The Art of Parody in Poetry

OBVIOUSLY, I should begin by explaining my reason for this post. It   has come about due to a series of days last week in which I heard songs on the radio – the station I turn to if I have to leave Ruby alone when I go out.
(Relax – Ruby is my dog – a two-year + old miniature salt-n-paper Schnauzer. Not a child.) The songs had me creating and singing a parody of them, because…

I Have Always Loved Parodies!

MY LOVE of parody came from my introduction to comedy by my parents. The likes of the 1940s’ Spike Jones and his City Slickers (parody via sound effects and ridiculous voice or instrument), Allan Sherman, known for adding comic words to existing works, the pianist Victor Borge noted for parodies of classical and operatic works. Then there was their 33 rpm record, A Caravan of Comedy, which included parodies of both music and radio shows, by such artists as Stan Freberg, Johnny Stanley parodying the preacher,  and Andy Griffiths, one of whom also appears on the album under two pseudonyms.  (At c. twelve I was able to recite word-by-word all the tracks on the album, mimicking the actors’ voices. My Dad was delighted.)

IN MY childhood, it was common on New Zealand radio to hear Brit comic songs:
Lonnie Donegan’s version of The Battle of New Orleans, his My Old Man’s a Dustman (1961) with the gags between verses, Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavour, and more.

AND THEN New Zealand’s own Howard Morrison Quartet recorded and performed live their parodies: The Battle of Waikato *, and My Old Man’s an All Black with gags between verses, and other comic songs, all part of their wider repertoire of songs and repartee. Rotorua’s HOWARD MORRISON PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE (currently awaiting earthquake proofing, while we residents miss so may touring performers) is our local tribute to both Sir Howard Morrison and to his fellow band members.

AND THERE was US performer Ray Stevens’s “novelty hits” (a list of 100 novelty hits) – Ahab the Arab (parodied by our Howard Morrison Quartet as Mori the Hori*),  Gitarzan, Bridget the Midget, and more – so many more!

THE ARRIVAL on the scene of the artist I regard as king of parody appeared first in 1976 with his first airing- Weird Al Yankovic. Without hitting Google and You Tube too much for details of the year/s released, or the medium, I’ll offer you my favorites: Beverley Hillbillies/I Want My MTV (revealed in the film UHF, originally titled The Vidiot From UHF) Eat It and Fat from the Michael Jackson classics, Another One Rides the Bus – interestingly with sound effects a la Spike Jones…

… Oh bugger (NZ expletive, not necessarily lewd) – Ruby’s arrived so it’s bed time.
May I post more later? Sorry – Ruby is lovably demanding. And bouncy.


* “hori” – a no longer used word for te Maori people – only ever used by the maori themselves

 

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