Hit Parade

The Bridge: Living in an Amish Paradise

Chris Molanphy talks to preeminent Weird Al chronicler Nathan Rabin about Yankovic’s many phases, monocultural satire, and use of nostalgia to stay relevant over a decadeslong career.

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Episode Notes

In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Nathan Rabin, podcaster and writer of two books about “Weird Al” Yankovic. They discuss the most recent full-length episode of Hit Parade, a history of novelty songs on the Billboard charts culminating with the oeuvre of the most successful parody musician ever. Nathan shares the history of his Al fandom and eventual book-length collaboration, and Chris and Nathan theorize about the secrets of Al’s success.

(Want to see Nathan Rabin talk about Weird Al in person? Join him in Los Angeles on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 3:30 p.m. PST at Dynasty Typewriter—tickets here.)

Next, Chris quizzes a Slate Plus listener with some music trivia, and the contestant turns the tables with a chance to try to stump Chris with a question of his own. Then, Chris teases the upcoming full-length episode of Hit Parade, which will look at the record-breaking career of the late Whitney Houston—now a Rock Hall inductee.

While this episode is available to all listeners, our trivia round is open only to Slate Plus members. If you are a member—or once you become a member—enter as a contestant here.

Want your question featured in an upcoming show? Email a voice memo to hitparade@slate.com.

Podcast production by Asha Saluja.

About the Show

Chris Molanphy, a pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia, and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts, and shaped your memories forever.

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  • Chris Molanphy is a feature writer and critic who writes widely about music and the pop charts.