There were many ways to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars yesterday, but none quite as fun as a good old-fashioned “Weird Al” jam. Al shared his 1981 demo for his hit Star Wars parody song “Yoda” from the Dare to be Stupid album released in 1985. The demo first popped up on the Dr. Demento Radio Show in 1981 and it had the instrumentation Al was using at the time, meaning that the song is performed on an accordion and uses hand farts and a suitcase for percussion. The song was written after Al saw The Empire Strikes Back and is told through the eyes of Jedi-in-training, Luke Skywalker.
“Weird Al” released the demo for “Yoda” on his official YouTube account for the 40th anniversary of A New Hope and also to promote his epic box set that contains all of his 14 studio albums and a separate album of rarities. The set entitled Squeeze Box houses 15 records, pressed on 150-gram vinyl into a replica of “Weird Al’s” accordion for fans that have an extra $335 dollars lying around. The set will be released on November 24th, 2017 just in time for Christmas.
The song almost didn’t happen. In order for “Weird Al” to record his parodies, he needs to obtain permission from the original songwriters and their publishers to legally release the song. “Yoda,” while not ever released as a single is one of “Weird Al’s” biggest songs and it almost didn’t get released. Lucasfilm was apparently quick in giving Al permission, but the original songwriters of the song “Lola,” the song that “Yoda” is a spoof of, declined the use of the song. Al happened to run into the main songwriter, Ray Davies and asked why they had turned down his request. Davies claimed to not have any knowledge of the request and gave him permission to record the song and the rest is history.
The original song “Lola” was written by Ray Davies of the Kinks and released in 1970. The song is quite possibly about a man meeting a transgender woman at a club and falling in love with her. “Weird Al” obviously took the song and made it about “Yoda” after seeing The Empire Strikes Back and apparently he was pretty happy with the original words because he didn’t change any of them even after the release of Return of the Jedi. It hasn’t been proven if “weird Al” is some kind of prophet, but he was able to predict the long lasting effect of Star Wars. “The long-term contract that I had to sign Says I’ll be making these movies till the end of time With my Yoda….Yo-yo-yo-yo Yoda yo-yo-yo-yo Yoda!”
Though his work is often considered ‘simple’, “Weird Al” is a lyrical genius beyond compare and his popularity is as strong as it’s ever been. His last album, Mandatory Fun, came out in 2014 and was his first ever number one record on the Billboard Charts. “Weird Al” recently wrote the theme song for the upcoming Captain Underpants movie. Check out the demo for “Yoda” below direct from https://movieweb.com/batman-vs-robin-movie-cast-weird-al-yankovic/The Weird One himself.