Weird Al Yankovic has been parodying pop music since back in the days when people still paid for it. When we found out he was willing to do something for Cracked.com in line with his recently released double album, we asked him if he might want to write something about underrated funny songs or even better tell us the stories behind songs he wanted to parody, but couldn't. To our surprise, he did both.
#9. BARNES AND BARNES - Boogie Woogie Amputee
"Oh Suzie baby if you please
Let me give your stump a squeeze."
Yes, Barnes and Barnes are the geniuses behind the immortal "Fish Heads," but a lot of their other work is woefully unsung. Before B&B came along, there was a conspicuous absence of pop songs about the sheer pleasure of dancing with amputees. Not anymore.
#8. THE TUBES - I Was A Punk Before You Were A Punk
"We were a joke at our own record label
They told us, "Make a record, if you're able."
The Tubes had some early semi-novelty minor hits with "White Punks On Dope" and "What Do You Want From Life," but I'm partial to this track from their hard-to-find live album. They made punk angst into a competitive sport.
#7. TONIO K - Funky Western Civilization
"There's a baby every minute bein' born without a chance
Now don't that make you want to jump right up and start to dance?"
Tonio K was and is a huge inspiration to me. Even though his songs probably wouldn't be described as "funny," a number of them are aggressively - well, weird. "Funky Western Civilization" is one of my favorites. It's one of the few times you'll hear a dance song about the end of the world which features rapping - in French, of course - by no less than Joan of Arc herself.
#6. TODD RUNDGREN - Onomatopoeia
"Sputter, splat, squirt, scrape
Clink, clank, clunk, clatter."
Todd Rundgren is not a novelty artist by any stretch, but he'll always have a place in my heart for producing a song that aurally demonstrates the concept of onomatopoeia. Go ahead, look it up, I'll wait.
#5. SHEL SILVERSTEIN - Thumbsucker
Shel Silverstein's Thumbsucker Lyrics
One of my heroes, Shel Silverstein is perhaps best known for his many humorous and sometimes poignant children's books. But he also released a number of weird and warped albums, one of which featured this cautionary tale about perverts who will stop at nothing for the chance to suck your thumb.
"Friends the danger is not ... the long hairs
And it is not the warmongers all the squares all the truckusers all the fuss
Friends the danger the real danger is thumbsuckers
Yes you heard me my friends I think thumbsucker
And every time every time you make a peace sign with your fingers
And every time you push a door bell
And every time you're on highway stick your thumb
There's always there in the shadows some dirty sneaky thumbsucker
Who will leap out upon you grab your wrist
And start to suck your thumb drainin' all your natural thumbjuices
And leavin' you hopeless heartless a shakin' quiverin' crawlin' slaverin'
Thumbsuckin' addict for the rest of your unusual life
That's why I ain't gonna let no thumbsucker suck my thumb
It'll drive you crazy and leave you deaf and dumb
It'll make you crawl and climb the wall and leave you without no thumb at all
I ain't gonna let no thumbsucker suck my thumb
Met her on a corner in Deluth and that's truth
She was tryin' to fix her shoe in a telephone booth her name was Ruth
She said she was just waiting for a bus
But I hid my thumb cause I knew just what she was
Uhh I ain't gonna let no...
I'll tell you what them thumbsuckers like to do
They suck your thumb till it's wrinkled like a prune
They'll say you've got the sweetest thumb of all they say
But then they suck the thumb of the guy livin' down the hall
That's why I ain't gonna let no...
Suck my thumb suck my thumb suck my thumb suck my thumb"
#4. JONATHAN RICHMAN - Here Come The Martian Martians
"Here come the Martian Martians
And they're riding on their Martian bike
Well, we have to find out right now
What kind of ice cream do the Martians like?"
I appreciate this song by Mr. Richman because it deals with an alien invasion in a calm, contemplative way. Instead of freaking out "War Of The Worlds"-style, Jonathan ponders what kind of ice cream the Martians would like. Nice when cool heads prevail.
#3. STYX - Plexiglass Toilet
"Don't sit on the Plexiglas toilet
Said the momma to her son
Wipe the butt clean with the paper
Make it nice for everyone."
Years before the popular rock group Styx mined Top 40 gold with hits like "Lady" and "Come Sail Away," they produced the song that most discerning critics call the creative high point of their career: "Plexiglass Toilet." It is, as the title implies, a song about a toilet... which happens to be made out of plexiglass.
#2. NAPOLEON XIV - I Am In Love With My Little Red Tricycle
"All the rest have peanut butter
All except my dear grandmother
She had a little red tricycle
I stole it."
Jerry Samuels, aka Napoleon XIV, scored a huge novelty hit with "They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!" However, I've always been partial to this tender love song he wrote to a tricycle. Powerful stuff.
#1. FUN WITH ANIMALS - The Test Of Love and Sex
"I will help you understand
And be your 20th century man."
This song comprises one side of a hard-to-find single that was released close to 30 years ago. But I challenge you to find a better song about robot sex.
Find out which of his own songs made it onto The Essential "Weird Al" Yankovic at WeirdAl.com. Or check out one of our favorite underrated funny songs get the treatment it never deserved in today's video Weirdest Wake Ever.