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Song Parody

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Darkseid: To earn a living by making songwriters look like fools! Diabolical!
Cyborg: I don't know, I think it’s all in good fun.
Darkseid: What's fun about undercutting musicians by subverting their words and compromising their artistic integrity?!

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 parodies.note 

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.


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    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles: In "The Wedding Reception", first Mittens and later Bolt and Rhino add humorous lyrics when singing the melody to Richard Wagner's bridal chorus from Lohengrin.
  • Total Drama: Battle of the Generations: As noted by the author, all of the songs in the story are parodies of existing ones.
    • The song in Antarctica references "Let It Go", from Frozen.
    • Both the lyrics and the visuals described in the Kyoto song are a parody of the opening to Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Total Drama Stranded: Of sorts, to romance Desdemona, Elijah sings Rihanna's "Diamonds", changing the line "Shine bright like a diamond" to "She's bright like a diamond."
  • Total Highschool Drama: There are several songs in the series that are based off of existing songs. For example, in chapter 23, Noah is required to name the most populated cities in each state in the United States in both question and song form. What he sings is a nod to A Codette World Tour, which helped inspire this fanfiction; in that story, Cody sang this song for the same challenge that the challenge in this chapter is based off of.

  • 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".
  • Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs and its sequels parody public domain children's songs with humorous lyrics often relating to an average child's life. The title song of the first book is a parody of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game".

    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.
  • Saturday Night Live
    • SNL often uses Suspiciously Similar Songs or In the Style of to parody music, but there are times when they use this trope, such as "Walking In Staten", an affectionate jab about Staten Island to the tune of "Walking In Memphis".
    • When Lucy Lawless hosted SNL, she played Stevie Nicks in the "Stevie Nicks' Fajita Roundup" sketch, singing some of Nicks' most iconic songs with Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist with Tex-Mex-themed lyrics.
      Stevie: (sings to the tune of "Rhiannon") Chicken fajitas taste real fine / Wouldn't you love to eat them? / My chips and salsa are mighty fine / No one round here can beat 'em.
  • A common feature in Spitting Image. Perhaps the most (in)famous example would be "Every Bomb You Make", a parody of "Every Breath You Take" from The Police, sung by the actual Sting in exchange of getting copies of every episode of the first series.

  • MAD sometimes does this, with a Note from Ed. mentioning the tune to which the lyrics are set.

  • "Weird Al" Yankovic has based his career on this trope, making him the Trope Codifier.
  • 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".
    • Notably, Freberg's unusual angle was that his spoofs usually keep the music and lyrics of the original; the parody is in the way the songs are performed. By the end of a Freberg parody, the spoofed performer's vocal tics, stylistic oddities, and/or general egotism lead to all hell breaking loose in the recording studio.
  • 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).
  • Submarine Man is an American rapper who makes foot fetish parodies of popular rap songs. For example, "Stinko Foot" is a parody of "Sicko Mode" by Travis Scott.
  • Unknown P is an upper-class rapper persona created by British comedian Munya Chawawa specifically for this purpose, producing "posh remixes" of various popular rap tunes.
  • Shortly after the COVID-19 Pandemic started, Heavy Metal cover artist Minniva took Amaranthe's "My Amaranthine" and rewrote it to "My Quarantine".
  • Eminem has done several affectionate parodies of songs he likes, occasionally in brief passages. He also likes to do parodies of songs by people he is trying to insult.
    • Eminem's first diss track to Everlast, "I Remember (Dedication To Whitey Ford)", is a parody of the blues rock that Everlast had switched to making, which is intended to insult him for switching genres. Eminem spells this out during the last verse - "I can sing better than you and I don't fuckin' sing! And probably play guitar better, and I ain't never touched a string.".
    • Eminem's "The Watcher" freestyle is a spoof of Dr. Dre's the original "The Watcher" (which Eminem wrote and provided backing vocals for). At the end he switches to the beat of Dre's "Let's Get High" (which Eminem also wrote) and raps a few lines in an imitation of Dre's voice.
    • In "Marshall Mathers", Eminem sings a minor-key, obscene version of the first lines from "Summer Girls" by LFO — "New Kids on the Block suck a lot of dick / boy/girl groups make me sick / and I can't wait until I catch all you faggots in public! Imma love it!"
    • Eminem starts his verse in "Bitch Please II" by spoofing Snoop Dogg's verse in the original "Bitch Please", in an impression of his voice.
    • "Just Lose It" is a parody of 80s Pop Rap, particularly MC Hammer, though it breaks into a spoof of his own "Lose Yourself" at one point.
    • "Rhyme Or Reason" is a spoof of "Rolling Stone" by Black Hippy. Particularly note the way that, in "Rolling Stone", the rappers hand over to each other in the middle of a line — Eminem mocks this by switching in mid-line to the voice of Yoda. Even his flow is an overwrought, hyperextended version of the "Rolling Stone" flow. The hook is also a parody of The Zombies's "Time Of The Season" — "Let me take you by the hand to promised lands, and threaten everyone... there's no rhyme, or no reason for nothing!"
    • "Rap God" contains a passage which is a spoof of the ringtone rap 'classic' "Lookin' Boy" by Hotstylz.
    • "Greatest" is a spoof of Kendrick Lamar's "HUMBLE".
    • The infamous "'97 Bonnie & Clyde" takes dead aim at the sentimentality of "Just The Two Of Us" by Will Smith.

  • 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").
  • All of the songs in Land of the Lost (1943) (with the exception of the often-omitted Title Theme Tune) are parodies, with notable examples being the Bottle Brigade’s marching music (AKA “Pop Goes The Weasel”) as well as the “Spoon Song” (“Who wants coffee, who wants tea, EI-EI-O”) from “Knives Of The Square Table”.
  • 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".)
  • Many of Mitch Benn's songs on The Now Show, especially when the news story he's basing them on is about a musician. For instance, when Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman had a falling out, his take on it was an imagining of what Bat Out of Hell III might be like if it couldn't be called that, called "Budgie Out of Hades". (Although the tune is actually a Suspiciously Similar Song to "Rock'n'Roll Dreams".)
  • NPR Quiz Show Ask Me Another had a recurring puzzle format where house musician Jonathan Coulton would take snippets of pop songs and rewrite the lyrics to be trivia clues. Contestants got bonus points if they could guess the original song or artist.


    Video Games 
  • Kinect Star Wars, a 2012 motion-control game set in a galaxy far, far away, features a dancing minigame Galactic Dance-off, which has your favorite Star Wars characters dancing to parodies of pop songs. One song is "I'm Han Solo", parodying Jason Derulo's "Ridin' Solo". It is widely considered hilarious, albeit mostly for being infectiously awful.
  • In-universe example in Skyrim: the pro-Empire song The Age of Aggression is a rewrite of the pro-Stormcloak song The Age of Oppression, or possibly the other way around - no one knows which one was made first.
  • "Mr. Sockman" from Sockman is derived from "Mr. Sandman", popularized by The Chordettes. It features in the game's trailer, and serves as the ending song.

    Web Original 


    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".
  • Disney Channel has a series of videos of characters from animated Disney shows singing parodies of famous songs, appropriately titled "Broken Karaoke".
    • The first is for Big City Greens, featuring Tilly Green parodying of "Queen of Mean" from Descendants 3 as "Queen of Nice". Cricket finds this strange when she is asked to "go hard", and the end mentions her talking to a llama.
    • The second is a parody of the famous Christmas carol "Deck the Halls", which is led by Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb, joined by the various other currently-running shows.
    • The third is also for Big City Greens, called "Stuck at Home", which is a parody of "Flesh & Bone" from Zombies 2. It is a PSA about the COVID-19 Pandemic, which shows the Greens stuck at home as well and what they will do to survive through it. This particular installment is notable in being the highest viewed video for the series on YouTube.
    • The fourth is for Gravity Falls, featuring Mabel singing a parody of "Call Me Maybe", as "Call Me Mabel". It is the first song sung by someone from a show that has already ended.
    • The fifth is also for Big City Greens featuring Cricket Green singing a parody of "Calling All the Monsters" from A.N.T. Farm as "Where Are All the Monsters?". The song is also dedicated to COVID-19 during Halloween, where Cricket sings he and his monster friends can still have fun remotely even though they have to stay home.
  • The Family Guy episode "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater" intentionally subverted this with its big musical number "We Only Live To Kiss Your Ass", which is not a direct parody, but an obvious soundalike to "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" from Annie (1982). Originally it was supposed to be a parody, but writer David Zuckerman insisted on making it an original composition since he believed it could get them nominated for an Emmy. He proved to be correct.
  • 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!
  • The Simpsons:


Beneath a Moonless Sky Parody

During the review for "Love Never Dies", Diva provides a different version of said song with some "interesting" lyrics...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / SongParody

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