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Song Parodies -> "If I were a Lyricist"

Original Song Title:

"If I were a Rich Man"

Original Performer:

Topol/Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack

Parody Song Title:

"If I were a Lyricist"

Parody Written by:


The Lyrics

This wonderful old musical deserves to better remembered - great performances and those wonderful minor-key Middle-Eastern chords - it's also a fiddle feast for violin enthusiasts. I've used the movie soundtrack version, which you can follow here

When I first heard the OS I was shocked: 'All day long I'd biddy-biddy bum.' What? Can he say that? Where I come from, bum as a verb meant only one thing. Ever since then I've wanted to twist this song around and at last I've done it (I hope).


(spoken intro)
Oh dear Lord, you made many many poor writers
I realize of course, that it's no shame when words bore
But it's no great wonder either
So what would have been so terrible if I had a small talent?

If I were a lyricist
Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum
If I were a gifted man
I wouldn't have to think hard
Ya ha model twaddle, tweedle dummer, tweedle dummest, dum
If I were a biddy talented
Idle deedle daidle lyric man

I'd write a dopy verse with oodles of dum dum
Right in the middle of the song
A fine middle-eight with balmy bodey-oh-doh
There would be one long dibby-dooby scale going up
And one dooby-dibby coming down
And one more meaning nonsense just for show

I'd fill your brain with noises of catsies and meece
Too silly for the listener to hear
Noises that should stay inside the can
Rassa hiss squeal squeak, scuttle scuttle sneak peek
Meowl meowl purr purr - crack a beer
To celebrate 'Here writes a gifted man.'

I'd be such a rich man
Yuppie-dinkie-hippie multi-squaddly-million dollar sum
All night long I'd titty-titty bum
With a titty-bum wo-man
I wouldn't have to woo hard
Ooby-dooby Ruby baby, little Latin Lupe-lu
If I were a biddy fetishist
Fiddle-fiddle-diddle idle man

I'd see my wife, my gold-digger look jet-bitch; Doc's knife
Had to lop her double chin
Super-rising heels to her height's delight
I see her silicon pair, hair blown like a windsock
Boy, what a wicked mood she's in
Screaming for that rare A-list invite

The most prestigious pens in town
Would come just to fawn on me
Ask me to ghost for them
'O, L-L the Wise:
If you please, idle-daidle, pardon me but biddy-bum.'
Posing problems that would cross Allan Sherman's eyes

Yada yada, hello mudda, hello fada, duh

It just takes one dumb booby dodo
To strike platinum with a song
When you're hot those poo-bahs play along.
If I were rich, I'd finally get really slack
And sit by the swimming pool all day
In my banana lounge by the garden wall
And I'd shang-lang and shooby doo dooby wop wop
Tooraloo tooralay
That would be the neatest thing of all

If I were a lyricist
Doopy diddle doodle droopy poodle poopy piddle bum
All day long I'd let my brain go numb
If I were a wordy man
I wouldn't have some bastard
Idle idiot avid agent man

Lord who made the line and the scam
You decreed what a fraud I am
Please don't spoil my vast retirement plan
Stealthy lyric-wealthy man

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Original Song: 
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Voting Results

Pacing: 4.9
How Funny: 4.9
Overall Rating: 4.9

Total Votes: 8

Voting Breakdown

The following represent how many people voted for each category.

    Pacing How Funny Overall Rating
 1   0
 2   0
 3   0
 4   1
 5   7

User Comments

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Fiddler on a Roofie - December 03, 2012 - Report this comment
Daidleicious—Love it! Great, Grate n' GREEAAAAAT!
Dave W. - December 03, 2012 - Report this comment
PARODIST ON THE GOOF - now playing.....
AFW - December 03, 2012 - Report this comment
Unique, and zany in a good way
Meriadoc - December 04, 2012 - Report this comment
I laughed all the way through. This is one of those types of parodies where one is getting loads of connotations, rather than denotations and they are hilarious.


Yuppie-dinkie-hippie multi-squaddly-million dollar sum

little Latin Lupe-lu

'O, L-L the Wise: If you please, idle-daidle, pardon me but biddy-bum.'

And the Allen Sherman reference and example.
Lifeliver - December 05, 2012 - Report this comment
Thanks 'Roofie', Dave W, AFW, Meriadoc. If you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it, I know you had a good time. There are a couple of pacing glitches here and there but nothing to be too ashamed of. Merry, you're very astute at cottoning on to some of my favorite lines, too.
Starting With The Title.... - December 05, 2012 - Report this comment
"Lyricist" has one more syl than "Rich Man", which detracts a bit from the gitgo, and again when repeated in song. No really easy fix, and "Lyr'cist" is awkward, but perhaps "If I Churned Out Lyrics" or "If I Wrote Good Lyrics" or variations on that general idea.

One more quickie before signing off:
"If I Purred Great Lyrics".
unKnownVotress - December 06, 2012 - Report this comment
. . . now if I were a Purist . . . but just another CatLickin' ho . . .
Lifeliver - December 07, 2012 - Report this comment
@ Starting with ... /unKnownVotress (aka Tommy?): I was aware of the title syllable count, but since the word lyricist is naturally spoken with a benign half-beat for the second, I felt I could get away with it. And judging by the other comments, I did. Sure, it wasn't ideal, but better than the alternatives to my mind. To me, the syllable count is important if it throws out the rhythm, but it was comfortably singable with that extra half-beat.

A more regrettable screw-up was the Allan Sherman line - just Al Sherman might have fixed it, but that would not be his stage name. It was a difficult line to sub.

One of the pitfalls with a song like this is the rhythmic variations within the same number of beats. On paper it looks like too many or not enough, but against the oeriginal vocal it works. Of course I follow the rhythms dictated by the stresses in the lyrics as much as possible. but there is still a little room for the singer's improvisation, and I'm pretty sure stage performers of this OS vary it from night to night as the whim takes them. I found similar problems with subbing 'The Battle of New Orleans'. Once you've got the rhythm in your head, you can't go astray, therefore alternative lyrics tend to add in double beats or reduce them as the content demands. Though it doesn't match perfectly with the original, performers would give it a couple of sing-throughs to make any necessary adjustments.

As usual, my focus is on how the parody would come up on a stage with a little rehearsal, how it 'sounds' as a performance rather than a stand-alone literary piece. I think this factor is at the heart of how our approaches differ. Another is punctuation. While I'm a stickler for it in prose, I use none in verse unless it muddies the meaning without it. My reason for this is that pauses, rises and falls in tone, insinuations etc. are the job of the music itself, just as they are for speech modulation. I see a lot of very clever parodies here that wouldn't cut it in performance because of their grammatical complexity and esoteric subbing. It's just a matter of what you're trying to achieve, and whether you've set yourself a literary challenge or a musical one.

Feel free to disagree, but I would like you to know I'm 'on the job', so to speak.
The Actual Tommy Turtle - December 08, 2012 - Report this comment
LL: unKnownVotrix, a/k/a NorCalVotrix, a/k/a NorCalHo, a/k/a LittleCupCakes, and many others, is a frequent commenter here, whose comments are often zany and Zen-y, in a thoroughly enjoyable way. Tributed here, and the comments will help you to know her better:

Regarding the other issue, this writer has always had the POV that this site is a *written* medium, so parodies need to read smoothly, without stumbles or speedbumps, and not rely on a singer's adjustments. When they go to YouClick or SoundTube or whatever, of course one may do as one wishes. IMHO, and I"m stickin' to it.

"I felt I could get away with it. And judging by the other comments, I did." ... Oh, c'mon, one can get away with anything with anyone else -- well, most others. Who else is a stickler for pacing? xD
  Even when sung, title hits "rich" very hard:
"if I were a RICH man". The sub,
"if I were a LYR (i-cist) requires taking a lot of that empasis off of rich/lyr.

"I see a lot of very clever parodies here that wouldn't cut it in performance because of their grammatical complexity and esoteric subbing." ... Which is exactly the fun: all of that erotic -- I mean, esoteric -- subbing, that does NOT work "on the air". Having written for radio, I know this. It's much more limiting in wordplay, etc. Note the intro here, that half the song was dropped by the radio producer due to length limitations:

I'm still not allowed to post the recording, because she may run again in 2016 etc. So here's one that I can post the recording (because it's obsolete topically), where it had to be cleaned up:

Footnote explains that "fornicate" became "triangulate" for the radio version, which is here:

I rather like the greater freedom to mangle words, names, sentence structure, etc., and to do obscure or arcane puns and references in this written medium. Speaking of names, "Al Sherman" would have been perfectly fine; we know whom you meant. In fact, name-mangling is another joy of the written. Here are two specifics, names of famous scientists/mathematicians:

... and here is the general attitude towards mangling words to fit your structure, which many readers consider a bonus:

(There was a mangled name in there, too.) Readers approved wholeheartedly. Still, if you prefer respectfully to agree to disagree, point duly noted. What's important: Enjoy!
SWTT a/k/a just TT - December 08, 2012 - Report this comment
Yeah, that first one was moi. (Serendipitous initials; not intended, but cool. ;) ... figured the comment style and content spoke for itself. ;-D
Susanna Viljanen - March 13, 2013 - Report this comment
Nice, and neat satire of the "word salad" lyricists. Fives.
Lifeliver - March 13, 2013 - Report this comment
Thanks, Susanna. One of my personal faves of my own efforts, so I appreciate you dropping in.

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