Archive for parody

Great Rock Albums of 1984: Weird Al Yankovic- In 3D

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2017 by 80smetalman

Michael Jackson did two things in 1984 which rose him up a few points in my estimation, both of which were linked to his top selling song, “Beat It.” First, when accepting a Grammy for the song, he had the decency to include Eddie Van Halen in his list of thank yous. After all, it was Eddie’s guitar solo on the song the reason why metalheads, bought the single. The other act was to allow Weird Al Yankovic to record a parody of “Beat It” called “Eat It.” That would be Weird Al’s best known single and even charted in the UK and it helped his 1984 album, “In 3D” become his biggest album. In fact, he was allowed to use many of the same dancers Michael Jackson used in the “Beat It” video for “Eat It.”

Weird Al Yankovic has always been known for his parodies of other great songs and there are plenty of those on “In 3D.” His second single from the album, “I Lost on Jeopardy” is a parody of the Greg Kihn Band’s 1983 hit, “Jeopardy” as well as making fun of the TV game show of the same name. I do wonder how many people went on game shows and looked stupid on national television. Greg Kihn makes an appearance in the video for this song. “King of Suede” parodies the classic from The Police, “King of Pain” and is about a clothing store owner. “Rocky XIII” is a funny parody of Survivor’s hit from the film “Rocky III” “Eye of the Tiger” about how Rocky Balboa gives up boxing to be delicatessen owner. I love the lyrics: “It’s the rye or the kaiser, it’s the thrill of one bite.” A lesser known track but one of my favourite is “The Brady Bunch,” a parody of the Men Without Hats’s only hit, “Safety Dance.” It is believed that from the lyrics, Weird Al didn’t care too much for the 1970s American sit com his song is named after.

It’s not just famous songs that come under the comic roast of Weird Al. He parodies other subjects as well. The second track, “Midnight Star” takes the rip out of grocery store tabloids. However, some of the headlines he mentions for his tabloid, “Midnight Star” aren’t too far fetched in the real ones. I do remember headlines like, “They’re Keeping Hitler’s Brain Inside a Jar,” “Aliens From Outer Space are Sleeping in My Car” and “The Ghost of Elvis is Living in My Den.” Another of my favourites is “That Boy Could Dance” which is about a nerdy geeky loser who is a great dancer, so all his shortcomings are overlooked. Trust me, the song is much funnier that my attempt to explain it here. Then there is the Bob Marley influenced reggae track, “Buy Me a Condo” which is about a Jamaican boy who wants to come to America and live a middle class existence. Even my least favourite track on the album, Mr Popeil is funny. Probably because I remember all the Popeil adverts for things like the Ginsu Knife and the Pocket Fisherman.

In 1981, there were two singles called “Stars on 45” and “Stars on 45 II.” The former took Beatles’ songs and made a medley out of it. The latter did the same with Beach Boys songs. So what Weird Al did was to take classic rock songs and make a medley out of those but instead, set to polka music. Some great rock classics like “Smoke on the Water” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” get the polka treatment.

When I bought this album and saw the track listing, I thought the closer, “Nature Trail to Hell,” might be a parody of the AC/DC classic, “Highway to Hell.” Instead, it lambastes blood and gore horror films. “Nature Trail to Hell” to quote the song, is about “A homicidal maniac who finds a cub scout troop and hacks up two or three in every scene.” This was particularly relevant at the time because “Friday the 13th Part 4” was in the cinema then. You know, the one advertised as the film where Jason meets his grisly end. Well done by Al, it makes a fantastic closer.

Track Listing:

  1. Eat It
  2. Midnight Star
  3. The Brady Bunch
  4. Buy Me a Condo
  5. I Lost on Jeopardy
  6. Polkas on 45
  7. Mr Popeil
  8. King of Suede
  9. That Boy Could Dance
  10. Rocky XIII
  11. Nature Trail to Hell

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- vocals, synthesizer, accordion, piano

Jim West- guitar

Steve Jay- bass, banjo, talking drums

John ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums, percussion

Rick Derringer- guitar, mandolin

Weird Al Yankovic hit the big time 1984 with this album, “In 3D.” I dare anyone to listen to this album and not laugh their heads off at least one song. For me, it’s nearly all of them. Anyone who doesn’t find any part of this album funny, then they have no sense of humour.

Next post: Randy Newman- Trouble in Paradise

To buy Rock and Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1983

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2016 by 80smetalman

It’s that time of the year, at least as far as the trip through 1983 is concerned, where I look back on those who had one song that got my attention and nothing more. In short, it’s time to look at the great rock one hit wonders of 1983.

rufftrade

Now you would think that with a name like Rough Trade, this would be a power chord happy heavy metal band. Unfortunately, there is too much piano in their hit “High School Confidential” to make that even possible. However, the song is memorable enough that it has never escaped my memory after all these years.  Maybe it was because when I heard it in ’83, I was amused by the lyrics: “She makes me want to cream my jeans.” Wow, the things that amused my young mind then. Thinking about it though, the song might sound really cool if metalized.

Doctor Demento

Doctor Demento

Here’s a classic example of how attitudes have changed in the past thirty-three years. Today, if anyone put out a song about a clown who is a peadophile, that person or persons would be hung, drawn and quartered. Things were a bit different in 1983 where a song called “Kinko the Clown” got loads of airplay on the Doctor Demento show. Even then, it was too tasteless for mainstream radio. Back then it got lots of laughs from people who heard it, me included. Today, I see the not funny side about it.

3stooges

No the Three Stooges didn’t put out any songs in 1983. If they did, I would have bought it because I was a big fan of theirs since I was 12, coitenly, nyuk nyuk! Like most fans of this classic comedy group, my favourite Stooge was Curly. So you can imagine how excited I was when I heard the song, “Curly Shuffle” by the Jump in the Saddle Band. The song is definitely of the swing jazz genre but it is played so well that it rocks! Throwing the phrases and sounds made by Curly into the song take it up even higher. Once again, proof that humour belongs in music. So don’t be a victim of coicumstance!

Martin Briley

Martin Briley

Naturally, I save the best for last. “Salt in My Tears” by Martin Briley is simply a great rocker, nuff said! Thirty three years on, I still head bang along to it. A great rocking hook and though the guitar solo is mind blowing, it is sufficient here. From a personal historical aspect, this song came out just before I got out of the marines and it immediately had me thinking of an ex girlfriend while I was in and how I wanted to sing the song to her. While I don’t think about her anymore, those lyrics continue to amuse me.

Well those are my choices for the great rock one hit wonders of 1983 and hopefully they’ll bring back some memories for you.

Next post: Triumphs and Tragedies

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Weird Al Yankovic

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Weird_Al_Yankovic_-_Weird_Al_Yankovic

Madness had finally broken through to America and Frank Zappa put out a fantastic album but if there was any more proof needed to forward the belief that 1983 was a good year for humour in music, it would be the debut album of Weird Al Yankovic. In fact, since this year, many people would forever compare Weird Al with Frank on account of their love of humour. So much so, that twenty years after this album, Weird Al would have a track on an album that if you didn’t know any better, you would think it was Zappa himself. As for me though, it would only be the humour and the fact that both are true musical geniuses being the only things they have in common. They have totally different styles.

Hearing the tracks “Ricky” and “Stop Dragging My Car Around” on the radio in the spring of this year would convert me to Weird Al forever and I don’t care if people think I’m sad for it, (some do.) Those songs had me rolling on the floor in laughter and when I heard it, so did the self titled debut album. Nobody, now or then, does parody better than he does. What’s even more impressive is how he is able to adjust to the musical style of the song he’s parodying even if he sometimes does it with an accordion. That’s another amazing thing about him, no one else has been able to employ an accordion in rock songs the way he does.

On the debut album, the parodies come thick and fast. Not only do many of them take the piss out of classic songs, they are also parody other things. Take the two already mentioned. “Ricky” is obviously a parody of one hit wonder Toni Basil’s “Mickey” but it also parodies the old “I Love Lucy” show. Same with “Stop Dragging My Car Around.” Yes, it’s a humourous version of the classic Tom Petty/Stevie Nicks duet “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” but it also rips on the the culture of towing cars away. Other great ones are “Another One Rides the Bus,” which is a parody of a Queen classic and if you have ever ridden on a crowded bus, then you would appreciate the sentiments on this song. Others great parodies are “My Bologna” which pokes fun at The Knack’s “My Sharona and “I Love Rocky Road,” a dig at the famous Joan Jett and the Blackhearts song. However, not all of Weird Al’s songs parody other songs. Some are just simple digs about other things. “Buckingham Blues” makes fun of the Royal Family. “I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead” is a dig at the hippy culture. Then there’s “Gotta Boogie,” let me just say this song has nothing to do with dancing. In any case, unless you have no sense of humour at all, and there are people out there who do, you can’t stop laughing out loud at the songs from this album. Weird Al proves to the world just how weird he is.

Track Listing:

  1. Ricky
  2. Gotta Boogie
  3. I Love Rocky Road
  4. Buckingham Blues
  5. Happy Birthday
  6. Stop Dragging My Car Around
  7. My Bolgna
  8. The Check’s in the Mail
  9. Another One Rides the Bus
  10. I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead
  11. Such a Groovy Guy
  12. Mr Frump in the Iron Lung
Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic- accordion, vocals

Rick Derringer- guitar

Steve Jay- bass

John ‘Bermuda’ Schwartz- drums, percussion

Rich Bennett- ukulele, banjo, guitar

William K Anderson- saxophone, harmonica

Joel Miller- bongos

Mike Kieffer- percussion

Dorothy Ramsen- harp

Tress MacNeille- voice of Lucy Ricardo on “Ricky”

Dawn Smythey, Zaidee  Cole, Joan Manners- backing vocals

Weird Al Yankovic, along with Frank Zappa of course, proved to the world in 1983 that humour and music could go together. The debut album from Weird Al continues to have me in stitches each time listen to it.

Next post: DNA- Party Tested

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

Great Rock Albums of 1983: Frank Zappa- The Man From Utopia

Posted in 1980s, films, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-The_Man_From_Utopia

If there was any more evidence to further my belief that 1983 was the year for humour in music, then it would have to be the album “The Man From Utopia” by Frank Zappa. For over a decade and a half before the release of this album, Frank had been successfully carrying out a two pronged assault of making some fantastic music while at the same time, making us laugh our asses off with his humourous lyrics. In the late 1970s, listening to Zappa was practically a requirement at my high school. 1983 would be the year that one of his songs would actually get airplay on commercial radio. Before that, his only access to radio play was via the Dr Demento Show. Yes, I know that “Valley Girl” broke into the top forty charts in 1982 but that song will always be associated with his daughter Moon.

Doctor Demento

Doctor Demento

That all changed when one day, while listening to the one decent rock station in Jacksonville, North Carolina, I heard the track “Cocaine Decisions.” Okay, the song never broke the top forty singles chart, but who really cares about that? I just thought it was great to hear Frank on the radio. True, “Cocaine Decisions” is an anti drug song. However, it is not aimed at the common man. Instead it pokes fun at all the high class executives who used to snort. There was a saying back in the 80s that went, “Cocaine was God’s way of telling you that you make too much money.” Frank’s song parodies that.

The rest of the album consists of everything that Frank Zappa has been doing to entertain us for all those years. There are a load of great parody songs on the album. At first, I thought “The Radio is Broken” was going to be about a broken radio. Instead, Frank is being a kind of prophet here. It would only be less than two years later when, in my view, commercial radio started to suck. This song is about that.

Then there’s “The Dangerous Kitchen.” This one takes the piss out of the rising health and safety culture and look where it is now these days. The track “The Jazz Discharge Party Hats” rips on musicians trying to get laid after every gig. However, my favourite track on “The Man From Utopia” is “The Man From Utopia Meets Mary Lou.” While the song is done with the usual Zappa sense of humour, there is a serious side to it. It’s about a down trodden housewife who gets away but then gets revenge by fleecing men. It is on this track that Ray White’s underrated vocals come out. Oh yes, “Sex” is a pretty funny track too.

If I were to nit pick anything about the album, it would be the absence of Frank Zappa’s guitar playing ability. He doesn’t go into any great solos and it could be said that there is a lack of guitar great Steve Vai’s skills. Honestly, I’m not really bothered. There are three instrumentals, “Tink Walks Amok,” “We’re Not Alone” and “Moggio,” on the album and they all boast the great musicianship from the people Frank gets to play on his albums. I think that “The Man From Utopia” might be his best album since “Joe’s Garage Act 1.”

Track Listing (CD)

  1. Cocaine Decisions
  2. Sex
  3. Tink Walks Amok
  4. The Radio is Broken
  5. We’re Not Alone
  6. The Dangerous Kitchen
  7. The Man From Utopia Meets Mary Lou
  8. Stick Together
  9. The Jazz Discharge Party Hats
  10. Luigi and the Wise Guys
  11. Moggio
Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa- vocals, guitar, drum machine

Steve Vai- guitars

Ray White- guitar, vocals

Roy Estrada- vocals

Bob Harris- boy soprano

Ike Willis- vocals

Bobby Martin- keyboards, saxophone, vocals

Tommy Mars- keyboards

Arthur Barrow- bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards

Ed Mann- percussion

Scott Thunes- bass

Chris Wackerman- drums

Vinnie Colaiuta- drums

Craig Twister Stewart- harmonica

Dick Fegy- mandolin

Marty Krystall- saxophone

Frank Zappa was still going strong in 1983 as “The Man From Utopia” shows. After all, if 1983 was a year for humour in music to step forward, it wouldn’t have been able to do so without Frank.

I have also made a rather disappointing discovery. As a teen forty years ago, I thought that by now, 2015, wars would no longer exist but there would be ROLLERBALL!

Rollerball

Rollerball

Next post: Weird Al Yankovick

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London

 

Great Rock Albums of 1982: Frank Zappa- Ship Arriving Too Late To Save a Drowning Witch

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 5, 2015 by 80smetalman

Frank_Zappa_-_Ship_Arriving_Too_Late_to_Save_a_Drowning_Witch

It was true that Men At Work brought a fresh sense of humour to music in 1982, however, Frank Zappa had been bringing humour to music for nearly a decade and a half before that. In 1982, Frank gave us the album “Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch.” What’s more, this album gave him his only top forty single with the help of his daughter Moon Unit. “Valley Girl” made it to number 32 in the pop singles charts and to number 12 in the mainstream rock charts. It also had many girls and quite a few guys using the lingo from the song. Terms like “barf me out,” “gag me with a spoon” and “groady to the max” were all used quite liberally in 1982 and for the next few years after.

Moon Zappa

Moon Zappa

“Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch” only has six songs on it but they are all memorable ones, usually the case with Zappa. Except for the track “Envelopes,” which is an instrumental, the songs all have that trademark warped sense of humour that he possessed. They also have, the instrumental track included, the precise musicianship that a Zappa album always had. In the case of this particular album, a then little known guitar named Steve Vai makes an appearance, playing what is credited on the album as ‘credited guitar parts.’ What some people sometimes forget and I will keep shouting from the rooftops, is that Frank was a damn good guitarist himself. He really smokes the fingerboard on the title track of the album and does a similar job on “I Come From Nowhere.” In fact, after refamiliarising myself with this album, I am lead to draw the conclusion that with the possible exception of “Joe’s Garage Act 1,” “Ship Arriving Too Late to Save a Drowning Witch” has the perfect balance of humour and musicianship for a Zappa album.

Steve Vai

Steve Vai

Track Listing:

1. No Not Now

2. Valley Girl

3. I Came From Nowhere

4. Drowning Witch

5. Envelopes

6. Teenage Prostitute

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa- vocals, lead guitar

Steve Vai- guitar (impossible guitar parts)

Ray White- rhythm guitar, vocals

Tommy Mars- keyboards

Bobby Martin- keyboards, saxophone

Ed Mann- percussion

Scott Thunes- bass (tracks 2,4,5,6)

Arthur Barrow- bass (tracks 1 and 3)

Patrick O’Hearn- bass on the guitar solo on track 3

Chris Wackerman- drums

Ike Willis- vocals

Roy Estrada- vocals

Bob Harris- vocals

Lisa Popeil- vocals on “Teenage Prostitute”

Moon Unit Zappa- vocals on “Valley Girl”

If you want humour and good musicianship, then a Frank Zappa album is the best way to get it. It just so happens that this album hits the right combination of both.

Next post: Utopia- Swing To the Right

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Great Rock Albums of 1982: Cheap Trick- One on One

Posted in 1980s, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2015 by 80smetalman

220px-Cheap_Trick_One_on_One

For many people in 1982, it was assumed that Cheap Trick had descended from the height of their popularity. True, their songs weren’t getting so much airplay on radio in those days but they were still selling records and were still a big concert draw. It was only on account of military obligations I didn’t see them that year. Nonetheless, what could be said about them was that their album “One on One” was a good one. I’ll be the first to say that it’s not quite as spectacular as classics like “Dream Police” or “At Budokhan,” but being not quite as spectacular doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a great album, it was.

“One On One,” for me, comes in three acts. Act 1 consists of the first three tracks, all of which more of a pop rock sound. Well, as pop as Cheap Trick could get. Two of those tracks, “I Want You” and “If You Want My Love” were released as singles and I remember the latter being played on MTV when my household finally got the channel a year later. Those songs may have been recorded for radio but they still have the Cheap Trick sound that we all love them for.

Act 2 is my favourite part of the album because they go even more hard rock here. The fourth track, “Oo La La La” makes the transition a very enjoyable one. Especially as my favourite song on the album, “Looking Out for Number One” follows right after. Following that, Cheap Trick show that they could still combine hard rock with humourous innuendo in the song, “She’s Tight.” However, Act 3 is the weakest part of the album in my view. They go a bit more 80s mainstream synthesizer rock with these songs and while they are still good songs, Act 3 isn’t as good as the second act. Although they also show their sense of humour with “I Want Be Man,” which sounds like it’s about wanting to be transgender. Fortunately, they take things out very well with the rocking closer, “Four Letter Words” and with everything, “One on One” goes on to become a very good album.

Track Listing:

1. I Want You

2. One on One

3. If You Want My Love

4. Ooh La La La

5. Looking Out for Number One

6. She’s Tight

7. Time is Runnin’

8. Saturday at Midnight

9. Love’s Got a Hold On Me

10. I Want Be Man

11. Four Letter Words

Cheap Trick

Cheap Trick

Robin Zander- lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards

Rick Nielsen- lead guitar, vocals

Jon Brant- bass, backing vocals

Bun E Carlos- drums, percussion

The moral of the story with Cheap Trick and “One on One” is never write off a band just because their songs aren’t getting played on AM radio anymore. Cheap Trick still put out some fine albums in the 80s and “One on One” is certainly one of those.

Next post: A Flock of Seagulls

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My Top 10 Christmas Songs

Posted in Heavy Metal, Humour, Music, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2014 by 80smetalman

With Christmas rapidly approaching and the radio playing all sorts of Christmas songs from Bing Crosby to Band Aid, it got me thinking (a dangerous thing I know) about the Christmas songs I like. Normally, the ones I prefer are either metalised carols or parodies. I have 2 CDs which contain a lot of both. Now, after putting in a little thought, here are my top ten favourite Christmas songs.

10. Slade- Merry Christmas Everyone

9.  Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio- White Trash Christmas

8. Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio- Jingle Hell’s Bells

7. The Darkness- Christmas Time

6.  Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio- Frosty the Pervert

5. Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio- Walking Round in Women’s Underwear

4. The McKenzie Brothers- The Canadian Twelve Days of Christmas

3. Weird Al Yankovick- The Night Santa Went Crazy

2. Stryper- Winter Wonderland

1. Twisted Sister- Any song from the Twisted Christmas album

220px-Bob_Rivers_-_I_Am_Santa_Claus_cover

True, Bob Rivers and Twisted Radio features heavy on the list but only two songs are from the above album. Number 8, “Jingle Hell’s Bells” is both a parody and a great rocker in the form of AC/DC. Anyway, those are my top ten Christmas songs and with that, I would like to wish all on here a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday and Seasons Greetings.

To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to: http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html

Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London