Now that Weird Al Yankovic has hit the big time with a number 1 album on the Billboard charts, it's mandatory fun, so to speak, to look back at his career. Rolling Stone did it again July 29 with a new video animating all his album covers.
Most of his parodies on his current "Mandatory Fun" album are of current artists. That's a pattern he has followed through his career by poking fun to current music. Well, current from when his albums are released. But Al has said he's a big Beatles fan and, yes, he has done some Beatles spoof through his long career. And his targets have included both songs by the Beatles as a group and individually in their solo careers.
Besides parodies, the Beatles have also figured directly into his songs. In “One of Those Days,” he sings, “Left all my Beatles records out in the sun.” “Polkas on 45” also includes a portion of “Hey Jude” in a polka tempo with his trademark accordion. One thing Yankovic has done has made the accordion cool again.
But here is a look at a few of Al's trademark parodies of the Beatles and solo songs he has done along the way. There are YouTube links in each item where you can hear the songs. Who knows – maybe Al will give it another try in the future. We hope so.
“This Song Is Just Six Words Long”
One of the verses says “Couldn't think of any lyrics, No I never wrote the lyrics, So I'll just sing any old lyrics, That come to mind, child.” This is probably the best known Weird Al Beatles parody.
This song parodies the Beatles' “Taxman.” It features a count-in like the original and includes sounds from the game and some psychedelic guitar. “I used to be a pinball freak, that's where you'd find me every week, but now it's Pacman.”
The song is not on his regular albums, but appeared on “Dr. Demento's Basement Tapes Vol. 4." Homemade videos are also on YouTube.
“Chicken Pot Pie”
In a recent interview on “The Insider,” Weird Al Yankovic told the story that Paul McCartney once turned down the idea for “Chicken Pot Pie,” a parody of “Live and Let Die.” "I wanted to do a parody of 'Live and Let Die' because Guns and Roses had a hit with it.” But McCartney, a vegan, turned it down because he felt the song promoted eating meat.
But Yankovic has treated fans to the song in concert. “If there's one thing we like better than corn beef and rye, it's chicken pot pie,” he sings. During the frantic chorus, Yankovic is heard clucking like a chicken.
"Gee, I'm a Nerd"
A parody of the Beatles' “Free As a Bird,” it was performed by Weird Al Yankovic from 1996 and is also unreleased. Besides being a takeoff on the Beatles, it also pokes at diehard Star Trek fans. “Gee, I'm a nerd, seen each 'Star Trek' 80 times, memorized each word,” the song begins.
Weird Al interviews George Harrison and Paul McCartney
These interviews with George Harrison and Paul McCartney were done for “Al TV,” a feature on MTV in the '80s where Yankovic would take over the channel. Yankovic interviewed both of the Beatles, but they were, not surprisingly, not what you could call serious interviews.
McCartney tries to run with the silliness of Al and begins the interview in Scottish, which brings a half-serious admonishment from Yankovic. “Paul, you're acting stupid.” “I do that sometimes,” McCartney says in reply. “Now what did I say? You start acting silly and you don't get your cookie at the end of the show,” Yankovic says back. “Have you heard my new album yet?,” Yankovic asks. “That is probably the worst album,” McCartney returns.
It starts off similarly with Harrison. “George, I'm so excited you're here, I could just pinch your cheeks.” And Harrison borrows a line from the Rutles when Yankovic asks why he's such a big fan of Pee-Wee Herman. “I think it was the trousers,” Harrison says.
"Beatles Anthology Preview"
Finally, not a song or a "meeting", but a very funny commercial parody and also a poke at Beatles fans. In the short clip on YouTube, Al says he's the hugest Beatles fan. ("That was George Harrison's group before the Traveling Wilburys.")
He shows a CD that he says is an advance copy of “Beatles Anthology 17” and plays one of the tracks, called "Paul McCartney Brushing His Teeth." The track includes the sound of teeth being brushed and water being spit, pauses, and Yankovic then says, "I guess you have to be a real fan to appreciate that."