Shred videos might feel like a recent phenomenon but they've been with us for more than a decade now. According to Know Your Meme, they originated in Finland in 2007 and proliferated from there.
What are shreds? They have nothing to do with shred diets, shredding documents or playing the guitar super fast like Yngwie Malmsteen, although the Swedish axeman has been 'victim' of one such video. The idea is a simple one: videos by artists are redubbed with a new performance that might not be quite as virtuosic or accomplished as the original, often leading to comedy gold.
Most artists who are parodied in this way see the funny side, though the violinist Daniel Hope issued a cease-and-desist notice to videomakers through his lawyer at the beginning of the year when he was shredded, as the New York Times reported. What's more, concert programmer Arno Lücker - one of those behind the online prank - suddenly found the long running series he presented at the Berlin Konzerthaus cancelled. The retirement of the series at concert hall, where Hope also plays, caused something of a hullabaloo in the classical world.
Here are some classic shred videos to either tickle your fancy, or get you into a pickle if you're a thin-skinned muso...
A live acoustic rendition of Bang Bang by Jessie J (without her musical co-stars Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj) has accrued nearly two million views since it was first posted in October 2014. Problematically, the spoof version that appeared four days later has roughly tripled that figure in hits. It's virality meant Ariana was asked about it on a radio show shortly after it went live, and Jessie herself was quizzed about it on Loose Women, where she gamely laughed it off. For some, it's now impossible to unhear the shred version.
This short clip with the Israeli-American violinist is the gift that keeps on giving. Pinchas Zukerman talks lovingly of the bond he shares with his Stradivarius instrument. "The fruit of the wood itself gives us not only warmth with fire," he enthuses, "but it also feeds us sound." He then adds: "To have the violin as your friend all your life is a tremendous supplement to me." He takes a deep breath, tucks the instrument under his chin, and you can probably guess what comes next...
It takes a bold person to mess with the Directioners, but comments left under the YouTube shred version of Story of My Life by on-hiatus megastar boyband One Direction have been mostly positive. "Legit died OMG!" read one; "I've never laughed this hard iml," wrote another. This 1D parody has notched up an astonishing 12 million views since it was posted in 2014. Maybe it's not exactly coming from a place of comedy sophistication, but you can almost guarantee someone is sharing it right now with cavalcades of cry laughing emojis.
Anyone who's seen Iron Maiden on their current Legacy of the Beast World Tour can attest to them being one of the greatest live bands out there, but even heavy metal overlords have their off nights. The normal musical juggernaut is eschewed here with comical, and at times avant garde, improvisation from the musicians, while Bruce Dickinson runs around somewhat aimlessly as the players take off on wild musical flights of fancy. The performance should perhaps be preceded by the words: "Hope you enjoy our new direction."
George Frideric Handel
Classical music boffins may be aware that Handel's anthem Zadok the Priest was commissioned for the coronation of King George II in 1727, while football fans will know it as the theme music for the Champions League. This version is more Father Ted than Zadok the Righteous, servant of the King of Israel.
USA for Africa
In the 1980s, it was de rigueur for pop stars to assemble in recording studios and sing fromagey ditties to raise money for charity. Some 30 years on they present entire rogue galleries for shred video makers to lampoon. Highlights here include Bruce Springsteen's lung-busting throat-clearance, Stevie Wonder's fluffed line and Cyndi Lauper somehow sounding exactly the same as she does on the original record.
Paco de Lucia
Spanish guitar giant Paco de Lucia was one of the greatest flamenco musicians who ever lived, and his expressive head movements were in a league of their own too. What's so impressive about this video is the attention to detail, from the notes he's picking out to the bongos being beaten in the background. To look this free and to pull off something this funny must have taken painstaking effort.
Perhaps the strangest of all is the cacophony that supplants Sam Smith's normally richly textured soul music. The drums clink ominously, the violins bring atonal pandemonium while the replacement singer observes Smith's body language and delivers a voice that's better suited to his diffident demeanour, which makes it all the more uncanny. Stay With Me on the Letterman Show is ripped asunder with darkness.