Living with a Hernia
|"Living with a Hernia"|
|Single by "Weird Al" Yankovic|
|from the album Polka Party!|
|B-side||"Don't Wear Those Shoes"|
|Released||October 21, 1986|
|Recorded||August 4, 1986|
|"Weird Al" Yankovic singles chronology|
"Living with a Hernia" is a song by "Weird Al" Yankovic. It is a parody of "Living in America" by James Brown, from the film Rocky IV. The song mostly describes the terrible "aggravation" and "back pain" that a hernia causes. The narrator himself claims to be suffering from a hernia, and that he's "Got to have an operation".
"Living with a Hernia" is a spoof of "Living in America" by James Brown (which was also the theme to the 1985 film Rocky IV). As the title suggests, it is about hernias. When it came time to pick a song to parody as the lead single for Polka Party! Scotti Brothers Records "had some very strong ideas" and wished to have Yankovic parody a musician who was signed on the same label. After "Living in America" became a hit, the record label insisted that Yankovic parody the song, to which Yankovic obliged. In order to accurately write the song, Yankovic researched the various types of hernias. On August 4, 1986, Yankovic began recording parodies starting for Polka Party!, starting with "Living With a Hernia".
The single received mostly mixed reviews. Eugene Chadbourne of AllMusic was critical of the parody, and wrote that "'Living in America' in its original version has all the overblown grandeur needed to make a good parody target, but 'Living With a Hernia' just isn't funny." Christopher Thelen of the Daily Vault succinctly noted that "Yankovic even falls flat tackling" Brown with this parody. Not all reviews were negative, however. Keith Thomas of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called the single "a comical classic", praising Yankovic's lampooning of Brown's stage performance. He was particularly pleased with Yankovic naming specific types of hernias as opposed to cities in the United States. He concluded that, "Some people say Weird Al's appeal will wear out [but] I beg to differ."
Yankovic noted that "it was a real thrill to do James Brown. I'm a total non-dancer, never went to any dances in high school, but if I analytically dissect a dance routine I can figure it out." A choreographer named Chester Whitmore was hired to accurately create the dance scenes featured in the video, which was shot on the concert set actually used in the movie Rocky IV.
- "Living with a Hernia" – 3:16
- "Don't Wear Those Shoes" – 3:35
- Polka Party! (liner). "Weird Al" Yankovic. Scotti Bros. Records. 1986. Note: the original vinyl and CD release of the album contained complete liner notes, which included lyrics and personnel. The 1991 re-issue, however, does not feature liner notes as a cost saving mechanism.
- Hansen, Barret (1994). Permanent Record: Al in the Box (liner). "Weird Al" Yankovic. California, United States: Scotti Brothers Records.
- Rabin and Yankovic, p. 77
- Yankovic, Alfred M. (December 2007). "Recording Dates". The Official "Weird Al" Yankovic Web Site. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
- Chadbourne, Eugene. "Polka Party! – Weird Al Yankovic". Allmusic. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
- Thelen, Christopher (September 2, 2001). "Polka Party!". Daily Vault. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
- Thomas, Keith (November 16, 1986). "Clapton on Showtime: 'Forever Man' of Music". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Cox Enterprises. Retrieved July 5, 2014. (subscription required)
- Rabin, Nathan; Yankovic, Alfred M. (September 25, 2012). Weird Al: The Book. Abrams Image. ISBN 9781419704352.