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Song Parodies -> "Vacation Awry (Part I)"

Original Song Title:

"American Pie"

Original Performer:

Don McLean

Parody Song Title:

"Vacation Awry (Part I)"

Parody Written by:

Patrick McWilliams

The Lyrics

To Tommy, who always believed I could do it, even when I did not. Reader's note: In the middle of the last chorus, the melody changes to "That'll Be The Day", by Buddy Holly. Just another clever reference. Ha, ha!
"Here's where you should go"
The travel agent told me
When I asked about a summer trip
"And knowing you don't like to fly
I booked for you a special buy
On a cruise line that will take you there by ship"

He handed me a slick brochure
A sandy beach, a sky azure
Tropic sun awaking
Those crystal waves were breaking
Before long, I would have my chance
I could sample native song and dance
Maybe even find romance

May flames consume his pants!

(Down at the harbor)

Wow! Wow! This decrepit old scow
Rivets creaking, seams were leaking
I just couldn't see how
This rusty hulk was ever going to survive
Wondered if I'd ever make it alive
If I'd ever make it alive

A tug boat gave our ship a shove
Then we all prayed to the Lord above
"For those in peril on the sea"
The first mate, he got roaring drunk
And he broke into the captain's trunk
Then he staggered 'round the cabin aimlessly

We learned our captain's name was Bjørn
And he wore a helmet, double horn
A bear skin for a shirt
My stomach was starting to hurt
I was a sea-sick Kansas diplomat
Wearing red suspenders and an Amish hat
And I knew that I would lose some fat

The rail, over the side

(I started heaving)

Round, round, head was spinning around
As my belly turned to jelly with a gurgling sound
When my bowels I could no longer restrain
That's how the poop deck landed its name
How the poop deck landed its name

For three weeks we were out of luck
The wireless busted and the rudder stuck
We just couldn't get it free
I made a gesture and it was obscene
The atmosphere started getting mean
Starving guy who eyed me hungrily

Somali pirates spied our tub
And shared with us their meager grub
They quickly disappeared
Contamination feared
Two "nauty" ladies did erect
A "sex-tent" on the upper deck
Some careless fellows they'd infect

If condoms were not tried

(They made a fortune)

Bite! Bite! Scratch and scramble and fight
Chaplain's ranting and his chanting, we weren't sleeping at night
While he performed some diabolical rite
He's bound for Hell, that just isn't right
Bound for Hell, he's not doing right

Seeking shelter, out of Alka Seltzer
Poop deck hotter than a copper smelter
Mercury was rising fast*
Stranded, appalled, aghast
Comfort, something that they thought of last
When the ship was launched in nineteen forty three

Henry Kaiser built it well
But anyone could plainly tell
It had been sailed through Hell
There was this sulfurous smell
Bedbugs, lice and fleas infest us
The pipes were coated with asbestos
Gamblers started placing bets as

We all began to fry

(Are we there yet?)

Round, round, we were circling around
Navigator hid in ventilator, couldn't be found
The GPS told us where we might be
It said "You are now adrift on the sea
You are now adrift on the sea"

By now we were all skin and bones
An inch away from Davy Jones
With no food served for lunch again
The grits were missing, we knew not why
The first mate ate my corn supply
My fever started rising, once again

The surgeon knew, I heard him tell
Four hundred ways to cast a spell
Some remedy he'd find
Knew I was in a bind
But he had never finished his degree
In medicine or pharmacy
So he offered leeches, sorcery

Politely, I declined

(My head still hurting)

Why, why this unqualified guy?
Medifaker, part time baker
With a patch on his eye
While poultices he was inclined to apply
I'd rather have him bake me a pie
Slice of an American Pie

I made some friends among the crew
The passengers, maybe one or two
With whom I'd share our water graves
I sneaked down to the deepest hold
Full of people to be bought and sold
Seems the captain has a sideline smuggling slaves

Up above a silence strange
The deck chairs had been rearranged
The engine oil was smokin'
The gyroscope was broken
And then we heard the lookout boast
"Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost
I think that I can see the coast"

At last we all were saved

(We started praying)

"Gott dank, that the ship never sank"
The captain was exclaiming as he walked down the plank
And the passengers all proclaimed with a sigh:


"The time will come to leave here, then we'll say goodbye
And that will be the da-ay-ay that we fly

The travel agent screwed us, he told us a lie
Now, we're picking out the wa-ay-ay that he'll die"

*Mercury: temperature or toxic metal, in this case, both apply

Your Vote & Comment Counts

The parody authors spend a lot of time writing parodies for the website and they appreciate feedback in the form of votes and comments. Please take some time to leave a comment below about this parody.

Place Your Vote

Matches Pace of
Original Song: 
How Funny: 
Overall Score: 

In order for your vote to count, you need to hit the 'Place Your Vote' button.

Voting Results

Pacing: 4.8
How Funny: 4.8
Overall Rating: 4.8

Total Votes: 5

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   0
 2   0
 3   0
 4   1
 5   4

User Comments

Comments are subject to review, and can be removed by the administration of the site at any time and for any reason.

Bruno - May 30, 2011 - Report this comment
I've been on that boat. We had a safety drill with someone who substituted all their L's for W's. Fortunately there were enough wifeboats and wifejackets to go around. Song of the day for me. Hook (5), line (5) and sinker (5)
Wild Child JIN - May 30, 2011 - Report this comment
I've really got to get back to working on my American Pie parody, I've been putting it off too long, but really great job on this one Patrick! 555! :-)
WarrenB - May 31, 2011 - Report this comment
Stunned there aren't many more comments. Patrick, the nautical references were great (i.e. poop deck, 'sex tent', Davy Jones), and I loved how the entire progression kept me guessing whether you were writing this from your watery grave or on the shores of dry land. I thought this was an easy and fun read, and the pacing seemed spot on as I was playing it in my head while reading your verse. I thought this was excellent.
Admiral Lavigne - May 31, 2011 - Report this comment
Rocks my boat - 555
I Still Think You Can Do It - June 02, 2011 - Report this comment
.... but with 63% of the first 8 lines mis-paced, I'll wait for v.2 to vote and read the rest.

(Aside to WarrenB: Are we talking about the same "American Pie" by the same Don McLean? Or is it your head that misplays? ;-D)

Here ya go::

A long, long time ago       6
"Here's where you should go"       5

I can still remember       6
The travel agent told me       7

Lines 3, 4, 5 OK.

And maybe they'd be happy for a while       10
On a cruise line that will take you there by ship       11   [1]

But February made me shiver       9
He handed me a slick brochure       8   [2]

With every paper I'd deliver       9, even with "ev'ry" as two syl.
A sandy beach, a sky azure       8


[1] This line contains redundancy: How else would a cruise line take you there? By helicopter? Solve two birds (the other is pacing) with one stone:

With people who will take you there by ship
          (first one that came to mind that both corrects the pacing and eliminates the redundancy - lots of better subs, certainly.)

[2] Just in case there's a claim that "But" wasn't in the writer's head: TOS line starts on an unstressed syllable, as does yours. Without "But", the count would match, but the stresses would all be off: "HE handED me A ..... "

Regarding line 2, a certain professional musician takes the liberty (but not with my name on them ;) of claiming the singer could "cue-note" the extra syl at the beginning, as do some other amateur singers/recorders/producers here. My reply is that this is a *written* medium, and while you might slip that by if/when you or someone else sung and recorded it, my head, unlike Warren's, is stumbling while reading. Distracting.

(Now you know how poor Eliza Dofiddle felt under the turtleage of Professor Turtle in our parody of "My Fair Lady".... Um, actually, I guess you don't. Looks like only Scene 2 of the 16 was v/c'd -- but no offense taken. As we both know, life gets in the way. But if/when you ever have the time to read them all from the beginning, know that the fictional friction -- or is it frictional fiction -- was not *entirely* fictional - as you can probably imagine now.)

Hey, don't get discouraged! It took Mark Scotti three -- count 'em, three -- tries to get his first AP up to the Tough Turtle Standards. But he persisted, and what a knockout!

Very strong suggestion: Study and use Tommy Turtle's Tips for Perfect Parody Pacing:

and every line will be a perfect match. (And it will be obvious when they aren't.) After a while, it becomes automatic, so that this pacing parsing is done in one's head. Looking forward to the revised version after every line has been vetted and scans perfectly. Thanks for the shout-out -- I *know* you can do it.

btw, I didn't vote at all, so someone else must have found the pacing a bit off as well, and voted the 4.

p. s. This commenter often gives noobs a little slack, and sometimes, even non-noobs when it becomes clear that they just don't have the faculties to comprehend prosody. Neither of these applies to you, so it's a compliment to your skills to be given the full-on TreaTmenT. (Probably not much consolation, though. ;) Cheers.
WarrenB - June 03, 2011 - Report this comment
@Tenacious Terrapin- My mind misplays consistently, and I'm currently working that out through therapy and through horrific poetry ( see ). Now where did I place that Lexapro...ahhhhh.....better....
IMHO, when reading certain songs and feeling the rhythms of the original melody, I'll give credit to certain pacing liberties that fit the tone of the parody and, more often, improve the reading of the song. With some interpretations this process works, while other interpretations distract from the reading. To me, Patrick's parody pacing. You're always spot on with your assessment of pacing accuracy (and sorely miss your consistent contributions), but I believe understanding the original rhythm and then allowing the writer rhythmic liberties that 'work' (vague, I know) within the original melody is pacing that passes the test. In this case, Patrick's pacing worked.
Just like any song, when you hear it you get a feeling of where it's going, and sometimes you get a feeling of where the rhythm should naturally go. I think many writers on this site understand that original pacing is the best place to start, but I also think some of the best writers know how and when to successfully adjust aspects of the pacing while maintaining the spirit of the melody. In those cases, I give them credit for pacing.
In short, I may be incorrect in the literal since, but I feel correct in my personal interpretation of pacing. So off to more medication I go. Two cents, and additional change for grins ;-)
Patrick - June 03, 2011 - Report this comment
I have found cases where the original recording sounds awkward in its pacing, sometimes I try to correct that to where it sounds better to me. If you get a chance, listen to the rendition of American Pie on the Grand Rapids youtube video. Don McClean does not sing the song the same way each time he performs it. The Grand Rapids dub is from a live performance, and it is instantly identifiable as different from the 1970's LP.
Patrick - June 03, 2011 - Report this comment
Sometimes, when I get lucky, I can close my eyes and "hear" the parody in my mind as though the original artist were singing it. That's what I tried to do with this pair. I hear the opening line as "Long, long time ago" rather than "A long, long time ago". "The Travel Agent", drop the "The", sounds the same. "Every" is a two-syllable word in Kansas City. I don't hear the "But" in that line either. That may be part of my problem. I can't always rely on printed lyrics online, because many of those sites have glaring errors. In fact, I know of one particular song which got a lyric wrong in the singer's own songbook. Either that, or she didn't understand what she was singing about. I'll keep an eye out for when you get to the second song. Don't know when I'll get back to a 3rd "Pie", that depends on whether or not a story comes to me, and I don't really have much control over that, it's a subconscious thing. I've got a "Sky Pilot" that is actually writing itself in my head before I can even get my pen out. If I get time I may put up my "MacArthur Park". Or maybe I'll just say "fork it" and write a "Spell" that I haven't even thought of yet.
TT 1 of 2 - June 03, 2011 - Report this comment
A lot of live performances vary from TOS recording, which is why, IMHO, one should use the *original* *recorded* release by the group being parodied.
          (Which may be a cover -- everyone credits Ray Charles for 'You Don't Know Me", but Eddy Arnold both wrote it and recorded it in 1955. Charles' version was about the fourth cover. It had the highest chart ranking, so no objection. Just say whose release you're parodying. In this case, it's McLean's, and his *original recording* is the only way that we can all be consistent, and judge accordingly)

I cannot possibly imagine the opening line as being anything other than "A long, long...". Buy the sheet music.

Sorry the "every" comment wasn't more clear. Agree that it's two syllables almost everywhere in informal speech. The point was that *given the two-syls*, the parody was still one over the OS line. If it were three syls in every, it would be two over. In other words, I agree about the 2-syl usage and *gave you the benefit of that*, but it's *still* one more than TOS. Sorry it wasn't clear the first time, but TT uses too many words already, requiring this reply to be in two parts. ;-D

Lots of Web lyrics are wrong. Only reliable way, if you don't own it or an mp3 of the original, is to see if there's a YouTube video of said original recording, and *transcribe it yourself*. I've seen YT vids where they put karaoke lyrics on the video, and mis-transcribed their own video. Sheesh.

However, the opening verses, at least, of TOS are indelibly burned even into this pea-brain's memory.

I never finished the first part, seeing that it would take a long time to justify the pacing downgrade with examples. Since we seem to have different philosophies on pacing, no point in even reading the second part, as we're not playing by the same rules. Surprising, since in a comment in TT's absence, you once said that he kept everyone in line on pacing, or words to that effect.

Also, wasn't looking for a third APie. Was looking for a revised version of this one. That's what Mark Scotti did -- resubmitted his first try, with some pacing errors corrected. There were still a few, and there were numerous mis-stresses (as opposed to John Edwards, who has mistresses ;), so Mark submitted THE SAME PARODY yet again -- and nailed it on the third try. Please don't go to the effort, because it looks as though we're not on the same page anyway.

This writer, as a noob, was taught these same lessons by the experts that were here when he arrived, and he eagerly adopted them, rather than making excuses. He then passed them on to other writers, a few of whom accepted them, and became perfect pacers. See these examples, and note the difference between the writer's reaction to TT and yours:

with the second one having the superb Phil Alexander endorsing TT's critique. The willingness to improve is why TJC became one of the best writers of all time here, and TT would *still* be mis-pacing Supercal without Kristof Robertson calling him out while everyone else was blindly 555-ing both TT's early versions and the TJC songs linked above. Check out those two -- for once, TT isn't plugging his own songs ;) -- and see what you think.

@ WarrenB: IMHO, it's not our place to "improve' or "correct" TOS, it's our job to "parody" it, AS-IS -- which means, matching the meter, line scheme, rhyme scheme, etc.

@ All: If this view of pacing isn't accepted, why do we even have a "Pacing" category for votes *or comments*? Pat, you ream R. Arndt on pacing, but perhaps he hears the song differently in his mind .... ? Or is improving it, per Warren? Once you open that door, there's always an excuse for any poorly-paced parody (points pile prestigiously for alliteration), so why bother to get it right, and why bother to comment on anyone's pacing at all?

All part of this writer's overall rant about the general decline of quality of the site, which is in tune with the general decline in pride of craftsmanship in the US, which is why complaints about outsourcing jobs to India fall on deaf ears here. (Do turtles even have ears? heh!) Maybe *they* still care about doing it *right*. No one here does anymore, apparently, which is part of the reason why Warren is "sorely missing (TT's) contributions". Why take the time and effort to craft with skill and care when it's unappreciated? Actually, I had the start of a Major-General parody to that effect. but doubt I'll finish it. Between the shortened attention spans and the lack of standards, it would be wasted.
TT 2 of 2 - June 03, 2011 - Report this comment
You won't see the e-mail I sent you until Monday, I guess, so I ask: Would you go to an auto mechanic who was not precise? How about a surgeon? Scary thought ... but the reason the military harps on apparently-trivial things like keeping your shoes and belt buckle shined, and your bed made perfectly, is that once those high standards become ingrained and automatic, you'll keep your armaments spotless, too, and execute all tasks, orders, and missions with the same degree of precision, instead of making excuses. Kristof giving noob TT "tough love":

The part of TT's reply after "You're right" was facetious, a typically-gutter-minded reference to another writer who appreciated TT's "feminine rhyming" in a different parody. (Does *anyone* here even know the difference between masculine and feminine rhyming, without looking it up, and without wisecracks? .... Q. E. D.)

Ronald Reagan, on why he changed from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party:
"I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.”

I didn't leave this site; the site left me.

WarrenB - June 03, 2011 - Report this comment
@TT- Not a job for me. I'm just having fun and learning along the way. Know your arguments well, and don't disagree with the principle of discipline. Following rules is good, but it's not the be all. The be all is the fun of posting and getting reactions. Looking forward to any future parodies you're willing to post, as always.
TT @ Warren - June 04, 2011 - Report this comment
There must be about 400 or so already here that you haven't read yet, including both solo and duets with FG. Feel free, and while you're at it, should you, Patrick, or anyone else, for that matter, find any pacing glitches that haven't yet been noted, I'd surely like to know about it, so I can learn. I do check my "Latest comments" at least every few days.

btw, was tempted to leave you a note that pseudoephedrine works better, without the drowsiness, and with a little high-school chemistry, you can turn it into -- but decided against it. 8>)

"The be all is the fun of posting and getting reactions."
I'd think that that might depend on the reactions... :-D

Breaking rules? You're talking to one of the site's leading rule-breakers, when it comes to neologisms, double-entendres (oops, forgot that you don't like the racy stuff; hence, no links, but you'd be amazed at -- n/m), and other *deliberate* mangling of words, structure, etc. to produce an effect. But the readers are always alerted, if it's not obvious, that that's what's happening, either by punctuation, the famous fooTnoTes, etc. Not the same as not being able to match an OS's scansion, which IMHO is a fundamental skill of written parody.

The Rule-Breaker's Anthem:

0000000000 [1]

(squad of WWII Japanese fighter planes)
Patrick - June 06, 2011 - Report this comment
Computer is not letting me post comments. Apart from the pacing, what do you think of the story? Or is the pacing too distracting to even allow you to appreciate the story?
TT 3 of 5 - June 09, 2011 - Report this comment
Short answer: Yes.

More complete answer: While reading and hearing in my mind any parody, there's a "stumble" moment at each significant pacing glitch. In the standard R'n'R 16-liner, that's not a big deal. In a 128-line song of almost 900 words, the time and effort to overcome that is great. No reason not to assume that more care was taken with the rest than with the famous intro.

Also, I put quite a bit of time into the first reply, probably more than an hour. Only 45 seconds or so to catch the glitches, as they jumped "out of the page, and into my mind", to paraphrase a song often credited to Ringo Starr, but actually a #8 hit in 1960 for Johnny Burnette. But a great deal of time to document them by overlaying them to TOS, format the reply, the rest of the commentary, etc. And that good-faith effort was dismissed with a "Well, I hear it differently".

You've said before, "I don't care about votes; I want to know what thinking people are thinking." I wrote what I was thinking, and you rejected it out of hand. So no reason to expend any more (unwanted) time or effort.

btw, I never did look at Part 2. Someone who shall remain nameless told me that it started with "Many years ago". That isn't a pacing glitch, it's a travesty. OS "Long, long" are two full beats -- assuming slow 4/4, they're each a full quarter note, emphasized by the comma between them. Our instinct is to read "Many" more rapidly, as in two eighth notes. To make it scan, disregarding the "A" for a moment, you'd have to tell the reader that, using perhaps a hyphen or ellipsis:

"Ma-ny" or "Ma-...-ny"

Yours truly has done exactly that, when required to *make a line work that seems funnier or better than the other possibilities*, or to make a joke or pun work. But not in the famous opening line of one of the most famous R'n'R songs ever. A bad start that leaves a bad taste, and disrespectful to McLean and his history of rock + tribute to the tragedy of three of its pioneers.

No, you don't have to start AP parodies with the original first line, although most of them do. But you do have to scan to it.

This writer has started a couple of APs with different incipits. One was syllable-matched to TOS, as was 90% or more of the entire parody. Until someone shows me another, I think that's a first-and-only for the site. But it's of the racy type that is not to your taste, so don't go there. Another, not racy, on a completely different topic, changed TOS incipit (except for the "A"), but scanned to it:

Someone named "Patrick" commented,
"This is one of the most remarkable feats in the history of song parody writing." ... but apparently, not a worthy role model, technically, for your own.

"I like the two originals today much better than Supercali or Major General, and I know them much better."
The "two originals today" being TWOTEF and A Pie, so you've claimed thorough knowledge of A Pie, which kind of undercuts the defense....
TT 4 of 5 - June 09, 2011 - Report this comment
As for how you hear it, we can't read your mind or hear what's in it. Hence the advice to use either the original recording, or, if using a cover or live concert recording, point us to the video or whatever, so we can follow along with you. TT did this in multiple parodies of "Oklahoma!", a musical/movie he's never seen; aware of TOS, but DK words or melody by heart; hence, found a nice live stage production, pointed readers to it, and told them that the parody(ies) were following that video.
which has links to the previous three spins on same OS, all alerting the reader to the source parodied.

As for "reading the story", if you want your work to be read as prose, post it at a prose site. This site is for *parody* ("pros", heh!) - which means, story is important, but as the Same Person Who Shall Remain Nameless said to me, "If it doesn't use the meter of TOS, then it isn't a parody of it." Or a parody at all. Not a fan of short stories in general, and certainly not at a parody site.

The unique nature of this written medium for musical parody is illustrated by the fact that just as some jokes work only when told aloud, some work *only* when written, and would flop in a recording, especially bits based on homophones. Example:       (you've seen it already)

Forever, no insight in sight
Can't evermore incite insight

I suspect that hearing that as a recording, some listeners might "get" the different meanings of the homophones in the first line, but doubt that those of the second line would be recognized (as the song goes whirring on -- here, we can stop if we don't get the joke), especially as "incite" is probably used less often by the average reader than the other two.

Second example, which you haven't seen:

Let the others take hen-pecks
"It's not right: write rites of sex"

As a recording or live production, some listeners might get two of the meanings, but I doubt very many would get all three.

So that is why written parody has requirements different from recorded-and-produced. (TT has done both.)

Patrick - June 03, 2011

I have found cases where the original recording sounds awkward in its pacing, sometimes I try to correct that to where it sounds better to me.

Fine. Record your own cover of TOS. But don't "correct" an OS in your parody. And to have the hubris, chudspah, and cojones to "correct" Don McLean's masterpiece ... There are paintings in the Louvre and on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel that badly need your "corrections", since da Vinci and Michelangelo screwed up so badly.
TT 5 of 5 - June 09, 2011 - Report this comment
In conclusion, you arrived here almost two years after I did, and I think the site was already changing. In a previous post, your reactions to TT's suggestions for improvement were contrasted to another writer's reactions to same. Observe the stringent standards, corrections (*especially PACING*), and appreciation of complex writing at n00b TT's first Supercal, posted on 5th day there (arrived Monday, posted that Friday):

and the noob TT's eager acceptance of the helping hand of the elite.

See Kristof Robertson correcting the next TT Supercal (8th day there and 20th parody post) amidst a flood of 555s, and contrast TT's reaction (the last part is facetious, of course), with your whining and excuses, and Arndt's indifference:

The result: *Learning and improvement*. (Apparently, no one at AIR cares about that these days, with pitiably few exceptions.)

Eleven months later, on a totally-unrelated OS/parody by K. Robertson, TT thanks Kristof for the advice, and points him to the Supercal of the previous day:

And here is that parody, incorporating all of the advice (criticism, but fully justified) of 11 months earlier:

which earned pacing approval from Red Ant and Kristof, *precisely because they had previously criticized*, AND *because TT listened*.

(but still suffered from TT's Lifelong Curse -- all the best jokes slipped by the readers. Had to post a revision two days later, with explanations:)

which was roundly appreciated by all, and may well have started TT on the path to perennial footnotes. You can probably see why.

And now you see the sad decline of the site. Notice that punny comments were the *norm* back then -- one wanted to show one's comedic skills even in commentary. Not so common these days. Notice the appreciation of excellence and the application of high standards. Notice that most of those writers/commenters are gone, or show up only rarely now.

And now perhaps you can understand TT's disappointment and non-motivation lately.

No one who can't use a hammer and nails calls themselves a carpenter. No one who can't use a pipe wrench calls themselves a plumber. But people who can't spell, don't know grammar, and can't construct a coherent sentence call themselves "writers", just because they know the alphabet and how to put it on paper or disk. (Literally, that's true, but we're using the artistic sense here.) And people who have no understanding of meter and its various components call themselves poets. And if their poems are vaguely close to another composer's melody and words, they call themselves parodists. Shame.

This makes about four hours spent in trying to help you, and then trying to explain the POV behind it, but it would be risky to expect any better results. So no more time spent on this end. Thanks for your past loyal readership and perceptive comments, and do enjoy your own future writings, without worrying about the rapidly-shrinking number of writers who take pride in their craftsmanship. Cheers.
Patrick - June 09, 2011 - Report this comment
I did listen to my 1970's vintage LP. If there's an "A" in there it may have been swallowed by the antique medium. Adding another syllable (to my parody) would make the line sound awkward. I paced it by sentence, rather than line. Different technique. I am honored that you chose to spend four hours on the first eight lines. At that rate, neither you nor I combined could ever finish the rest of Part 1, let alone a second song. When Professor Incubus asked to record my "Hey Mr TSA Man" & "Father Mackenzie" he made a lot of valuable suggestions to fit the pacing to the melody and to change some of the words. If someone wanted to record my "Vacation Awry" it would certainly be worth the effort to make sure every line and word was an exact match. But I have other things to do and other songs to write. I was always intimidated by "American Pie" more for its length than for its complexity. I figured out the basic structure rather quickly. Scanned the lyrics while playing my LP. I think what has happened is that in choosing this particular song, I have stumbled into sacred ground, where no deviation can be tolerated. Had this been a different song with less mystical or spiritual importance, my glitches would not have been so disturbing or provoked such a reaction. Even if I were to line by line count the syllables and find suitable ways to stretch or shrink the lines without sounding foreign to the natural phraseology of the English language, you still might not like the story once you got around to reading it. Regarding AIR as a written medium, it is. But that's like the high school classes I remember where we "read" Shakespeare. Shakespeare's words in print were guidelines for actors who would "speak" them before an audience. I like to think of parodies as something that at least could be "sung". I'll let you know if I get around to working on these two songs again. May take awhile.
Patrick - June 09, 2011 - Report this comment
We have differing attitudes about a lot of stuff, but one thing we have in common is that we are sure long-winded about it.
Patrick - June 09, 2011 - Report this comment
If you get a chance, call your "nameless" informant and find out what you should think of my "MacArthur Park". I got a lot of reactions to that. I detect a feeling of despondency in your message. This song and this site are important to you. There is a sense of loss of something that gave you great pleasure and a feeling of accomplishment. When I drive by a field where I once played baseball, and see kids playing soccer instead, I can only get a fraction of the feeling you must have in seeing your work go unappreciated and its venue infested with barbarians. On my desk I have a colorful tin with a snowman on the lid. It looks OK from the outside, but the chocolate chip cookie it once held is gone. Kind of sad. But it served its purpose. My purpose was to please you with my song. I am sad that I did not achieve that purpose. I will never make money from this or any of my parodies. The goal is first to write them, then, one can only hope, to provide a laugh or an insight to someone for the few brief hours that anyone will pay attention. Would you put the same effort into lettering a garage sale sign that you would illuminating a vellum manuscript? Perhaps you would. That would be one hell of a fine Garage Sale sign.
Patrick - June 09, 2011 - Report this comment
Confession of ignorance. I have absolutely no formal training in music. What was our educational system coming to 50 years ago. So I don't know a quarter note from a Quarter Pounder. Oh, wait, I am far too familiar with Quarter Pounders.
Patrick - June 10, 2011 - Report this comment
A few years ago some Scotsman wrote a parody of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia". All he did was change "Georgia" to "Glasgow" and "fiddle" to "bagpipe". It paced perfectly to the original. Would have sounded a bit different had it been recorded. But everyone at the time said it was too similar to be a parody.
ArTisT - June 12, 2011 - Report this comment
Shakespeare was a playwright, meaning that he wrote plays for the purpose of live actors performing them on stage for the audience. That is not what we do here.

*All* parodies should be properly paced, regardless of whether they're of APie or Frère Jacques:

(Whoever voted 3 on pacing chose not to give a reason.) Given all the time spent you've spent explaining, it seems that you could have read, and commented upon, the two-page simple method linked way above, which I use and recommend to others. It requires no musical knowledge, nor even the ability to count. Doesn't seem to have happened.

It is very sad that your otherwise-excellent Catholic School upbringing, far superior in many ways to public schools, did not include any introduction to music. My pathetic public school introduced us to it somewhere in elementary school. But why is someone who admits to no knowledge of music writing parodies of, uh, .... *music*? ... Back to the "carpenter" who knows nothing about hammers, nails, saws... Being ignorant of music *does* explain a lot of this, but while I freely admit my lack of facility at home repairs beyond changing a light bulb, I don't hold myself out to the public as a handyman, nor post myself as such on the Web.

If you consider your parodies to be the equivalent of Garage Sale signs, that is very sad. I consider this genre to be an art form (satire and parody were recognized as such as far back as ancient Greece and Rome), and try to treat all of my parodies as works of art, even if they're about sheep-boffing. (Comedy is an art, too.)

I hope that was short-winded enough.
Patrick - June 13, 2011 - Report this comment
We should have collaborated on a parody of Tiny Tim's version of "Eve of Destruction". Once played that for a captive passenger driving from KCK to Lawrence. Very rare recording. I don't think you'd like it. The ultimate musical nightmare. I only played it once. But I have a very bizarre and cynical sense of humor. When I was in grade school, I didn't much like music. In high school I tended to listen to country music, since on the AM radio stations of the times, the words were easier to understand. Basically I respond to melody. My brother responds to words. He will often tell me about the message in a song that completely bypassed me, because the melody didn't register. I have had people ask me what kind of music I like, and lacking a vocabulary, I can only cite examples, I can't state a genre. At best, I can say I have a fondness for certain three-minute instrumental themes: Eye Level, Gathering Crowds, Decision 76, Appalachian Round-up. What these might have in common with "I Am a Rock", "I Can See Clearly Now", "Your Wildest Dreams" or "Little Drummer Boy", I have no idea, other than that I like them. I get most of my new music from songs coming out of speakers in grocery stores. It's sort of the challenge of the hunt. Except with the internet I don't have to spend 20 years tracking one like I did with "Baidin Fheilimi" or "Gathering Crowds".
Patrick - June 13, 2011 - Report this comment
It could be worse, you might have heard me singing it.
Patrick - June 13, 2011 - Report this comment
As the Japanese say "karaoke" ( I can't sing, but I don't let that stop me). What any of those songs have in common with "Battle Hymn of the Republic" or "Yellow Rose of Texas" I can't say. But my parents told me that I responded as an infant to Mitch Miller's "Yellow Rose" in a way that I didn't to other songs of the era, (1954 onward). My dad wrote poetry, I do too, but not as often. My poetry tends to be very cynical. I don't care for rap, but that's because I'm old and white, and by definition of the people who produce it, I'm not supposed to like it. I actually did write one rap piece, but it is not a parody of anything I know, and I can't put music to it. I did do a poem about war reenactors in response to a challenge. It can be sung. Better by someone other than me. I'll have to see if the link is still up somewhere. Same for my "Collector's Prayer".

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