Dear Other Tropers, do you like this song?
I hope it's good and famous, you can sing along
Jus' rewrite the lyrics, keep the rhymes alive
There's a certain art, and it's called writing
A TV Tropes Filk Song
A TV Tropes Filk Song!
See this song was written by the Beatle Paul
You might see this done to anything at all
If it's Meat Loaf
, folk songs, or a Broadway Hit
Just rewrite the words, then you're set to have a
TV Tropes Filk Song,
A TV Tropes Filk Song!
TV Tropes filk song, filk song, filk song...
There's a thousand filkers, name me one or two
Like you know "Weird Al" Yankovic
and Tom Smith is too It's an old tradition, old as song itself
It's a tricksy art when you wanna write a
TV Tropes Filk Song,
A TV Tropes Filk Song!
aside, "filk" is best described as the music of fandom, or at least, the music of the filk community. Songs about SF books or movies, fandom in-jokes, or even just related topics such as computer geeky references are all common sources for filk. And, despite what the self-demonstration says, filk doesn't have to be new words to old music.
The term is believed to originate in The Sixties
in an early SF fandom 'zine, where the editor didn't do enough copy editing, and typo'd "Folk Music
" as "Filk". The term stuck as a way to describe the peculiar style of musicianship, weird humor, and camaraderie of fandom musicians. (Some in the Society For Creative Anachronism
claim it was actually their
word first, and fandom got it from them; given the heavy overlap between SCAdians and fandom both then and now, it's probably a moot point.)
Filk has a few general styles: humorous, serious but positive, and depressing and angsty
. The humor is often, but not always, parody (here defined broadly as "new lyrics," not only the ones referencing the originals — see Parody Satire Pastiche
) — some filkers are specifically parodists, some do both parody and original, and many only do original work. Some even specialize in "refilking," parodying others' original filk songs.
Parody filk is sometimes seen on fanfic
sites as an exclusively literary form — lyrics parodying a popular song, but not necessarily meant to be sung (and sometimes taking such liberties with the meter that it cannot
be sung to the specified tune).
The angsty stuff is called "ose," as in, "it's ose, ose, and more
-ose." Of course, like all things, especially fandom, there can be some overlap — there are terms such as "cheeri-ose," which is both cheery and depressing; "sucr-ose," sweet and sugary and depressing, and "verb-ose," long and drawn out...and depressing.
(Oh, and in case it isn't apparent already, a lot of filk songs have puns. Lots of puns.
Most SF conventions nowadays have a room set aside for the filkers to sing in large bardic-style circles once the main panels end for the day — some even have concerts. Filk-specific conventions do exist, the biggest being the Ohio Valley Filk Fest
, which includes the annual Pegasus Awards for best filk songs. Check it out for some examples of particularly well-regarded filk. For more examples of filk, there's also The Virtual Filksing
, which bills itself as the oldest anthology of recorded filk music on the Internet.
Unfortunately, defining filk more concretely than "the music of fandom, or at least, the music of the filk community" can be tricky; even in fandom circles, filk is sort of a Red-Headed Stepchild
that a lot of people don't like. That's probably because they've been exposed to one too many bad singers — filk has a performance aspect, and mangled music can put you off of the entire field. And Sturgeon's Law
still applies, after all — it's just that, unlike fanfiction, filk will often be sung aloud
, which makes it harder to avoid the bad stuff when you're looking for the good.
Partially as a result of that, there are a number of artists — such as "Weird Al" Yankovic
and Jonathan Coulton
— whose work is frequently sung in filk circles, but who don't consider themselves filkers. Other filkers, especially ones more on the "funny and pun-filled" side, prefer the term "dementia," derived from the Dr Demento
show, which has been playing comedy and novelty music since the '70s.
The examples will therefore be divided into "Filk," where the artist considers him- or herself a filker (or dementia artist; we're keeping it simple) and part of the community; "Found Filk," where the artist isn't a filker, but the music qualifies and has probably been sung in circles; and "Somewhere in Between," where it's not so clear.
See also Heavy Mithril
, which almost by nature qualifies at least as "found filk," and Nerdcore
Note there's a related phenomenon in the Second World, called "minstrel song" in Russia. It's also a phenomenon of the fandom, but it's derived from the Soviet tradition of bard song
(which is itself derived from the early XX century Russian urban romance
music). Basically, Three Chords and the Truth
about various fandoms, mostly fantasy (and among fantasy, mostly J. R. R. Tolkien
). Oh, and it almost never recycles melodies from older music.
Not to be confused with Flik of the Blue Lightning
open/close all folders
Filk and Filk Artists of Note
- Leslie Fish, whose name has been described as "practically synonymous with filk." She has what might be the two most famous filk songs of all time:
- "Banned From Argo," an original song (and the old Trope Namer for what is now Persona Non Grata) describing what happened when the the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise went on shore leave on the planet of Argo, and the swath of destruction they left in their wake. The piece became so popular that Leslie eventually became sick of it, and many other filkers started to follow suit.
- Worse, to Leslie's loud but (mostly) good-natured complaint, "Banned from Argo" has been refilked so much, about everything from other Star Trek series to other TV shows to SCA storytelling to just random puns, that there's an entire songbook, "The Bastard Children of Argo."
- "Banned From Argo" is so insanely popular, it has shown up in fic. As an actual drinking song. The kicker? "Argo" recounts the exploits of the TOS crew, and the song showed up in an Enterprise fic.
- And it now has its own TV Tropes page!
- And as of A Singular Destiny it's an official part of the Star Trek Novelverse!
- It was also created as a bit of fluffy filler to pad an album (the same one Hope Eyrie was originally in) out to length. The fact that what was intended as a throw-away song became as popular as a careful crafted and much cared for piece didn't sit too well.
- Hope Eyrie, written about the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon (though it took a number of years to finish), is sometimes considered the "anthem of filk."
- In addition to her original work, Leslie frequently sets Rudyard Kipling poetry to music; the resulting songs are called "Kipplefish."
- Heather Alexander, and her "heir" Alexander James Adams (long story). The most famous song is probably the archetypal song of battle, March of Cambreadth.
- Bill Sutton.
- Julia Ecklar.
- Tom Smith, one of the most famous funny filkers. Songs include "307 Ale" and the Barenaked Ladies parody about Babylon 5, "Five Years".
- The late, great Cynthia McQuillin wrote more than a thousand filks, ranging from romantic ballads ("Singer in the Shadow"), to bawdy humor ("Gilda and the Dragon"), and from dark fantasy ("Slay the Dead") to hard science fiction ("Fuel to Feed the Drive"), with occasional pit stops at the simply indescribable. ("The Worm Turns", a talking blues song about a fisherman who's bitten by a "wereworm".)
- Frank Hayes has been in filk since the 1970s, and has written several classics of filk, including "Never Set the Cat on Fire" and "When I Was a Boy" (sung by Joe Bethancourt). But he's probably best known for forgetting his own lyrics, to the point that other filkers will, upon forgetting their lyrics, call out "Frank Hayes Disease!"
- The Funny Music Project, or FuMP, is a collective of funny filkers and dementia artists, including the aforementioned Tom Smith, Rob Balder, and The Great Luke Ski.
- Seanan McGuire, writer of the October Daye and (under the name 'Mira Grant') Newsflesh series, was a filker first, with several albums already and more coming. Example song: "Wicked Girls Saving Ourselves". (Seanan's the blonde. For the others, see the next two lines.)
- Vixy and Tony, best known for the Firefly filk "Mal's Song". (They also work with Seanan a lot — see "Wicked Girls.")
- S.J. "Sooj" Tucker, "Skinny White Chick". Example song: "I'm So Sorry." (Frequently works with Vixy and Tony, and therefore Seanan; she's on the drums on "Wicked Girls.")
- The Bedlam Bards, primarily a Renaissance Faire duo until they got into Firefly fandom pretty heavily.
- Bob Kanefsky, master refilker, specializes in mashing up two of another filker's songs, setting the story of one song to the tune of another. And he does it very, very well. Frequently, he gets the creator of one of the original songs to sing his version.
- For example, Bob took one of Leslie Fish's Kipling tunes and wrote "They're Singing 'Banned From Argo,'" about how many veteran filkers have come to dislike the song from overexposure. One verse states that Leslie Fish has plugged her ears because she just doesn't want to hear it. And he got Leslie to perform it.
- League of Legends is becoming quite a popular subject, thanks to Riot's Songs of the Summoned contests. Searching "League of Legends songs" on Youtube will get you about 9,500+ hits
- Mercedes Lackey sings and writes filk (or used to), often working with Leslie Fish and Heather Alexander. Recordings are available at The Firebird Arts And Music Catalog.
- Frequently, Fish or Alexander would, with Lackey's explicit encouragement, take the songs that appeared in the novels and set them to music.
- In what can only be described as an auto-Shout Out, Lackey named one of her minor characters Leslac, after the filkish term for a Leslie Fish-Mercedes Lackey collaboration. (Naturally, the character was a bard, albeit one who...didn't always get the story right.)
- Eben Brooks has songs including "Hey There, Cthulhu" and "It's the End of the 'Verse as We Know It".
- ElfQuest has an entire filk album.
- Terence Chua specializes in Cthulhu filk.
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has TONS of fan musicians. Examples include The Living Tombstone, MandoPony, WoodenToaster, Prince Whateverer, and Something Broke.
- Another notable Filker is BeatleBrony, a YouTube channel that has remarkably skillful filks of various Beatles and later post-breakup solo songs.
- Gavin Dunne. His The Escapist series called Miracle Of Sound consists of video game and movie filk songs (of any genre and any topic).
- 'Helva' : 'For me and my luggage will never meet again on the bonnie bonnie floors of the Worldcon'.
- 'Xenaclone' : A whole Highlander/Mikado filk cycle, several 'Firefly' filks and counting...
- This ode to House Baratheon
- Or this song about Ned Stark and his wacky family.
- Kathy Mar is a long-time filker, street performer, and song-writer.
- This parody of California Gurlz by Team Unicorn.
- Jonathan Waite/Zander Nyrond is a UK filker known for "Sam's Song" and "Filksinger" among others.
I know the words to every song, the chords to every tune,
I sing of girls in cryosleep and miners on the moon,
Of pagan midnight rituals and war among the stars,
And at sf conventions they use me to clear the bars...
- Tom Holt has been known to write filk, for instance "Numenorian", a The Lord of the Rings Patter Song, or "The Wild Canadian Boy" which is a friendly dig at John Clute and The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.
- Just about everything under DFTBA Records, a record label basically devoted to this kind of thing, and which also includes the aforementioned Chameleon Circuit. Its founder, Hank Green, has made quite a few Filk songs himself, such as This Isn't Hogwarts and Accio Deathly Hallows, the latter of which made him (and his brother) famous and was probably responsible for the founding of DFTBA Records.
- Not Literally, a female duo who mainly do Harry Potter filks but have also been known to do songs dedicated to ''The Hunger Games'' and ''Game of Thrones'' among others.
- As mentioned, pretty much everything by "Weird Al" Yankovic. Al has stated outright that he doesn't consider himself a filker, but he certainly gets sung enough at filk circles...
- Three of his songs are straight filks, though — "Ode To a Superhero" (which pretty much outlines the plot of the first Spider-Man movie), "The Saga Begins" (which outlines the plot of Star Wars Episode I) and "Yoda" (which outlines part of the plot of Star Wars Episode V). "Gump" is borderline, as it doesn't tell Forrest Gump's whole plot.
- "The Brady Bunch" is the lyrics to the theme song of the show of the same name set to the tune of "The Safety Dance".
- Ditto Jonathan Coulton, who enjoys that his music gets sung at filk conventions and circles, but doesn't really consider himself part of the community. (Filkers generally knew Coulton long before Portal.)
- Peter Schilling's "Major Tom (Coming Home)" (possibly better known to younger tropers from the cover version by Shiny Toy Guns, used in a late 2009 car commercial) reworks David Bowie's "Space Oddity".
- Most of Schilling's output qualifies. He may be a one-hit wonder in the United States, but he's got over a dozen albums in his native Germany. Most of his songs cover stuff like space aliens ("Zone 804"), video games ("10,000 Points"), and world-ending disasters ("The Noah Plan," "Lone Survivor"). Plus, there's "Let's Play USA" which is a nasty take on Eagleland version 2.
- David Bowie himsellf frequently did songs with sciece-fiction overtones in his early years. "Space Oddity" itself was inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, as was his own name (from Dave Bowman).
- Since the 1980s, Forbidden Broadway has been parodying current Broadway musicals by using their tunes against them.
- "The Modern Major-General's Song" from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance is practically a filk waiting to happen. Everybody from ReBoot to Animaniacs to Tom Lehrer (see below) has rewritten that one. See Major General Song for more examples.
- Even actual productions of Penzance tend to play around with the lyrics; see also "I've Got a Little List" from The Mikado.
- Electronic-postpunk-goth band ThouShaltNot arguably ventured into filk with their song "If I Only Were A Goth", a minor-key version of "If I Only Had A Brain" from The Wizard of Oz with new, tongue-in-cheek lyrics.
- XTC has several songs about DC Comics characters. "You're Really Super, Supergirl", "Braniac's Daughter" and "Sergeant Rock (Is Going to Help Me)" are three.
- As mentioned, Heavy Mithril. Some examples:
- The original, Led Zeppelin. At least four songs are based off the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, including "Ramble On," "The Battle of Evermore," "Misty Mountain Hop," and parts of "Stairway to Heaven."
- The album Touched By the Crimson King by Demons and Wizards.
- Demons & Wizards' singer's other band, Blind Guardian, has a lot of these. For example, the album Nightfall in Middle-Earth, which retells The Silmarillion. Some of their other songs like The Bard's Song (The Hobbit) are based on sci-fi and fantasy novels. There's a more complete list on their page.
- Their guitarist's other band, Iced Earth, has The Dark Saga, which tells the story of Spawn. Iced Earth also has "V" as in V for Vendetta and "Dark City" which is about the movie Dark City.
- There are two examples in Megadeth's debut album "Killing is My Business... and Business Good." The Title track is influenced by Punisher comics, and "Chosen Ones" is about Tim The Enchanter's warning of The Killer Rabbit from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." And their song "Wanderlust" is about the Gunslinger.
- Nightwish references Dragonlance, The Lord of the Rings and other works of fantasy a few times.
- Iron Maiden: Many songs, including "Phantom of the Opera", "Children of the Damned", "Quest for Fire", "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner", "Brave New World", "The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner", "The Clansman" (about Braveheart), "To Tame a Land" (about Dune), and "Out of the Silent Planet" (about a the movie Forbidden Planet and sci-fi novel by C. S. Lewis).
- Even Metallica did "The Thing that Should Not Be" and "The Call of Ktulu" about HP Lovecraft. "One" is from the book/film Johnny Got His Gun, "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" is inspired by One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, "For Whom The Bell Tolls" is from the eponymous Hemingway film/book, and "Creeping Death" is the Exodus story from the point of view of the Angel of Death.
- Death metal band Bolt Thrower have a few songs based on Warhammer 40,000. Yes, really.
- Burzum, one of the most musically and criminally notorious Norwegian Black Metal bands, features lyrics based largely on LotR, generally viewing Morgoth in a sympathetic light. Despite being a church-burning Neo-Nazi murderer (for real), it's hard to take Varg Vikernes seriously when he writes a song called "The Crying Orc."
- It's pretty obvious that the inspiration for Judas Priest's "Blood Red Skies" was the Terminator saga, as it very much fits the "War Against The Machines" theme of the movies.
- Manilla Road's "Queen of the Black Coast" and "Defender" from their second album.
- No guesses for what Pagan Altar's "The Time Lord" is about. Another tune by them is "Portrait of Dorian Gray".
- David Draiman, lyricist of Disturbed has confirmed that the Asylum b-side "Old Friend" is about Dexter.
- Nox Arcana's albums are full of these. One is about the Cthulhu Mythos, one about vampires, one about Edgar Allan Poe's works and so on.
- Leonard Nimoy's "Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" is a So Bad, It's Good example of original filk (though it wasn't written by Nimoy himself; he just sang it — don't ask why).
- Most of the production of the now-defunct band S.P.O.C.K., if not all of it. Songs include Never Trust a Klingon, Neutral Zone, and Beam Me Up. In fact, it seems to have been the main point of the band.
- Ookla the Mok: A rock band with heavily filkish undertones. Filk Rock.
- Ookla the Mok hardly count as Found Filk — they regularly attend (and perform at) filk conventions, and have won numerous Pegasus Awards.
- Many of the songs by the group The DarkestOfTheHillsideThickets are about H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos stories.
- The Alan Parsons Project's Tales of Mystery and Imagination about Edgar Allan Poe's stories.
- Mastodon's most popular and arguably best album is based entirely upon Moby-Dick.
- Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" (Alice in Wonderland)
- There's a whole compilation album dedicated to Neil Gaiman's stories, called Where's Neil When You Need Him?
- Queen's "39" is a description of interstellar travel with time-dilation effects. (It helps to have an astrophysicist as your lead guitarist.)
- Queen has also done other found-filk songs, of which the best-known example is "Flash" (from the 1980 Flash Gordon movie, for which they did the soundtrack). Similar to it, the album A Kind of Magic has songs they recorded for Highlander (such as "Who Wants to Live Forever?", "Princes of the Universe" and "A Kind of Magic").
- Queen also got an elaborate reference in Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen, a video game made by a fan. Both the title and the subtitle are songs by Queen, and one of the stages is "The Rhyan Sea", a reference to "Seven Seas of Rhye".
- Kate Bush is a prolific English performance artist and has drawn inspiration from many aspects of popular culture. Examples include "James and the Cold Gun" (James Bond), "Hammer Horror" (horror movies by Hammer Studios, obviously), "The Wedding List" (The Bride Wore Black), "The Sensual World" (Ulysses), and, perhaps most famously, "Wuthering Heights" (Wuthering Heights, duh). Although not a filker specifically, her songs certainly have many elements in common with filk music, even those pieces inspired by historical events ("Night of the Swallow", "Houdini"), social concerns ("The Dreaming",) or the corruptive influence of military development ("Experiment IV"). Oh, and let us not forget her songs with definite science-fiction overtones ("Breathing", "Hello Earth", "Rocket's Tail"), which are very filkish-sounding.
- The Ramones wrote "Pet Sematary" for the eponymous movie (adapted from Stephen King's story).
- MF Doom likes to compare himself with and rap about Doctor Doom, especially in the album Operation Doomsday.
- Rapper Daniel Dumille recorded the album "Take Me To Your Leader" under the pseudonym "King Geedorah". It's an album about Godzilla's Arch-Enemy.
- In his alternate persona of "Viktor Vaughn", he bases his "character" on Doctor Doom, and makes many other geek-culture references along the way.
- Jib Jab turns famous public-domain songs (and at least one that's still under copyright) into satirical songs about politics and pop culture.
- Australian University Revues, particularly at the University of Sydney. Recent examples include "Livin' la Vida Broker", from the Commerce Revue, and 'Sing Us A Song, We're The Taliban', from the Law Revue.
- A particularly good example is 500 Yards from the CSE Revue at the University of New South Wales.
- Similarly, the Capitol Steps have lampooned American politics for decades with their song parodies.
- PBS regular Mark Russell combines the political focus and immediacy of the Capitol Steps with the man-and-his-piano smartassery of Tom Lehrer, below-mentioned.
- The Perpetual Aquarium webcomic regularly includes not only filk songs related to various Neopets or pop culture themes, but whole filk musicals as well.
- It's beginning to look a lot like Dustbowl...
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series has, at this point, well over a dozen of these, all of which has LittleKuriboh singing in character the entire time. In addition to the songs he's sung for his other series. LK's page has the full list.
- Star One. Just...Star One. A progressive metal supergroup, assembled and fronted by Arjen Anthony Lucassen, existing solely as a tribute to filmed science fiction. Each song on their one studio album is about a different SF property, from Outland to Star Wars to Blakes Seven, plus a cover of Donovan's highly filk-circle-suitable comedy song "The Intergalactic Laxative."
- Cletus T. Judd, of I Love Nascar fame, is this.
- James Clerk Maxwell rewrote Robert Burns' "Comin' Through the Rye" with lyrics about physics and called it "Rigid Body Sings". He used to sing it, accompanying himself on the guitar. If it wasn't enough that he discovered that light was electromagnetic radiation entirely through the power of mathematics, it seems that he did this about 100 years before filk was invented.
- The early Cole Porter song "Bring Me Back My Butterfly" liberally borrows melodic elements from Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly.
- Another obscure Cole Porter song, "Make A Date With A Great Psychoanalyst," summarizes the plot of Lady in the Dark in its verse.
- John Barrowman, who's a singer as well as an actor, sometimes closes his concerts with a version of Wicked's "The Wizard And I": "The Doctor And I", sung from Captain Jack's POV.
- Frank Zappa wrote at least one song ("Cheepnis") about his love of horrible low-budget science fiction movies. The movie he mentions in his pre-song patter on Roxy and Elsewhere would show up on Mystery Science Theater 3000 twenty-five years later.
- A number of YouTube videos, described as "Literal Videos", feature an original song video with the lyrics reworked to describe what is on screen. Like this one.
- It seems that Warp 11 would probably qualify.
- There's a song called Aquaman's Lament which seems to be by a guy named Mark Aaron James... it's pretty excellent, anyway.
- When Marni Nixon ("the Ghostess with the Mostest," a great singer famous for having dubbed over many great movie musicals and never once getting credit) performed at the Hollywood Bowl in A Prairie Home Companion (which itself frequently features filks), she sang a parody of "I Could Have Danced All Night", called "I Could Have Dubbed Myself".
- Greg Champion of Australian radio show The Coodabeen Champions writes song parodies and original songs, mainly about Australian Rules Football, but also Cricket, other sports, and miscellaneous subjects.
- College Humor turned Jay-Z / Alicia Keys "Empire State of Mind" into "Galactic Empire State of Mind".
- Raccoon Factory's "Kimi ga Kureta Yume", an original song written as a tribute to the Takotsuboya K-ON Trilogy. It covers the first two volumes of the trilogy, with a later released song, "Day alternates with night", covering the last part.
- Archie Fisher's "Witch of Westmoreland"
- Not sure if this counts, but... Crank Dat Druid Boy.
- The Ballad of the Noob, with acompanying Machinima, about a Level 1 noob in World of Warcraft that takes on a Level 60 character.
- Oxhorn Brand Movies is another WOW Machinima maker that does a lot of original music and is soon to release an album of the songs.
- The Fringemunks, a parody of Alvin and the Chipmunks by Seattle musician David Wu, who did two full albums recapping Fringe episodes (some punny, such as "The Cure" on the tune of "Friday I'm In Love"). He also turned "Karma Chameleon" into "Dharma Inititative".
- Fresh Prince of Gotham
- Press Play On Tape, a Danish gaming band that released music like Comic Bakery and The Man With The Gun.
- This spicy little number featuring Allesandra Torressani, Kunal Nayyar and Amy Okuda.
- No More Kings have quite a few songs that fit in this territory, ranging from topics like D&D, zombies, TheKarateKid, robots, and much more.
- "That's What It's Like In Japan" by Logan Whitehurst obviously relates to the question of what kind of a country would give the world Super Mario Bros..
- "What a Catch, Donnie" by Fall Out Boy sounds like it's about Donnie Darko.
- Watch Out, You're Being Watched by Rachel Macwhirter is about Death Note.
- As is "Shinigami" by Machinae Supremacy, specifically it's about Ryuk and Light.
- And from the not-actually-a-celebrity side of things (and with much more overt spoilers), The Tower Bells' Toll by Oriana Cope and an anonymous writer.
- "I Killed A Guy and I Liked It" Kate Perry parody.
- "Filling Out My Death Note" parody set to Eminem's "Cleaning Out My Closet" Whole series spoilers and amateurishly done but the lyrics are funny as hell.
- Won't give the title, but it's a humorous song intended to take the edge off the events of Episode 35/the beginning of Volume 12, to the tune of the Bad Horse Chorus.
- The Omega Kawaii L Song, based on The Omega Kawaii Cloud Song. Contains spoilers for the whole series.
- This song from one of the Abridged Series, a parody of Ke$ha's "Tik Tok." Immature, yes, but also quite amusing. DNA Kpts4tv also had "It's a Dead World After All," "Call Me Mogi", and and this one set to "Pure Imagination."
- "Madame Butterfly" by Malcolm MacLaren is, needless to say, based on the Puccini opera of the same name.
- Wumpscut's Soylent Green; you can guess what this is based on. Uses samples from the film's German dub.
- Sea Monster Song: a song by two college students for a school project. It features the Loch Ness Monster, the Kraken, [[EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs dinosaurs that never died out, Mix-and-Match Critters, Sharktopus, Fish People, and Shark Week. Warning: it's a total Ear Worm.
- Searching For The Golden Eye by Motiv 8 & Kym Mazelle is based on a certain Bond film, and even uses the 007 theme's chord progression during the verse.
- Boardwalk Empire State of Mind by Erik Weiner (aka Agent Sebso). Samples from the show's theme song and the chorus takes off Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind".
- "Deathstar" by Sevendust. Darth Vader's new theme song?
- Roger Ebert wrote his one-star review of Wet Hot American Summer as a parody of "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" by Allan Sherman ("I stole from him, and he from Ponchielli").
- "Home" by Breaking Benjamin is about The Wizard of Oz.
- Barenaked Ladies' "It's All Been Done" is about time travelers dating throughout history.
- Funker Vogt's "Killing Fields". Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Paul McCartney's "Magneto & Titanium Man"
- "William's Doll" from the 1972 children's album Free to Be, You and Me is based on a book of the same name by Charlotte Zolotow. "Helping" from the same album is a Shel Silverstein poem set to music.
- Systems in Blue's "Dr. No" seems to be about the James Bond villain, but the resemblance is just a coincidence according to the members. Although there is a Fan Vid that sets the song to clips from the film.
- Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock".
- Snoop Dogg's "Oh Sookie", written for the heroine of True Blood.
- Xena filk "I am the very model of a heroine barbarian!" by Kevin Wald.
- The lyrics of Covenant's "Like Tears in Rain" are a rephrasing of Roy Batty's final soliloquy in Blade Runner. Before that, they had "Replicant" on their first album. Better yet, "The Road" is this trope applied to the Cormac McCarthy post-apocalyptic novel. "Nothing left but ashes in the wind... nothing moves but ghosts along the road".
- "Deranged" by Coheed and Cambria is about The Joker.
- mind.in.a.box's "8 Bits" is a song about Giana of The Great Giana Sisters, sung with a computerized voice, and how she "wants a life beyond emulation".
- Folk singer Eric Bogle has a Star Trek song called "Beam Me Up, Scotty!"
- The Cruxshadows' "Matchstick Girl" is based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl.
- "Superman (It's Not Easy)" by Five For Fighting.
- At least two Nirvana songs are based on novels, including "Scentless Apprentice," which is based on Perfume, and "Sappy," which is based on The Collector.
- The Vision Bleak, a German Metal band which theme of predilection is gothic horror, with several homages to classical horror movies and literature. They also made a full Concept Album named Carpathia, a story of Cthulhu Mythos inspiration in an Überwald setting.
Somewhere in Between
- Tom Lehrer. If Tom had gotten into fandom in the '60s, he'd surely have been a filker proper.
- Oh, surely not. Lehrer was an old-school piano-bar singer-songwriter of comic and satirical songs, a professional who wrote songs for himself to sing for money. His tunes were mainly original unless he was specifically making fun of some specific thing, and his arrangements are HARD; try playing and singing Vatican Rag or Poisoning Pigeons In The Park if you don't believe it.
- Also, Lehrer had (or at least professed to have) little respect for the folk music scene, or its style of performance. That said, his music is a regular staple of filksinging circles.
- Flanders and Swann were nearer in the sense that their material was mainly quite easy to sing along to but again, professional performers with no interest in amateur preformance
- Ditto Allan Sherman.
- Voltaire has his Star Trek songs, including the entire album "Banned on Vulcan," as well as the song "Cantina" on Ookie Spooky. (Warning: This is a filthy song. You'll never see Star Wars the same way again.) Voltaire's presence at events such as Dragon* Con put him in this category.
- Since then he's released the album "Bitrektual", collecting new versions of all Star Trek and Star Wars songs (and a couple of new songs too, like the one that gives its name to the album).
- There's also "Dead of The Dead: Adventure Quest Worlds Version" which is done by him for the game, and is a parody of his own song.
- Blue Oyster Cult did "Black Blade" about Elric of Melnibone. Hawkwind did an entire album about him, The Chronicle of the Black Sword. This is a step above your average found filk because writer Michael Moorcock was directly involved with both bands, even occasionally performing with Hawkwind.
- And don't forget BOC's Godzilla, though that was probably more about the guitar solo...
- Plus, Hawkwind also did "Needle Gun," which about Moorcock's other notable character Jerry Cornelius (on "Chronicles FWIW"), as well as several songs based on the works of Roger Zelazny.
- Actor Robert Picardo has written a fair number of songs about Star Trek: Voyager — which makes sense given that he was part of the main cast.
- Vampire: The Masquerade had an entire gothic/industrial album with a song for each of the thirteen vampire clans.
- Radio Free Cybertron has aired several of Túrin's Transformers Song Parodies.
- Guyz Nite wrote a song about Die Hard, that was even included in the fourth movie DVD.
- Touhou fandom has created an extensive catalog of work that, at least, seems to border on filk: take ZUN's original (instrumental) BGMs and boss themes and add lyrics about the games and the characters. Of course, these songs end up as the breeding ground for certain creative interpretations of said characters. One notable example (particularly when it comes to Alternate Character Interpretation) is IOSYS's interpretations of Alice Margatroid's various stage and boss themes, which explore her feelings for Marisa Kirisame.
- Also, IOSYS has created songs that are a bit closer to parody-style filk. These range from extremely blatant (being nothing more than outright lyric swaps), such as "Kire Kire Mayoi" ("Hare Hare Yukai" from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya), and "Laser Mari Fantasy" ("Pegasus Fantasy" from Saint Seiya), to the less obvious, like "Love-Colored Damage Report" ("Sketch Switch" from Hidamari Sketch), and more recently, "New Attack Resurrection" ("only my railgun" from A Certain Scientific Railgun). See the IOSYS Trivia page for more examples.
- And not only IOSYS, there were another circles that have done songs that are a bit closer to parody-style filk. For example, Silver Forest has a song called Kaze no Uta, which is a blatant parody to Tori no Uta, especially at the beginning and ending of the song, and even includes a part where the original song being parodied is sung. Another examples from other circles are:
- From Yellow Zebra, we have various examples. "Shooting Star" sounds pretty similar to Forever, from Elemental Gelade. "Worlds End", which sounds pretty much like ETERNAL BLAZE from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, between others, maybe.
- Sekken-ya also have their share of examples. Tewi!, which sounds like TOY from The Slut Banks. Also "Marisa", which sounds like MARIA, from Kuroyume. "True Blossom", which sounds like True Blue from Luna Sea, between more examples.
- The HP Lovecraft Historical Society have done two albums of reworked Christmas carols. This includes such classics as "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fishmen" and "Carol of the Old Ones".
- There's a World of Warcraft Filk Song for pallies going around, sung to the tune of "I'm a little teapot."
I'm a little pally, short and stout, here is my mallet, here is my mount; when I get scared I scream and shout! I pull out my bubble and hearth right out.
- There was a filk song written about the GameFAQs message board Life, The Universe and Everything done to the tune of Piano Man by Billy Joel. Here is an attempt to sing it.
- A whole album of music for the Deadlands roleplaying game exists, produced by the people who published the game. It's not songs, but instrumentals intended to help set the mood for an evening's session.
- The British "Time Lord Rock" band Chameleon Circuit focuses on "Doctor Who"-themed music, but performs gigs outside of the usual filk venues.
- The Guilds "Do You Wanna Date My Avatar" and "Game On".
- Spider Robinson, as part of a Robert A. Heinlein tribute essay called "Rah, Rah, R.A.H.", wrote his own filk song, "Ol' Man Heinlein" (to the tune of "Ol' Man River" by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein). It can be found in Robinson's anthology Time Travelers Strictly Cash.
- Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is pretty much an entire filk musical. Then there are the auditions for the Evil League of Evil, many of which contain filks made up by the people auditioning.
- "Even Gods Cry" by The Turtlenecks, written about the God of War games from Kratos' point of view. It seems rather out of place on an album mostly populated with grunge-metal tributes, although it's clear from the lyrics that it's at least somewhat parodic.
- Abney Park
- "What Would Buffy Do?"
- Web Comics Narbonic and Skin Horse have attracted the attention of Ed Gedeon (author of Everyday Heroes), who posts almost daily parodies related to that day's strip. Others have started to follow Ed's lead; check the comments sections below the strips.
- Nerd Core, pretty much as a genre. For example, mc chris, professional nerdcore artist and voice actor best known for his work with [adult swim], has Fett's Vette, a hip-hop ballad about everyone's favorite Star Wars Memetic Badass.
- Horslips were an Irish band, and generally regarded as the inventors of Celtic Metal. "Dearg Doom" is a part of a concept album based on The Táin, and somehow manages to kick even more ass than the original legend. They're a difficult one to call, though. There were costumes, electric mandolin solos, Heavy Metal renditions of Traditional Irish Folk tunes and their lyrics embraced Celtic Mythology in the same way many Filkers embrace LotR. But then again, it 'was'' the 1970s.
- Rapper Richie Branson will be releasing a Gundam Wing-themed mix tape.
- Regular, if sparse, filking somewhat stuck to Forgotten Realms community, starting with the authors. From what is known... Elaine Cunningham wrote a Bawdy Song or handful for her bard character, realmsified random tunes just for fun and made up a few unrelated ones. Steven Schend invented apocryphical "I Am the Very Model of a Drow of Menzoberranzan" just to drive Bob Salvatore mad. Fans need little provocatioon to come up with something filky, like the comment on that awful first print cover of Tangled Webs.
- Entire genres have come about from fans. Known as 'Wrock' and 'Trock' (short for 'Wizard Rock' and 'Time Lord Rock' respectively), fans make songs, bands, even CDs and music festivals to show their love of the series.
- Niennah (Natalia Vassilieva). She is most well known as the author of the Black Book Of Arda, a big Silmarillion fanfic from Melkor's POV that was formally published as a book (yes, Russian copyright law is quite lax), but she's also renowned in the post-Soviet Tolkien fandom as a minstrel.