Song Parodies

I am not a poet. Dr Giligan tried to call me a poet once, and I was insulted. Sure, I can write verse. My cats can make noises walking across the piano keyboard, but that doesn't make them pianists.

What I can do is write song parodies. My inspiration came, of course, from the master. There was a solid year (my junior year in high school, if I recall correctly), when I ensured that the combined CD collection of my two brothers and me was exactly 1/2 Weird Al. Then we ran out of Weird Al CDs to buy.

Valjean Style
"Gangnam Style," by PSY
This song retells the story of Les Miserables

Flo Pro Rap
The generic rap used by people who don't know anything about rap music
This is based on information gleaned from my wife, who worked at the Florence Project.

The Vice Presidents
"The Presidents," by Jonathan Coulton

The Devil Went Down To The Billabong
"The Devil Went Down To Georgia," by Charlie Daniels, and "Waltzing Matilda," by Banjo Patterson

All About The Oil
"Song of the Dwarves," by J.R.R. Tolkien
I don't actually endorse the theory that the Iraq War was all about oil, but there was a thread on the Brunching board drawing parallels between Saddam's hidey-hole and a Hobbit hole, and this was the first thing that came to mind.

"Jabberwocky," by Lewis Carroll
Technically this is another poem, although you can sing Jabberwocky (probably my favorite poem) to the tune of Greensleeves (which is coincidentally one of my favorite tunes). Rabi mentioned on her blog that she had to write a poem about democracy, and she wanted a frog in it. So I made this as a suggestion.

Tsunami Song
"Waltzing Matilda," by Banjo Patterson
While I was Down Under, I met a professor in the School of Geosciences at the Uni of Wollongong who studied tsunami. He said that most geologists believe that coastal formations form over millions of years' worth of wave action. But Ted Bryant's theory was that these formations were created in a matter of minutes by tsunami. This song is full of references that only people from the Australia Study Group will probably get.

The Bergeron Process
"Blister in the Sun," by the Violent Femmes
Most of you probably don't know what the Bergeron Process is. And that's exactly why I wrote this. It was for the benefit of some folks over at the Brunching board who were discussing how precipitation forms. Don't worry, there's an explanatory note at the bottom. In other news, "Bergeron Process" is just fun to say.

WTF, Monica?
This isn't exactly a song. I'm burdening you with my poetry. This was written in a thread on the Brunching board, wherein people were offering other ideas of what "WTF" could stand for. Then Bombadil and Toon began writing first sentences and then poetry with w-t-f-w-t-f-etc. as the first letters of each word. This was my contribution.

Paradise By Election Night
"Paradise By The Dashboard Light," by Meat Loaf
I knew I wanted to write a song about the election. And while I was in church, inspiration struck. I don't care for the original, and the scansion is off because I was working from a lyric sheet grabbed from a fan page rather than a recording, but the back-and-forth between Meat Loaf and that woman was too good to pass up.

The Lore Fitzgerald Sjöberg Song
"King Of Spain," by Moxy Früvous
This song proved to me that a successful parody requires not just a good song but also a recognizable song. The few people who knew "King of Spain" as well as the subject matter (Lore Fitzgerald Sjöberg of the Brunching Shuttlecocks) assured me that it was clever, but most people who saw it were unfamiliar with Moxy Früvous. They must lead such sad and pointless lives.

The Ballad Of PennDOT
"The Way," by Fastball
PennDOT is, for you out-of-staters, the Pennsylvania Department Of Transportation. They're always fixing the roads, but they never seem to improve the condition of Pennsylvania's highways. Maybe they're afraid that if they do it too well, they'll be out of a job.

A Paver's Nightmare
"Losing My Religion," by REM
This one didn't work out as well in non-sung form as I had hoped because, as it turns out, "Losing My Religion" isn't strong on paper in the rhythm and rhyme departments.

EMSP Alma Mater
"The Lion Sleeps Tonight," by the Tokens
This first song for Eemeet Meeker's School of Paving was actually the last one I wrote. You have no idea how hard it was to find a song appropriate to turn into an Alma Mater.

Potato Of Your Life
"Good Riddance," by Green Day
This song commemmorates the Big Potato in Robertson, NSW, Australia. I did this one completely from memory, as I had no access to a recording of the original.

He Might Be Holy
"Particle Man," by They Might Be Giants
Contrary to what Tim-Tom might tell you, "Particle Man" is a great song, and thus very worthy of being used to praise The Potato God.

You've Tried All The Rest, Now Try The Best
"In The Mood," by Joe Garland
Departing from the general Potato praise theme, I decided to critique other religions while exploring the possibilities of a call-and-answer format using the opposed saxophone and brass lines. Which makes this sound much more intellectual than it really is.

Another Hymn To The Potato God
"Chameleon," by Herbie Hancock
Going for the hat trick that boring night, I concocted this tribute to jazz's greatest 2-chord tune. I think the concept here worked out better than the execution.

Hymn To The Potato God
"Watermelon Man," by Herbie Hancock
On the same night that I wrote the "Infectious Disease Song" verses, I created this first Hymn. There would be something off about parodying a song with no words except that you can hear where "Watermelon Man" should go in the original. Herbie Hancock didn't need words.

The Infectious Disease Song
"Frere Jacques," traditional
This song was started by my friend Dave and his friend Kristen. They wrote one verse and slapped it up on the WRPSL (at that time the NRPSL) site. One night, in a creative frenzy driven by the fact that there was nothing at all to do (I think it may have been an unofficial "couples' night"), I wrote another 5 or so. Dave was so impressed (or maybe just desperate for material) that the Colgate Experimental Theatre Company performed it in Spring 1999. You have no idea how cool it is to be sitting in a tiny room, hearing 100 people singing a round about diseases, and think "I helped write this!"

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