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1990: The Demented Year in Review

What a year 1990 was! 1990 was a wonderful year in terms of novelty music and subjects.

A lot of funny songs that came out that year were about television, and most of them were big that year as well.

Mark Jonathan Davis who had that hit "Star Wars Cantina" in 1997 was the brains behind Guns N' Moses, and sang on many of their tracks as well.

  • "They Drive Me Brady", by Guns N' Moses, which was the #4 most demented tune of 1990.

    1990 was the year Nelson Mandella came out of jail, Manuel Noriega went to jail, but the biggest story of 1990 in the news by far was the Gulf War, and they got a lot of songs about The Gulf War, most of them in 1991, but the song people really wanted to hear throughout the war was a song that was actually recorded some three years earlier and here it is...

  • "Kick Ass USA", by Milo Tremley, which wound up at #16 for the year and came out on a CD.

    "Weird Al" Yankovic didn't release an album in 1990, about the only comedians that were selling records at the time were the late Sam Kinison and Andrew Dice Clay, but lots of unreleased tapes were popular in 1990 such as this one...

  • "Uncle Jack Sez Relax", by Charles Webb & Tom Bolton, which wound up at #7 for the year

    This was a TV commercial that was hard to forget even if you desparately wanted to...

  • "Mrs. Fletcher (Help Me, I've Fallen)", by Slant 6 & The Jumpstarts, which wound up #20 for the year

    In the very early days of the 1990's, The Simpsons debuted as a weekly series on Fox and years later became the longest-running animated series in prime time, bypassing The Flintstones in early 1997. This was the first novelty song anywhere about this cartoon family with sound bytes from their first few shows, and it came exclusively via The Dr. Demento Show.

  • "Bart Simpson Rap", by Whimsical Will, which came in at #6 for the year.

    It was in early 1990 that Dr. D began receiving a lot more homemade rap songs in the mail, and this one was one of the best.

  • "Dueling Rappers", by Alan Gary & Scott Free and it finished #18 for the year

    Lorne Elliott hailed from Quebec, Canada, and is one of the few comedians who is funny in both English and French...

  • "The Smallest Thing Known To Man", by Lorne Elliott, finished #5 for the year

    This was a parody of a then-big M.C. Hammer hit "Can't Touch This", and he may be a hip-hop has-been by the end of the 1990's decade.

  • "Oooh! Don't Touch That", by Laszlo & Gary, which finished #2 for the year.

    Here it is...the #1 demented song of 1990!...

  • "We Love Barney Fife", by Guns N' Moses featuring Mark Jonathan Davis, and people are still requesting this song to this day.

    Events in 1990

    01/04, "Flood" album by They Might Be Giants was released

    01/14, the greatest cartoon show ever made, "The Simpsons" premierd as a series on Fox. It had its Christmas special the month before. It appearred as a brief but regular feature of TV's "The Tracy Ullman Show" since April 19, 1987. The animated series, created by Matt Groening, author of "Life in Hell", featured the wacky family consisting of Homer and Marge Simpson and their three offspring: Bart, Lisa and Maggie...and David Tanny as Marge's loser live-in brother, Orson the drunk (joke).

    01/20, R.C., "Principal's Office" by Young M.C. peaked at #33 on the pop singles chart.

    03/21, the TV sitcom "Normal Life" starring Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa debut on CBS. Against the popular "Growing Pains" on CBS, it didn't get normal ratings.

    03/21, Valerie Bertinelli returns to sitcoms in CBS's "Sydney," playing a private detective in Los Angeles. Supporting cast members include future "Friend" Matthew Perry, "Homicide" detective Daniel Baldwin, "Seinfeld" dad Barney Martin and Craig Bierko. (Craig Bierko?) The theme song's by Mr. Bertinelli, Eddie Van Halen, "Finish What You Started." The show was finished by the end of summer.

    03/30, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" opened in movie theaters.

    04/01, "Ha!" the comedy Channel on cable TV was launched.

    04/08, David Lynch's cult series "Twin Peaks" premiered on ABC-TV as a special two-hour movie. A bird cocks its head. Smokestacks belch exhaust. A sawmill's blades shoot sparks. A guitar plays a dreamy, sensuous adagio as white water crashes over the falls and then gently flows to Laura Palmer, the golden girl of Twin Peaks, washed up dead onshore, wrapped in plastic. This is how the self-titled premiere episode ushered us into the shocking, surreal, sui generis world of Twin Peaks, a piney realm populated with bizarre characters -- barking teens, a mystical FBI agent, a finger-snapping, dancing midget. Director David Lynch's risky, murky, over-the-top amalgam of murder mystery, soap opera, and phantasmagoria left an indelible impression on the medium. All we are saying, is give Peaks a chance.

    04/15, Need a few laughs after paying your taxes? Fox debuts a new skit-based comedy show, "In Living Color." Not just a Wayans family get-together, "ILC" stars Tommy Davidson, David Alan Grier and Jim Carrey.

    05/18, CBS opts to "Return To Green Acres" with a TV movie reuniting all the Hooterville oddballs (that are still alive). CBS promotes the show with a bizarre print ad spoofing the film "Poltergeist" with Arnold the pig standing on his hind legs in front of a television, squealing "They're back!"

    05/22, Microsoft presented Windows 3.0. It still had bugs.

    05/28, SCTV comedy star Dave Thomas (see 5/20 item, above) lands his own six-episode sketch comedy series, the creatively titled "The Dave Thomas Comedy Show," on CBS.

    05/31, "Seinfeld", TV Comedy, starring Jerry Seinfeld, premieres as a summer series on NBC as "The Seinfeld Chronicles". It was seen as a pilot the previous July and returned as a series in January 1991. After this show premiered, sitcoms never were the same. Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Michael Richards and Julia Louis-Dreyfus star. The sitcom ended its run in May 1998 -- leaving us with such catch phrases as "no soup for you," "yadda yadda yadda" and "master of your own domain." On tonight's show, George and whats-his-name stakeout the lobby of a woman they met at a birthday party. Thus is born the imaginary import/export firm of "Vandelay Industries."

    06/06, "Weird Al" Yankovic records the first cuts for his Off The Deep End CD "When I Was Your Age", "Trigger Happy", and "Airline Amy"

    06/07, "Weird Al" Yankovic records "Waffle King" and "You Don't Love Me Anymore" for his Off The Deep End CD.

    06/15, Warren Beatty's "Dick Tracy" starring himself, Madonna, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, James Caan, and other stars opened in theaters.

    06/16, R.C., "U Can't Touch This" by M.C. Hammer peaked at #8 on the pop singles chart; "Weird Al" parodied it into "I Can't Watch This"

    07/12, CBS strands a young Jewish doctor at an exotic locale with the chance to pay off his medical school bills. Among his fellow survivors in the sparsely populated Cicely, Alaska, are a cranky old real estate developer/former astronaut, a retired adventurer, a former cheerleader, a tomboy-ish air-taxi pilot, an elderly female shopkeeper and a hunky young disc jockey. Though the young doctor wishes he could be voted away, he'll stick around four years to enjoy the "Northern Exposure."

    07/16, "Into The Night with Rick Dees" premieres following "ABC News Nightline." Naturally, the hardest part of planning this dud was finding someone "whiter" than Alan Thicke.

    07/21, "Weird Al" Yankovic gave a live performance at Theatre St. Denis in Montreal, Quebec; it was for the "Just For Laughs" festival taping for the Showtime pay network.

    07/25, in The Barr-Strangled Banner, comedian Roseanne Barr sparked controversy with an off-key rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" to a booing audience during a double-header at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego. She sang the song off key, scratched herself, and spit. Maybe she should have patterned her singing after Milli Vanilli...lipsynching. President Bush calls the performance "disgusting." At the season premiere of her TV show on ABC, Roseanne says she feels so good that she feels like singing. The audience got that joke. In 2000, Dvid Tanny sparks a controversy when he puts his novelty songs on davesfunstuff.com with bad singing!

    08/02, Iraq invaded Kuwait. The Emir fled to Saudi Arabia; the UN Security Council unanimously condemned the Iraqi occupation and demanded Baghdad withdraw. (The Iraqis were driven out in Operation Desert Storm.). This event led to a flood of Operation Desert Storm novelty songs to be sent and heard on the Dr. Demento Show on the radio.

    08/04, R.C., "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny" by Bombalurina peaked at #1 on the U.K. pop singles chart; it was a remake of the Brian Hyland novelty hit "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini."

    08/07, "Mariah Carey" album by Mariah Carey was certified Gold by the RIAA. With her high pitched screams in some of her songs, she would soon become the #1 female pop artists of the 1990's. We're not sure if her talent was a factor that sold many of her albums, but like Britney Spears, she sold out just by being so extremely cute!

    08/13, "The Pat Sajak Show" TV Talk Show finally hits the bankrupt space on CBS' "Wheel of Programming."

    09/08, "Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes", TV Cartoon Show based on the movie, debut as part of Fox's first foray into Saturday AM Cartoons.

    09/10, "The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air", TV Comedy, debut on NBC. It starred Will Smith as The Fresh Prince.

    10/01, Published on this day: "The Late Night With David Letterman Book of Top Ten Lists"

    10/04, "Beverly Hills 90210", TV General Drama, debut on Fox.

    11/03, R.C., "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart, the first rap hit ever to top the charts. Why? I dunno. Looking at the ice cream section in a supermarket still has his name all over the place, though virtually nobody remembered who he was.

    11/30, "The Simpsons Sing The Blues" album by The Simpsons was released

    12/03, "Weird Al" Yankovic records "I Can't Watch This", "The White Stuff", and "The Plumbing Song" for his Off The Deep End CD.

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