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Video upload sites like YouTube provide the perfect platform for the creatively twisted to add their own unique spin to music videos and Internet memes. From parodies to remixes of single songs to mashups of many, you can find some pretty innovative stuff out there.
Following is our greatest hits compilation of inspired YouTube music video remakes. But we couldn't possibly have seen all the great ones. So please let us know about your own favorites! We'll use your suggestions to assemble a followup "reader's mix" collection. We've also put our wrap-up video for this story on YouTube, and we encourage you to remix it at will. Let us know if you take a crack at it, and we'll promote your efforts on PCWorld.com.
But on with the show, kicking off with possibly YouTube's best music video ever.
Kutiman: The Mother of All Funk Chords
Kutiman's ThruYOU project takes unrelated YouTube videos of people singing and playing instruments, and edits them together into a funky, jaw dropping greater whole.
You may already have heard of it: The story goes that Kutiman--aka Ophir Kutiel, a solo jazz/funk producer from Isreal--informed just 20 friends about the completed project earlier this year, and from there word spread quickly. Ultimately, this, the first of 7 remixes, received over a million YouTube hits in its first week on the site.
When Stanford law professor and remix culture advocate Lawrence Lessig saw Kutiman's work, he simply blogged: "Watch this, and you'll understand everything and more than what I try to explain in my book."
If you like DJ Shadow's sample-based grooves or Dangermouse's mashup of the Beatles and Jay-Z (The Grey Album), you're in for a treat. (Also see YouTube's own The Internet Symphony, a similar concept for classical music fans.)
DJ Steve Porter, Vince Offer: Slap Chop Rap
Here's what you get when you cross Massachusetts electro producer Steve Porter with TV pitchman Vince Offer, aka the Slap Chop Guy. If you recall this infomercial from December 2008, you probably remember it for lame double entendres like "You're gonna love my nuts."
Overall, though, it's been a tough year for TV's pitchmen. While no formal charges were filed against Offer (real name, Offer Shlomi) after he was arrested following an altercation in February with a prostitute, the incident was hardly a triumph for the king of ShamWow. And regrettably, chief rival Billy Mays is now pitching the Big Guy in the sky.
A-Ha: Take On Me, The Literal Version
For the uninitiated, a literal music video parodies the original production by overdubbing the lyrics with ones that literally describe what's happening on screen. Dustin McLean from Current TV kicked the trend off with this awesome redub of A-ha's 1980's hit, "Take On Me."
Close up eyes / Hand comes out / Sketchy arm / Grab the hand!
Bill O'Reilly: Do It Live Remix
No matter what your political bent might be, O'Reilly's timeless flip out on Inside Edition rewards you with an undeniable jolt of schadenfreude. And this rockin' remix, nominated for a 2008 Webby Award in the category of Best Viral Video, only makes it harder not to smile just a wee bit. Never has "We'll do it live" sounded like such an ominous threat.
Note: There are a numerous rhythmical f-bombs in this one. If you're not offended by that sort of thing, check out the video on YouTube.
Next: Stephen Colbert, Michael Jackson, More