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 / Updated  / Source: TODAY
By Chris Serico

"Weird Al" Yankovic has spent more than three decades lampooning pop music's greatest hits, but after selling more than 12 million albums, winning four Grammy Awards and topping Billboard's weekly album chart for the first time in July, it's only fair to highlight the finest works from his own oeuvre.

In chronological order, let's highlight the eight greatest parodies by Yankovic, who sat in with TODAY's Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on Tuesday.

1. "Eat it" (1984)

What it's parodying: Michael Jackson's "Beat it"

Key lyric: "Have some more chicken / Have some more pie / It doesn't matter / if it's boiled or fried"

Why it's important: Yankovic had been honing his craft for some time, but this was his breakout hit — largely because of the way the video, like so many of his parodies, replicates the original content, shot for shot.

2. "Like a Surgeon" (1985)

What it's parodying: Madonna's "Like a Virgin"

Key lyric: "Like a surgeon / (Hey!) / Cuttin' for the very first time / Like a surgeon / Here's a waiver for you to sign"

Why it's important: After "Eat it," some snoots had pegged Yankovic as a one-hit wonder, but thanks to "Like a Surgeon" and everything that would follow, those snoots would be very, very wrong.

3. "Fat" (1988)

What it's parodying: Michael Jackson's "Bad"

Key lyric: "Well, I've never used a phone booth / And I've never seen my toes / When I'm goin' to the movies / I take up seven rows"

Why it's important: While it's fair to say that fat jokes aren't as lauded in 2015 as they were tolerated in 1988, a steady diet of "Fat" on MTV that year helped make this parody, well, huge.

4. "Smells Like Nirvana" (1992)

What it's parodying: Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Key lyric: "It's hard to bargle nawdle zouss(?) / With all these marbles in my mouth"

Why it's important: The video is as funny as the original song is significant.

5. "Amish Paradise" (1996)

What it's parodying: Coolio and L.V.'s "Gangsta's Paradise"

Key lyric: "I really look good in black, fool!"

Why it's important: It's great on its own, but has since taken on legendary status because of the aftermath of its release. Yankovic, who's generally beloved in showbiz circles, faced his first (and perhaps last) high-profile celebrity feud after Coolio claimed he didn't grant permission for the song to be parodied. Although Yankovic said someone representing Coolio had cleared the song, he apologized, and the two appeared to make amends.

6. "The Saga Begins" (1999)

What it's parodying: Don McLean's "American Pie"

Key lyric: "Oh my my, this here Anakin guy / Maybe Vader, someday later / now he's just a small fry"

Why it's important: In tweaking the "Star Wars" movie franchise, Yankovic caters to his target demographic of fellow upbeat nerds. Hilarious, it is.

7. "White & Nerdy" (2006)

What it's parodying: Chamillionaire and Krayzie Bone's "Ridin'"

Key lyric: "'Happy Days' is my favorite theme song / I could sure kick your butt in a game of ping pong / I'll ace any trivia quiz you bring on / I'm fluent in JavaScript as well as Klingon"

Why it's important: The video marked Yankovic's pop-culture resurgence, and features a couple of "MADtv" stars — Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele — who'd reach even greater heights on Comedy Central's "Key & Peele."

8. "Word Crimes" (2014)

What it's parodying: Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and T.I.'s "Blurred Lines"

Key lyric: "You would not use 'it's' in this case"

Why it's important: Perhaps the most celebrated of the eight videos he released to mark the July release of his "Mandatory Fun" album, the track is a grammar geek's dream and proof that Yankovic, after all this time, might be better than ever.

Bonus video: Polka Face

What it's parodying: Is the one-to-one ratio of song-to-parody not enough for you? Consider Yankovic's expertly executed polka medleys, for which he not only finds a way to seamlessly string together top hits (in this case, ranging from Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" to Ke$ha's "TiK ToK"), but also manages to do so while showing off his accordion prowess.

Key lyric: "TiK ToK / On the clock / But the polka don't stop, no / Yodel-lodel-lady-hoo / Yodel-lodel-lady-hoo"

Why it's important: Comedian Will Hines considers "Polka Face" the greatest of Yankovic's polka medleys, and while it's hard to argue otherwise, I'm also a sucker for "Polka Your Eyes Out."

Follow writer Chris Serico on Twitter.