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"Amish Paradise" is a single by parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic. It is a parody of the hip hop song "Gangsta's Paradise" by Coolio featuring L.V. (which itself is a reworking of the Stevie Wonder song "Pastime Paradise"). Featured on the album Bad Hair Day, it turns the original "Gangsta's Paradise," in which the narrator laments his dangerous way of life, on its head by presenting an Amish man praising his relatively plain and uncomplicated existence.

Track listing

The following tracks are on the CD single.
  1. "Amish Paradise" – 3:20
  2. "Everything You Know Is Wrong" – 3:46
  3. "The Night Santa Went Crazy (Extra Gory Version)" – 3:59
  4. "Dare to Be Stupid (Instrumental)" – 3:25

The promo single only contains "Amish Paradise." The cassette single only contains "Amish Paradise" and "Everything You Know Is Wrong."


Although Yankovic traditionally secures permission from the artists he parodies (even though this may not be legally required, as parodies are covered under Fair use guidelines), and was told by his record label that Coolio had given permission, Coolio later claimed that he had not given such permission. This created a minor controversy, as speculation surfaced that Coolio had actually given permission but later claimed he had not in the fear that allowing the parody would not be seen as "cool", or that Yankovic's record label had lied to Yankovic in the hopes that the song would become popular. Yankovic later stated on VH1's Behind the Music that he had written a sincere letter of apology to Coolio which was never returned, and that Coolio never complained when he received his royalty check from proceeds of the song. A series of photos taken at the XM Satellite Radio booth at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show suggests that Yankovic and Coolio may have made amends. According to Al, he was as surprised as anyone when Coolio came over to chat.

Music video

The music video for "Amish Paradise" is very similar to the "Gangsta's Paradise" music video, although several concepts have been parodied. These include:
  • At the beginning the camera pans to a view of Yankovic. He, however, is dressed in Amish garb and has a beard.
  • When Yankovic states that Amish shun electricity, several Amish stomp on electronic devices (CDs, floppy disks, laptops, a Slim Whitman LP album, etc.).
  • When Yankovic says he is up at 4:30 in the morning milking cows, he is shown milking a cow directly into a bowl of cereal instead of a milk pail. A box of Corn Flakes can be seen next to him.
  • In the next scene, when Jebediah is "feeding the chickens" he is giving them pizza.
  • The line "Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1699," is a parody of Prince's "1999". Prince has consistently refused to let "Weird Al" parody his songs.
  • When Al is churning butter, a woman walks by, and he is seen churning faster.
  • When the man is sawing and checking his "sundial" watch, the man behind him is playing golf (the follow-through of which resembles the use of a scythe).
  • When Al says "We sell quilts at discount price," a wooden booth is shown selling quilts, with a sign that says "Our prices art insane!!!"
  • At one point Al is seen reading a fake Lancaster, PAmarker newspaper, with the headline "Much Butter Was Churned". This is an homage to the film Witness, which takes place in Lancaster County, home to perhaps the most well-known Amish communities.
  • In one part, two boys are looking at a supposed Amish porn magazine (the cover slogan says "Plow My Field!"), but in the centerfold all the woman is showing is her shin (this, anyway, is considered to be very scandalous).
  • When the "Am-lets" are on Yankovic's knee, they each have a beard, even though they appear to be about 6 years old.
  • In reference to L.V.'s performance in Coolio's video, a close on Al's face is seen, with him sweating more every time the scene is shown.
  • When Yankovic states he's "scoring points for the afterlife," he takes off his hat to reveal a hairstyle very similar to that seen on the cover of Bad Hair Day. These are both parodies of Coolio's trademark hairstyle.
  • On the back of the carriage just before the sign reading, "Welcome to Lancaster," there's a "bumper" sticker stating, "How am I driving?"
  • The lyrics "No phones, no lights, no motorcars - not a single luxury... like Robinson Crusoe, it's primitive as can be" are originally from the closing theme song to Gilligan's Island.
  • Near the very end, Yankovic is shown walking away from a barn while everything around him moves backwards in a rewinding fashion; for this effect, the scene was recorded normally while Weird Al lip syncs the words backwards (so when the scene is shown backwards, his face syncs with the song itself). The inspiration for this scene was a backwards scene performed in the movie, "Top Secret!"
  • The video features Florence Henderson in the role originally portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer. Reportedly, Henderson jumped at the chance to be featured in the parody, after seeing the Coolio video.
  • The video shows many aspects of regular Amish life, such as raising a barn (the scene directly parodies Witness). However, when the barn is raised, the frame falls towards Yankovic, who is standing where a gap in the frame is. He has acknowledged that this gag is a Buster Keaton homage. Keaton performed this stunt in Steamboat Bill Jr.

Chart positions

Chart (1996) Peak

U.S. Billboard Hot 100 53
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Singles Sales 22

See also


External links

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