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Once upon a time, no successful franchise was considered complete without a tie-in album or two. And no, we don't mean an official soundtrack -- we mean original songs, often sung by the cast, in character. Video game characters, wrestlers, superheroes, you name it -- they would all take time to release novelty singles as if part of some elaborate experiment to see if there's anything fans won't spend money on.

And yes, these tracks were often even more insane than you'd expect ...

6 "Wise Guy," by Joe Pesci as Vinny Gambini

Columbia Records

We'll give you a moment to read that headline and try to puzzle through it. Trust us -- knowing the details isn't going to clear things up for you.

Joe Pesci has had a pretty interesting movie career, seamlessly switching between two types of roles: violent sociopaths (Goodfellas, Casino, etc.) and lovable losers like in My Cousin Vinny, where he plays the wise-cracking attorney Vincent LaGuardia Gambini, who has to defend his cousin from a false murder charge. Somehow, some way, through a chain of decisions that no human logic could ever follow, they had Pesci make an album where he sings as that guy.

20th Century Fox
"Joe Pesci may never play an angry New Jersey stereotype again; better monetize this while we can."

Thus into the annals of history was born the 1998 Pesci rap song "Wise Guy," from the album Vincent LaGuardia Gambini Sings Just for You.

Strangely, Pesci reinvents the character for the purpose of the song, quickly getting confused about which film he was making the album for. So he winds up talking about how his lawyer character is a violent murderer, describing him more like Tommy from Goodfellas:

If there's a witness on tape that they play,
Probably a broad that I used to lay,
The last one to talk was never ever found.

So we wind with a song about life as a gangster, rapped over a Blondie track, sung by a fictional incompetent lawyer who once showed up to a trial in an usher's suit.

20th Century Fox
"The bow tie: yes or no?"

After sitting through rap boasts straight out of a Simpsons parody, we get to what can sort of be described as the main "story" of "Wise Guy": Vinny talks about being ratted out by a girl he used to bang. In retribution, he runs over her brother, buries her father alive, and bangs her sister:

Her brother didn't like me, I hit him with a truck.
Her sister was a rip, everybody got a ride.
Her father was a rat, so I buried him alive.

And this is just one of 14 tracks! Three of which give Pesci a writing credit! And did we mention the album came out six years after the movie?

20th Century Fox
The world needed some time for "yoots" to become funny again.

5"Ignorance Is Bliss," by Bowser from Mario Bros.

Nintendo

In 1991, after years of convincing kids that reading is for losers who can't afford game consoles, Nintendo finally decided to give back to society and combat the problem of illiteracy ... with a song. That song was "Ignorance Is Bliss," an upbeat piece sung appropriately by Bowser, the Super Mario villain who's never figured out why repeated false imprisonment hasn't made Princess Peach fall in love with him yet.

Appearing on the official Nintendo album White Knuckle Scorin' (where it was performed by the band Jellyfish), "Ignorance Is Bliss" starts off innocently enough with Bowser kidnapping Peach to lure Mario and Luigi to his lair. Then, suddenly, the entire thing goes all There Will Be Blood after Bowser claims that he wants to use a magical book to turn Yoshi and his dinosaur family into oil.

With my magic book, I'll shower
Those clumsy lizards with my power
Until Dinosaur Land is nothing but fossil fuel.

But that's not really a problem because, get this: Bowser can't read.

My only problem with these spells
Is that I know not what they tell
So every hex leaves me perplexed ...

Nintendo
So that's why he keeps ignoring Peach's restraining orders.

More importantly, though, we also learn that the title of "Ignorance Is Bliss" might actually be referring to Peach being better off not knowing what Bowser is planning for her, what with lyrics like:

Princess Toadstool, I know you're frightened!
Mmm ... 'Cause if you knew just why you're here
Your fear would just be heightened.

By now you're probably wondering how "Ignorance Is Bliss" is supposed to fight illiteracy, seeing as here that's the only thing stopping a species-wide genocide. That's actually all covered in the official comic book included with the CD, which also provides all sorts of additional information about this story, like how Bowser needs all that oil to join OPEC:

Nintendo
There's a surprising crossover audience between children's games and international energy policy wonks.

... or how every time Mario defeats an enemy, he in fact gets a massive erection:

Nintendo
In the next panel he snorts ground-up invincibility star off Luigi's bare thigh.

It's like they immediately decided the already-bizarre world of Mario didn't provide enough material for a song by the main villain, so they go off the reservation and just start making up random shit that has never, ever been referenced in any of the games. After all, it's not like they had the option of, say, just not making the album at all.

4"The Man in Black," by The Undertaker

WWE

Mark "The Undertaker" Calaway needs no introduction if you're a pro wrestling fan, or even vaguely familiar with the WWE. For those who don't know, Calaway has been playing various incarnations of his magical Undertaker wrestling persona for more than 20 years, including stints as an unstoppable zombie and a mystical priest. Part of his performance includes entering the arena to gongs, church bells, organs, and other "dark" sounds, building up an ominous tone that is the polar opposite of The Undertaker's 1993 rap/spoken word single "The Man in Black."

The song, which is a part of WWF Superstars -- Wrestlemania: The Album, promisingly kicks off with nice guitar riffs and acceptably cheesy lyrics like:

The man in black has got a tombstone just for you!

But around 30 seconds in, playful keyboards and drum machines start pumping like the dead man of the WWE has suddenly been replaced by MC Hammer. Next, rapping with the same energy and dedication you'd expect from a narcoleptic math teacher (to the point that it appears to just be random lines he recorded without music), The Undertaker informs you that he's:

The most powerful entity in the World Wrestling Federation, slam jam death!

WWE
For some reason, it sounds eerily familiar.

The first part sort of makes sense, but what does "slam jam death" mean? Our best guess is that Calaway genuinely ran out of things to say and just shouted the first random thing that popped into his head. And considering that the majority of the song already consists of him repeating the phrase "the man in black" like a broken record, we're going to say that that is exactly what happened here.

WWE
We just can't figure out why ...

Actually, listen to the end of the song -- the last several seconds are the sound of his footsteps and finally a door opening, like they just kept rolling as Calaway got bored and decided to go grab some lunch.

3"Miranda," by Adam West as Batman

20th Century Fox

With Christopher Nolan's dark and gritty Batman still fresh in everyone's memories, it's easy to forget what Adam West did with the character in the 1966 Batman TV series, probably because 90 percent of what he did was dance and get caught in easily escapable death traps. Throw in some silly fight scenes and campy gadgets and you have a character that couldn't get more ridiculous ... until you hear him make a bunch of really bad sexual innuendo in song:

I never met a girl like you before, Miranda.
And I'd do anything for you, if you'd just ask.

So sings West as Batman in the 1966 single "Miranda," and so far, it's kind of nice and sweet. Good to see that even Batman has time for romance in his life. Unfortunately, it turns out that it's been a while for Batsy, and he tries to seduce Miranda with creepy lines like:

But you know how much I love you, darling.
So ... come into my cape?

20th Century Fox
"Because I just did."

Yes, kids, this is what Batman used to be like (hint: When Tim Burton's version came along in 1989, that was considered a gritty reboot over this). The rest of the song then resorts to weirder and weirder references to West's Bat Junk, and it's really better if you imagine it being sung by Christian Bale:

Would you like to see me make my muscles dance, Miranda?
[My mask] is attached to my special super thermal b-nuclear long underwear.

It's probably worth mentioning that in between Batman shamelessly macking on Miranda, we get segments of Robin begging Batman to come save the city from various threats, like a giant octopus, to which Batman tells his sidekick to kindly fuck off because it's really been a while. In which case, Batman probably should have taken some dating advice from The Riddler, who similarly had his own single in 1966, titled "The Riddler," as sung in character by Frank Gorshin.

Unlike "Miranda," though, "The Riddler" is a cheerful '60s pop track interspersed with bad jokey riddles, including:

What do you call a sleeping bull? A bulldozer!
Why do birds fly south for the winter? Because it would take too long to walk!

A&M Records
The lyrics were entirely stolen from popsicle sticks and Laffy Taffy wrappers.

However, the song also contains the sounds of some sexy women fangirling all over The Riddler a good 30 years before Harley Quinn made that kind of behavior cool. So, the lesson here is that a guy in tights making a bunch of bad dad jokes can get more ass than Batman.

2"Who Is The Doctor," by Jon Pertwee as The Doctor

Purple Records, via Lord of the Boot Sale

Doctor Who is like one of the final levels of geekdom. The British sci-fi series has been on air for 50 years now and boasts 800 episodes starring the titular Doctor, a time-traveling alien from the planet Gallifrey who has wacky and occasionally tragic adventures through time and space.

When it came time for the third incarnation of The Doctor, played by Jon Pertwee, someone decided they needed to make an official Doctor Who album, because obviously that was the next step in the evolution of the franchise. Thus we have the 1972 single "Who Is The Doctor" -- a bizarre, electro synth-pop song spoken over the show's main theme tune, in which The Doctor lays down some truths about his mission, punctuating each verse with an emphatic, "I AM ... THE DOCTOR!"

BBC
With hair like that you can be as over-dramatic as you damn well please.

It's all very poetic, but by the third verse starts to descend into nonsense:

My voyage dissects the course of time.
"Who knows?" you say, but are you right?
Who searches deep to find the light
That glows so darkly in the night?

Really, it makes Pertwee sound like he is doing the opening for an '80s cartoon. And what better way to end this song based on a TV show that never took itself too seriously than with The Doctor proclaiming:

As fingers move to end mankind
Metallic teeth begin their grind.
With sword of truth I turn to fight
The satanic powers of the night.

OK, that's just ridiculous. And it's blatant false advertising -- in reality it would be another 34 years before The Doctor actually fights Satan.

BBC
Referred to as "The Beast," because the BBC can't just nut up and call a spade a spade.

1"Highly Illogical," by Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock

Dot Records

When it comes to ruining Star Trek's legacy through song, everyone immediately thinks of William Shatner's musical career. But to truly never be able to look at Star Trek the same way again, you probably need to hear Leonard Nimoy's stoic and serious Spock character sing a Beach Boys rip-off about love and how cars make no sense:

Originating on the 1967 album The Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy, "Highly Illogical" is a sort of comedy/pop mix sung entirely by Mr. Spock and concerning all the things about humans that blow his alien mind. Things like love and how women eventually screw it up:

But when they get married, before he's aware
She changes his habits, the way he combs his hairbr /> She changes him to someone he's never been
And then complains he's not like other men.
Now really I find this most illogical.

Paramount Television
It's basically the Vulcan version of "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe."

Admittedly, that is something you would expect from an alien science officer who rarely shows any emotions. But then you get to the part where Spock denounces cars due to never being able to find a parking space, and you realize that you've traveled through the looking glass to a world where nothing makes any goddamn sense whatsoever:

Take the case of your automobiles,
Greatest invention since man discovered wheels ...
But you never can find a parking space.
Highly illogical.

Interestingly, Spock's list of all things illogical that humans do somehow doesn't include recording a flower-child ballad about Bilbo Baggins, which incidentally can be found on the exact same record as "Highly Illogical":

And if it's your first time hearing that song, all we can say is, you're welcome.

Scott Elizabeth Baird writes from his sewer lair in Liverpool, England. In his free time, he maintains the fan page for the novel Once Called America, which you should totally check out here.

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Related Reading: Speaking of hilarious failures, did you know Frank Zappa once released an album with no words that STILL got a Parental Advisory sticker? If you're down to broaden your musical horizons, this collection of unintentionally hilarious 80s music videos oughta do the trick. And while we're on the subject of unintentionally funny things, you should probably watch these workplace safety videos.

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