The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota
|"The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota"|
|Song by "Weird Al" Yankovic from the album UHF|
|Released||July 18, 1989|
|Recorded||May 24, 1989|
"The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota" by "Weird Al" Yankovic is a lengthy folk-type song about a family road trip to a tourist location in Minnesota. The song was meant by Yankovic as a style parody of the storytelling songs of Harry Chapin and Gordon Lightfoot, and the structure and chord changes closely mirror the Chapin song "30,000 Pounds of Bananas". The song refers to a real tourist attraction, a large ball of twine in Darwin, Minnesota, that Yankovic has visited on at least one occasion. The song might also have found inspiration from the 1983 film National Lampoon's Vacation, where the biggest ball of twine is mentioned several times.
The song begins as the unnamed narrator recalls his trip to the titular attraction. After working all year at Big Roy's Heating and Plumbing he accumulates some vacation time. One night at the dinner table, he asks his kids where they would like to go on vacation. The kids excitedly inform him that they would like to see The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota. The very next day the family loads up their 1953 DeSoto and begin a trip that takes three days (no point of origin is given). After naming off several places that the family has visited in the past (all of which are real places), the narrator recalls the excitement of the trip which includes picking up a foul-smelling hitchhiker who calls himself Bernie. On Wednesday evening at sunset, the family arrives at the twine ball, which they regard with a kind of rapturous spirit of worship but also questions about why someone would want to make a giant ball of twine the first place. The family then gives their camera to Bernie to take their picture, which he promptly runs away with. The family isn't bummed about the theft because "at least we got our memories". Back at the twine ball, the narrator is so overwhelmed by the mass of the ball that he falls to the ground and begins weeping, which prompts security guards to throw the family off the premises. The song ends with the family looking at one another and agreeing that they will visit the ball again next year.
- All of the destinations mentioned in the song were real places, active at the time of the song's writing, and came from the book Roadside America (ISBN 0-671-60688-3), including:
- Elvis-A-Rama in Las Vegas, Nevada
- the Tupperware Museum in Orlando, Florida
- the Boll Weevil Monument in Enterprise, Alabama
- Ocean Spray Cranberry World in South Carver, Massachusetts (closed)
- the Shuffleboard Hall of Fame in St. Petersburg, Florida
- Poodle Dog Rock within Valley of Fire State Park near Overton, Nevada
- the Mecca of Albino Squirrels in Olney, Illinois
- the Chandelier Tree in Leggett, California, referred to as "the place where you can drive through the middle of a tree".
- When Yankovic wrote the song there was no "Twineball Inn" or postcards with "Greetings from the twineball, wish you were here". They came after the song was released.
- In the video for the song "White and Nerdy" one of the Trivial Pursuit cards reads: "In what city is the largest ball of twine built by one man?" The answer is Darwin, Minnesota.
- Ask Al Archive (go to October 1998) Retrieved 2008-03-30
- '"Weird Al" Yankovic's Original Songs Remind You Of What?!?!' Russ, Edward. Retrieved 2008-03-30
- Weird Al Photo Gallery Darwin, Minnesota; 1996-08-16. Retrieved 2008-03-30
- Picture displaying Weird Al's visit to Minnesota Retrieved 2008-03-30
- Forget the mouse - go for the tupperware Reddick, Christopher. Retrieved 2008-03-30
- World's Largest Shuffleboard Courts Retrieved 2008-03-30
- Nevada Division of State Parks Valley of Fire State Park. Retrieved 2008-03-30
- White Squirrel Wars Retrieved 2008-03-30
- Al-oholics Anonymous - Ask Al Retrieved 2008-03-30
- video of White and Nerdy on YouTube Retrieved 2008-03-30
- Lyrics to the song