In 1976, little-known Alfred Matthew Yankovic recorded his first parody song, “Belevedere Cruisin” (about traveling with his family in their Plymouth Belvedere) in his bedroom on small tape-recorder. He sent a tape of it to Dr. Demento’s radio show, who aired it right away and launched the career of the parody maestro. This month, Weird Al made history again when his latest masterpiece, “The Hamilton Polka” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Comedy Digital Track Sales chart and No. 23 on the Digital Song Sales chart, which contains all recorded genres, reports Billboard.
“The Hamilton Polka” is a spoof/tribute to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway mega-hit, Hamilton: An American Musical. The medley contains many of the songs featured in Hamilton and is Yankovic’s 15th Top 10 entry on the Comedy chart following his 2014 album, Mandatory Fun, which was the first comedy album to debut in the No. 1 space.
After hearing the news, Yankovic asked Billboard, via Twitter, if his song was the first polka to appear on the Digital Song Sales chart, and they replied in the affirmative.
Thanks! I wonder, is this the first time a polka song has landed on the Billboard Digital Song Sales chart? https://t.co/6z291ds3H4
— Al Yankovic (@alyankovic) March 13, 2018
“Polka music, a Bohemian dance genre popularized in Eastern Europe in the 19th century, rarely makes a splash on Billboard’s charts,” Billboard noted, as reported by Huffington Post. “In fact, Yankovic is almost surely the only artist to land any polka songs on our charts in decades.”
To date, “The Hamilton Polka” had over 17,000 paid downloads for the week of March 8 and generated 1.2 million streams. And what does Lin-Manuel Miranda think of the news? He not only sent Weird Al his congratulations via Twitter, but the two appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on the day of the song’s release, and Miranda admitted that he felt as if his career had just peaked. The two have been friends for years, but it doesn’t hurt that Yankovic’s latest success has benefited Miranda as well. Since its release, sales of the original Hamilton soundtrack has shot up to an eight month high.
Congratulations, my friend…history has its eyes on you! https://t.co/EtJoQvWzlN
— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) March 16, 2018
Yankovic’s song is also part of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s new project of releasing new Hamilton-related tunes each month. Going under the banner of “Hamildrops,” “The Hamilton Polka” is the fourth song released following “Ben Franklin’s Song” by The Decemberists (which was fittingly released last December), the music video, “Wrote My Way Out,” by Nas, Dave East, Mirandam and Aloe Blacc, and then a remixing of that song that featured Royce Da 5’9″, Joyner Lucas, Black Thought, and Blacc.