This is a song about the Amish, a Christian religious group who don't believe in any form of violence, profanity, or electricity. This song is a parody of Gangsta's Paradise by Coolio.
Suggestion credit: James - Fountain Valley, CA
Yankovic famously gets permission from the original artists before he parodies their song, even though he is not legally obligated to do so. In this case, however, Coolio spoke out against the spoof, saying at an interview at the 1996 Grammy Awards: "I didn't give it any sanction. I think that my song was too serious. It ain't like it was 'Beat It.' 'Beat It' was a party song. But I think 'Gangsta's Paradise' represented something more than that. And I really, honestly and truly, don't appreciate him desecrating the song like that. I think he's wrong for that, because his record company asked for my permission, and I said no. But they did it anyway. I couldn't stop him. But you know, more power to him. I hope they sell a lot of records. Just stay away from me."
Yankovic responded with a statement saying that there was a lot of miscommunication, as it was his and Coolio's record label talking, and nothing was in writing. Al was under the impression that Coolio cleared it, and when they each appeared at the American Music Awards before the Grammy's, Al was nervous about doing his Coolio bit (especially making fun of his hairstyle), but the rapper was a good sport about it.
Al was shocked when he heard Coolio's remarks at the Grammy Awards, and send him a letter apologizing.
The incident was brought up in Yankovic's VH1 Behind The Music special, which added ballast to the story, but Coolio apparently accepted Al's apology, and years later when they met at a trade show, Al says they "hugged it out."
When Yankovic does a song parody, he often makes an accompanying video that is a bizarro version of the original. That's what he did here, recreating the stark "Gangsta's Paradise" video with an Amish theme.
It's one of Al's favorite videos, and it's a family affair: his parents and a few other relatives appear in it.
Florence Henderson appears in the video, playing the role Michelle Pfeiffer played in Coolio's clip. Henderson is famous for playing Carol Brady on the TV show The Brady Bunch.
Yankovic, who loves classic TV, also gets a Gilligan's Island reference in the song when he sings some of that show's themes song to explain the Amish primitive lifestyle:
No phone, no lights, no motorcar Not a single luxury Like Robinson Crusoe It's as primitive as can be
In Pullman, Washington, an older listener to the local radio station contacted the station manager complaining that the song was insulting and if it was not pulled, she would stop listening and would tell her friends to stop as well. Apparently, her argument was, "What if an Amish person were to hear this song? They would be quite offended!"
Shadow from Depression, VaI love Weird Al Yankovic. This song and the video are hilarious.
Bob from Schenectady, Ny@ ollie, Point Place, WI Amish people are allowed time away from their way of life at the age of 18. It is during this time when they are free to explore the world and do whatever they want. Most return to the Amish community but it is not unheard of for one to leave. It's is very possible for someone from the Amish community to use a computer, listen to music, watch a movie...
Ollie from Point Place, WiAnd yet, Ezekiel, you are on a computer. :) haha.
Shawn from Prescott, AzI think some one should make a song A soldiers Paradise. without rap
Ezekiel from Lancaster, Pawell I happen to think this song is funny and I come from Amish country.
Justing from Orlando , FlLol, Apparently, her argument was, "What if an Amish person were to hear this song? They would be quite offended!"
Amish people don't use technology, so they wouldn't have a radio, CD Player, iPod etc. to listen to it.
Steve from Las Vegas, NvThe comment about Robinson Crusoe is a part of the lyrics borrowed from the theme to Gilligan's Island.
Lucy from Rhinebeck, NyWeird Al made a reference to Robinson Crusoe in this song. That is just so random.
Stafler from Durban, South Africathe music video itself is a joke. is he a real Amish? i mean he's also just a joke
Danny from West Chester, PaIm Pretty sure Even Weird AL DIRECTED the VIDEO .. he did a good job :)
Miles from Vancouver, CanadaThe story about Coolio being mad...well, Al was positive that Coolio had given the blessing, but Coolio himself denied it. Al even wrote a letter to Coolio apologizing for the misunderstanding. After that experience, Al made sure he spoke to the artist directly for permission to record a parody.
Garoud from Aricathis man is an artist and a genius!!
Stephen from Kilkenny, IrelandCoolio's Gangsta's Paradise of which this song is a parody is itself based on Stevie Wonder's "Lastime Paradise".
Cory from Morden, CanadaVocally, Weird Al can compete with anyone else on the radio these days...
Joe from Chicago, Aryeah his new album has a green day parody, but it's probably the least funniy song on the album because that album is f***in halerious!
Mike from Petersham, MaIt does have a Green Day parody.
Mike from Petersham, Mahe just came out with his new album Staight Out of Lynwood
Izzy from Buffalo, Nyi like 'the night santa went crazy' more though
Izzy from Buffalo, Nyits sad that not a lot of people know about weird al, cuz he's son freakin amazing
Ashley Jade from Cleveland, GaAnother great song by Weird Al
Jonathan from Warwick, RiFrankie Yankovic is NOT related to Weird Al Yankovic!!
Chow from Saint Louis, MoAl's band does not get enough props in my opinion. They are all very competent musicians. You gotta love the grandson of a polka great. (hey, my auntie used to play polka music). Best Regards, CHOW
David from Guelph, CanadaYou forgot to mention that Coolio was quite angry at Weird Al for making this. There was some confusion. Weird Al thought he had Coolio's permition for making the song. But Coolio was angry afterward
Devon from Westerville, OhI've seen Weird Al a couple of times live and when he does this song they're all dressed as amish people.
Allan from Vanderhoof, CanadaNote that it's a take-off of Gangsta's Paradise, with Florence (Brady Bunch) Henderson as the woman sitting opposite Weird Al in a couple of the scenes. In Coolio's original, that was Michelle Pfeiffer.
Rebka from Crapville, WyIlove wierd al. He is hilarious. He needs to make a new album with parodies of green day, gwen, fallout boy, and other people like that.
Dylan from Perth, AustraliaFunny song by Weird Al
Mikey from Galesburg, Ilyeah my favorite song by weird al is Headline News. He has inspiration to what anyone is feelin.
Joseph Wright from Baltimore, Mdthis is one of al's best songs besides mabey christmas at ground zero, these are the the most creative lyrics werid al rocks