Deli Delights

Ummmm…. I’m not hungry anymore.

The Nest continues its seven month quest to honor the twisted genius of Weird Al Yankovic.  We’re in the early stages of the Top 30 Weird Al Parodies countdown!  We’ve already featured a couple of Al’s best known songs in the first few weeks, and this time we’re going to flip the formula and showcase one of Weird Al’s lesser known songs that parodied a huge, HUGE hit of its day.  Yo, Adrian!  Sing it with me….

#27. “Theme From Rocky XIII (The Rye Or The Kaiser)”(Parody of “Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor)

In 1976, Sylvester Stallone shocked the world when his film Rocky not only became one of the biggest grossing movies of the year, but has lived on nearly fifty years later as one of the most iconic films of all time.  One of Rocky’s other legacies is that it became one of the first films to become a “franchise” by issuing a seemingly endless string of sequels with Roman numerals in the titles designed to capitalize on the success of the original…

That’s a lot of eggs you’re gonna have to swallow for years, Champ.

When Weird Al decided to write a parody of the theme song to 1982’s Rocky III, he made sure to lampoon the numbers game by declaring it to be the theme song from Rocky XIII, which seemed like a distinct possibility to become reality at the time.  For the record, numbered Rocky movies only made it as far as V (five) before the plug was finally pulled…. though the current string of Creed films is up to III now (and nine Rocky movies in all), so you never know!

So what does a parody specialist do with an “Eye of the Tiger?”  Turns Rocky Balboa into a deli owner, that’s what….

Rye and kaiser are two types of bread one might make a sandwich out of, so the picture is painted for a washed up boxer to go into the deli business, warning customers about the fishy tuna and offering catering advice.  Weird Al makes good use of the song to work in plenty of references to the Rocky movies, like the original theme song (“Gonna Fly Now”), Rocky’s propensity for drinking raw eggs, and working out by sparring with a side of beef…

Rocky was a champ when it came to beating his meat.

As for the song that inspired all of this…. well, do I really need to say anything about the iconic “Eye of the Tiger?”  Perhaps I’ll just share this tidbit from Survivor founder Jim Peterik, who explained why the song almost didn’t get its catchy title…

At first, we wondered if calling it “Eye of the Tiger” was too obvious. The initial draft of the song, we started with “It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight, rising up to the spirit of our rival, and the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night, and it all comes down to survival.” We were going to call the song “Survival”. In the rhyme scheme, you can tell we had set up “rival” to rhyme with “survival”. At the end of the day, we said, “Are we nuts?” That hook is so strong, and “rival” doesn’t have to be a perfect rhyme with the word “tiger”. We made the right choice and went with “Eye of the Tiger”


Open your eyes, tiger!

And did you know Peterik was also in the band Ides of March, who wrote and sang their biggest hit “Vehicle?”  I didn’t!

Be sure to come back next Monday for another zany Weird Al parody that will pack a punch….


About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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10 Responses to Deli Delights

  1. the tiger sleeps like a lion LOL… I like this song and it fits to this awful boxing stuff movies

  2. noelleg44 says:

    Missed this one by Al!

  3. Juliette says:

    Awwwww man, this makes me wish there was a good deli in my neighborhood. Another fun choice. I’ll be laughing all day.

  4. In the “what a coincidence category,” did you by chance catch Weird Al on NPR’s Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me over the weekend?

  5. draliman says:

    Ha, very good! Thanks for the explanation, I only knew “kaiser” as German for “king” so the song wouldn’t have made so much sense. And as for Rocky beating his meat…

    • I think this song introduced me to the term kaiser as bread. I can think of two other songs where Weird Al expanded my vocabulary, both of which are in this countdown so I’ll try to remember to share the lessons when I get to them…

  6. Yep – another one I’d not heard before…..Al was a bottomless pit of imagination indeed. That grilled sausage photo is just a tad disturbing for some reason…….


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