So yeah....for some reason a lot of people seem to think Weird Al wrote "Barney's On Fire". High praise, but it is simply not true.

Back in 1993, I was watching David Letterman and a skit came on about the new cable show "Fireplace Full Of Barneys". The song came very shortly after! I featured it on my album Mommy's Got A Migraine. I had it released to usenet and sent free to anyone that asked (all 10 of them). Usenet archives still have the posting somewhere. Scary stuff.

In June of 1994, after a lot of positive feedback and prodding, I submitted the song to the Doctor Demento Show. The good Doctor played the song on his July 10, 1994 show (and again on the July 17, 1994 show). It was the third song broadcast, after "Take Off: by the McKenzie Brothers, and "Be Prepared" by Tom Lehrer. More high praise!! Anyway, this mp3 is a rip of the song as broadcast, as well as the Doctor's comments. Interestingly, he added a Barney sound effect to the end of it, and trimmed out the extended keyboard solo.

After that I released one more tape over usenet, and then made a "best of" CD. That done, I stopped writing music for a very long time - kids will do that to you. But a funny thing happened. Napster rolled along, and was bombarded by thousands of songs attributed to Weird Al, but not actually by him. Barney's On Fire was included, and was thus massively traded around. A frighteningly complete list of these "Not By Al" songs are available here: http://www.com-www.com/weirdal/notbyal.html

Eventually people made videos, posted to youtube, and the rest is history.

What fascinates me is the amount of sheer denial (or more likely just trolling) that this song isn't a Weird Al song. It doesn't even sound like Al!

Now, if we want to talk about how his song Albuquerque shares some amazing similarities to None of the Above's "I hate no pop tarts", and that he did essentially the same 9-inch nails parody as me, AND he named his album Running With Scissors...all of which happened shortly after I submitted my "Best Of" CD to his drummer (who told me it was good - too good, in fact, to give to Al)...well, that is another matter entirely :)

- Tony Mason

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