What is the best song on Weird Al Yankovic's debut album?

Eh, what the hey. This seems to be the blend of the week, and as I can see from the Weird Al isn’t funny thread, most dopers disagree with that accusation.

So lets start with his first album (the one that featured accordion–and sometimes little else–on every single song!) and see how many votes this gets before I spam the board with his other 13.

“I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead” gets my vote with “Mr Frump in An Iron Lung” and “I Love Rocky Road” a very close tie for second.

I’m kinda partial to “Gotta Boogie”.

“Gotta boogie on my finger and I can’t shake it off.”

D’oh. I voted for Ricky before really looking at the songs I’d never heard before, but I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead is way better.

Oh, come on. Happy Birthday is a word of genius.

I really only discovered Weird Al around Dare To Be Stupid, so I don’t know the songs from WAY and WAY in 3D that well… Ricky, I Love Rocky Road, My Bologna, and Another One Rides the Bus, I recognize, the rest I don’t.

Of those, My Bologna and Another One Rides the Bus are both pretty wretched, leaving Ricky and I Love Rocky Road…ILRR is parodying a superior song (naught wrong with Mickey, it’s just I Love Rock & Roll is better), so it wins.

Happy Birthday is awesome, as is Another One Rides the Bus, but Mr. Frump is my favorite from that album. I remember listening to it as a kid and just laughing hysterically. It still makes me laugh out loud. It’s so wrong, and yet so good.

Strangely enough, I think the EP version (which I actually used to own, and then sold on ebay for $202) of Happy Birthday is much better than the album version. Has a nice garage band (where it was recorded) feel to it.

I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead is simply brilliant though, and is heads above everything else on the first mediocre album.

As you will see if/when I start the second album poll, there is a HUGE jump in quality, as to be expected once Al had the full backing of a record label. The problem with his debut album is that it was dragged out for years. Bus was recorded in 1980, and Ricky in 1983, and most of the songs in between were recorded independently in order to sell Al to a label, most of which just couldn’t see an accordion-playing-geek as a major star.

A little bit of trivia about the first album:

  • The track listing originally was going to contain Yoda (the version with accordion) and It’s Still Billy Joel To Me, but the record label had trouble obtaining royalties permission for these songs.

  • Ricky and Buckingham Blues were written to replace those. Buckingham was originally a parody of Jack & Diane by John Mellencamp, called Chuck & Diana. Again, they had trouble getting permission to parody it, so Al rewrote it as a blues song, but still kept most of the lyrics which work when sung to Jack & Diane.

My favorite is Gotta Boogie, but I think Ricky is a better song overall.


When I first got this album (yes, on initial release; I’m officially old), “I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead” was my unchallenged favorite. But nowadays, the lyrics that made it so funny are pretty dated. So I’ll go with the timeless genius of “Ricky.”

I always liked Ricky because of the line:

Oh Ricky, what a pity, don’t you understand
That every day’s a rerun and the laughter’s always canned

I used to think it was a surprisingly profound line in an otherwise goofy song, although now that I actually give it some thought it’s not really. Still, it’s a good line. It’s also a pretty good music video, especially since it’s possibly the earliest recording of Weird Al with a regular haircut and no moustache. He looks like a skinnier Jim Carrey.

I voted for Happy Birthday because it’s damn funny (and the spoken “Okay boys and girls, sing along, okay?” pushes it over the top). But I also love “Gotta Boogie” (which takes a dumb, immature joke and runs with it), and “Ricky” for the video, for Tress MacNeille’s work, and for being the first Al parody that completely supplants the original.

Totally love Another One Rides The Bus. Probably because it’s just straight up Al and his accordian and it’s one of his few parodies that isn’t about food.
His rapid breathless delivery is perfect.
“There’s an elbow poking me in the ribs and my face is turnin blue,
I haven’t been in a crowd like this since I went to see The Who!’”

Happy Birthday.

It was the one that showed me Al was capable of some ripping satire and was more than just a parodist.

It was close between Buckingham Blues and Happy Birthday but I went with the former.