‘I Love Lucy’ Inspired a ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Song in Which a ‘Simpsons’ Actor Plays Lucy

I Love Lucy and “Weird Al” Yankovic‘s songs have both entertained fans for generations. During his early career, Yankovic rewrote a hit song so its lyrics were about Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. The Simpsons actor who played Lucy in the song had to play the role while she was sick even though she wanted to wait until she was well.

'I Love Lucy' stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz kissing in a promotional image for 'The Long, Long Trailer'
‘I Love Lucy’ stars Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in a promotional image for ‘The Long, Long Trailer’ | FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic released songs about ‘I Love Lucy’ and other classic television shows

Television shows have been a major theme in Yankovic’s songs. For example, he’s rewritten hit songs with lyrics about Gilligan’s Island (“Isle Thing”), The Beverly Hillbillies (“Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies*”), The Flintstones (“Bedrock Anthem”) and other classic shows. Yankovic first gained popularity around the time Toni Basil topped the charts with her smash hit “Mickey.” Notably, Yankovic released a parody of “Mickey” called “Ricky” in 1983.

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‘The Simpsons’ actor Tress MacNeille had to voice Lucy Ricardo on ‘Ricky’ while she was sick

“Ricky” is an homage to I Love Lucy. In the song, Yankovic played the role of Ricky Ricardo while Tress MacNeille played Lucy Ricardo. MacNeille is a voice actor known for her roles on animated shows like The Simpsons, Animaniacs, Futurama, and Rugrats. On The Simpsons, she played numerous minor characters, including Agnes Skinner and Lunchlady Doris. During an interview with Animation Magazine, she said she didn’t want to perform on the track.

“When I did the record ‘Hey, Ricky!’ [sic] for ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, this was way back, I had total laryngitis,” MacNeille said. “I was doing Lucille Ball. I went to Jane Levy, who was ‘Weird Al”s manager, and said, ‘I can’t do this. Can we do it some other day?’ And she said, ‘Absolutely not,’ because this was the studio time that they had, and ‘Weird Al’ was just getting started.

“So I did it anyway and I think it made me sound more like Lucy,” MacNeille added. “There are times when you are asked to do something, they’re always asking for texture in the voice, and you certainly don’t have to think it when you’re sick. You just have to be certain that they record it pretty soon after you audition. But I have used a quirky thing I have going in my voice, whether it be a sore throat, or just the fact that it was early in the day, to my advantage.”

"Weird Al" Yankovic with a bowl of cereal
“Weird Al” Yankovic | Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images

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The way the world reacted to ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s ‘I Love Lucy’ homage ‘Ricky’

“Ricky” became one of Yankovic’s biggest hits in the United States. The track hit No. 63 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is Yankovic’s sixth-biggest hit. His only songs to become more successful on the Billboard Hot 100 were “Smells Like Nirvana,” “Amish Paradise,” “Like a Surgeon,” “Eat It,” and “White & Nerdy.”

On the other hand, The Official Charts Company reports “Ricky” did not chart in the United Kingdom. “Ricky” appeared on Yankovic’s album “Weird Al” Yankovic. The album did not chart in the U.K. Notably, none of Yankovic’s albums charted there until Mandatory Fun peaked at No. 71 in 2014. Even if it wasn’t a massive hit, “Ricky” proves I Love Lucy influenced popular culture into the 1980s.

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