On the way home from work yesterday, the station I was listening to treated (?) me to R.E.M.'s “Stand.”
By the time the song was almost through and I’d heard the same lyrics a few times over, I thought, “you know, Al Yankovic’s “Spam” is actually a better song on the merits: the same music, but easily more interesting lyrics.”
And it got me to wondering: how many song parodies succeed in being better than the original song being parodied? I can’t imagine that there are many such songs, because most parodied songs are pretty good to begin with. For instance, part of the reason Yankovic’s “Yoda” and “Eat It” are good is that the Kinks’ “Lola” and Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” were good.
The only other example I could think of was the Rutles’ “Cheese and Onions” which is loosely a parody of “All Together Now” from the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine,” but turns itself into something more by borrowing from “A Day In The Life” and possibly other songs. But it’s clearly not intended as a parody of “A Day In The Life.”
So here’s my very short list:
Yankovic’s “Spam” > R.E.M.‘s “Stand”
The Rutles’ “Cheese and Onions” > The Beatles’ “All Together Now”
Anybody got any others?