April Fool's Day: 7 Best Musical Parody Acts of All Time
April Fool's Day can be a bit of a tough time to be on the Internet. From real stories about a Hamburger Helper mixtape to fake stories about a Gwen Stefani pregnancy or a new Jay Z album, it's hard to know what is true out there.
In honor of this oftentimes horrible holiday, we're looking at some acts who have taken the art of the joke and applied it flawlessly to music. From perfect Beatles follies to the classic sounds of Weird Al and The Lonely Island, here are some of the best parody acts out of all time.
There's nothing quite like an original, and few parodies paralleled the act they meant to mock more than this Beatles-inspired group. Some of the band's most popular songs, including "I Must Be in Love," "Ouch!" and "With a Girl Like You" so flawlessly capture the sound and feeling of the early Beatles, that it's hard to find the joke. But, then you listen closer and it's clear that these songs pretty much say nothing - and that's almost a perfect parody. With the release of an accompanying film All You Need Is Cash, the Rutles ended up inspiring plenty of other acts on this list...
Including Spinal Tap. Classic rock of the '70s and the early '80s was ripe for parodying. From the testosterone-fueled lyrics and sexualized performances to elaborate stage sets and massive egos, this was all, admittedly, low hanging fruit. But, what Rob Reiner and Spinal Tap members Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer did was classic parody, if not exactly subtle. From the music that takes on the styles of Queen, Van Halen and the Beatles. Plus, some of the movie's lines are actual rock 'n' roll staples ("Hello, Cleveland!" anyone?)
Flight of the Conchords
What could be more gangster than a pair of folk rockers from New Zealand? The answer is nothing. Flight of the Conchords' music rangers from a hardcore rap battle ("Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenocerous") to banging pop tunes ("Too Many Dicks (On the Dancefloor)") to sweet acoustic folk ("Business Time"). There's nothing cruel in FotC's comedy; they come from a really innocent and sweet point of view. And it's kind of hard not to jam out to some of these tunes, that is, if you're into it...
The Lonely Island
Rising to prominence on Saturday Night Live with their actual smash hits "I'm on a Boat" and "Lazy Sunday," these comedians/rappers have played the viral video game incredibly well. The Lonely Island have always been a big fan of the bait and switch. Songs like "YOLO" or "I Just Had Sex" or "Jizz in My Pants" seem line genuine songs at the front, but then the beat drops and so do the jokes. And, with a new movie Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping on the way, these dudes aren't slowing down.
Why did it take until 2010 for someone to take on the massive ego of Britpop stars? Channeling mainly the Gallagher brothers of Oasis, Russell Brand's Aldous Snow is 1) a surprisingly great singer 2) perfectly nuanced in bringing together British tropes with music that sounds very nearly genuine. From "Bangers, Beans and Mash" to "The Clap" and the Forgetting Sarah Marshall classic "Inside of You," Infant Sorrow's tracks manage to be at once catchy and subtly bizarre.
Garfunkel and Oates
Singing about drugs, anal sex, bestiality and one night stands may sound a little bit like something that would be covered by a metal group or a hardcore rapper, but nope, these topics come to the world via comedy-folk duo Garfunkel and Oates (a.k.a. Riki Lindhorne and Kate Micucci). Singing such sweet songs with a bite like "F*ck You," "Pregnant Women Are Smug" and "Happy Birthday to My Lose Acquaintance," it's hard to find something in this duo's discography that you don't relate to - whether or not you believe in "The Loophole."
"Weird Al" Yankovic
Has any artist made such a lucrative, long-lasting career out of the art of parody like Weird Al Yankovic? We think not. Over his 30-plus year career, Weird Al has laughed with (and not at!) the biggest stars in music from Michael Jackson to Nirvana to Madonna and Green Day. His songs are silly to the core and injected with more nerd humor than you could ever need, but everything from "Amish Paradise" to "Yoda" to "White & Nerdy" are bona fide classics. Plus, his latest album Mandatory Fun genuinely taught you something, thanks to the grammar lesson hit "Word Crimes."