Word to your Mo-Ther!
October 30, 2010 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Polka medleys are a trademark of Weird Al Yankovic in which he covers the era's most iconic songs on accordion. His next album will likely include Polka Face. But, if you like some of the older stuff...

Polkas on 45 (1983)
Hooked on Polkas (1985)
Polka Party! (1986)
The Hot Rocks Polka (1989)
Polka Your Eyes Out (1992)
Bohemian Polka (1983) (previously)
The Alternative Polka (1996) - made for "Bad Hair Day" TV special
Polka Power! (1999)
Angry White Boy Polka (2003)
Polkarama! (2006) (previously)
The Wikipedia entry includes lots of information about the songs covered in each.
posted by l33tpolicywonk (27 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I just bought Polkarama! yesterday, because it was sorely missing from my iTunes library. I love these.
posted by gc at 2:39 PM on October 30, 2010

When I was a sad teenager, Weird Al Yankovic's polkas were the best breakup music there was.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:45 PM on October 30, 2010 [5 favorites]

Polkas On 45 was played so often by a small group of campers at Hummingbird Music Camp back in the 80s that it was eventually banned from the boys' dorm. That was the only piece of music which was banned from being played during my decade of attending that music camp. I think Mr. Yankovic deserves a framable certificate for that achievement, actually.

And I should say, there are songs contained within that medley which I cannot hear without immediately translating to their polka versions and then mind-wandering down the rest of the chain of songs in the medley. I think that's a powerful testament to how effective his polka adaptation work is. Sadly, it probably detracts from the original versions in my addled brain. But I don't lose too much sleep over that. Weird Al rules!
posted by hippybear at 2:46 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Of course the latest installment of the medleys would be called "Polka Face." There is no other logical alternative.
posted by Golfhaus at 2:52 PM on October 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

there are songs contained within that medley which I cannot hear without immediately translating to their polka versions

Yeah, that was pretty much the end of "Hey Joe" as a song I would ever be able to take seriously again (ever).
posted by Wolfdog at 2:57 PM on October 30, 2010 [5 favorites]

Goblin polka band.
posted by Splunge at 3:00 PM on October 30, 2010

Polka Face.
posted by kenko at 3:05 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Tik Tok Metal Polka
posted by Wolfdog at 3:12 PM on October 30, 2010

I guess I'm showing my age... back in the 1980s and 1990s I knew pop music like the back of my hand... now I don't even recognize half the tunes Weird Al is covering these days.
posted by crapmatic at 3:14 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ahem, you forgot Polkamon.
posted by Talez at 3:21 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

It's called Auto-Focus/Wide Shot, wannabe bootlegger.
posted by jscott at 3:26 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

I said yesterday that that post was the first MetaFilter post that got me to buy something. Well, less than 24 hours later, here I am buying two Weird Al polkas after discovering them to be absent from my library. Goddamn it, MeFi, you're gonna make me poor.
posted by spamguy at 3:40 PM on October 30, 2010

It really says something about the quality of the original songs in the Angry White Boy Polka that even their polka versions feel draggy and leaden. You just cannot make that shit remotely entertaining.
posted by otolith at 4:02 PM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I said yesterday that that post was the first MetaFilter post that got me to buy something.

It was because of Metafilter that I went to see Weird Al when he came through town last summer. In particular the discussion about the "Yoda Chant." I mean I always liked him but it never occurred to me to go see him. He does a great show, and (of course - it was the same tour) he opened with the same Polka Face medley as in the last link.

And the Yoda Chant was a hoot.
posted by lordrunningclam at 4:28 PM on October 30, 2010

When I was 13, I was at a ticket counter at LaGuardia Airport (on the way to visit my Uncle Geno in Illinois) when the counter guy told me, "Turn around and look at the phonebooth, dude," and there, resplendent in jeans and a Hawaiian shirt was Wierd Al himself. I waited for him to get off the phone and sit down and I tore a few scraps of paper out of the book I had with me and asked for his autograph and one for my uncle, when he misspelled my uncle's name as 'Gino' he insisted on signing again "Hi, Uncle Geno, Weid Al Yankovic." He cracked jokes and graciously exchanged stories with every fan saying hello.

Working in bookstores and briefly in the music inductry, and just living in NYC, I've met plenty of famous and semi-famous people, but Al was definitely the friendliest and lest pretentious.
posted by jonmc at 5:01 PM on October 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

I am not a huge Stones fan, but I have a really inappropriate affection for the Hot Rocks Polka. Well, and also for Al in general, of course, but I've been through that before.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:21 PM on October 30, 2010

What about Polka Face by Sol Rabinowitz & The Polka Dots? Shall we ignore that now?
posted by CarlRossi at 9:33 PM on October 30, 2010

I learned a lot of lyrics to popular songs just by listening to Al's polka versions. It's interesting how much more clearly he enunciates the lyrics, especially when you consider that they're often sung at a much higher speed.
posted by ErWenn at 10:30 PM on October 30, 2010

Weird Al is awesomesauce. That is all you need to know.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 10:44 PM on October 30, 2010

I get the timing on Bohemian Rhapsody all wrong every time I try to sing it. :\
posted by cthuljew at 11:16 PM on October 30, 2010

I don't understand why his name is "Weird" Al.
posted by wv kay in ga at 11:26 PM on October 30, 2010

I don't understand why his name is "Weird" Al.

According to Wikipedia:

During Yankovic's sophomore year as an architecture student at Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo, he became a disc jockey at the university's radio station, KCPR. Yankovic said he had been nicknamed Weird Al by fellow students and "took it on professionally" as his persona for the station.
posted by secret about box at 2:12 AM on October 31, 2010

Weird Al is a fantastic show. You knew something was up when they had a slideshow of '80s one-hit wonders set to "Runaway Train" as the opening act. The whole show was non-stop awesome comedy and music.

A few years back, he signed autographs at a local Dunkin' Donuts as part of a fundraiser for victims of the Station Nightclub fire, only because he couldn't get a permit to play in the parking lot. IIRC the media quote was, "I'm disappointed. It's always been a dream of mine to play in the parking lot of a donut store in Rhode Island."

So, yeah, classy and funny.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:13 AM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

I use to love these. Now I don't recognize half of these song. Dammit Weird Al you make me feel old and disconnected from pop culture...I'm only 28!
posted by toekneebullard at 6:54 AM on October 31, 2010

From the pages of Billboard.
posted by kersplunk at 11:32 AM on October 31, 2010

I was in college when Off The Deep End came out. Previously, I'd been tangentially aware of Weird Al, as MTV played videos back then, and "Eat It" had been played quite a lot. I'd never listened to a whole Weird Al album before, though.

It was a revelation. When "Polka Your Eyes Out" came on, I started laughing. Halfway through, I couldn't breathe. Tears streamed down my face, and I may well have wet myself.

We have so many more options for music delivery now than we did back then. You had radio. That's it.* A couple Top 40 stations, an oldies station, a hard rock station. That was the only way to hear new music, unless you had a friend who had a huge cassette collection who would make you mix tapes. And the radio stations played the same few songs over and over and over again-- pretty much like they do now, only there was NOTHING ELSE. Hearing Weird Al take all these overplayed songs, the mass-produced cool that we all bought into, and puncture their ridiculousness was like a brick to my head. He took everything that I wasn't cool enough for and showed me how hollow it was.

I'm sure I'm beanplating this whole thing, but I credit Weird Al for showing me that it's better to be outside mocking the trend than inside swallowing it whole.
posted by cereselle at 12:40 PM on October 31, 2010

I wouldn't say that Weird Al stands outside, mocking trends as an observer. Weird Al shoves himself inside as far as he can go and then mocks himself.
posted by ErWenn at 6:48 PM on October 31, 2010

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