Top 10 Funniest Classic Rock Songs
Rock stars can be a surly bunch, prone to taking both themselves and their art a little too seriously. When they do lighten up a bit, it seems like most of their fun is taking place backstage and away from prying eyes. We’re here to celebrate the few proud artists who have confidently injected their rock ‘n’ roll records with some laughs. These are the Top 10 Funniest Classic Rock Songs.
A brief ray of sunshine in an album otherwise filled with mourning for the recently departed Janis Joplin, ‘Mercedez Benz’ is one of classic-rock’s greatest odes to keeping up with the Joneses. And it’s delivered with disarming, whiskey-soaked sweetness by the queen of Asbury Street.
Harry Nilsson channeled some of his darkest humor into ‘Son of Schmilsson,’ the intentionally self-sabotaging follow-up to 1971’s commercial breakthrough ‘Nilsson Schmilsson.’ Particularly on this inverted love song. Please pardon his French.
Few songwriters have trafficked so effortlessly between the profound and the banal as Randy Newman, who achieved his first mainstream success with this controversial hit. But we all know Newman meant no harm and was simply addressing generalized racism by exaggerating the plight of the vertically challenged.
Bon Scott could spew out amusing double entendres with the best of them, but he really went above and beyond the call of duty with this naughty masterpiece camouflaging the innocent act of throwing large and lavish parties (colloquially called “balls” by his fellow Australians) behind blush-inducing boasts about the band’s genital superiority. Or something like that …
Believe it or not, rock’s premier arch satirist generally viewed lyrics as inconvenient distractions required to commercialize the instrumental works he truly cared about, which is why Frank Zappa so often paired his serious music with comical words. Of all Zappa’s works that did this, perhaps none is better known than this hilarious advice to Arctic travelers and any dealings with someone named Nanook.
Warren Zevon was the crown prince of black humor. He has several cuts that could make our list of the Top 10 Funniest Classic Rock Songs, but no other tune produces as many laughs, no matter how many times you hear it, than ‘Werewolves of London.’
Two years before Lou Reed took a ‘Walk on the Wild Side,’ the Kinks were addressing transgender relations with historically comic results on their 1970 hit ‘Lola.’ A No. 1 hit in many countries in spite of its colorful language, ‘Lola’ went on to enjoy a second, somewhat more modest assault on the charts nearly a decade later with a live version powered by an enthusiastic audience sing-along.
‘The Cover of Rolling Stone’
This spoof of the magazine cover every music artist aspired to in order to be taken seriously (at least in the ‘70s) comes from a bunch of fun-loving goons who knew how to have a good time. Their legendary performance on a German TV show proves it, and the Shel Silverstein-penned ‘The Cover of Rolling Stone’ has lost none of its power to spark full-face grins all these years later.