#1
This could evolve into a contest. It could thread off into technique since it's a great way to practice writing lyrics. But unless/until someone moves it or redirects me, I'm going to run with the fact that it's at least just plain fun and sometimes hilarious and slap it down right here.

Parody is essentially writing "take-off" songs, pretty much what made Weird Al Yankovick rich. There's a branch of it called "filking" (or filk songs) that uses known music and lyrics having to do with science fiction and is a staple activity at SF gatherings. Another variant is satire, which makes fun of (as opposed to making fun with) something such as the original song, a political agenda, etc.

It makes for very good comedy material because a big part of something being funny is it being different from, but recognized as being similar to, another thing. I've been doing this for years and have tons of it. I'm going to toss a few out as specific examples or just for fun and see how things develop.

Here's one of my pieces that got a lot of exposure. I took a graduate level comedy writing course at Old Dominion University. Our final exam was on stage. The class unanimously chose it as the opening act. It's just parody, not satire, though it does try to stick real close to the original in timing, beat/rest pattern, etc.

LIKE A LUMP

from Like A Rock
written by Bob Seger
performed by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band
from "Like A Rock", 1986
transcribed by Peter Eybert <pjoe@charon.muc.de>


G C G C

G
Almost 40, losing all my hair
C
Shirts keep shrinikng, I'm shaped just like a pear
F C
Broke til payday, think I'll just sit there
G Gsus-G
like a lump

G
I'm unemployed now, don't have a real job
C
I'd turn the channel, but I can't reach the knob
F C
I'd get my dinner, but that's someone else's job
G Gsus-G
like a lump

G
My chair is comfy, my eyes are open wide
C
300 channels, all there in TV guide
F C
My favorite beverage, right here by by side
G Gsus-G
like a lump


G
Like a lump, staring at the set
C
Like a lump, Still as I can get
F C
Like a lump, is dinner ready yet?
G
Like a lump


Em
And I sat completely still, as couch potatoes will
G
During all the ads and the shows
C
My feet up, I sat back, in my stomach I could pack
Am D
A whole box of Ho-Hos

G
20 years now, where'd they go
C
20 years now, I don't know
F C G
I sit and wonder sometimes, what's coming on

G
Watching TV late at nite,
C
bathed in that cool blue TV light
F C
No one else awake, no one to block my sight
G Gsus G
And I watch reruns, watch reruns

G
Like a lump, some shows are 20 years gone
C
Like a lump, it's too far to reach the john
F [C - deaden strings, music stops, words spoken/yelled]
Like a lump, QUIET, OPRAH'S ON
G
Like a lump

G
Like a lump, I'm stuck here in the den,
C
Like a lump, been here since I don't know when
F C
Like a lump, watching Mr. Ed again,
G
Like a lump. Oh, like a lump.

G
Like a lump, staring at the set
C
Like a lump, Still as I can get
F C
Like a lump, is dinner ready yet?

G Gsus / / G
Like a lump,......
Last edited by drmcclainphd at Jul 23, 2010,
#2
I wrote this one for my younger son. He's a professor of mechanical engineering, but has done work in nonlinear optics for the experimental fusion reactor, the National Ignition Facility. He's thinking about going back there, or else Los Alamos, where they do nuclear bomb research. I needed something nuclear science related, but also extremely silly because he's that way. I mean, what else can you call someone who played slide trombone for Uncle Stumpy's Porn Funk Band? This one does have a few statements that could be taken as politically based, but they're really only there for shock value, not as a pointed jab, and so are still only parody, not satire. There are a few in-joke things that might need explaining:
Oppy = Robert Oppenhiemer, chief scientist for The Manhattan Project.
Yellow cake = uranium oxide, first level extract from ore
klystron = the microwave emitting "tube" in a microwave oven, also used as a fast trigger for nukes.

NEUTRON AND URANIUM
from Harry Nillson's De Lime an' De Coconut

They purified uranium
that they dug up from the ground
so that they could build a gadget
that would make a lot of sound
TNT equivalent
twenty thousand ton
so they could drop it on a city
and vaporize everyone.

Oppy, is there something we can make
Oppy, that would feel like an earthquake
Oppy, is there something we can make
Oppy, starting out with yellow cake.

Put a neutron in uranium
with just the right collision
Put a neutron in uranium
then you'll get some fission
Put a neutron in uranium
make sure there's critical mass
Put a neutron in uranium
it be brighter than the sun

(Let me get this straight)
We put a neutron in uranium
with just the right collision
We put a neutron in uranium
then We'll get some fission
We put a neutron in uranium
and start a chain reaction
We put a neutron in uranium
and We fry everyone?

Yes, you put one neutron in uranium
and out comes three or four,
and those hit more uraniums
and those release some more
I am death, destroyer of worlds
to borrow a phrase
you'll get a big explosion
and some gamma rays.

Obviously this is MAD
because this little word
means mutual destruction,
of that you are assured.
these things are so scary,
that we would never have a war.
So we'll just build some more and more
and more and more and more

Just put a neutron in uranium
with just the right collision
Put a neutron in uranium
then you'll get some fission
Put a neutron in uranium
and if there's critical mass
Put a neutron in uranium
it be brighter than the sun

We put a neutron in uranium
with just the right collision
We put a neutron in uranium
then We'll get some fission
We put a neutron in uranium
and start a chain reaction
We put a neutron in uranium
and We fry everyone

It's better with plutonium
but U two thirty five will do
high explosives for implosion
a klystron trigger too
A few thousand of these cost a lot to make
but you got to figure what's it worth
if we can prevent all future war
by destroying all life on Earth.

woo woo
... the right collision
I said woo woo
... nuclear fission
I sat yah yah
... critical mass
and we can all woo woo
bend over kiss our ass
[pause -- as a large Amen ending]
Good -- By - y - ye
#3
One for my older son, now at Johns Hopkins and previously at NIH Bethesda MD, just inside the Washington DC beltway. The weather and the traffic around DC are both awful and when they gang up on you, well, you can always take The Metro subway instead:

Riding the Metro
based on REO Speedwagon's
"Riding The Storm Out"

In the key of screeeEEECH as it brakes under the train station,
at the beat of clickCLICK clickCLICK clickCLICK as it crosses
the bridge by the Pentagon

[Siren rises then goes down slowly,
ending suddenly with the sound of
breaking glass]


Riding the Metro,
trying to save some petrol,
on a snowy night
on a freezing D.C. winter.

Riding the subway,
staying off the beltway.
I been thinking lately
what it's like driving 'round the city.

Well I'm not missing a thing,
except the headaches the traffic brings.

Riding the Metro,
Riding the Metro,
Ri - i - iding the Metro.


Riding the Metro,
trying to save some petrol,
on a snowy night
on a freezing D.C. winter.

Riding the subway,
staying off the beltway.
I been thinking lately
about sliding on ice in the city.

Well I'm not missing a thing
except all those idiots crashing into things.

Riding the Metro,
Riding the Metro,
Ri - i - iding,
Ri - i - iding,
Ri - i - iding the Metro.
#4
Now this one IS satire, making fun of the song it is parodying. It takes Peter Gabriel's lovey-dovey sweetness-and-light hit "In Your Eyes", turns it upside down, turns it around 180 degrees pointing back the way it came from and shoves it at top speed down the stairs. Viewer discretion is advised.

From Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes

Bm DDDG D D D Bm DDD G DDD
Man, I get so pissed sometimes
Bm DDDG D D D Bm DDD G DDD
So pissed that a bloodlust fills my heart.
Bm DDD G DDD Bm DDD G DDD
In my dreams I chase you down and run you over with my car.
Bm DDD G DDD Bm DDD G DDD
But next morning I awake and look around, and there you are.
AAA-AA D G
Then my killing instincts, they return
AAA-AA D G
Kill you in bed, your house I'll burn.
AAA-AA D G
without a noise, your door gets pried
AAA-AA D G
I sneak in from the outside
G / / G / /
Oh oh oh Oh oh oh

E A
In your eyes, the fright the fear, your eyes as I draw near
E A
In your eyes, I see a graveyard with just one headstone
E A
your eyes you see it coming so you cry and you moan
E A
your eyes you'll soon be nothing but dead meat
E A
in your eyes, your life will soon be complete
E A
in your eyes I want to put out the light I see in
E
your eyes

[second verse]
- man, I don't care if you're in so much pain
- a life wasted and now it is
- slipping away
- i get so tired of putting up with you
- i just can't let you survive
- I look forward to a future
- without you alive

[repeat chorus]
#5
Weird Al always tries to get permission from the original's owner. He usually gets it. It doesn't matter. He's trying to be nice. But parody is protected under the US constitution as free speech in order to protect political satire. It is a special case of "fair use" under copyright law. You can sample the original music or lyrics if the purpose is to make fun of them. You can make music that sounds very close to the original, but you can't use the original music, even in samples, if the music is just as it is, without being poked at. I don't bother to try to get permission, but then I'm not making piles of cash either. If the owner stands to lose money because your gets confused with his they might have a case against you. If they stand to lose money because you criticize them publicly using a version of their material you've altered to serves as the criticism, they can just go bite the wall.