My Bologna

Album: "Weird Al" Yankovic (1979)
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Songfacts®:

  • A parody of The Knack's 1979 hit "My Sharona," Weird Al Yankovic's first official single finds him lusting after Oscar Mayer bologna sausage. Although it didn't chart, it launched his career and inspired his trend of food-themed parodies like "I Love Rocky Road," "Eat It," and "Fat."
  • Al was studying architecture at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, where he also worked as a DJ for the campus radio station KCPR, when he got the idea to spoof The Knack's hit. He decided the tiled men's room across the hall from the station would make a great makeshift studio with its stellar acoustics and proximity to Cal Poly's equipment. He stretched a long microphone cord from the station's tape deck to the bathroom, where he recorded his vocals and accordion. He sent the tape to Dr. Demento, who'd played some of the budding parodist's earlier recordings on his quirky radio show, and it went to #1 on the program's "Funny Five" countdown.

    "The response I got when I played it on the air dwarfed not only that for all his earlier tapes, but practically everything else I played that whole year," Dr. Demento recalled in the liner notes to the 1994 compilation Permanent Record: Al In The Box.

    A short time later, Al actually met The Knack when they played a concert at Cal Poly and introduced himself as the kid who did "My Bologna." Lead singer Doug Fieger turned out to be a big fan of the song and suggested that the band's label, Capitol Records, put it out as a single. Capitol's then-vice president, Rupert Perry, agreed and issued Al's original bathroom recording of the track with "School Cafeteria" as its B-side.
  • Thanks to the underground success of this tune, Al earned a six-month contract with Capitol, but was disappointed when the label took little interest in promoting him. In 1983, he released his self-titled debut album on the California-based label Rock 'n Roll Records. It features new recordings of some of his earlier efforts, including "My Bologna."

    Said Al: "Somehow, we thought those songs might sound better recorded in a professional 24-track studio than they did when they were recorded in a bathroom or garage."
  • "My Bologna" was used on Stranger Things in the season 2 episode "Mall Rats." When Joyce Byers arrives at Scott Clarke's house with a science question, she interrupts the teacher's nerdy hobby of painting miniature figures in his garage while listening to Weird Al.
  • In the 2022 satirical biography Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, starring Daniel Radcliffe in the title role, Al realizes his lifelong dream to "make up new words to a song that already exists" when he spontaneously comes up with this tune after hearing "My Sharona" on the radio. The mock-serious "untold true story" of Yankovic's rise to fame is a spoof of dramatic biopics like Bohemian Rhapsody.

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