A Weird Al "History of Pop/Rock Timeline" Idea

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A Weird Al "History of Pop/Rock Timeline" Idea

Postby Skippy » Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:15 pm

So this is an idea I've had for a while and before I get seriously started on it, I'd like to enlist help from the wonderful folks here at WOWAY.

I'd like to compile a sort of timeline encompassing the history of pop and rock (and rap and you get it) as represented in Al's music. Basically, while "Ringtone" was recorded in 2009, it's a Queen style parody, which puts it in the mid-to-late-70s as far as the music it is portraying (for lack of a better word this morning.) Similarly, "Germs" would go in the mid-90s, and "Dog Eat Dog" would remain in the mid-80s. Direct parodies would naturally be placed whenever their targets were released (some decision will have to be made for songs that are parodies of cover versions.) Al has covered such a vast spectrum of pop music with his songs and I (as a pop music history geek) think it would be awesome to see that reflected visually.

So, what kind of help am I looking for?

-First and foremost, has anything like this been done before? I can't find anything, but if someone else thought of it first, all this is moot and I'll just look at theirs and smile.

-I know there's a pretty comprehensive list of style parodies around here, and I'll dig that up for reference, but obviously there's some minor disagreement about which songs are style parodies and who/what their targets are. This is the only real sticking point I see. I don't know if Al "confirms" many style parodies, but if there's a list of that, it's a good start. After that, we'd probably just have to use our best judgment and maybe come to a consensus. Sometimes the basic genre is all that's important. Anyway, any resources regarding style parodies that anyone knows about would be super helpful.

-Some originals are just originals. It's my initial thought to not include these if they aren't representing a certain genre or artist. Thought on this are welcome.

-There are some amazing artists in this community, so if anyone has an idea for how to present this visually, I'm completely open to anything on that front. My main goal is to get as many songs as possible assigned to a time period, but I would love to see someone translate that into something artistic.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can/wants to help with this.
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Re: A Weird Al "History of Pop/Rock Timeline" Idea

Postby minnick27 » Fri Jun 20, 2014 5:40 pm

For pre Alpocalypse style parodies its not 100%. After SOL Al said he was going to start adding the style parody targets to the thanks. Theres still quite a few that werent confirmed or figured out.
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Re: A Weird Al "History of Pop/Rock Timeline" Idea

Postby JEDM » Fri Jun 20, 2014 5:41 pm

minnick27 wrote:For pre Alpocalypse style parodies its not 100%. After SOL Al said he was going to start adding the style parody targets to the thanks. Theres still quite a few that werent confirmed or figured out.

A good handful seem verified through the Ask Al archive.
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Re: A Weird Al "History of Pop/Rock Timeline" Idea

Postby Skippy » Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:14 pm

Ok. I've gone through the first album and placed nearly every song (this was a surprise; I thought this album would have a bunch of gaps.) The two I'm completely stuck on are "Mellow" and "Groovy." There just doesn't seem to a distinct style to either of these, and I'm inclined to think that they may be just general pop songs. If anyone has any thoughts on these fitting a genre or even possibly being style parodies, please share!

Some other notes: I went with Stevie Ray Vaughan for "Buckingham Blues" placing it at around 1978 or so, when Vaughan started Double Trouble. The electric guitar sounds very Vaughan-like to me, so I have to think he was an influence when the "Jack & Diane" parody fell through. It's definitely not any old-school blues style except for the standard blues riff that everyone uses (and I think is the same as "Generic Blues.") "The Check's In The Mail" was a tough one, but it's sounds kind of like New Orleans jazz. I'm going with the 1920s-30s, because it also sounds a lot like "This is the Life," which Al has said was supposed to be a 20s-30s sound to go with Johnny Dangerously. For "Mr. Frump," I agree with "Alice's Restaurant" (from TheLazenby's list, http://www.weirdalforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5188) which puts that at 1967. Everything else is late-70s/early-80s, which makes sense. "Gotta Boogie" is disco, so I went with 1977, the height of disco fever.

Oh, I also learned that "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" was written and originally recorded by the Arrows in 1975. We're going with the 1982 Joan Jett version though.
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Re: A Weird Al "History of Pop/Rock Timeline" Idea

Postby Skippy » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:06 am

In 3-D and DTBS are essentially done. I don't have anything for "Nature Trail to Hell" or "George of the Jungle" (which I think can be ignored here.) I personally think that "NTTH" is the intended-Elton John style parody that Bermuda has talked about. This is mostly because it starts with the howling wind from "Funeral For a Friend." I guess there's enough consensus that "Midnight Star" is a Springsteen style parody that the wiki lists it as such, so I'll go with that. I agree that it has some similarities to stuff like "Born To Run."

There is nothing off DTBS (besides "George") that I don't have a time frame for. I went with 1960 for "One More Minute" based on Elvis' "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" If anyone has a better parallel Elvis song, let me know. I'm not as convinced on the whole "Cable TV"/Randy Newman thing, but I hear what people are talking about. I guess it's more "I Love L.A." than "Short People." Everything else is pretty straightforward. I noticed that DBTS is when Al starts dipping back into musical history more for his style parodies, while on the other two albums they were mostly contemporary targets.
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Re: A Weird Al "History of Pop/Rock Timeline" Idea

Postby TMBJon » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:52 am

Skippy wrote:I guess there's enough consensus that "Midnight Star" is a Springsteen style parody that the wiki lists it as such, so I'll go with that. I agree that it has some similarities to stuff like "Born To Run."

Whoa, what?? I don't hear that at all!!! I would hardly call it a consensus seeing as this is the first time I've even heard it suggested.
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Re: A Weird Al "History of Pop/Rock Timeline" Idea

Postby Skippy » Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:25 am

TMBJon wrote:
Skippy wrote:I guess there's enough consensus that "Midnight Star" is a Springsteen style parody that the wiki lists it as such, so I'll go with that. I agree that it has some similarities to stuff like "Born To Run."

Whoa, what?? I don't hear that at all!!! I would hardly call it a consensus seeing as this is the first time I've even heard it suggested.


I was about to type a note about having heard that idea once, and then I went to the wiki, and that's what it has (it's also on Wikipedia, but I'm assuming that's all based on the same source) so I figured it was something everyone decided in the past decade or so that I haven't been very active in online Al places. I'm not sure I agree with it, but I do see where people would get that idea, and it makes sense that Al would want to do something with Springsteen around that time. Personally, I feel like "Leper Colony" is a better candidate for a Bruce style parody, if in fact Al has already done one and no one (ahem) will tell us.

Once I get through everything, I'm going to be making some choices on what to include in the final version. Controversial things like this are probably going to get cut. Ultimately, the Big Idea is to show how Al has covered nearly all of the important pop music "landmarks" with his parodies and (more importantly, IMO) style parodies. I do feel like "Midnight Star" and "Leper Colony" may have been at least attempts at Bruce style parodies, but if we don't end up with an actual confirmation (from SOMEBODY ahem) or at least a consensus, then I'm probably going to leave Springsteen off.
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Re: A Weird Al "History of Pop/Rock Timeline" Idea

Postby Bruce the Duck » Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:50 am

Skippy wrote:I don't have anything for "Nature Trail to Hell" or "George of the Jungle"


"Nature Trail to Hell" might have been partially influenced by Michael Jackson's "Thriller". Musically, it's not very similar, but the sound effects and the horror movie motif are similar. I've always thought he intentionally put it last on the album so that it would start and end with Michael Jackson.

As for "George of the Jungle", that's just a cover of the TV show theme song. The show premiered in 1967.
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Re: A Weird Al "History of Pop/Rock Timeline" Idea

Postby Skippy » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:09 am

Bruce the Duck wrote:"Nature Trail to Hell" might have been partially influenced by Michael Jackson's "Thriller".


That's an interesting angle.

As for "George of the Jungle", that's just a cover of the TV show theme song. The show premiered in 1967.


Yeah, it's just so out of place that I feel like it's better to disregard it for this. But I'll note that date just for the sake of completism.
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Re: A Weird Al "History of Pop/Rock Timeline" Idea

Postby TMBJon » Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:24 am

Skippy wrote:I went with 1960 for "One More Minute" based on Elvis' "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" If anyone has a better parallel Elvis song, let me know.

I don't know how this plays into what you're trying to do, but I have heard Al himself say that One More Minute is supposed to be Nick Rivers (from the movie Top Secret!) doing Elvis. Basically a spoof of a spoof.
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