It was on this day in 2001 that Jimmy Wales and Larry Danger launched one of the greatest time sucks in the history of the internet, Wikipedia. For all intents and purposes it's become the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for millions of people, serving as a general source on everything from distant stars to sexual perversions. It's not perfect by any stretch, but as a massive sink of human knowledge and experience that is updated daily it's certainly better than the old Encyclopedia Brittanica. I mean, it's just as accurate (or inaccurate) but at least it's free. Granted I remember the time I was looking up a brief fact about Sarah Michelle Gellar and found someone had edited her biography to include a beastiality scandal, but stuff like that is more rare than not.
So today we raise our glasses to one of out favorite sites as it enters its awkward high school years. Here are five songs that have paid homage to Wikipedia.
Das Racist, "Rainbow in the Dark" Das Racist is one of those groups that when I listen to them I think, "I love these guys! Why don't I own all their albums?" and then the second the song is over I forget them like they're the Silence from Doctor Who. It's a collective that could only ever exist in the Age of Wikipedia, with songs being peppered with so many little weird trivia bits you know Heems and Kool A.D. have seen the dawn clicking on random. They reference the site in at least two songs, but the best is "Rainbow in the Dark" off of 2010's Shut Up, Dude. The line goes "Solving mysteries like Wikipedia Brown", a joke a lot of younger people will probably look up on Wikipedia. Also, I would totally buy a juvenile mystery series based on that idea.
Puscifer, "Sour Grapes (Legend of the Mix)" Just so we're clear, every song in the world should sound like this mix of "Sour Grapes". Yes, all of them. Yes, even that one should. Obama should sign it into law and then he could be unanimously declared Dictator for Life by a grateful populace but he would decline because if all music sounded like this we wouldn't need leaders at all. We'd have the music.
"Legend of the Mix" casts Maynard James Keenan as Billy-Lee, a redneck explaining to his cousin-sister Hilde that thanks to Wikipedia he now finds Aunt Momma's missionary position on alcohol to be in direct contradiction with the reported information provided by the only information source. Joyfully the two embrace the Son of God and his progressive party attitude. See? I told you it would save us all.
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Limp Bizkit, "Bring it Back" Since following Puscifer with most bands just makes them look bad in comparison I'm going to waste the space on a general waste of space. No love for Limp Bizkit from me, I freely admit it, but in the context of the subject at hand they do have something to say that's important on this track from 2011's Gold Cobra. On it Fred Durst declares that he will say whatever he wants, and that you can look it up on Wikipedia where it will probably be wrong. Sound advice to always check the citations, Mr. Durst. I should point out that the entry on the band is extremely kind to them.
Conan O'Brien, "Wikipedia" Last year Coco did a series of shows in Dallas because O'Brien is deeply, deeply misled. But credit where credit is due he did gussy up for the part and sang a country song extolling all the fine things he'd learned about Dallas from Wikipedia. Truly fascinating stuff like its climate, its topography, and soil.
Then of course he pandered to our smug northern kin by calling Houston 600 square miles of burning garbage and the home to every serial killer currently alive today. His cohort Andy Richter dropped in the line about us being the home to the National Museum of Funeral History. I find it amusing that even in a throwaway joke they can't help but make Houston seem more interesting than everything previously mentioned about Dallas. Thanks, Wikipedia.
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Peter Coffin, "Wikipedia Appeal Dance Song" Much like Sesame Street Wikipedia's programming is made possible by viewers like you. Every year Jimmy Wales puts up his appeal to readers to help fund the site through donations, keeping it free to use and free from advertising.
Well, Peter Coffin turned that appeal into a hell of a dance tune and now I can't stop listening to it. Have fun with the earworm, and many happy returns to Wikipedia today.