Weird Al just had his first #1 album thanks to a brilliant internet marketing scheme where he posted a brand new video every single day for a week before the album came out.
I was never a huge Weird Al fan like some of my friends, because making up new lyrics for already existing songs is interesting only the first time to me. After that, I’d rather hear the originals again.
However, a while ago, I started noticing the originals he wrote, and especially fell in love with the songs that parodied the style of another artist without copying any specific song. It appealed to me in the same way The Rutles appealed to me with their songs that are almost Beatles songs but not quite (and the fun is in figuring out which bits are from which songs — sort of an “insider joke” treasure hunt).
Weird Al is about my age (and in fact is born on my wife’s birthday) and he grew up listening to the same music I did. We apparently have very similar tastes in music based on the styles he has done. Seriously, this list below is like a greatest list of my favorite music.
Most of these songs are not promoted and are album cuts only, but if you like the bands he is imitating, these can be great fun.
As far as I can see, the only one he ever did a video for was the Devo-inspired “Dare to be Stupid.”
My favorite is this fan-created video for “Virus Alert” done in the style of Sparks, back when they were making good music. (The cartoon even features Sparks keyboard player Ron Mael in a cameo just in case you missed the influence.)
They Might be Giants gets the treatment in “Everything You Know is Wrong.”
Not surprisingly, Weird Al is a huge Frank Zappa fan and in “Genius in France” you can hear bits from some of Zappa’s greatest hits. It even features Zappa’s son playing lead guitar.
Talking Heads get the treatment in “Dog Eat Dog.”
Elvis Costello gets his in “I’m So Sick of You.”
Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo inspired “You Make Me.”
Then there’s the Police-inspired song “Velvet Elvis.”
And “Mr. Popeil” in the style of the B-52s.
And finally, “I Remember Larry” in the style of Hilly Michaels.
These aren’t all of his style-parody songs, but merely the ones he’s done of the bands I really like. So here’s to Weird Al, the Allen Sherman of the next generation.