Highly amusing collection of handwritten material from ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, amounting to 15 pages of sheet music, lyrics, and notes dating between 1976 and 1979. With the exception of one typed lyric sheet, the balance is written in either ink or pencil on notebook sheets ranging in size from 3.75 x 5.5 to 8.5 x 11. The group is highlighted by two sheets containing chord and sheet music for the song “Cruising Down Higuera,“ which Yankovic gave to roommate and fellow musician Jon Iverson for recording and eventual live events. Yankovic has added “Bass Guitar Part” to the upper margin of the sheet music, and both sheets bear his signature with copyright date to upper right corner, “1976 Alfred Yankovic.”
This offering is significant in that the song, renamed from the original title of ‘Belvedere Cruisin,’ launched Weird Al’s comedic career after Dr. Demento played the song on his comedy radio show; Yankovic, then just 16 years old, gave Demento a homemade tape with original and parody songs when the broadcaster made a visit to Lynwood High School in 1976. The song was inspired by Higuera Street, one of the longest and most active streets in downtown San Luis Obispo, and the countless rides Yankovic and his friends enjoyed in his early 1960s Plymouth Belvedere.
Also included with the collection:
A two-sided sheet with one side headed “Other People’s Songs We Can Rip Off,” which features a variety of titles and names, “Abdul & Cleopatra,” “Here Come the Martian Martians,” “Sahra Cynthia Sylvia Stout,” “Proud to be an American,” “Black Slacks,” “Shepherds of the Nation / When I Turn Off The Living Room Light,” “Frank Zappa:,” “Ruttles:,” “One Pet Iguana,” and “Ukelele Song / Licks off of Records,” with an assortment of musical notes added below. The reverse of the sheet features a set list with numerous parody song titles: “Incidental Music,” “Schmaltz,” “Crampton Comes Alive,” “Feel like Throwing Up,” “Year of the Fat,” “Hot Dog & Apple Pie,” “Gravy on You / House of the Sesame Seed Bun,” “Take Me to the Liver,” “Fatter,” “Give a Little Bit,” “Avocado,” “You Don’t Take Your Showers Anymore,” “Mr. Frump in the Iron Lung,” “I’m Stupid,” “Hocus Pocus,” “You never Gave Me a Tune Up,” “More than a Filling/Fillings,” “Miss You,” and “Stairway to Gilligan.” A notation at the very bottom, “Gong Show 1(213) 466-9153,” written in the hand of Jon Iverson, relates to an early Los Angeles audition for Chuck Barris, during which they played the classic song ‘Mr. Frump in the Iron Lung.’
A lyric sheet containing the words to ‘The Elements’ song by musical humorist and lecturer Tom Lehrer, with chords written above.
Partial lyrics for a parody song inspired by Eddie Cochran’s ‘Summertime Blues,’ with a section as follows: “Sometimes I wonder what I’m-a gonna do / Cause there ain’t no cure for the gas line blues.” Yankovic wrote ‘The Gas Line Blues’ in response to the 1979 oil crisis when gas prices increased 100% and severely cut into his student budget while attending California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.
A sheet with lyrics for the song “A Day in the Life of Green Acres” on one side, and the other side featuring words for the song “Born to Be Mild” on the other; the “Green Acres” song is a parody of the Beatles hit ‘A Day in the Life’ from their Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, with Yankovic writing at the end: “We’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. We’re sorry.” Yankovic made a point to recite this final line during live performances of ‘A Day in the Life of Green Acres.’
A stapled packet of three sheets containing handwritten lyrics and chords for the Shel Silverstein song/poem ‘Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout,’ with Yankovic changing the spelling of the first name to “Sahra.”
A typed lyric sheet containing words to the song “Hey Food,” a 1979 parody of ‘Hey Jude’ by the Beatles, with one verse reading: “Hey Food, don’t make me ill / Set the table and light the candles / But watch out, ‘cause when I’m starting to scarf / I tend to barf / All over my sandals.”
A sheet containing lyrics for the song ‘My Sharona’ by The Knack, as well as parody lyrics for the Yankovic song, ‘Born to Be Mild,' a lampoon of the Steppenwolf song, ‘Born to Be Wild.’ Yankovic transcribed the original ‘My Sharona’ song lyrics as a reference for the final wording and arrangement for ‘My Bologna.’ In the left margin, Yankovic has written down various substitute ‘My’ words for the song, including “buy,” “guy,” “sigh,” “die,” “fry,” “fly,” “high,” “tie,” “lie,” “why,” and “cry.”
A small note page containing handwritten music bars and chorus for “My Bologna,” a parody of The Knack’s ‘My Sharona.’ This small page was used as a ‘cheat sheet’ by Yankovic and his band, an order reference for the verses of the song. In overall fine condition. Weird Al recently spoke about his Dr. Demento tape and the incarnation of ‘Belvedere Cruising’ on an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage. A preview link can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yOPFC5xYMY
Provenance: The Collection of Jon Iverson, Yankovic's college roommate at Cal Poly, who notes: "We were roommates around 1978-79 and rehearsed and performed together all around San Luis Obispo. Many of the handwritten notes in the set are from our sessions working out lyrics to songs and subsequent parodies of those songs. We originated the idea together of doing parodies of popular songs using a food theme, 'My Bologna' being a famous later example of that approach."
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.