Comedy rock

Last updated

Comedy rock is rock music mixed with comedy, often satire and irony. [3]

Contents

History

Early bands and songs

Early American examples include Stan Freberg, who lampooned artists such as Elvis Presley, Harry Belafonte and the Platters, and Sheb Wooley. [4] The latter's "Purple People Eater" reached No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart in 1958 and stayed there for 6 weeks. [5]

In Britain during the 1950s and early 1960s comedians such as Charlie Drake and the Goons frequently appeared in the top ten with humorous rock 'n' roll records—the latter, along with Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, were to influence the word-play of John Lennon's lyrics. Later British groups specialised in comedy: these included the Scaffold, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias. Later in Britain, in the 2000s, Mitch Benn released several studio albums that satirised current affairs using various musical genres, but mainly rock. His 2012 Breaking Strings album was critically acclaimed for its rock sensibility. [6]

Allmusic described Frank Zappa as the "godfather" of comedy rock. [7] The pop rock and folk rock band the Turtles released a comedy rock album, The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands , in 1968, though the band had previously incorporated humor into their songs. [8] Two of its members, Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman later performed more explicitly comedic songs as Flo & Eddie with their own band and with Frank Zappa.

Contemporary bands

Several modern comedy rock bands have experienced mainstream commercial success. Duos Tenacious D and Flight of the Conchords both released platinum-selling albums and starred in their own respective comedic television series. Dan Finnerty with his the Dan Band has made comedy rock appearances in the Todd Phillips films Old School and The Hangover spoofing "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and "Candy Shop", as well as his live show, which parodies female cover songs and was filmed as a one-hour TV special directed by McG and executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Stephen Lynch from New York developed a following with several Opie and Anthony appearances which led to two specials on Comedy Central. He performed on Broadway with the production of Grease .

With over 12 million albums sold, song parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic remains the highest-selling comedy act in history, with his 2014 album Mandatory Fun having debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, the first comedy album to do so since Allan Sherman 's My Son, the Nut in 1963. [9] Rock has been the target of many spoofs and several spoof bands have gone on to have hit records, for example Spinal Tap in the U.S., and the Hee Bee Gee Bees and Bad News in the UK. The band Steel Panther has become a fixture on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip with their parody of 80s glam metal, [10] and their success has opened the doors for other spoof bands such as the Jimi Homeless Experience. Other spoof bands such as Dread Zeppelin, Beatallica and Those Darn Accordions rely on unusual or intentionally contrasting genre-mixing for comic effect. The Residents are well-known for their unusual, heavily distorted covers of pop and rock songs. Comedy rock duo Ninja Sex Party, who have collaborated with Steel Panther on occasion, blend rock and synthpop and have produced songs that parody the dubstep and heavy metal genres. They have enjoyed success from their online popularity. [11] Another band, Primus, is known for their wacky lyrics and comedic music videos. Gorillaz is a British virtual band whose fictional, animated members parody contemporary trends in popular music.

Many bands within the alternative rock and college rock spectrum are known for their incorporation of humorous and satirical songs, with bands such as Mindless Self Indulgence, They Might Be Giants, [12] the Presidents of the United States of America, Bloodhound Gang, System of a Down, Ween and Camper Van Beethoven finding both mainstream and independent success in the United States, as well as successful foreign bands such as Parokya ni Edgar and Knorkator. Punk rock and pop punk has made its contribution to the comedy rock ranks, with such bands as the Aquabats, Blink-182, Bowling for Soup, Patent Pending, Dead Kennedys, the Dead Milkmen, the Meatmen and the Radioactive Chicken Heads.

Heavy metal has also produced many humor-oriented and satirical bands, including Green Jellÿ, Lawnmower Deth, Massacration, M.O.D., Big Dumb Face, Eskimo Callboy, Nanowar of Steel, J.B.O., Psychostick, Crotchduster, Ludichrist, Spinal Tap, Okilly Dokilly and Scatterbrain, whose comedic shtick mostly revolves around parodying heavy metal cliches and ironically spoofing the seriousness of many traditional metal bands, while other bands such as Gwar, Lordi and Rosemary's Billygoat utilize outrageous costumes and over-the-top stage shows. The virtual band Dethklok is death metal spoof featured in the Adult Swim animated TV Show Metalocalypse [13] and their album The Dethalbum debuted at No. 21 on the Billboard Top 200 list. [14]

In the German rock scene, Die Ärzte are known for their often humorous songs and videos that sometimes parody popular rock, punk, metal or pop cliches, and Die Toten Hosen have released several ironic, humorous songs as well. Some famous Neue Deutsche Welle acts, most notably Falco and Trio, were also known for their often humorous, ironic and satirical lyrics.

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>The Presidents of the United States of America</i> (album) 1995 studio album by The Presidents of the United States of America

The Presidents of the United States of America is the debut studio album by the American alternative rock band The Presidents of the United States of America, released in March 10, 1995 via PopLlama Records. Columbia Records signed the band shortly after its release to handle increased distribution for the album.

Metal umlaut Gratuitous diacritic used in the names of some rock bands

A metal umlaut is a diacritic that is sometimes used gratuitously or decoratively over letters in the names of hard rock or heavy metal bands—for example those of Blue Öyster Cult, Queensrÿche, Motörhead, The Accüsed and Mötley Crüe.

<i>Poodle Hat</i> 2003 studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Poodle Hat is the eleventh studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic, released on May 20, 2003. It was the fifth studio album self-produced by Yankovic. The musical styles on the album are built around parodies and pastiches of pop of the early-2000s. The album's lead single, "Couch Potato", is a parody of "Lose Yourself" by Eminem. The single failed to chart, although the album's song "eBay" eventually peaked at number 115 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2007.

<i>Bad Hair Day</i> 1996 album by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Bad Hair Day is the ninth studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic, released on March 12, 1996. It was also Yankovic's last studio album for the Scotti Brothers label before it was purchased by Volcano Records in 1999. The album produced an array of hit comedy singles; lead single "Amish Paradise", which lampoons both Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" and the Amish lifestyle, charted at No. 53 on the Billboard Hot 100, while "Gump", which parodies "Lump" by the Presidents of the United States of America and the movie Forrest Gump, reached at No. 102.

<i>Off the Deep End</i> 1992 studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Off the Deep End is the seventh studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic, released in 1992. This album was the first album self-produced by Yankovic, after six albums with Rick Derringer. Recorded between June 1990 and January 1992, the album was a follow-up to the unsuccessful soundtrack to Yankovic's 1989 film UHF. Off the Deep End and its lead single "Smells Like Nirvana" helped to revitalize Yankovic's career after a lull in the late 1980s.

<i>"Weird Al" Yankovic</i> (album) 1983 studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic

"Weird Al" Yankovic is the debut album by American parodist Alfred "Weird Al" Yankovic. The album was the first of many produced by former The McCoys guitarist Rick Derringer. Mostly recorded in March 1982, the album was released by Rock 'n Roll Records as an LP and on Compact Cassette in 1983.

Ween American alternative rock band

Ween is an American alternative rock band formed in New Hope, Pennsylvania, in 1984 by childhood friends Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo, better known by their respective stage names, Gene and Dean Ween. After meeting in a middle-school typing class, the two began playing music and immediately chose the name Ween as well as their Ramones-inspired pseudonyms. Ween performed as a duo backed by a Digital Audio Tape for the band's first ten years of existence before expanding to a four- piece act. The band's highest charting single is "Push th' Little Daisies", which was a hit in the United States, New Zealand and Australia.

Smells Like Nirvana 1992 single by "Weird Al" Yankovic

"Smells Like Nirvana" is a parody of Nirvana's song "Smells Like Teen Spirit", written and performed by "Weird Al" Yankovic; it was released both as a single and as part of Yankovic's Off the Deep End album in April 1992. "Smells Like Nirvana" was written during a three-year career low for Yankovic after the financial failure of his film UHF, but captured the quickly-rising popularity of grunge and Nirvana's success. The song was written to poke fun at the fact that many people had a hard time understanding Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain's lyrics in the original song. After being unable to contact Nirvana by conventional means, Yankovic called Cobain while the band was on the set of Saturday Night Live, where Cobain quickly gave permission to record the parody.

Lump (song) 1995 single by The Presidents of the United States of America

"Lump" is a song by alternative rock band The Presidents of the United States of America. It was released in 1995 and featured on their self-titled debut album. The song reached number one on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart in 1995. Composer Chris Ballew said that the lyrics combined his own history of having a benign tumor in the head with a vision he had of a woman in a swamp, while employing the word "lump" because Ballew was fond of it. The musical part was described by Ballew as him "trying to write a Buzzcocks song". Ballew considers it his favorite composition.

You Dont Love Me Anymore ("Weird Al" Yankovic song) 1992 song performed by "Weird Al" Yankovic

"You Don't Love Me Anymore" is a song by American recording artist "Weird Al" Yankovic. It was released as the second single from his seventh studio album Off the Deep End on June 19, 1992. While much of his musical output consists of parodies of other artists' material, "You Don't Love Me Anymore" is an original composition written and produced by Yankovic. A soft acoustic ballad in a style parody of James Taylor, the song features darkly humorous lyrics about a relationship between Yankovic and an unnamed woman that has faltered to the point that she repeatedly attempts to kill him, which he has only just begun to notice.

Steel Panther American band

Steel Panther is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California, mostly known for their profane and humorous lyrics, as well as their exaggerated on-stage personae that reenact the stereotypical "glam metal" lifestyle.

<i>Straight Outta Lynwood</i> 2006 studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Straight Outta Lynwood is the twelfth studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic, released on September 26, 2006. It was the sixth studio album self-produced by Yankovic. The musical styles on the album are built around parodies and pastiches of pop and rock music of the mid-2000s. The album's lead single, "White & Nerdy", is a parody of Chamillionaire's hit single "Ridin'". The single peaked at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100; "Canadian Idiot", a parody of Green Day's "American Idiot", also charted, peaking at number 82.

"Weird Al" Yankovic American singer

Alfred Matthew "Weird Al" Yankovic is an American musical comedian known for his humorous songs that make light of popular culture and often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts; original songs that are style pastiches of the work of other acts; and polka medleys of several popular songs, featuring his favored instrument, the accordion.

<i>Internet Leaks</i> 2009 EP by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Internet Leaks is the second EP released by American comedy musician "Weird Al" Yankovic. Released digitally on August 25, 2009, its lead single is a parody of "Whatever You Like" by artist T.I. For Yankovic, the EP was an experiment in using the Internet as a way to release music in an efficient and timely manner. As a result, the lead single, "Whatever You Like", references the Great Recession of 2008. The EP also contains style parodies of the Doors, Weezer, the White Stripes, and Queen; all of the songs, except for "Ringtone", had been released as separate digital singles between October 2008 and August 2009, preceding the record's release.

The original use of the term "parody" in music referred to re-use for wholly serious purposes of existing music. In popular music that sense of "parody" is still applicable to the use of folk music in the serious songs of such writers as Bob Dylan, but in general, "parody" in popular music refers to the humorous distortion of musical ideas or lyrics or general style of music.

<i>Mandatory Fun</i> 2014 studio album by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Mandatory Fun is the fourteenth studio album by American musician "Weird Al" Yankovic. Self-produced, the album was released by RCA Records in the United States on July 15, 2014. Yankovic had previously released Alpocalypse in 2011, and toured in support of it when he first spoke of his next record. When he began to work on what would become Mandatory Fun, Yankovic found himself listening to older acts, many of which he would stylistically spoof on the album.

"Tacky" is a song by American musician "Weird Al" Yankovic from his fourteenth studio album, Mandatory Fun (2014). The song is a parody of the 2013 single "Happy" by Pharrell Williams. The song mocks questionable style in fashion as well as activities considered gauche. Yankovic recorded the song as one of the last on Mandatory Fun, and received Williams' approval directly, through email. He remarked he was "honored" to have his work spoofed by Yankovic.

Word Crimes 2013 song by "Weird Al" Yankovic

"Word Crimes" is a song by American musician "Weird Al" Yankovic from his fourteenth studio album, Mandatory Fun (2014). The song is a parody of the 2013 single "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke, featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I. The song spoofs misuse of proper English grammar and usage, reflecting Yankovic's own rigor for proper syntax and semantics. Yankovic chose a topic that would be distinct from those used in many pre-existing parodies, and that would avoid the misogyny issues that had arisen from the source material.

"Handy" is a song by American musician "Weird Al" Yankovic from his fourteenth studio album, Mandatory Fun (2014). The song is a parody of the 2014 single "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea, featuring Charli XCX. Yankovic met Azalea in person for permission to spoof the song, and he completed his track shortly before the album was mastered and released. "Handy" focuses on a character who brags about his abilities regarding various handyman tasks. The music video was released on July 17, 2014 and features Yankovic assuming the character portrayed in the song. "Handy" received a mixed response from music critics.

Jarrod Alonge American comedian and musician

Jarrod Alonge is an American comedian, songwriter and music producer. He is best known for his parodies of the artists, sub-genres and stereotypes within alternative music. He has released three independent full-length studio albums, Beating a Dead Horse, Friendville and Awkward & Depressed, all of which reached number one on the Billboard Top Comedy Albums chart. Alonge is the owner and founder of Boketo Media, a digital media and production company which launched in March 2019. He is also the lead songwriter and guitarist of post-hardcore project CrazyEightyEight.

References

  1. https://www.last.fm/tag/comedy+punk
  2. https://www.loudersound.com/features/the-10-best-comedy-metal-songs
  3. V. Bogdanov, C. Woodstra and S. T. Erlewine, All music guide to rock: the definitive guide to rock, pop, and soul (Backbeat Books, 3rd Edition., 2002), pp. 126.
  4. The 10 Best Novelty Songs of the '50s-ThoughtCo.
  5. Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits: The Inside Story Behind Every Number. Billboard Books. p. 38. ISBN   0-8230-7677-6.
  6. Stephenson, John-Paul (10 February 2012). "CD Review: Mitch Benn & The Distractions – Breaking Strings". Giggle Beats. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  7. "Comedy rock". Allmusic.
  8. Ofjord. "The Turtles Present the Battle of the Bands > Review" at AllMusic . Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  9. Caulfield, Keith (23 July 2014). "'Weird Al' Yankovic Gets First No. 1 Album On Billboard 200 with 'Mandatory Fun'". Billboard . Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  10. "Feeling The Steel Panther: Interview with Michael Starr". Nightlife. The Aquarian Weekly. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  11. Milne, Gregory (11 July 2013). "Ninja Sex Party: Tales of Strawberries and Cream". Living Myth Magazine. Living Myth Magazine. Archived from the original on 25 May 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  12. Comedy Issue: Laugh tracks by Frank Zappa, Ween, They Might Be Giants and more-Creative Loafing
  13. allmusic.com
  14. "Dethalbum Debuts At #21 On Billboard Top 200 Archived 5 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine " 9 October 2007