To the Tune Of…

Have a little fun and try your hand at writing or rewriting song lyrics.

Photo by naturegeak (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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Weird Al Yankovic made his living from it, and for this week’s writing challenge, we’ll rip a page out of his songbook, by writing poetry, parody, or protest to the tune of a song.

Consider the first verse of Girls Just Want to Have Fun — an 80s song by Cyndi Lauper:

I come home in the morning light
My mother says when you gonna live your life right
Oh mother dear we’re not the fortunate ones
And girls they want to have fun
Oh girls just want to have fun

Here’s the first verse of Weird Al’s parody song, Girls Just Want to Have Lunch:

Some girls like to buy new shoes
And others like drivin’ trucks and wearing tattoos
There’s only one thing that they all like a bunch
Oh, girls, they want to have lunch
Oh, girls just want to have lunch

Silly, yes, but good for a laugh and a bit of fun. Now, it’s your turn.

Weird Al? Not a fan. What else have you got?

As always, there are many ways for you to participate in the writing challenge. Here are a few ideas you can use, though feel free to adapt the challenge to suit you — the idea is to get you writing and to have a little fun.

  • Choose any song you like, and write your own lyrics or poetry to it. Your lyrics/poetry can be on any subject you choose.
  • Select a song from the list below, and write your own lyrics to it. Again, your lyrics can be on any topic that moves you.
  • Pick a song from the song list and write new lyrics, based on a topic you choose from the topic list below. For example, rewrite the lyrics to The Sound of Music‘s My Favorite Things as though it was a war protest song.

Song list

Here’s a list of sample songs to gently nudge your muse, or offer a constraint:

Topic list

Feel free to choose a topic from among this list:

  • Protest song
  • Story song (What’s a story song, you ask? Think: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot, The Kinks’ Come Dancin’, The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band, Robert Earl Keen’s The Road Goes on Forever, or Quarterback by Kira Isabella.)
  • Love song
  • Parody song

Remember — you can choose to do anything you like — you can mix and match the songs and topics listed or do your own thing — anything goes!

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    1. Same here Bumble…. Plus I’ve already exhausted parodying nursery rhymes and commercial jingles too.

      Maybe you and I should collaborate to turn a Love Duet into a Divorce Court saga…. You write the husband’s lyrics and I’ll skip the the disgruntled wife part and just write the judge’s lyrics. The chorus can be, “Give her EVERYTHING and then give her a just little bit more.” We can title it “You CAN Get Blood From a Stone.” (Teasing of course but I’ve just dated so many men now who are in the poorhouse and still working hard to keep their ex-wife “supported in the style to which she’s accustomed.”)

  1. I love this challenge! But I must say that I think the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams is just a parody in itself (or at least an adult version!) of that old children’s classic, “If You’re Happy and You Know it, Clap Your Hands!” Ugh… Anyone else annoyed by this song and how often it’s played?? Can’t wait to see all the creative spins on lyrics!

    1. I actually hate this “Happy” song so much that I’m thinking it would work for a “Getting Older” parody…..Something like this?

      It might seem Lazy what I’m about to say
      Menopause, she’s here, now I can’t stay awake.
      Plate of mashed potatoes, I fall into on my face.
      Up all night with hot flashes, someone’s gonna pay…

      Because I’m Nappy
      Snooze along if you can relate to this exhausted spoof
      Because I’m Flabby
      Confuse along if you don’t know what happened to your youth.
      Because I’m Snappy
      Blow your fuse along with me, if rages overwhelm you
      Because we feel Crappy!
      Slap someone if you feel like that’s what you wanna do!

      Here comes more bad news – - the doctor’s results, yeah,
      Estrogen, progesterone, and so many hormones you lack, yeah,
      Well, he should probably warn you about your waistline, yeah,
      You turned 50, someone’s gonna pay for this crime, yeah.

      Here’s why:


      Hey, come on

      Bring me my size 6 gown
      Can’t nothing fit inside that gown!
      My cortisol levels too high
      Bring the bust way out & around…
      Can’t nothin’ push my Muffin Top down.
      I said (let me tell you how)
      Brings me a frown
      Can’t no diet bring my weight down
      My thyroid level’s too high
      Bring it down!
      Can’t nothing bring it down!

      Etc, Etc.

      Pharrell Williams should try being a menopausal woman for just a day and let’s see how happy he is!

  2. For whatever reason, I do not like Barney the Dinosaur & when our kids were little (they did like it) my sister & I would sing (not to them, but to ourselves ;-) ) –
    I hate you
    You hate me
    We’re a dysfunctional family
    With a great big slap
    And a punch from me to you
    Won’t you say you hate me, too!

    I KNOW – IT’S REALLY BAD lol!!!

  3. Whenever I think about something and alone, the song ‘I Drink Alone’ pops into my head. This started from many years back from hearing a drunk friend of mine, in the other room while i was trying to sleep, very loudly singing how he was drinking alone.

    If you have ever been on a Dubai metro train, you will understand :) if not..imagine at peak hours the train filled with hundreds of sweaty smelly construction workers and touristss that have just finished eating a nice full of spices and aroma Indian food :D

    I sit alone, yeah
    a seat to myself
    I sit alone, yeah
    playing my phone, yeah
    You know when I sit alone
    I prefer to smell myself
    before I board that train
    I look around to see
    which buddy I prefer to smell
    if I must smell someone at all
    cuz I sit alone, yah
    a seat to myself,yah
    you know when I seit alone
    I prefer to smell myself
    Every day I step in the train
    I walk into the unknown
    so I pull out my phone
    hoping you’ll leave me be
    I sit alone, yeah
    a seat to myself
    you know when I sit alone
    I prefer to smell myself
    I stepped onto that train
    and cried to myself
    to find no seat to myself
    instead I had to smell you
    I stand alone
    playing my phone
    you know when I stand alone
    I prefer to smell myself
    Yah, The whole train ride to work
    Oh I feel so sick
    That I have to smell your stench
    While I prefer to stand alone, yeah
    A spot to myself
    Yeah, you know when I stand alone
    I prefer to smell myself

  4. :-)
    Hey I just did that yesterday!
    “♫ “Coulda been the caffeine the caffeine…” ♫”
    (And I’d continued to think more along the lines of that song:
    “♫ “Coulda been Lake Champlain, Champlain…” ♫,”
    “♫ “Coulda been the Propane the propane…” ♫,”
    “♫ “Coulda been the fast-lane the fast-lane…” ♫”)
    Meh, my better ideas were forgotten I guess.

51 Responses Ready to write? To participate, publish a post on your blog that responds to the prompt. Include a pingback and we’ll list your post below. Learn More