In The Beginning

Meesa approooooove dis song!

Monday’s here, and it’s time to unveil the next titillating creation from one of the musical geniuses of our generation in the Top 30 Weird Al Parodies countdown!  The Nest chose one of Al’s biggest and most famous songs to occupy the bottom rung of the countdown, and as we take the next step up the ladder this week, we’re not letting off the gas one bit as we approach ludicrous speed….

#29 – “The Saga Begins” (Parody of “American Pie” – Don McLean)

It was a long time ago in a galaxy far….. um well, our galaxy.  And 1999 sure seems like a long time ago now, doesn’t it?  But that Springtime 24 years ago had a definite buzz to it, and it was all made possible by the upcoming release of the first Star Wars movie in sixteen years.  Fans, pseudo-fans, and even just regular people got caught up in the hoopla over the upcoming release of Episode 1, The Phantom Menace just before Memorial Day… and one of those people was none other than our favorite parodist…

Wait a minute…. that’s Weird Al!?!?

Weird Al Yankovic was planning to release his first album in three years, Running With Scissors, in June 1999.  And along with a brand new look that ditched his trademark curly hair, glasses and porn ‘stache, Weird Al wanted to to springboard album sales by leading off with a parody of what was the hottest thing in pop culture at the time.  Rather than try to finesse a currently popular song that mold, he instead chose one of the most recognizable songs in from rock and roll’s past to tell the tale of Anakin, Amidala and Obi Wan…

While Don McLean’s “American Pie” tells the tale of the our rock and roll’s loss of innocence over the course of the 1960’s using a lot of ambiguous and left-to-interpretation symbolism… Al used the song’s iconic melody and verse structure to very plainly retell the plot of the entire movie.  Not too bad of a feat considering that he had the song finished before he even got to see a pre-screening of it.  That there were enough spoilers on the internet (Which was still a shell of its current self in 1999) to flesh out pretty much the whole movie says a lot about how hard it is to keep anything a secret these days.

Like the fact that the much hyped Darth Maul hardly appears on screen at all.

Don McLean signed off on the parody, and has even admitted that he sometimes gets the two songs mixed up while performing in concert because his kids listen to the Weird Al version so much.  Star Wars creator George Lucas is also said to have loved “The Saga Begins.”  As for me, despite the fact that writing a parody of an uber-iconic song like “American Pie” doesn’t impress me all that much… “Saga” gets points for its subject matter, which holds a lot of nostalgic value for me.  I still remember the huge, and I’d almost say unprecedented merchandise push around this movie at Mecca that Spring, which left quite an impression on me as a one-year associate at the time.  And I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a licensed product blitz quite like it in-store in the 24 years since…

Oh, and those Pepsi cans! It’s the only reason I know the characters so well…

I saw the original trilogy movies a handful of times each, the first two movies in prequel series once each, and don’t even want to know what Disney has done with the franchise in the past decade.  But The Phantom Menace holds that special place in my heart just because of the timing of when it came out in my life, and it’s why this Weird Al parody made it into my countdown…

Alright, giving us Jar Jar Binks did help…

I’ll feature another song where Weird Al used the Force for good next Monday…


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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11 Responses to In The Beginning

  1. Well I’m thinking it will be no surprise (considering the info is coming from ME) that I have never heard Al’s parody of “Pie”…..He did a good job of it though!


  2. ghostmmnc says:

    Cool! This has always been one of my favorite Weird Al songs. 🙂

  3. noelleg44 says:

    Dang, I missed this when it first came out – I love Weird Al!

  4. Juliette says:

    This is just too much fun. I was fortunate to see him live right before the whole pandemic shut down. OMG this song was a huge production and just crazy fun. I’ll be smiling all day now. Thanks ES

  5. draliman says:

    Hee, that was fun, I was smiling all the way through!

    You realise that with two out of two, you’re probably already hit a higher approval percentage from me (even if I hate the rest) than for any other Countdown in a decade…

    • I remember you liked quite a few of the songs in the top parts of my Countdown of Whatever a few years ago, so I don’t think we’re there yet. But I’m sure we’ll pass the BEST COUNTDOWN EVER threshold soon, as it’s really hard to pick a bad Weird Al song…

  6. Whoa…I barely recognize him! The voice yes, but the clean shaven face…uh-uh. I’d forgotten he did this parody.

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