You've heard Weird Al Yankovic's comedic versions of Top-40 songs over the years, but did you know that, as a teenaged accordion god in 1976, he wrote and recorded the best tribute to a car ever put to tape? You do now.
Before hitting mainstream paydirt with songs like "Eat It," "Like A Surgeon," "Smells Like Nirvana" and "White and Nerdy," Yankovic was a disciple of Dr. Demento, the radio host whose syndicated show was a weekly must-watch for a generation of imbeciles (like me). We'd sneak cassette tapes of Dr. D's show into middle school, and listen surreptitiously to "Frosty the Dope Man" and "Fish Heads" and Weird Al doing "Another One Rides The Bus." live on the air, laughing like the bowl-coiffed pinheads we were.
It was on Dr. Demento that the world first heard Yankovic throw down the squeeze-box comedy. It was in 1976. He was 16, and had recorded a song called "Belvedere Cruisin.'" It was about his parents' 1964 Plymouth station wagon, which as he tells us in the song, was green with a red interior. A fan of Dr. Demento, he sent a cassette tape to the show, and Dr. D played it on the air, thus launching the career of the most famous accordion player in popular music.
Why is it the best car tribute song ever? In that one dopey, lo-fi recording young Alfred Yankovic, straight out of Lynwood, California, created the most punk-rock thing imaginable, even if he didn't quite know it at the time. The song and his delivery was pure Jonathan Richman meets Johnny Rotten at a polka hall in Scranton. A sneering, 1970s teenage-rebellion smackdown of "Little Deuce Coupe," but without the feigned psycopathy that would soon turn punk into a parody of itself.
That's why. Also, Belvederes are awesome. Please enjoy.