Sunday, October 11, 2015

"Ricky" by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Song#:  1428
Date:  04/30/1983
Debut:  90
Peak:  63
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Comedy

Pop Bits:  Yankovic started his musical journey when his parents bought him an accordion and he began lessons just before he turned six. After a few years of lessons, he branched out on his own and started to apply the accordion to rock music. In his teens he began to write his own songs with a comic edge. He recorded original and parody songs on a cassette player and sent it to Dr. Demento. One of his first tunes, "Belvedere Cruisin'," caught Demento's ear and he played it on his radio show. Later in college, Yankovic recorded a parody of The Knack's "My Sharona" as "My Bologna" and once again, Dr. Demento played the song. It got a great response and it led to his first record deal (thanks to The Knack's Doug Fieger who was a fan of Yankovic's parody). Unfortunately, the label went out of business and Yankovic was on his own again. After a couple of years playing shows and writing more material, he got signed to Scotti Brothers and released his self-titled debut album. This first single, a parody of the Toni Basil hit "Mickey," was able to reach the Pop chart thanks in part to the song's video, which became popular on MTV.

ReduxReview:  I remember this song very well. At the time there were always reruns of "I Love Lucy" on and I watched it all the time. Then I saw this on MTV and totally loved it. I went out and bought the 45 immediately. However, just listening to the song is not the same experience as watching the video. That's why I included it above instead of just the song file. Yankovic is terrific, but his songs, no matter how good, are ones that I couldn't hear on a regular basis. Once in a great while they can provide a chuckle when they come on, but I'd never hit the repeat button. However, I love watching the videos. As you may know (if you've followed the blog for a while) I'm not a big fan of comedy/novelty singles. Most are annoying and crappy. However, "Weird Al" is in a different league. I find him slyly clever and I think he is a person who really cares about his craft. He's not an idiot who makes fart jokes, thinks it's hilarious, and then wants to make money off of it. So I've got some love for "Weird Al." This song really got his career going. He would go on to do better parodies, but this is still a goody.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The video for this song was Yankovic's first. In it, he played Desi Arnez while Tress MacNeille played Lucille Ball. Dr. Demento makes a cameo appearance as does a cheerleader, which was a reference back to the original "Mickey" video. MacNeille would go on to be a very successful voice over artist. Fans of "The Simpsons" will most likely recognize her name in the credits. MacNeille supplied several voices for the show including the ones for Agnes Skinner, Cookie Kwan, and the Crazy Cat Lady. She also did voices for "Futurama" and various Warner Bros./Disney cartooons.  2) Even though he was headed towards a career in music, Yankovic did finish college. He earned a BA in architecture from California Polytechnic State University.


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