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Parody : Good or bad?

30 Aug 98 - 06:58 AM
The Shambles 30 Aug 98 - 07:01 AM
Chet W. 30 Aug 98 - 01:20 PM
Jerry Friedman 30 Aug 98 - 03:12 PM
Chet W. 30 Aug 98 - 05:29 PM
BSeed 30 Aug 98 - 05:58 PM
Jenny 30 Aug 98 - 06:28 PM
Bob Bolton 30 Aug 98 - 06:43 PM
Barry Finn 30 Aug 98 - 09:39 PM
Dick Wisan 02 Sep 98 - 01:15 AM
Barbara 02 Sep 98 - 04:59 AM
Art Thieme 02 Sep 98 - 01:27 PM
Jack (who is called Jack) 02 Sep 98 - 02:27 PM
steve t 03 Sep 98 - 01:43 AM
steve t 03 Sep 98 - 01:53 AM
Dick Wisan 03 Sep 98 - 02:09 AM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 03 Sep 98 - 05:18 PM
The Shambles 03 Sep 98 - 07:10 PM
takeo 04 Sep 98 - 12:07 AM
Bert 04 Sep 98 - 10:29 AM
Gene 04 Sep 98 - 12:10 PM
The Shambles 23 Apr 99 - 09:37 AM
The Shambles 23 Apr 99 - 09:40 AM
Harald 23 Apr 99 - 10:32 AM
Rick Fielding 23 Apr 99 - 12:37 PM
The Shambles 23 Apr 99 - 01:51 PM
SeanM 23 Apr 99 - 02:08 PM
Rick Fielding 23 Apr 99 - 03:10 PM
Doctor John 23 Apr 99 - 06:07 PM
rich r 23 Apr 99 - 09:58 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 23 Apr 99 - 10:24 PM
Rick Fielding 23 Apr 99 - 11:46 PM
Night Owl 24 Apr 99 - 01:54 AM
catspaw49 24 Apr 99 - 07:39 AM
Susan A-R 24 Apr 99 - 10:18 PM
dick greenhaus 24 Apr 99 - 10:24 PM
arkie 25 Apr 99 - 06:38 PM
Rick Fielding 25 Apr 99 - 07:41 PM
Peter Fisher 25 Apr 99 - 08:08 PM
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Bert 26 Apr 99 - 11:47 AM
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Subject: Parody : Good or bad?
From:
Date: 30 Aug 98 - 06:58 AM

Strong opinion time. I am usually positive and generous to all types of music and musical expression and there is not much that I don't get some enjoyment from, the only exception is parodies, especially of great folk songs. You could argue that it is a back-handed compliment to the statue of the song, I would argue that to sing the song, in the many versions and styles that exist, is the best compliment you can make. I freely accept that there are some wonderful lyrics and ideas expressed in some of the best parody but why not just write an original song and tune? An example I would give is the great Cyril Tawney song, The Grey Funnel Line, about the Royal Navy being reduced to the Grey Flannel Line, about washing your clothes. It's has the same effect that using well known pieces of mainly classical music in advertising has, it may further the interests of the product by associating it with wonderful music but does nothing for the music, if it's asscociated with indigestion tablets. Boring copywright question coming up, does the original writer have any say if they do not like the way the song is changed, in this way or does it become a new song? I hope there is someone out there who disagrees with me, or someone who agrees. To sum up: If you create a new song you add to richness and variety that is the strength of this music, if you parody an existing song you ruin it, to replace it with nothing. 'By Jove I needed that'.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: The Shambles
Date: 30 Aug 98 - 07:01 AM

The above is from me, sorry I forgot to put my name to it.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Chet W.
Date: 30 Aug 98 - 01:20 PM

Don't take this wrong, but lighten up! Parody, or satire, of songs, literature, politics, etc etc is a very old and valid and respected form of expression. Like anything else, some is good, some not, some is mean-spirited, some not. Much of it is simply for a laugh. When Homer and Jethro were at their peak, writers and performers often expressed delight over H&J's parodies of their songs. When the issues are serious, such as in politics or religion, that is when people tend to get their feelings hurt over the whole idea of parody (not referring to you here), but then they are highly entertained when somebody else's parody matches their own leanings. I don't know if you remember, shortly after Reagan was elected, there were cries from politicians, right-wing activists and other geniuses that the Doonesbury cartoon strip should be either eliminated or moved to the editorial page. Never were such words heard when the same comic strip was parodying much of what the Carter administration was saying and doing. Parody and its partner satire sometimes help us see another side of the subject at hand, the same way a thoughtful editorial essay might. Of course if it is merely mean-spirited bashing, that's another story, but it sometimes takes great care and open-mindedness to determine which is which. As far as the copyright laws are concerned in the US, as long as the parody writer, performer, producer et al pay the original owner of the material for the part that they use (the music, for example), there is no law broken and no cause of civil action given. (Get confimation on this from experts.) I think to limit parody/satire in general would be a serious and unnecessary first amendment violation.

Chet W.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Jerry Friedman
Date: 30 Aug 98 - 03:12 PM

I treasure both The Lord of the Rings and Bored of the Rings, so you can see that for me, the parody doesn't ruin the original.

What I don't like is the camp approach in which people pretend to be more sophisticated than the material they're parodying while secretly (I suspect) enjoying it for its own naive sake. I don't want to mention any names here, like David Letterman, or--put down that stone!--Garrison Keillor.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Chet W.
Date: 30 Aug 98 - 05:29 PM

Speaking of Keillor, on his show last night, which was a rerun, he made the statement in one story that people who listen to public radio tend to be the ones who end up in the kitchen at parties going on about the needs of secondary education. As a listener, a teacher, and one who often ends up in such conversations, I was not offended or shamed. I thought it was funny. That was enough for me.

Chet W.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: BSeed
Date: 30 Aug 98 - 05:58 PM

One of the great folk parodies of all time, great enough that the parody surpassed the original, is "The Man Who Never Returned," after "The Ship That Never Returned." It's on the digitrad. --seed


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Jenny
Date: 30 Aug 98 - 06:28 PM

Parody has been used throughout the ages for many reasons ... to fight oppression, send messages, etc. One could say that slaves parodied spirituals to send messages re the underground railroad. I suppose if you're the brunt of a parody and you're the oppresee, you might find it offensive (the word "you're" is not meant to point any fingers at the author of this thread). Jenny


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 30 Aug 98 - 06:43 PM

G'day all,

Nearly forty years of interest in, and study of, Australian folk song suggests that the origin of most good song has involved something between inspiration and straightforward parody. A tradition passes on workable models which are reshaped to current needs ... is this parody or a tradition?

There are a lot of flimsy parodies, worth a laugh at the time and forgotten a day later but, as others point out above, sometimes the parody lives on as something greater than the original. The folk process will winnow the chaff away and what is still sung a generation later will be good songs - whether they are totally original or firmly based in earlier models.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 30 Aug 98 - 09:39 PM

As for the opinion of the original writter of the material that the parody is based upon, Eric Bogle when I asked him about the parody to the "Band Played Waltzing Matilda", " I don't do it myself but it was written by a very close friend & I love it". Barry


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Dick Wisan
Date: 02 Sep 98 - 01:15 AM

What, actually, does "parody" mean around here? I think of it as a take-off an imitation intended to ridicule the original, or at least to make a joke of it. Some of the songs mentioned above don't seem to be doing that at all. "The Man Who Never Returned" says nothing about the "original" song. It swipes the model and makes something different.

Another instance. Someone wrote a "reply" to Eric Bogle's --damn, the name escapes me--

Did the bugles play the "Last Post" in chorus?
Did the pipes play "The Flowers of the Forest"

Now I've heard that reply called a parody, but it's not. What it says is (can't quote it) "We had good cause and weren't such fools as you make us out." That's a political reply to a political statement. It's not so fine a song as the original, but it's meant to be on a par with it, not a diminutive.

Of course, everybody makes folk songs out of other songs. Woody Guthrie seems to have done nothing else. But, that's not parody; the new one may be better than the original.

I'm grousing about the terminology, not the practice. I enjoy making fun of serious things, too.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Barbara
Date: 02 Sep 98 - 04:59 AM

I understand 'parody' to mean a song that uses the same tune and often the same structure of the original to poke fun at SOMETHING. Occasionally that something is the original song, especially if it is a slow serious one (like Grey Funnel Line). I think the force that motivates the parodist is like that of a punster; he or she mishears the original, or some synapse suddenly goes snap, and different words come out.
But to look at the original complaint (Grey Flannel Line) the force that creates a parody seems also to be the part of our human nature that says, "Enough seriousness, already, lighten up, let's be silly."
Different people hit that place at different times (between 3 and 5 a.m. at an all night song circle, all the totally ridiculous songs emmerge blinking into the lamplight*), and some people never hit it (as far as I can tell).I once mortally offended a male friend by singing a bawdy parody of White Coral Bells, and in his estimation ruined the song for him forever.
For me, to work, a parody has to be sharp and witty; incisive, not just similar to the original; Grey Flannel line doesn't work particularly well for me.
Then there's the frequency problem. In my experience the parody shows up when I've heard way too many renditions of the original. But the parody's shelf life is considerably shorter. Once or twice is usually enough.
Parodies that delight me: No Moggy Land (nails TWO of Eric Bogle's songs in one, and does wonderfully on that "... again and again and again and again" line. Call Me the Whale (its answer to the Greenland whalefishers) Irving Abramovitz (We tried the other day to sing Spencer the Rover and no one could remember the right words; Irving is too close).
So. Parody serves a purpose, it can be and is overdone, and it takes a strong original to survive a good parody.
My $.02 worth.
Blessings,
Barbara

*Songs like The George Washington Bridge Song; Lloyd George knows my Father; The fish He is a Funny Fish, and Why Does the Winkle always turn to the right?


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 02 Sep 98 - 01:27 PM

Once wrote a take-off on all broken token songs called "That's The Ticket".Is that kind of song a parody, or a take-off? Is there a difference? What?

(looking for input from someone who might be familiar with the song.)


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Jack (who is called Jack)
Date: 02 Sep 98 - 02:27 PM

One thing that a parody can do that an original cannot is a marked deviation from what one expects to hear. This can serve to amplify the comic effect, or cause the intended message to strike home with greater force.

Walt Kelly could have had Pogo make some original comment about our tendency to be our own worst enemy, but I doubt very much that it would have had the staying power or the impact of his twist on the famoust Oliver Hazard Perry quotation, "We have met the enemy and they are US".


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: steve t
Date: 03 Sep 98 - 01:43 AM

Some people are good at making up jokes but not tunes. A few people can write moving lyrics for other people's tunes.

Parodies come in all shapes and sizes. Guthrie's Casey Jones song fits our expectation of what a "parody" ought to be, but most parodies today don't seek to mock the original song. Did Guthrie also write the Soup Song to the tune of Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean? It doesn't mock the original song at all. But because everyone used to know that tune, it made it easier to sing the new song. Today, most new parody songs are like jokes: they are best heard once. I usually enjoy them the first time, though often, reading them is as much fun as singing them.

And speaking of the folk tradition, I once got up the nerve to sing "I Need A Sheep", and at the end was asked, "Were you trying to do Scotland the Brave? ...here's how the tune goes..." I steadfastly refused to listen.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: steve t
Date: 03 Sep 98 - 01:53 AM

Hey, check out the Battle Hymn of the Republic thread. Apparently, it's based on a comic operetta song. Sheesh.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Dick Wisan
Date: 03 Sep 98 - 02:09 AM

Jack called Jack said:

Walt Kelly could have had Pogo make some original comment about our tendency to be our own worst enemy, but I doubt very much that it would have had the staying power or the impact of his twist on the famoust Oliver Hazard Perry quotation, "We have met the enemy and they are US".

That's absolutely right, of course, but surely Perry isn't being parodied.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 03 Sep 98 - 05:18 PM

Dick,

You are right.

I didn't mean to use Kelly's line as a classic example of Parody. The complaint that started this thread was along the lines of "Why not be original?". My point (and it is a small point), was that its not always better to be completely original, and that it is occasianally more effective to (copy, borrow, steal, or whatever you want to call it) and modify something someone else has written or said. I wanted a simple example of a case where that might be so and Kelly's line seemed appropos.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: The Shambles
Date: 03 Sep 98 - 07:10 PM

It might always be easier to beg borrow or steal someone else's idea, I don't know if it's ever better, than creating something new. The example (that one of the Jacks) used may be more effective but that isn't the reason that the majority of parodies are made. They are made because people who think up the words don't think they are able to go the whole hog and create a new tune as well. The point was well made that the life of the parody tends to be shorter than the original. Given some of the effort that goes into the best of parodies, they do deserve a longer life. The best songs are a delicate balance between the words and the music and are best left alone.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: takeo
Date: 04 Sep 98 - 12:07 AM

i dont know well but i think making parody song is not a bad thing. well concidered parody is really interesting for listener with the thought of relationship to original. isolated song(?... the song that make me feel no relation or imagination to other song) sounds really lonely. -takeo


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Bert
Date: 04 Sep 98 - 10:29 AM

Dick W. according to the dictionary on my desk you are correct in your definition of parody. However, the word is very misused nowadays.

To satisfy the pedants among us we probably need some more definitions.

I see several types of songs which for want of a better word are called parodies.

1. True parodies - poke fun at the original
2. ?? - use an original to make a separate humorous comment
3. ?? - add to or amend the original in some way
4. ?? - are another version of an existing song
5. ?? - use an existing tune for a new song

The Shambles,
Sometimes an existing song just seems a better fit than creating something completely new.
This song was written in response to a newspaper story about a woman who had plastic surgery and finished up with a 70 inch bust.
I don't think that it fits the official definition of a parody, as it is not poking fun at the original. I like to think of it as a 'folk' version. Silicone Cindy

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Gene
Date: 04 Sep 98 - 12:10 PM

Homer & Jethro/Lonzo & Oscar/Pinkard & Bowden,,,
To name a few...PARODY/ied a lot of tunes...
And I believe the ORIGINAL writers gave their permission.& blessing.


DRIVIN' MY WIFE AWAY
As recorded by Pinkard and Bowden
To tune of: DRIVIN' MY LIFE AWAY/Eddie Rabbitt

Well, I go out drinkin'
Come in late, thinkin'
Tell my wife; Left the car with the keys
Sittin' by the highway
And it got (S-T-O-L-E-N).

Then I tell her to get dressed
High heels, Sunday best
Big surprise, lots of fun
She thinks she's goin' to a party
Then we go (B-O-W-L-I-N');

CHORUS
Oooh, I'm drivin' my wife away
She can't take another day ... of me
Oooh, I'm drivin' my wife away
Didn't want her anyway ... ...


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Apr 99 - 09:37 AM

I think it says something for the forum that, having started this thread, a little time ago, that I have found myself writing, yes, a parody! It is using the tune of 'A Rambling Irishman' and can be found here A Bumbling Englishman.

To my complete amazement. I have now found myself in complete agreement with Jack (who is called Jack), who said. "The complaint that started this thread was along the lines of "Why not be original?". My point (and it is a small point), was that its not always better to be completely original, and that it is occasianally more effective to (copy, borrow, steal, or whatever you want to call it) and modify something someone else has written or said." And Bert, who said. "Sometimes an existing song just seems a better fit than creating something completely new."

I found the above to be true in this case, when I had something to say and felt that this was the very best way to do it. It still surprises me though.

Barbara said "Parody serves a purpose, it can be and is overdone, and it takes a strong original to survive a good parody".

And I said "The best songs are a delicate balance between the words and the music and are best left alone".

Well, since writing the parody, I can't get the tune out of my head and the lyrics that I hear with it, stubbornly refuse to change from the original!!!

I know now, how St Paul felt, on the road to Damascus.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Apr 99 - 09:40 AM

OOPS!

Help JOE. The link does still work (surprisingly) but it does not look very smart.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Harald
Date: 23 Apr 99 - 10:32 AM

you "closed" the link with a corrupted anchor (it should read </a>). So the result is not surprisingly. (Guess, when I hit the submit button, Joe already made use of his magic button, corrected the stuff, and makes me a complete fool)


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 23 Apr 99 - 12:37 PM

The funniest (musical) take-off on reality I have ever heard was written and performed by Peter Sellers about 40 years ago. Titled "Puttin' On the Style", it lampooned Lonnie Donegan, his times, and his works with some of the most brilliant writing I've ever heard. I used to play it for musical friends (who were familiar with the skiffle craze) until I realised sadly that my idea of humour was far narrower than I'd imagined. Most folks listened blankly, or started to talk a minute or so into it. Some had no reaction to the satirical part but perked up when remembering the actual tune of "puttin on the Style", and seemed to be totally unaware that "new" lyrics were being used. Sadly, I accepted that I'd have to laugh again and again in private. I guess this is how some of us get convinced early in life that we have a substantial "weirdo" side to us.

'Course it's not only music. When I hear someone mention "Blackadder", or "Ab-Fab", or Tom Lehrer, Peter Schickele, or even "The Larry Sanders Show", I grab 'em quickly. I might not like their shoes or tie, but there's a hell of good chance we'll laugh a lot.

If anyone's curious, the Sellers' "bit" is on an old album called "Songs for Swingin Sellers" and the whole thing is hilarious. (if you like that kind of thing)


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: The Shambles
Date: 23 Apr 99 - 01:51 PM

Rick

My favourite track on that is the folk music collector one, where he tries to record an Irish session that ends up in a big fight. "Mind me harp"!

Harald

Thanks for 'rubbing it in', I know what I did wrong. It always happens when I feel confident and think I know what I'm doing. A little knowledge is a dangerous place.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: SeanM
Date: 23 Apr 99 - 02:08 PM

A few brief notes...

In the US, parody is now a constitutionally protected form of free speech. I'm not familiar with the exact details, but an artist (or corporation claiming to represent him) sued a parodist for plagarism, copywrite infringment, and lord knows what else. The Supreme Court finally got ahold of the case and announced that the company could go piss up a rope, that parody was protected.

It's also worth noting that one particular use of parody (or satire, burlesque or any of the other livelier arts) is in attacking the unattackable (is that a word?) On board sailing vessels, shantymen and crews would often use the shanties as a platform to take verbal potshots at the ship's officers, an act that would have recieved strict and vicious punishment at any other time. Slaves in the American south would do the same, carefully masking the attacks against 'the master' with humor, but providing relief all the same.

And on a final note, parody can be used (at least, in my view) to render some of the old overused standards listenable again. I used to love 'Galway Bay'. Then, after about the 4-5 thousandth time, I began to reevaluate my views... until I heard the Clancy's parody of it. Now, when it gets to be a bit much, I can just pop that one into the player, and I'm good for another listen or two.

M


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 23 Apr 99 - 03:10 PM

Sean, I sung the Clancy's "Galway Bay" once on St. Paddy's night and a middle aged woman came up to the stage and screamed at me: "if I weren't a lady I'd beat your ***** face in for singin' that crap!" Parodies can be down-right dangerous. On another occasion (still in Toronto) I answered a request for Kevin Barry and was imformed afterwards by an angry Irish visitor that he "never expected to hear this kind of filth while on vacation!" Holy Cow! It's a wonder those Clancy's weren't murdered on stage!

Shambles, I don't know the "collecting" bit! Albums here often have different content than in the UK. Perhaps they dropped that piece from the Canadian release. Damn, I want to hear it. Mine has a take off on Brendan Behan that makes me chuckle even now.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Doctor John
Date: 23 Apr 99 - 06:07 PM

I think that if a song, book, play, film, person, religion even is not big enough to take being parodied then they don't deserve to survive (and usually don't.) DrJohn


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: rich r
Date: 23 Apr 99 - 09:58 PM

Well call me stupid! For 25 years the only "Galway Bay" I'd ever heard was the Clancy's. Thought it was a pub or music hall song. You say it's a parody? Well slap me upside the head. But then to me parodies are the spice of life and often twice the fun. Think I'll go listen to some Weird Al.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 23 Apr 99 - 10:24 PM

Contrary to a post above, Walt Kelly is responsible for "We have met the enemy and he is us" when the Pogo's friends in the Swamp (not Frank's) started finking on each other to a new character modeled after Senator Joe McCarthy. Commodore Perry said "We have met the enemy and he is ours." --seed


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 23 Apr 99 - 11:46 PM

Dr. John, I don't know who you are, but I wish there were more like you.
B.Seed. There are many things I'd thank my folks for..but providing "Pogo" in our home is high on the list.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Night Owl
Date: 24 Apr 99 - 01:54 AM

A few months ago I heard a parody of Bill Staines "Roseville Fair". At the time I first heard it, I thoroughly enjoyed the humor and thought that a singer/songwriter could not be paid a higher complement than to have a song "parodied". I felt the parody was in no way making a mockery of the original, but just having FUN,in a group, with music. To me, the original song is strong enough to be left untouched by the parody. I put the parody in the same category as "On Top of Old Smokey" and "On Top of Spaghetti"...one we play seriously and the other is just fun, particularly at camps. I never once thought about whether or not the writer of Old Smokey or Bill Staines would have resented/been offended by the parody..(maybe because of my conviction that it's a complement.) After reading the posts to this thread, I have NO CLUE what I really think about parodies....just know I enjoy the humor which, for me, somehow doesn't degrade the original songs. Guess it just depends........


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: catspaw49
Date: 24 Apr 99 - 07:39 AM

"With a tiny blast of tinnity trumpets we sally forth to meet the enemy with the knowledge that not only may he be ours, he may be us!"......as it was stated the first (but not only) time the the great Walt Kelly.

I always loved it a bit more in that unwieldy form...I guess because it has a surprised sound about it...doesn't matter, a truly great and true statement, especially as we think of "solutions" in the wake of Columbine.

Rick, I too am thankful for parents who saw value in something else that was outside the norm. I'm a big user of one-liners that say what I think in just a few words. Unfortunately, some are easily misinterpreted without additional background. As a Philosophy major, I trudged through volumes of existentialist writings by Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Buber, and Barth...but luckily my parents had also exposed me to the recordings and writings of a great 20th century philosopher, Leonard A. Schneider...Lenny Bruce...who covered it all when he said, "There is only what is, what should be never existed." This is why philosophy degrees are so useful as toilet paper. On the other hand, if I present mine to the manager at McDonald's, I get a cup of coffee for only an additional dollar.

I haven't posted much about Colorado, though I guess I will at one point or another; but I've read with great interest the wide range of viewpoints and solutions. When I try to sum up what I believe about it, Lenny keeps coming to me saying, "If you can take the hot lead enema, you can cast the first stone." ...and poor Ol' Joe wonders why I often go over the top. I blame it on my parents.

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Susan A-R
Date: 24 Apr 99 - 10:18 PM

As for the general topic, there seem to be well crafted songs and poorly crafted ones, and the same goes for parody. I have no idea what would happen to my IWW songbook if the parody were taken out of it, but I believe that it would be considerably smaller.

So Art, is it

*Lovely Nancy ran a shoe repair shop Her lovin' Willy brought in his boots* If so, I happen to be rather fond of it. Thanks.

Susan


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 Apr 99 - 10:24 PM

"Give me your A, said the fiddle to the banjo
Or your E or D, I just don't care."
So we sat around while the band was tuning
All night long, at the Roseville fair.

Definitely poking fun, but not at Mr. Staines or his fine song.And I think that a great deal of punch results from using a familiar song as a framework.

Essentially a good parody is good; a bad one is bad. Much like other songs.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: arkie
Date: 25 Apr 99 - 06:38 PM

Agree with Dick and Dr. John. Think I'll find a copy of Passengers will please refrain from flushing toilets on the train, and Pinkard and Bowden's version of The Highwayman. I love Humoresque and the original Highwayman as well. Has anyone done a parody of Pancho and Lefty?


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 25 Apr 99 - 07:41 PM

Hi Susan, thanks for reminding us of the IWW songbook. No parodies, no book. Since many were done to the Salvation Army hymns of the day, I suspect some of the debates were far more heated than those at "mudcat".


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Peter Fisher
Date: 25 Apr 99 - 08:08 PM

Speaking of liking the original as well as the parody, are there many examples of songwriters doing a parody of their own song? Curly Fletcher was alleged (by Glenn Ohrlin, I believe, who would probably know) to have written "The Castration of the Strawberry Roan," as well as the original "The Strawberry Roan" (both great songs, both in DT, with author of "Castration" unclear). And did JJ Walker do a parody of Mr. Bojangles?


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Ronn
Date: 26 Apr 99 - 12:10 AM

Johnny Cash parodied his own "I Walk The Line" with a song he came up with about "I Keep My Pants Up With A Piece Of Twine".

Add to the list of those have been masters of the genre the names of Allen Sherman, Spike Jones, The Austin Lounge Lizards, and Patrick Sky.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Bert
Date: 26 Apr 99 - 11:47 AM

Bert jumps in to plug a song again

Well not really, this is to illustrate a point I have to make about parodies. Sometimes the use of an existing song is inevitable - it just fits.

We were reading about this woman who'd had plastic surgery and finished up with a 70 inch bust. An event which just couldn't go unsung. No other song would do for this. It just had to be 'Cindy'.

Bert


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 01:56 AM

Ref.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Grab
Date: 12 Sep 00 - 10:37 AM

Bert, you've got one big blue clicky thing there!

Surely it depends how it's done. Art is absolutely full of great parodies - think of the vast number of Punch cartoons which often use famous pictures or scenes to lampoon politicians (most famously the Rake's Progress series). Spitting Image used to do songs for their puppets (mostly political), which often used existing tunes. Films can lampoon other films (Airplane series). So why not music? Surely it just comes down to how well it's done. If you don't get the point of irony, then you're unlikely to find anything amusing in parodies, but then you're unlikely to find many songs amusing, particularly those done in the British tradition which uses irony a lot.

Of course, it's entirely possible to write a parody which isn't very funny or insightful, and it's equally possible to write a malicious one whose purpose is obviously to "get at" the original author, but equally it's possible to do a funny and original take on an idea, gently mock someone with it (not necessarily the song's author), or to use a tune for a purpose it wasn't originally intended for. Think of Tom Paxton's "Forest Lawn" - "Rock of ages, cleft for me, for a slightly higher fee".

Grab.

Grab.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: mousethief
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 01:52 PM

I strongly disagree with Shamble's claim that people who write parodies "don't think they are able to go the whole hog and create a new tune as well."

Many (perhaps most) parodies are particularly written around the structure of a particular song. In which case it's pointless and counterproductive to write a new tune.

Much of the humor derives from hearing something familiar (the tune, some of the words and/or the lyrical structure) juxtaposed with something unfamiliar (the new words). Which is what makes it fun.

I've written hundreds of original songs (words and melody), and I've also written parodies. They serve different purposes, and at no time did I ever decide to write a parody because I couldn't think up a new tune. I wrote a parody because I thought up an idea or bit of lyric that fit into the "old" song just too well.

Just for the record, can anybody explain the difference between a "parody" and a "spoof"? I usually use the latter word.

Here's an example, for what it's worth.

Imagine there's no Beatles
It isn't hard at all
No John or Yoko Lennon
No Ringo, George, or Paul
Picture the Isley Brothers
Singing "Tiwst and Shout"!

Imagine Paul in college
Or selling old used cars
Ringo is waiting tables
In George's Grill and Bar
Imagine John and Yoko
Never having met!

You may say I'm a killjoy
But I'm not the only one
I wish you wouldn't get so uptight
After all I'm only having fun.

Now picture "Hard Day's Night"
Done by the Rolling Stones
Imagine Roger Daltrey
Singing "She's Leaving Home"
Imagine Art Garfunkel
Filming "Let It Be"!

(repeat chorus)

Other spoofs I've written can be seen HERE.

spoofless in Seattle,
Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: GUEST,John Leeder
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 02:30 PM

I'm surprised no one so far has mentioned The Kipper Family (and, latterly, Sid Kipper on his own). To my mind, they're the most consistently brilliant parodists I've come across. Often their songs parody entire genres rather than individual songs. Their melodies are parodical too -- just different enough from the originals to sound like legitimate folkloric variants.

Nobody could come up with such a body of work without being very conversant with English traditional folksongs, and I get the impression that they love and respect the real thing; they're not making fun of it, but rather of people who take it too seriously (I'll say "folk snobs" to avoid running foul of that other thread...).

Lots of people come up with a brilliant parody from time to time, but the Kippers came out with album after album of them (and Sid Kipper continues to do so).

Of course, somebody who isn't familiar with English traditional songs will miss a lot of the points, but I think anyone who knows folksong in general will find enough there to make it worthwhile.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: mousethief
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 03:41 PM

Well since nobody has posted one yet, here's the definition of "parody" from the Merriam-Webster's online dictionary (http://www.m-w.com):

"a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule"

Note the "OR" -- ridiculing it is not a NECESSARY part of parody; it could just be done for comic effect without the desire to ridicule.

Since I asked the question I'll answer it; the same dictionary defines "spoof" as:

"a light humorous parody"

Guess that answers THAT question.

Alex
O..O
=o=


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: KathWestra
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 03:59 PM

Oh yes, yes, yes, John Leeder! Love those Kippers, and would be hard-pressed to pick favorites from their many intelligent and hilarious parodies of English folksong. (Although I must confess to loving their send-up of Dido, Bendigo -- "There was Dido, Fido, Bonzo, and Rex, Rover and Lassie, and Spot..."). You've inspired me to get the Kippers off the shelf and have another listen. What fun!

In the non-Kipper arena, the parody I don't like (although it was very funny on first hearing) is "The Rolling Mills of New Jersey." The reason it annoys me now is that everyone has forgotten the original song, "The Rolling Hills of the Border," which I dearly love, being an unrepentant romantic slob and all. Kathy


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: GUEST,John Leeder
Date: 14 Sep 00 - 05:11 PM

At last I'm not a thread-killer! Somebody reacted...

Here's another possible slant on the topic: parodies whose originals have been largely forgotten. "Gentle Annie" comes to mind (Australian parody of a Stephen Foster song, I believe), also "A Capital Ship" ("the 'Walloping Window Blind'") (I found the original on a CD by Rik Barron). I'm sure I'll think of others, but maybe I'll get back to work and see what other folks come up with.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Sam L
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 10:34 AM

Found myself in need of a discussion of parody. I got a very negative reaction to my dove-tail parody Froggie went a courtin', to the tune of In The Mood. I think satire is more about poking fun, parody is about having fun, especially with patterns, and mimicry. I thank the dictionary for it's support.

   My question is why some people hate parody. Especially educators, WriteWhatYouKnow literary people, people who affect a claim to a cultural authenticity beyond their actual experience, and serious artistes. Originality isn't really the issue--Shakespeare? Originality is only good when it's good, too. I've noticed I seem to be the only person who really likes Nabokov--who is essentially a high-lit parodist.

   Does parody really have any educational value is my question I suppose. Education people often don't seem to care for it as an open strategy. But I think it's really how we learn many things--by imitation and mimicry, and hopefully having a little fun, too. It's how I learned to paint, it's also how you know what answer the test-makers want to hear. Frankly I think more people do parody than know it, or want to know it, and most original work is not very original. Does parody imply something unseemly about lines of cultural connectivity in general?


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Amos
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 11:01 AM

why some people hate parody

Could be you've already explained it -- most people learn by mimicry and if they then take pride of ownership in material they have generated which is largekly derivative they feel secretly guilty, so the subject then produces hostility because of their own regrets about it.

A


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: C-flat
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 11:04 AM

Maybe because a parody, by it's very nature, is using one persons art to create something mocking or critical it's regarded by some as unseemly but I agree that it's more used than many realise. T.V. advertisements regularly use parody as a way to transmit their message.
Parody is probably a childs first step in creating humour. Turning the words of a popular song into some other meaning has always been a favourite playground activity,
"Jingle Bells,
Batman smells,
Robin flew away,..."
etc,etc.
We all know dozens more like that and, however inane they are, they still have some merit.
Perhaps because of this early childhood experience of parodying songs some of us grow up to regard the practice as childish and easy.
As for wether it's good or bad?
Are apples good or bad?


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 10 Dec 03 - 11:38 AM

In an essay on the art of writing poetry called "The Dyer's Hand" W H Auden wrote some fairly positive things about the value of parody. As far as I can recall, he said that writing parodies was a valuable learning exercise for beginners, and also was the most effective way to criticise other people's poetry.

A form I particularly enjoy is the "variations on a theme" exercise - a sequence of parodies of a single work in the styles of different authors. A famous example which appears in several anthologies is "Old King Cole" in the style of half a dozen different poets, ranging from Lord Tennyson to Walt Whitman. Worth checking out.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Sam L
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 10:05 AM

Interesting. I suppose even if a parody of a style doesn't especially intend to ridicule it, it implies a predictibility, or mechanical quality.

   I've been trying to use parody in that way--to get kids singing and toying with song-shapes, and they really do respond well. They all participate. But it was silly of me to think I could sell it as an over-the-counter learning strategy to education people. God has been trying to for a while, but doesn't have enough credibility.

   "If you take the idea of a supreme being seriously, then our ideas of order must seem pretty grotesque." Willem De Kooning


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: GUEST,Frank H Guest
Date: 11 Dec 03 - 02:59 PM

HOw 'bout that famous parody, Yankee Doodle? It had quite a shelf life.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 09:53 AM

I met Hughie Jones some time ago, & having heard my version of one of his greatest hits, had some memorable comments to make!


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: GUEST,Darowyn
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 10:41 AM

Since nobody so far seems to have answered the copyright question, here goes.
Parodies, answer songs, and suchlike are all examples of "derivative works", and as such, the original copyright holder is entitled to a proportion of the royalties.
A composer also has "moral rights" to a composition. That means that if, for example, Adge Cutler and the Worzels record Combine Harvester, Melnie Safka can insist on being identified as having written the tune, since it is a parody of "Brand New Key".
Rarely, a writer can invoke moral rights to prevent the release of a parody or derivative which they find morally objectional.
So I could sue someone who added a homophobic rap to my song "Watch What You do in the Night"- I would too!
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Bert
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 10:49 AM

I don't know where you are Darowyn but the courts in the USA have deemed parody to be 'fair use' and not subject to copyright fees.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: MMario
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 10:54 AM

thought if they use a copyright TUNE with parodied words then the TUNE is subject to copyright and license fees. but in the US, if the fees are paid they cannot prevent use of the tune.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Schantieman
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 11:11 AM

I like writing parodies: not really to poke fun at the original but to enable me to write a song without having to write a tune - which I don't have the talent to do.   I do have a little talent, I like to think, to write the words.   I think a parody can both compliment and complement the original music AND make some sort of useful contribution to whatever genre you're into.

Most (all?) of my songs I've put in the Mudcat book or published on threads are parodies. I think it's important NOT just to borrow the tune but to try and stick closely in places to the original words or close parodies of them, particularly if you're trying to be funny.

Some will disagree, I know.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: MMario
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 11:13 AM

if the words don't parallel the original words in some way - then I think what you have is two songs with a common tune; rather then a song and it's parody.


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Subject: RE: Parody : Good or bad?
From: Schantieman
Date: 20 Apr 07 - 11:30 AM

Yes indeed.

Or indeed, one song to the tune of another.

I was cut off in mid-clicky-construction there when I pressed the wrong button. I was about, somewhat vainly, to provide links to all of my songs in Áine's songbook. Just to illustrate my point, of course!
Here's just one.   Well maybe another one.


In fact lots of the songs there are parodies. I liked this one by Morticia.

Steve


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