The Saga Begins
|"The Saga Begins"|
|Single by "Weird Al" Yankovic|
|from the album Running with Scissors|
|Released||June 24, 1999|
|Format||digital download, CD|
|Recorded||April 20, 1999|
|Genre||Comedy rock, folk rock|
|Songwriter(s)||Don McLean, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Bruce "DA FRO" Scruggs|
|Producer(s)||"Weird Al" Yankovic|
|"Weird Al" Yankovic singles chronology|
"The Saga Begins" is a parody song by "Weird Al" Yankovic. It parodies "American Pie" by Don McLean, with lyrics that humorously summarize the plot of the film Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace through the point of view of Obi-Wan Kenobi, one of the protagonists of the film.
The song's title, not mentioned anywhere in the lyrics, derives from a tagline that appeared in teaser trailers and the film poster for The Phantom Menace: "Every saga has a beginning". "The Saga Begins" was released as a single from the 1999 album Running with Scissors, and later appearing on the compilation album titled The Saga Begins.
Set to the tune of Don McLean's "American Pie", "The Saga Begins" recounts the plot of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, from Obi-Wan Kenobi's point of view. Yankovic gathered most of the information he needed to write the song from Internet spoilers. Although Lucasfilm declined a request for an advance screening, Yankovic eventually attended a costly pre-screening for charity. He had done such an accurate job with the story line that after the pre-screening, he ended up making only very minor alterations.
McLean approved of the song and, according to Yankovic, also has said that his children played it so much that "he'd start thinking about Jedis and Star Wars, and it would mess him up" in concert. According to Yankovic's official website, Lucasfilm's official response to the song was, "You should've seen the smile on (George Lucas') face." This is the second Star Wars song Weird Al has created, with the first being 1985's "Yoda", a parody of "Lola" by The Kinks.
The video begins in the desert on the planet Tatooine. Yankovic, dressed like Obi-Wan Kenobi, the protagonist of Episode I, walks until he comes across Darth Sidious playing the piano. Yankovic uses the Force to get a resonator guitar, and in the second verse he reappears performing in a Mos Eisley cantina leading a band also dressed as Jedi. In the last verse, he returns to the desert; and in the last chorus, numerous "Obi-Wan" clones sing as a group.
- Some Star Wars characters can be seen, such as Queen Padmé Amidala (played by Al's cousin, Tammy), Qui-Gon Jinn, Mace Windu, and Yoda.
- The upper half of the pianist's face is always covered by the hood of the robe that he is wearing much like the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. When asked why, Yankovic stated that, "They didn't want to scare small children," a reference to the playful teasing of Yankovic's pianist, Rubén Valtierra, commonly used in his live shows.
In 2011, the entire video was released as a bonus feature in a Star Wars spoofs compilation for the 2011 Blu-ray box set release of the saga.
The song was played frequently on Radio Disney and later released on Radio Disney Jams Volume 2. Radio Disney took issue with his line "Did you see him hitting on the queen?" and removed it (so that the song skipped slightly). Yankovic, who usually does not like to change lyrics to suit the needs of others, provided Radio Disney with an updated version, having changed the words to "Did you see him talking to the queen?" He said that the alternate lyrics were preferable to the bad edit.
|US Comedy Digital Tracks (Billboard)||20|
- File:Star Wars Phantom Menace poster.jpg
- TheForce.Net - Jedi Council - Interviews | Weird Al Yankovic
- Mansfield, Brian (May 10, 2015). "On the Road Again: "Weird" Al Yankovic". USA Today. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
- AskAl Archive, published August 1999; retrieved June 27, 2015
- "Weird Al Yankovic – Chart History: Comedy Digital Tracks". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 4, 2013.