Weird Al Yankovic has shared a brand-new video for his polka tribute to Hamilton. The song, "Hamilton Polka," was originally written in 2018 for Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamildrops" series. Yankovic made the new video on his own, taking footage from the recently released Hamilton movie on Disney+, which makes for a hilarious pairing. Most of the footage had to be sped up to keep up with Al's fast accordion and vocal stylings.
The "Hamilton Polka" is a bit on the rare side for 'Weird Al' Yankovic. He has been doing polka parodies since the very beginning of his career, but they're normally just medleys of other songs, crammed into a polka-themed freak out. However, there are a few exceptions, and Lin-Manuel Miranda knew this when he reached out to Yankovic to make the song. He explains.
"Listen, as a long-time Weird Al fan, that's a scary ask to make. I also know there's only been two other cases where he's devoted an entire polka medley to a particular artist. There's 'Hot Rocks Polka' on the UHF soundtrack and the Queen polka ['Bohemian Polka']. I cannot presume to be in that rarified air as the Rolling f*****' Stones! But I asked."
Weird Al Yankovic was able to take the three-hour Hamilton musical and adapt it into a five-minute medley, which incorporates the songs, "Alexander Hamilton," "My Shot," "You'll Be Back," "Wait for It," "The Room Where It Happens," and the "The Schuyler Sisters." While it's only five minutes-long now, Yankovic had no idea how long it was going to be when he first started writing and arranging it. He had this to say about the process, which took him between 4 and 6 weeks.
"I didn't know it was going to be five minutes when I began putting it together. The score for it was like 80 pages long. I was getting scared and was thinking, 'This is going to be like a 10-minute polka medley. That's pretty unwieldy.' But it would be almost exactly five minutes. The first step was just figuring out what was going to be in the medley. I was intimately familiar with the soundtrack since I've heard it a gazillion times. Going through it I realized that everything in the first act is great and in the second act it gets really sad and dark. There's not a lot from the second act. I wanted to keep it very upbeat and not talk about people dying in orphanages."
When starting out on "Hamilton Polka," Weird Al Yankovic thought it was going to "be a chronological, but scaled-down version of the show." He then decided against that idea and went for "a greatest-hits Hamilton," which took some time to develop. "I was picking a lot of the fan-favorite moments from the show and arranging them in interesting ways so they flow into each other to make it interesting either creatively or lyrically," says the musician.
The end result is something that a lot of Hamilton fans have enjoyed over the past few years, though seeing the video should be a lot more entertaining. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Weird Al Yankovic are good friends, so hopefully we'll see the two collaborate on something in the future. As for what that would be is anybody's guess, but one can imagine it would be something that everybody would enjoy. You can watch the video for "Hamilton Polka" above, thanks to the Al Yankovic YouTube channel.