By the time the mid-’90s rolled around, “Weird Al” Yankovic had already recorded “Eat It”, “Like a Surgeon”, “Yoda”, “Fat”, “Spam”, “Smells Like Nirvana”, “Bedrock Anthem”, and dozens of other iconic parodies. He’d been a comedy legend for a decade. And yet somehow the accordion-playing mad genius found a way to reach another echelon with the landmark release of 1996’s Bad Hair Day.
On the back of hits like “Amish Paradise” and “Phony Calls”, the record introduced Yankovic to a whole new generation of fans. Moving a record-shattering 1.3 million copies in its first year, it was his highest-charting effort to that point, topping off at No. 14 in the US and cracking the top 10 in Canada. Over the years, its renown only grew, until in 2019 it became one of just eight comedy records to achieve Double Platinum status. It currently sits at No. 4 on the Nielsen-era comedy albums list.
What about this collection of 12 humorous gems lets it shine so brightly amongst a treasure trove of albums? On the 25th anniversary of Bad Hair Day (which is actually today, March 12th), Consequence of Sound searches for that answer with the help of three artists whose songs were parodied on that very LP: Mike Mills of R.E.M., whose “Bang and Blame” is part of “The Alternative Polka”; Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum, whose “Misery” became “Syndicated Inc.” and “Black and Gold” inspired “The Night Santa Went Crazy”; and Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America, whose “Lump” was turned into the classic “Gump”.
To help guide the conversation, we brought in John Gourley and Zach Carothers of Portugal. The Man, self-professed super-fans, friends, and collaborators of Yankovic’s. The Weird One polka-fied their smash tracks “Feel It Still” and “Live in the Moment”, and just last year they honored Indigenous Peoples Day with their collaboration “Who’s Gonna Stop Me”.
Joining us via Zoom, the quintet of musicians traded Weird stories, talked about the best Bad Hair Day tracks, and discussed why Yankovic is more than just a master of comedy — he’s an artist. Weird Al even delivered an e-mailed message about the legacy of Bad Hair Day.
Watch Mills, Pirner, Ballew, and the PTM boys revisit “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Bad Hair Day above.
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