Single: “Live at Bedrock.”
There’s a reason that only Weird Al has been able to make a career doing musical parody: it’s really really tough.
For example, it’s one thing for Jimmy Fallon to don a wig and sing in a high-pitched voice as “Neil Young,” – he’s letting the visuals do all of the work – and it’s quite another thing to do a full-blown takedown / homage like National Lampoon’s immortal “Southern California Brings Me Down.”
The best musical parody songs sound like they could actually be that artist, especially to the casual fan, while to the serious fan, they have to incorporate enough of that artist’s tropes or tics to play as a bit of an inside joke. It’s a tough line to walk, and I’m not sure that anybody has ever walked it better than the guys who put together 1982?s Bruce Springstone song “(Meet The) Flintstones.”
According to the internet, Bruce Springstone was the brainchild of a cartoonist named Tom Chalkey, who enlisted some other musicians – including Tommy Keene!! – to play on it. Somewhat inspired – sez me – by Little Roger & The Goosebumps’ “Stairway to Gilligan’s Island,” the genius of “(Meet The) Flintstones” was all of the specific parody points.
The opening section is pure genius, not so far off from a story that Bruce would use to introduce something like “Racing in the Street” or “The River:”
I remember, I remember when I was just a kid
Growin’ up on them backstreets, in an old stone-age town
I used to come home at night from my job, I had a job flippin’ dino burgers
I see the quarry, it’d be just closing down by then
Little bird up on the pole, he’s screaming out how the working day’s over
And I’d see them dinosaurs, they’d be herding out through the gates
And the workers, they’d be giving them cars a running start with their fat little feet
Now, so, so one night I’m crossing the alley and I see this one worker coming home to his little stone hut
And I seen the lady’s lunch pail by the door, and he calls out to his wife, “hey Wilma! I’m home, honey”
Then, of course he segues into the familiar “Flintstones” theme exactly as you would imagine Springsteen doing it, with cries of “Willlmaaaa!,” and of course a sax solo over a big stop-time part to close it all out.
Naturally, Bruce Springsteen reportedly loved it, and even more naturally, the humourless lawyer types at Hanna-Barbera put the kibosh any showings of a video that they had made, as well as slapping a cease-and-desist on the single itself, because they felt somehow the loving parody of the cover art somehow desecrated a brand that had been culturally ubiquitous for two decades.
Fan-made video for “(Meet The) Flintstones”
My Certain Songs Spotify Playlist: