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Song Parodies -> "Again, Dare I Try (Part 1)"

Original Song Title:

"American Pie"

Original Performer:

Don McLean

Parody Song Title:

"Again, Dare I Try (Part 1)"

Parody Written by:

Patrick McWilliams

The Lyrics

When I uploaded this song last month, someone left a couple brief comments regarding a minor pacing problem. So I decided to review my lyrics and compare them more closely to the original. After a change or two, I am sending it up again. This time I will not assign blame to anyone else but myself for the results. This song has sex, it has scatology, it has syllables. Lots and lots of syllables. 50% more syllables that the old "Vacation". There are references to songs, movies, books, and other stuff. See if you can find them. Note: The original song was a tribute to Buddy Holly, so in tribute to the tribute, the last four lines should be sung to the melody of the chorus of "That'll Be The Day".
A real fine place to go
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
An ocean cruise, it's fun to go by ship

He showed me films and a slick brochure
Those sandy beaches, that sky azure
Tropic sun awaking
Those crystal waves were breaking
Before long I would have my chance
I could sample native song and dance
And maybe even find romance

May flames consume his pants

Oh, 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 even make it alive
If I'd even make it alive

Tugboat gave our ship a shove
And we all prayed to the Lord above
"Those in peril on the sea"
Then the first mate, he got roaring drunk
And broke into the captain's trunk
He lurched around the cabin aimlessly

Well, we learned our skipper'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 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
And when my bowels I could no longer restrain
That's how the poop deck landed its name
How the poop deck landed its name

The first three weeks we were out of luck
Wireless broken and the rudder stuck
We had no way to get it free
I made a gesture and it was obscene
The atmosphere started getting mean
Starving man who eyed me hungrily

Those Somali pirates spied our tub
And shared with us their meager grub
They quickly disappeared
Contamination feared
Couple "nauty" ladies did erect
A "sextent" on the upper deck
Some careless fellows they'd infect
When condoms weren't applied

(They made a fortune)

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

Seeking shelter, out of Alka-Seltzer
The poop deck hotter than a copper smelter
Mercury was rising fast*
Stranded, agog, aghast
Comfort, something that they thought of last
Back in World War Two they had to launch 'em fast

Old Henry Kaiser built it well
But anyone could plainly tell
It had been sailed through Hell
'cause there was this sulfurous smell
Infestations: bed bugs, lice and fleas
Asbestos, risk of lung disease
Caught a chill, I began to sneeze
And then, began to fry

An epidemic

Bite, bite, scratch and scramble and fight
Chaplain's ranting and his chanting, we weren't sleeping at night
While he performed a diabolical rite
We screamed "Go to hell, that just isn't right"
"Go to hell, or just say good night"

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

But 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

I got to thinking

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 we'd share our water graves
I sneaked down to the deepest hold
Full of people to be bought and sold
Seems the captain had a sideline, smuggling slaves

While up above a silence strange
All 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 The Holy Ghost"
"I think that I can see the coast"
At last, we all were saved

But just where were we?

*"Gott sei dank! The ship never sank"
Our brave captain was exclaiming as he walked down the plank
And the passengers all proclaimed with a sigh:

[Change melody here]

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

"The travel agent screwed us, he told us a lie
Now we're picking out the way-ay-ay that he'll die
*Mercury rising. Increase in temperature or in levels of toxic metal contamination. Either could apply. *Gott sei dank!" ("Thanks be to God" in German. You can rhyme "dank" with "sank" or "sank" with "dank". The skipper had a accent and I'm a bit hard of hearing.)

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

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Voting Results

Pacing: 4.3
How Funny: 4.7
Overall Rating: 4.7

Total Votes: 3

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

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

User Comments

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

WarrenB - June 20, 2011 - Report this comment
A minor ding on pacing, but the story itself is quite amazing and very funny. Loved it, and it's a very, very funny read. Great puns like the earlier ones you posted.
Some of the rhythms of words distracted me a little on the reading. Like the line "Navigator hid in ventilator, couldn't be found" may have been better served as "Navigator said to sailor, "Ventilator, I'm bound" or something like that. I'm no pacing king myself, but I do like to feel the rhythm of the words and feel they are in keeping with the spirit of the song. If pacing is a big concern for you, I did read (and participated a little) your and TT's discussion, and I do recommend his pacing guideline as a good start. Good luck on your quest.
But overall, Patrick, your stories are very funny to read and extremely imaginative. I enjoy them lots. And I don't believe the person who is giving you the 4s on How Funny and Overall is truly reading your stories.
AFW - June 20, 2011 - Report this comment
I agree with Warren..quite an epic tale...I believe I commented on the original...this song is a killer to parody...I think it's the hardest of all...and to do two parts on one subject is quite an amazing feat.
Patrick - June 21, 2011 - Report this comment
I was a bit hesitant to revisit this song, though Tommy seemed to believe I could improve it. There are a lot of unstressed initial syllables, that frankly, I don't really hear when I go back to my LP record. There are a couple places where I, and I think anyone actually singing the song, would insert an extra syllable "'A' tugboat gave the ship a shove" and "'For' those in peril on the sea" which is a line from the Navy Hymn (sung at President Kennedy's funeral). I am trying to tell a story, and apparently I managed that. TT believes that one of the problems we have on this site are that too few visitors have the attention span necessary to handle a song like American Pie. Years ago I did a parody of "Master of the House" (Mangler of the Song) from the musical "Les Misérables". I consider it one of my best. It is a lengthy song with a lot of shifts of point of view. "One Day More" I timed to coincide with the day before President Obama's inauguration. I don't believe it ever got any commentary. I just think the "old timers" are being crowded out by new writers whose repertoire consists mostly of newer songs and artists I've never heard of. I can't really judge a parody if I'm not familiar with the original. One of the newcomers, though he already has twice as many postings as I do, wondered why I was not rating his songs. I told him that I don't know anything about Lady Gaga, so it would not be fair to judge his writings on the basis of how it resembles something with which I am unfamiliar. He is a good source of historical knowledge, and that is its value to me, and why I read and comment on his material.
Tommy Turtle - June 21, 2011 - Report this comment
From just the first 14 lines, this is *much* better on the pacing, though I'll trust Warren that there are some glitches in the rest. (Story looks LOL so far.) Rather than go through the whole thing, I'd like to bring up another part of scansion or meter, which is stress (accent), That was my first stumble, before I saw Warren's comment that it tripped his alarms, also. One example only, using the method in my Pacing Guide, which for some reason you don't want to read, despite the fact that half an hour with it would have saved however many hours you put into version 2, plus those you'll put in version 3, plus all the future low pacing votes and/or redoing everything three times.

OS line - stressed syls in upper case, unstressed in lower:

"but FEB-ru-AR-y MADE me SHIV-er"       To read yours with the same stress (rhythm):
he SHOWED me FILMS and A slick BRO-chure

Stressing a minor word like "a" isn't terrible, but "brochure" is properly and naturally pronounced "bro-CHURE". Stumble.

One possible fix:

"he SHOWED me FILMS; broCHURES of PLEASure       rhymes better with yuur next line.

btw, "bro" doesn't rhyme with "a". This line is in what's known as feminine rhyme vs. masculine rhyme. Look those two up; the distinction is crucial to any poet, songwriter, or parodist. Doesn't require musical education or knowledge.

Or just read the @#$% Guide already. Last plug: I'm not feeling an urge to keep typing quotes from my own Guide repeatedly to those who repeatedly refuse to read it and therefore repeatedly make the same glitches; hence, no urge to read at all. When you've read and digested it, analyze your own lyrics with it. You'll see what's tripping up Warren and the other 4-voter. No vote from me until you confirm that you've read and understand the Guide, and have reworked this song until it reads smoothly as silk, which the Guide will do for you.

btw, if necessary, an occasional mis-stress that keeps a great pun or line is OK, if you alert the reader with a hyphen or something, as was done in two consecutive lines of this AP, in the "sang the blues' verse:

You haven't read it (or at least,v/c'd it); it was TT's first APie. The hyphenation and slight mis-stress were needed to keep an irreplaceable proper noun, and the euphemism in the following line, so as to make the lines rhyme. It's not exactly to your taste, but it's, uh, "sheepish", so maybe you'll be more amused than put off. In any event, since there are exceptions to every rule, here's a good example of one, why it was necessary, and how readers were tipped off so as not to stumble.

also btw, the line following the above-cited couplet is IMHO the best TT has ever done in the area, not of syllable-matching, but of keeping the words identical except for two syllables that changed only one phoneme (sound), yet flipped the line 180 degrees from McLean's sublime to TT's ridiculous. ;)

Looking forward to your reactions to the Pacing Guide, and to the version that meets its (and what should be everyone's) standards.
p. s. - June 21, 2011 - Report this comment
Coincidentally and ironically, the sheepish parody plugged above end with a paraphrase of the 23rd Psalm, which you parodied recently. .... No one commented on that at moi's, though it doesn't mean that no one noticed (or that they did, either.) Same kind of change-up you mentioned.

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