The parody king talks about how it felt to have the No. 1 comedy album in the country with ‘Mandatory Fun.’ Weird Al appears Sunday at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.
Video and interview by Charles Runnells/news-press.com
From the ’50s through the ’80s, the Top 40 was a real melting pot of music with so many types of songs represented on the charts.
First, you had MOR, short for Middle of the Road, which included all the artists our parents loved like Sinatra, Mathis, Bennett. When those artists no longer were fixtures on hit radio, this genre was replaced with Adult Contemporary, which were any pure pop songs that weren’t rockers or disco, like Captain and Tennille, and Tony Orlando and Dawn.
There was always a foreign language record or two, even in the ’80s with “99 Luftballoons” in German, and the ’90s with “Macarena.” You had rock, you had soul (what rhythm and blues became). And you had novelty records.
Here I was as a kid, listening to all this “serious” music, and then I would hear “Purple People Eater,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks,” “Beep Beep” … the last songs I can recall hearing that might qualify for that genre would be “Barbie Girl” and anything from “Weird” Al Yankovic.
EARLIER: Todd’s Baby Boomer Trivia: Volume 7
EARLIER: Todd’s Baby Boomer Trivia: Volume 6
EARLIER: Todd’s Baby Boomer Trivia: Volume 5
And then there were Buchanan and Goodman. These two guys made up a silly newscast, one being the anchor, the other the field reporter who would ask interview questions that were answered by a clip of a current pop song that would make the response supposedly be funny. An example I can give you with a song everyone knows would be:
Reporter: You’ve been accused of stealing millions of dollars, evading taxes and marrying multiple women. What do you have to say for yourself?
Song clip: “Happy Birthday to You.”
Yes, they would sometimes be that silly. Dickie Goodman carried this on by himself into the ’70s with “Mr. Jaws,” based on the movie “Jaws,” and on that record, Dickie interviews the shark. Or should I say, jumps the shark?
Today, each genre has its own radio station, playing only songs of that kind. The current version of Top 40, called CHR or Contemporary Hit Radio, will have rock, pop and dance songs. No longer will you hear a DJ be able to do what I did on a show, which was to first play a Dionne Warwick song followed by “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin. And no longer will you hear the Singing Nun or Volare.
If you want variety, here’s a variety of trivia questions. Don’t go to a variety of websites to look up the answers. Just send them to me at [email protected] Answers next week. Include your town.
- The parody of what 1979 song launched the career of “Weird” Al? What was his title of his song?
- Do you know the title of the 1956 novelty record that launched the career of Buchanan and Goodman?
- What was the title of the song in Japanese that hit No. 1 in 1963?
Last week’s answers:
- Rheingold was the Mets sponsor, Ballantine was the Yankee sponsor.
- Mel and Tim had a big hit with “Backfield in Motion.”
- The three players mentioned in “Centerfield” are “Say Hey” Willie (Mays), Ty Cobb and Joe DiMaggio.
Congrats to George Dealaman of Warren and Rich Katz for “touching ‘em all.”
Frank Todd is the host of “Todd’s Top 20,” a syndicated oldies radio show heard on over 20 stations around the world, 7 days a week. Visit www.franktoddradio.com for info and the schedule. He is also a substitute host on “Music You Can’t Hear on the Radio” over WPRB, Princeton.
Read or Share this story: http://mycj.co/2GApb62