.

Rocking Literally: The Story Behind "Take on Me," "Head Over Heels" Video Parodies

October 16, 2008 3:41 PM ET

Twenty-eight-year-old Dustin McLean had an inside joke with his colleagues at Current TV, where he works on animated satire show SuperNews: "Wouldn't it be funny if we sang very literally what was happening in music videos?" So the Los Angeles-based filmmaker/musician grabbed the karaoke track and iconic video for a-ha's "Take on Me" and voila — Internet magic. His hilarious parody clip, which replaces the song's vocals with his own voice and lyrics ("Come to me/Magic frame/Sing to you/Band montage!") has amassed more than 800,000 YouTube views since it was posted a week ago.

"I'm surprised people are taking to it so well," he admits. "I didn't think I was going to be able to hit those high notes." His second clip, for Tears for Fears' "Head Over Heels" is out now and McLean promises there's more to come: " 'Today' by Smashing Pumpkins has a pretty strange video and I can do a mean Billy Corgan." He also plans to tackle Marcy Playground's "Sex and Candy."

McLean got his start remaking songs from scratch — music included. Eagle-Eye Cherry's "Save Tonight," became "Shave Tonight" and he transformed "Breakfast at Tiffany's" into "Breakfast at Sesame Street" (they're available on his Website). McLean watched MTV as a "child of the '80s, back when they used to actually play music videos," and he's a YouTube junkie today. "I've seen a million 'Hey There Delilah' parodies, but I'm always disappointed. I wrote my own, but by the time I was going to shoot the video everyone had done it, I was too late."

His real muse, however, is "Weird" Al Yankovic. "He's one of my musical idols," McLean says. "He's the master of song parodies."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Stillness Is the Move”

Dirty Projectors | 2009

A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com