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A song parody is a a specific form of parody that involves taking an existing song, keeping the beat and background the same, then rewriting the lyrics (or possibly adding lyrics to a song that originally had none). Sometimes the new lyrics are similar to the original, sometimes they bear little resemblance. The United States Supreme Court case Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music established song parodies as Fair Use, even when used for profit. Thus, one does not technically need to get permission from the original artist to make a parody, though some (such as "Weird Al" Yankovic) make it a point to get permission for any parodiesnote .

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In a non-audio medium such as a comic, making a song parody can be a good way to let readers know how a song is supposed to actually sound, by giving them a beat and tune to keep in mind as they read the lyrics.

Often times, song parodies are sung To the Tune of... the piece they're spoofing, but this isn't a requirement; oftentimes a Suspiciously Similar Song substitute is used instead.


Examples:

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     Literature  
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland parodies numerous poems, as well as a few songs:
    • The Hatter's "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat" is, very transparently, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star".
    • "The Lobster Quadrille" is a spoof of Mary Howitt's poem "The Spider and the Fly", which Lewis Carroll knew in song form. Carroll liked the melody of the song a lot, and specifically asked the composer of a stage version of Alice to use the old melody rather than trying to write a new one.
    • Victorian readers would have caught immediately that the Mock Turtle's Torch Song "Beautiful Soup" can be sung to the tune of a pop mega-hit of the day, "Beautiful Star".

    Live Action TV 
  • Stargate SG-1's creators made a version of the opening theme with lyrics.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look mentioned the existence of a secret Snooker-based parody of "Lady in Red" in one sketch about two Snooker tournament radio commentators. In a follow-up sketch later in the episode, the two commentators actually sing a portion of the song, "Table of Reds", in dedication to a manic-depressive Snooker player whom the commentators had both saved from committing suicide at one time or another. See the full sketch here.
  • The first season Christmas Episode of Scrubs gives us this cheerfully morbid parody of The Twelve Days of Christmas, which plays over a montage of Turk's spirit breaking over the course of a terrible Christmas Eve spent on-call:
    On the first day of Christmas
    My true love gave to me
    A drunk who drove into a tree
    On the second day of Christmas
    My true love gave to me
    Two shattered skulls
    And a drunk who drove into a tree....

    Twelve beaten children
    Eleven drive-by shootings
    Ten frozen homeless
    Nine amputations
    Eight burn victims
    Seven strangled shoppers
    Six random knifings
    Five suicides
    Four beaten wives
    Three O.D.'s
    Two shattered skulls
    And a drunk who drove into a tree!
  • Sesame Street has done several of these, such as "Never Say Never" becoming "Measure, Yeah, Measure" or "Call Me Maybe" into "Share It Maybe."
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy ended most episodes with parodies of popular music videos; although some were style parodies or completely original tunes.
  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has the host get Right Said Fred to do a parody of their song "I'm So Sexy" reworked to insult Bashar al-Assad because Assad downloaded their music.
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    Magazines 
  • MAD sometimes does this, with a Note From Ed mentioning the tune to which the lyrics are set.

    Music 
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic has based his career on this trope.
  • Bob Rivers is particularly well known for his parodies of Christmas Songs.
  • Many filk songs are parodies of other songs.
  • Liam Lynch's album Fake Songs: There's the "Fake Björk Song", the "Fake David Bowie Song", etc.
  • Cledus T. Judd is also a career parodist, focusing mainly on Country Music.
    • Before him, the country music parody field was dominated by Pinkard and Bowden, who also wrote several (serious) country songs for other artists. Their biggest hit was "Mama She's Lazy", a parody of The Judds' "Mama He's Crazy".
    • Sheb Wooley (of "Purple People Eater" and Wilhelm Scream fame) recorded several albums of parodies of then-current country hits in the 1960s and '70s as Ben Colder.
    • Going back even earlier, Homer and Jethro made a name for themselves doing these in the '50s and '60s.
  • Christian band ApologetiX performs Christian parodies of popular songs.
  • Comedy-themed barbershop quartets often have entire repertoires that consist of parodies of popular barbershop songs.
  • Allan Sherman is an older example of building a career on parodies.
  • Stan Freberg did a number of these in the '50s, spoofing such hits of the day as "C'est Si Bon", "Sh-Boom", "The Yellow Rose of Texas", "Rock Island Line", "Heartbreak Hotel", and "The Banana Boat Song".
  • Anthony and Those Other Guys Thormas Time is a Jingle Bells Parody.
  • Self primarily do non-comedic originals, but the outtake compilation Feels Like Breakin' Shit included a pair of parody songs: "Titanic" is a Titanic-themed parody of The Pixies' "Gigantic" (which also includes a bit of Weezer's "The World Has Turned And left Me Here"), while "Moronic" is a parody of Alanis Morissette's "Ironic" that's a Take That! to the original artist.
  • "Puppet Dude" by Foetus is an odd case of a stealth song parody: If you read the lyrics, they're clearly meant to fit the meter and rhyme scheme of "Rocket Man", but the song itself sounds absolutely nothing like it. It's possible JG Thirlwell wanted to do a straight "Rocket Man" parody but couldn't for legal reasons, so rather than making it a Suspiciously Similar Song he just set the lyrics to entirely different-sounding music.
  • Garfunkel and Oates parodied their own "I Would Never (Have Sex With You)" as "I Would Never (Dissect An Ewe)", while pretending to be an amateur tribute act called Simon And Hall.
  • Early in his career, Chicago radio personality Steve Dahl did parody songs ("Do Ya Think I'm Disco", "Ayatollah", "Another Kid In the Crawl") with his band Teenage Radiation.
  • Cee Lo Green parodied his own song, turning "Fuck You" (an song insulting an apparent Gold Digger) into "Thank You" (a song praising firefighters).
  • Da Yoopers' catalog includes a few, such as their Signature Song "Rusty Chevrolet" (a parody of "Jingle Bells") and "Grandpa Got Run Over by a Beer Truck (based on "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer").
  • Brazilian musician Falcão reworked Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2", putting lyrics based on a children's song about throwing sticks at cats. He only sings it live, as the band denied its publishing - something Falcão comments with "I won't allow them to record my songs either!"
  • Right Said Fred did a Smurf-related parody of their own song "I'm Too Sexy" called "I'm Too Smurfy" for The Smurfs 2 soundtrack album.
  • French comedic rapper Fatal Bazooka (Michaël Youn) and singer Pascal Obispo parodied the French hit song Confessions nocturnes ("nocturnal confessions") by Diam's and Vitaa. The original song was about a woman suspecting her boyfriend to cheat on her and seeking the help of her best friend ; the parody, Mauvaise foi nocturne ("nocturnal dishonesty") is about a man seeking the help of his best friend after her girlfriend caught him cheating on her. The music video is also a Shot-for-Shot Remake of the original.
  • P. Project/Padhayangan Project, a music group in Indonesia, specialized in this, parodying many Western and even local songs (and at least ONE Mandarin song based on Drunken Master). This lasted until they had a re-shuffling and decided to make more original (but still lighthearted and fun) songs under the name 'Project Pop'.
  • Record Producer Nelson Larkin arranged a parody of Bill Anderson's "Double S" in 1979 called "Double W", and released it under the name "Whispering Will".
  • In 1991, a Kentucky band called the Bandit Brothers put together a parody of "Men" by the Forester Sisters, titled "Women". The parody got distribution through Curb Records and made the lower regions of the charts.
  • Dusty Drake's 2008 single "The 12th Man" is a parody of Mark Chesnutt's 2004 single "The Lord Loves the Drinkin' Man" with new lyrics themed around the National Football League's Pittsburgh Steelers (Drake is a Pittsburgh native).

    Radio 
  • New York morning show hosts Scott and Todd on 95.5 PLJ are known for these. Many of them are about making fun of New Jersey, such as "Jersey Girl" (a parody of "Barbie Girl").
  • In the mid-to-late 1990s, a Minnesota DJ named Gino Ruberto made several song parodies that he would play at his station, KEEY-FM. One of said parodies, "Any Gal of Mine" (a parody of "Any Man of Mine" by Shania Twain) got played on After Midnite with Blair Garner a few times, causing it to chart as high as #56 on Hot Country Songs without any sort of label promotion. (It was credited to "Gino the New Guy".)

    Video Games 
  • Kinect Star Wars, a 2012 motion-control game set in a galaxy far, far away, features a dancing minigame. One song is "I'm Han Solo", parodying Jason Derulo's "Ridin' Solo". It is widely considered hilarious, albeit mostly for being infectiously awful.

    Web Original 
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    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • Many of the songs on Animaniacs were parodies of already existing songs. The episode "H.M.S. Yakko" was made chiefly of parodies of Gilbert and Sullivan songs. Another notable one was "Dot the Macadamia Nut", a parody of "Macarena".
  • In the first Xmas episode of Futurama, we learn that Santa Claus is feared in the 31st century rather than loved, since he's a robotic Bad Santa whose standards for who's been "nice" are so high that he judges everyone to be "naughty" (except Zoidberg) and tries to kill them. At the end of the episode, the main characters sing this alternate version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" about him (which may or may not be the real current version of this song in-universe, but counts from a meta-standpoint):
    Amy: He knows when you are sleeping,
    Farnsworth: He knows when you're on the can,
    Leela: He'll hunt you down and blast your ass from here to Pakistan!
    Zoidberg: Oh,
    Hermes: You better not breathe, you better not move,
    Bender: You're better off dead, I'm telling you, dude,
    Fry: Santa Claus is gunning you down!
    Everyone: Yayyyyyyy!

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