“The Hot Rocks Polka” and my introduction to The Rolling Stones

In 1989, “Weird” Al Yankovic released his first full-length motion picture: UHF. The film – which followed Yankovic as he attempts to run his uncle’s failing television station – was paired with a soundtrack that featured one of many original Yankovic polkas: “The Hot Rocks Polka,” a medley of Rolling Stones classics.

At the same time, The Rolling Stones were experiencing a resurgence. Their 1989 album Steel Wheels was a major hit, spawning their first tour in seven years. They had just been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And all rumors of a suspected feud between Keith Richards and Mick Jagger had dissipated.

Though separate in all ways but one, the two occurrences intersected within my life – and began to open my eyes to the wonders of classic rock.

Between The Rolling Stones’ sudden relevance – I still hear “Mixed Emotions” and “Rock and a Hard Place” as if they were coming thorough my pitiful speakers via KPAT radio – and my adoration of all things “Weird” Al, “The Hot Rocks Polka” presented an education of sorts, dutifully packaging what was then a 35+-year career into a simple, polka-fied package.

The legacy of that song – and that unique crossing of influence – is that I can’t listen to The Rolling Stones (no matter how hard I try) without thinking, even for a fleeting second, about “Weird” Al Yankovic.

And I’d be lying if I wasn’t both a little saddened and a little proud of the fact that, when I think of it, everything I know and love about The Rolling Stones is a direct consequence of an accordion-playing parodist who wrote songs about food.

This was lovingly handwritten on March 11th, 2010