My first CD. The Weird Al version, of course. 2nd CD ever...Dave's Song of the Day
Amish Paradise – “Weird Al” Yankovic
Wednesday song of the day: Miscommunications over today’s song parody led to a minor conflict.
Day 3 of Weird Al week:
On his 1996 album Bad Hair Day, “Weird Al” Yankovic included the song Amish Paradise, which parodied Coolio’s 1995 hit Gangsta’s Paradise. Whereas Coolio’s song dealt with the harsh realities of life in an urban gang, the Weird Al parody changed the setting to a quiet Amish community.
As mentioned yesterday, Yankovic firmly believes in obtaining permission from the artists responsible for the original work before he releases a parody version of a song. In the case of Amish Paradise, he thought that he had in fact gotten consent from Coolio. The communication, however, ended up being conducted by middle men, and what actually happened was Coolio’s record company gave permission for the parody, but never asked Coolio himself. Thus, when Amish Paradise was released, Coolio was surprised and a little upset. In an interview at the time, he said, “I didn’t give it any sanction. I think that my song was too serious. It ain’t like it was Beat It. Beat It was a party song. But I think Gangsta’s Paradise represented something more than that. And I really, honestly and truly, don’t appreciate him desecrating the song like that. I think he’s wrong for that, because his record company asked for my permission, and I said no. But they did it anyway. I couldn’t stop him. But you know, more power to him. I hope they sell a lot of records. Just stay away from me.”
This prompted Yankovic to write a letter apologizing for the misunderstanding. Eventually the two met a few years later and any ill will was left behind. In 2014 Coolio mentioned in an interview that he regretted making an issue of it, and in hindsight he now appreciates the humor in Amish Paradise.
Commercially, Amish Paradise did well, reaching #53 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with the video receiving heavy airplay. While it was far from being one of Yankovic’s biggest hits like Eat It or White and Nerdy, it was a solid performance for a novelty song, one of many that has helped keep Weird Al in the public consciousness for decades.
Gangta’s Paradise, Coolio
Tomorrow: They locked the doors and tried to kill us
My aunts and uncles always request American Pie during family camping trips, but when I play it on guitar my cousins eventually flip over to Weird Al's version of the lyrics. It's funny how pissed off the older people get.Dave's Song of the Day
The Saga Begins – “Weird Al” Yankovic
Thursday song of the day: Unlike most of his parodies, today’s Weird Al song uses a much older song as a vehicle to comment on a more current piece of pop culture.
Day 4 of Weird Al Week:
Most of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s parody songs use fairly current hits, but for the 1999 album Running with Scissors he went back to Don McLean’s huge 1971 hit American Pie to create The Saga Begins. The subject of the song was the new Star Wars movie that came out in 1999, The Phantom Menace. Yankovic used a similar old song/newer movie combination before for one of his early songs, 1980’s Yoda, which paired the Kink’s song Lola with the character Yoda from the then-current Star Wars movie The Empire Strikes Back.
Yankovic recorded the song on April 20th, 1999 despite The Phantom Menace not being released until May 16th, 1999. Since he had not seen the film, Al based the lyrics of the song on researching internet sources for spoilers. Between writing and recording the song, he was able to attend a charity pre-screening of the film, but noted that the spoilers were accurate enough that he only needed to make a few minor changes to The Saga Begins to remain faithful to the plot.
The song was released on June 24th, 1999 while The Phantom Menace was still running in theaters, so the advance work paid off. The Saga Begins was released as a digital download as well as a CD, so it did not make the Hot 100 chart, but did make #20 on the Billboard Comedy Digital Tracks chart.
American Pie, Don McLean, 1971
Tomorrow: I wanna bowl with the gangstas
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xag5RKD0VHkDave's Song of the Day
If You Want Me to Stay – Sly and the Family Stone
Sunday song of the day: Today’s song originated in an argument the singer had with his girlfriend.
The career arc of Sly Stone makes me very sad. Sly, born Sylvester Stewart, reached the highest heights, and then pretty much fell off a cliff due to personal demons. He was responsible for some of the very best music of the late 1960s and early 1970s as the leader of Sly and the Family Stone, producing classics such as Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), Family Affair, Stand!, and Everyday People. Along with his brother Freddie and sister Rose, he created the first big truly integrated band, with all races and sexes welcome.
By the early 1970s, however, Sly and The Family Stone had more and more become just Sly Stone. Sly played several instruments and wrote the songs, and when tensions within the band grew to include a physical fight with bassist Larry Graham, Sly withdrew. By the time he started work on the band’s sixth album, Fresh, it almost amounted to a solo project. Sly recorded the album without much input from The Family Stone, playing most of the instruments himself and enlisting some friends such as Billy Preston to fill in other areas. Several members of the Family Stone including Freddie and Rose Stone, trumpet player Cynthia Robinson, and saxophone player Jerry Martini were used in limited capacities. Larry Graham played on two tracks, with his parts presumably recorded before the fight that caused him to quit the Family Stone in 1972.
Fresh, released in June 1973, included what was one of the last great hits for the band, If You Want Me to Stay. It was in a much heavier funk style than most of the band’s earlier hits, and concerned the singer telling his love interest that she would have to allow him to do as he wanted, or he would leave. The song originated in a fight between Sly and his girlfriend – and future wife – Kathleen Silva. After the fight he wrote her an apology, but the apology included the thought that no matter what, Sly was going to be Sly. One can guess that his growing drug problem at the time played a part in the argument.
As mentioned yesterday, Larry Blackmon based his singing in Word Up on the exaggerated vocal style Sly used on If You Want Me to Stay and a few other late-period Family Stone tracks, where Sly almost swallowed the lyrics rather than singing them out clearly.
If You Want Me to Stay was a hit, although not on the scale of the band’s earlier #1 records Everyday People, Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), Family Affair, or the #2 Hot Fun in the Summertime. Still, If You Want Me to Stay performed more than respectably, reaching #3 on the R&B chart and topping out at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Personally, I feel it rivals Stand! for the best Sly and the Family Stone track.
After Fresh, the original Sly and The Family Stone recorded one more album before disbanding in 1975. After that, Sly recorded as a solo act or with a different version of The Family Stone with mostly new personnel. He had only limited success, however, as his drug problems worsened and his behavior became increasingly erratic. By the 1980s, Sly was mostly in seclusion, performing only sporadically. He is 77 years old now, but unfortunately long-term drug use cut short the brilliance of his earlier musical career.
Tomorrow: Hopin’ that we don’t run out
They made some great music.Dave's Song of the Day
Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes
Saturday song of the day: Today’s song was re-recorded for a movie soundtrack because the master tape was destroyed.
In 1983, Violent Femmes released their self-titled debut album. It was a critical success but not originally a big seller. It eventually found its audience and sales increased over time. Four years after its release, Violent Femmes was certified as a Gold record, and in 1991 it went Platinum, selling over a million copies in eight years.
Included on the album was Blister in the Sun, which became a popular song on alternative radio, but never charted. Blister in the Sun was a rather vague song, but was essentially about drug abuse. In 1997, it was used in the film Grosse Point Blank. John Cusack wanted a rerecorded version for the film, and the band complied, doing a new arrangement with a slower beat and more lush instrumentation that they called Blister 2000. Additionally, they recorded a new version of the original arrangement, since the master tapes (recorded in August 1982) had been destroyed. Oddly, the film didn’t use either of these re-recordings, but instead used the original recording.
The 1997 version of the original arrangement was released as a video, with Violent Femmes singer Gordon Gano posing as an assassin trying to target a puppet version of “Socks”, the Clintons’ cat, interspersed with scenes from Grosse Point Blank.
Video for 1997 re-recording of 1983 arrangement
New “Blister 2000” arrangement, 1997
Tomorrow: Ritalin is good
Dang I had that spice girls album. Think it was the second album I had, first was new kids on the block. I wish I could go back in time and drop kick my parents in the face for letting me listen to such shit and not making me listen to nwa or something good