagoda, where he gave the ball a hug. Al subtly references this song in the music video for "White & Nerdy." One of the questions on the Trivial Pursuit card reads, "In what city is the largest ball of twine built by one man?"
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Postby Elvis » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:00 am

#5:

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"AMISH PARADISE"
Points: 212
Highest ranking: #2
Album: Bad Hair Day
Track number: 1
Single B-sides: "Everything You Know Is Wrong", "The Night Santa Went Crazy (Extra Gory Version)", "Dare To Be Stupid (Instrumental)"
Highest Billboard chart position: 53 (US Hot 100), 22 (Hot Singles Sales)
Style: Parody of "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio


"Amish Paradise" takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the Amish lifestyle and culture. Al joked that he did all his research for the song by watching the movie Witness. A section of the song contains lyrics from the Gilligan's Island closing credits. The song peaked as high as #53 on the Billboard charts, and helped the album Bad Hair Day reach Platinum certification in the U.S. and Canada. Immediately following the release, controversy surrounded the song. Coolio claimed that he did not give permission for the parody, and Al claimed that he was told by his record label that Coolio had given permission. While the true story may never be known, Al sent Coolio an apology anyway, and Coolio continued to cash his royalty checks. Al kept clear of Coolio until 2006, when Coolio approached Al at the XM Satellite Radio booth at the Consumer Electronics Show and the two appeared to have put the issue behind them. The music video parodies Coolio's music video based on the movie Dangerous Minds. Florence Henderson makes a cameo in Al's video, parodying the role played by Michelle Pfeiffer in Coolio's video. The barn raising scene where the frame falls over was influenced by a scene played by Buster Keaton in Steamboat Bill, Jr., and the backwards scene was influenced by a backwards scene performed in the movie Top Secret! For the backwards scene, Al had to phonetically memorize his lines backwards, and sing it to a backwards music track.

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Postby Elvis » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:05 am

#4:

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"ONE MORE MINUTE"
Points: 213
Highest ranking: #1
Album: Dare To Be Stupid
Track number: 4
Single B-side: "Midnight Star"
Style: Original, in the style of doo-wop

"One More Minute" is another one of Al's demented love songs. Al cites it as one of his personal favorites. The lyrics tell story of a man who has just broken up with his girlfriend and and all the horrible things he would rather do than see her again. The inspiration for the song came from a real event in Al's life. As he started writing songs for Dare To Be Stupid, his girlfriend broke up with him. He wrote the song to help him get over the relationship. In the music video, when Al rips up a picture of a woman, it is an actual photo of his ex-girlfriend. A few of the jokes in the music video, including the microphone gags, are inspired by a scene in the movie Top Secret!. The song was a concert favorite from The Stupid Tour through The Poodle Hat Tour, especially among Al's females fans. Al would usually leave the stage to sing to females in the audience, and hand out scarves and boxer shorts. The singing and scarves were inspired by live performances by Elvis Presley, and the boxer shorts gag were also inspired by the movie Top Secret!.

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Postby Elvis » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:10 am

#3:

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"DARE TO BE STUPID"
Points: 214
Highest ranking: #1
Album: Dare To Be Stupid
Track number: 2
Single A-side: "The Touch" by Stan Bush
Style: Original, in the style of Devo


"Dare To Be Stupid" is not just a song, but a motto for a lot of Al's fans. The song was released on a rare double single, with "The Touch" by Stan Bush as the A-side, and featured in The Transformers: The Movie. This was likely because, at the time, Al was on the Scotti Bros. record label, and they were the ones putting out the soundtrack. The music video visually parodies many elements from various Devo videos. Al went to a stock footage library with Jay Levey, and the two of them sat through hours and hours of old films, picking out scenes that seemed appropriate for the video. Jay also has a cameo in the video as the coffee achiever. The video also contains animation by David Peters, known for his greeting cards for Paper Moon Graphics featuring dinosaurs. Al would later take advantage of David's animation skills again, for the "Jurassic Park" music video. After Al finished the video, he had an opportunity to play it for Mark Mothersbaugh, the lead singer of Devo. Mark enjoyed it a lot and wished he could have been in it. In 2008, the song came full circle back to Transformers, when Al played a character named Wreck-Gar on Transformers: Animated. When his character was introduced, he made a reference to the song, saying "I am Wreck-Gar! I dare to be stupid!"

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Postby Elvis » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:15 am

#2:

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"WHITE & NERDY"
Points: 254
Highest ranking: #1
Album: Straight Outta Lynwood
Track number: 1
Single B-sides: "Confessions Part III" and "Trapped In The Drive-Thru" (12" single only)
Highest Billboard chart position: 9 (US Hot 100), 10 (Hot Digital Songs)
RIAA certification: Platinum (U.S.)
Style: Parody of "Ridin'" by Chamillionaire

"White & Nerdy" has become an anthem for many of Al's fans for its abundant references to stereotypically nerdy things. The song was Al's first Top 10 hit on the Billboard charts. It also is the only single to have achieved Platinum certification, bypassing "Eat It" as Al's most successful song. The "White & Nerdy" ringtone also achieved Gold certification, a first for Al. The song helped the album Straight Outta Lynwood become Al's highest charting album, reaching #10 on the Billboard charts, and reach Gold certification in the U.S., as well as receive two Grammy nominations for Best Comedy Album, and Best Surround Sound Album, both in 2006. The song replaced "You're Pitiful" as the lead single on Straight Outta Lynwood when Atlantic Records denied Al permission to release "You're Pitiful", thereby delaying the release of his album. "White & Nerdy" was written as the replacement song. It was Al's fourth single to have it's own website at WhiteAndNerdy.com. Chamillionaire leaked the song onto his official MySpace page before the official release date, and has given Al praise for his rapping ability and mentioned that if it weren't for Al's parody, he probably wouldn't have won a Grammy for "Ridin'." The music video was a huge viral hit, having been viewed over 30 million times on YouTube. It was Al's first video to be filmed in high-definition, and reached #1 at the U.S. and Australian iTunes Store, and peaked at #1 on VH1's Top 20 video Countdown. The video contains cameos by Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Green, Donny Osmond, and Judy Tenuta, as well as 18 extras who Al recruited through his MySpace web page. Al performed the song live on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and at the VH1 Big In '06 Awards. Al also performs the song in concert, where he enters the stage on a Segway at the start of the performance.

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Postby Elvis » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:20 am

It's time for number oooo-ooone. This is it, here we go, number one!

#1

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"CRAZY COW THERAPIST"
Points: 269
Highest ranking: #1
Album: none (unreleased)
Style: Original

This unreleased song leaked onto the Internet in mid-2006 as a rumored track on Al's newest album, Straight Outta Lynwood. Its unique sound made the song an instant viral hit, and spawned such remakes as the extended 12" disco remix, Gregorian chant version, and funeral march adaptation. In 2007 a clothing line was launched, and in 2008, the mayor of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, declared May 4 to be Crazy Cow Therapist Day, and a cow was given the key to the city. With popularity unmatched by any other song in his catalog, generations after Al retires, this song will continue to live on forever as The Greatest "Weird Al" Yankovic Song Of All Time. Moo!

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Postby Elvis » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:00 am

Oh my, how embarrassing! :S It turns out that "Crazy Cow Therapist" is actually a one-hit wonder by an obscure artist who calls himself Bobo McNipples and lives his life as a hermit in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Go figure. In light of this startling revelation, the only proper thing to do is disqualify all votes for "Crazy Cow Therapist" and award the #1 spot to a different song. So I now have the honor to present to you... again... The Greatest "Weird Al" Yankovic Song Of All Time!

#1

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"SMELLS LIKE NIRVANA"
Points: 292
Highest ranking: #1
Album: Off The Deep End
Track number: 1
Single B-side: "Waffle King"
Highest Billboard chart position: 35 (US Hot 100), 12 (Hot Singles Sales)
Highest ARIA chart position: 24
Highest UK Singles Chart position: 58
Style: Parody of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana


When released in 1992, "Smells Like Nirvana" helped to re-energize Al's career. Al was torn between doing another Michael Jackson parody ("Snack All Night") and risk pigeonholing himself as that guy who makes fun of Michael Jackson all the time, or holding out for the next big thing in music to hit. Alternative music entered the mainstream when "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was released. It almost immediately became the anthem of Generation X'ers, and Al's next target. Al called his friend, Victoria Jackson, on the set of Saturday Night Live and arranged a conversation with Kurt Cobain. Al asked Kurt for permission to parody the song, Kurt agreed, and almost as an afterthought, asked Al if it would be about food. Al responded that it would be about how no one could understand the lyrics. Al's song peaked as high as #35 on the Billboard Hot 100, and helped the album Off The Deep End become NARM's Best Selling Comedy Recording 1992, get nominated for Best Comedy Album at the 1992 Grammy Awards, and reach Platinum certification in both the U.S. and Canada. The music video contained cameos from Dick Van Patten and Rudy Larosa, who played the janitor in the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video. MTV put Al's video into heavy rotation and it was Rolling Stone's #68 Video on their list of the Top 100 Videos of All Time, Spy Magazine's Video Of The Year in 1993, and got a nomination for Best Male Performance, at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. Perhaps the biggest praise came from Nirvana themselves. Nirvana said that they knew they had finally made it as a band when Al parodied them. On the music video, Kurt commented "Oh, I laughed my ass off. I thought it was one of the funniest things I ever saw." In his private journals, Kurt described Al as "a musical genius." Agreed! :D

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