Chow Down

Don’t mind if I do…

It’s time to go on the weirdest, wildest and funniest Monday trip you’ve ever been on.  The Nest has hit the pause button on the Dusty Vinyl Archive to spend the next seven months counting down our favorite songs that were made funnier by the legendary Weird Al Yankovic!  It’s our Top 30 Weird Al Parodies countdown!  I promised you there would be some unconventional surprises to be found in this list… and to demonstrate that, the lowest ranked song in our countdown also happens to be one of Al’s most famous, and the one that truly made him a star…

#30 – “Eat It” (Parody of “Beat It” – Michael Jackson)

Michael Jackson was already a star in the early 80’s, but it was his 1982 album Thriller that turned the former child singer into The King of Pop.  Thriller is one of the very best selling albums of all time, and spawned a handful of hit singles for Jackson… one of them being his warning for all wannabe gangbangers called “Beat It.”  Though the song’s taken a bit of a backseat to “Billie Jean” in terms of popularity forty years later, at the time, “Beat It” was THE song and THE video that was most associated with Michael Jackson…

The only thing more iconic than the red jacket was the white glove…

At the time “Beat It” was all the rage, up and coming parodist Weird Al Yankovic was hardly a household name, even though he had one album and two music videos to his name.  That would change in early 1984 when “Eat It” was released upon the world…

If you want to see the hilarious music video (which is itself a parody), you’ll have to click here, as playback on other websites has been disallowed (WTF, Weird Al?)

This would be the first instance of what would be a trend in Weird Al’s long career of taking a popular song from an A-list talent that was still fresh enough to be getting heavy airplay and turning it into a side splitting parody that had fans arguing over whether it was better than the original song.  Piggybacking on Michael Jackson (who gave his full approval to both the parody and the music video) wound up being a pretty good idea, as “Eat It” was loved enough to be a #12 hit, the only one of Weird Al’s 80’s parodies to make the Top 40.

It went #1 in Australia, and was probably played here.

“Eat It” also became the poster child for Weird Al parodies.  Supposedly, when Al asked permission from Nirvana in the early 90’s to parody their song “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” frontman Kurt Cobain happily gave his OK….. but did ask, “It’s not gonna be about food, is it?”  And there certainly are an awful lot of Weird Al songs about food and eating and what happens when you eat too much.

You say that like there’s something wrong with being obsessed with food!

While “Eat It” was a groundbreaking moment in Weird Al’s legacy, it’s more in the “good, not great” category for me…. which is no insult at all, as good Weird Al is still a hell of a lot better than just about anything by more respected musicians like Prince or Lionel Ritchie.  And with 69 parodies qualifying for inclusion in this countdown, making #30 still puts it in the top half overall!

Well….. yeah, that’s still middle of the pack.

Come back next Monday for the next exciting song in my Weird Al countdown!


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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17 Responses to Chow Down

  1. noelleg44 says:

    Love this countdown!

  2. ha! good start!! it is to close to michaels lyrics I think (hahaha)

  3. Seven months? Oh boy, the ear worms are gonna be a-flowing.

  4. Kismet says:

    Now we know why there’s a food shortage.

  5. ghostmmnc says:

    Very good! This is going to be fun to see the videos! 🙂

  6. Juliette says:

    OMG I’m laughing out loud. No matter how many times I hear this song I can’t help laughing. Thanks for the Monday fun! I love these Monday posts.

    Last week someone told me his daughter was majoring in architecture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I almost mentioned that Weird Al majored in architecture there too but decided to keep that, and his birthday, to myself.

    • If you didn’t see my intro post Friday, the countdown was set up to reveal the #1 song on October 23rd! The world was a better place that Al didn’t make a career of architecture…

  7. draliman says:

    Hee, fun! I watched the video version on YouTube. I’ll be interested to see how many of the originals I know from your countdown, as a parody is always more fun if you know the original song.

    • After compiling all of his parodies, I found about five songs where I wasn’t familiar with the original. Only one of them made the countdown, pretty much for the reason you cite….

  8. Weird Al… of a kind! This will be a fun countdown for sure.


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