The lyrics describe a person riding in a crowded public bus. In the first verse, the speaker in the song is riding in a crammed bus, then the bus stops to pick up more people. The second verse talks about various things touching the person, such as a suitcase and an elbow, and about how various personal items are missing, like a contact lens and a wallet. In the third verse, the speaker is trying to get fresh air but the fan is broken and the window does not open. He says that he "hasn't been in a crowd like this since I went to see The Who." He laments about not getting off the bus while he still could.
Development and writing
Yankovic wrote the parody and debuted it live on the Dr. Demento Show. While practicing the song outside the sound booth, Yankovic met Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz who told Yankovic he was a drummer. Schwartz agreed to drum on Yankovic's accordion case to keep a steady beat to the song. "Another One Rides the Bus" became so popular that it got Yankovic his first appearance on a TV show, The Tomorrow Show with Tom Snyder. On the show, Yankovic played his accordion and Schwartz banged on Yankovic's accordion case and played the bulb horns.
Yankovic desired to release the song on a record label, although no label wanted to sign him at the time. Thus, Yankovic released the Another One Rides the Bus EP on his own label, Placebo. After the song started to become an underground hit, TK Records agreed to sign Yankovic and release the "Another One Rides the Bus" as a single. The rush-released 45 charted on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 singles, but TK abruptly closed due to financial troubles and the single fell off the charts.