I grew up in a large family with a wicked sense of humour. It wasn’t exactly the Addams Family, but satire was an essential part of day-to-day survival.
I’ve always loved playing with words and music, and often took the liberty of changing words to songs. People enjoyed the way I twisted lyrics. At coffeehouses and folk festivals, other singers or guitarists would ask me for the words of my ‘new’ version (or perversion) of some of the old songs, saying that they’d be fun to sing and share with friends.
That, in a nutshell, is how this all came about. Most, if not all of the songs that are spoofed on this website should be recognizable to anyone who has sung with friends or listened to the radio in the past 50 years. After all, parodies work best when the reader or listener is familiar with the subject that’s being made fun of. That’s why I purposely steered clear of lesser known songs like “Love is a Detergent” by Eddie Brampton and the Melody Monkeys, or “Dwindling Feelings in My Heart” by the Electric Doughnuts.
I must tip my hat in loving gratitude to my late sister, Sharon. (‘late’ meaning that she passed away, not that she was always tardy.) She turned me on to twisted tunesters like Tom Lehrer and Allan Sherman, whose recordings I first heard and laughed at when I was in elementary school. Sharon was a wonderfully warped wordsmith with a dastardly sense of humour, and it is to her that this book is deadicated (sic).
To the writers of the songs that I’ve so painstakingly parodied: I loved your songs enough to purchase them in books and learn them so I could play them for my own pleasure, as well as for the enjoyment of others. As a songwriter and recording artist, I’ve had several of my own songs parodied by friends, teachers or students, and was honoured that they chose my material to play with. As it happens, I found several of their parodies of my original songs to be extremely funny. My family and I sincerely hope that you will find enough artistic merit (and genuine laughs) in this satirical collection to overlook any need to have me tracked down by some ex-linebacker and have my knuckles broken.
~ Paul Finkleman