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Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic started his parody craze in the early 90's and still creates laughter today. Yankovic was taught from a very young age to play the accordion which is the featured instrument in most of his songs. Yankovic became more than just a parody performer. Over time, he has made success through many faucets of his work.

 

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Lauren Walters

Lauren Walters

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Yankovic has also started to explore digital distribution of his songs. On October 7, 2008, Yankovic released to the iTunes Music Store a parody of "Whatever You Like" from artist T.I., which Yankovic states he came up with two weeks prior. Yankovic stated that the benefit of digital distribution is that "I don't have to wait around while my songs get old and dated -- I can get them out on the Internet almost immediately."

Article: Weird Al Bio
Source: Weird Al Bio
Lauren Walters

Lauren Walters

30 Knowledge Cards 

Weird Al started his parody craze before the digital age, however he manages to update his technological output just as he does his music.

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While Yankovic's music generally does not parody the song or the artist of the original song, Yankovic's music videos will sometimes incorporate parodies of many elements of the original song's music video, or otherwise spoof the general style of the music. Most notably, the video for "Smells Like Nirvana" uses an extremely similar set to Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit", including using several of the same actors. This video contended with "Smells like Teen Spirit" at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Male Video.

Article: Weird Al Bio
Source: Weird Al Bio

UHF - 1989: A commercially stillborn moving-picture show satirizing a television industry, starring Yankovic, Michael Richards, Fran Drescher and Victoria Jackson. It has since be the cult special, & was an extremely popular DVD. Al antecedently showed clips at his concerts to the groovy appreciation of his fans, however this was halted by the enjoining from either MGM. Babalu Music - 1991: The collection of We Love Lucy music. Al's contribution when producer doesn't seem to extend preceding a title track. Peter & a Wolf - 1988: "This warped classical children's record featuring narration and poems written by "Weird Al" Yankovic and music arranged, composed and performed by synthesizer whiz Wendy Carlos" - [http://weirdal.com/ WeirdAl.com]. Weird Al's text modifies a original story substantially: "The Grandfather will be played by... Don Ameche! What? He can't make it?", when a music features various innovations by Wendy Carlos on top a original by Sergei Prokofiev. Side ii of the album is "Carnival of the Animals, Part II" which occurs as kinda court to The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns, with Weird Al ingesting a role of Edward Lear in writing humorous verse form all about a slug, a shark, etc.

Article: Arts > Music > Band...
Source: Arts > Music > Band...

In addition to recording his albums, Yankovic has written and starred in his own film, UHF, and his own television show, The Weird Al Show, and directed music videos for himself and other artists including Ben Folds, Hanson, and The Presidents of the United States of America. He has also made guest appearances on television shows such as Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, The Simpsons, Behind the Music, Johnny Bravo, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Sabrina, the Animated Series, Square One Television, Mathnet, Robot Chicken, and Transformers: Animated in addition to starring in his own Al TV specials.

Article: Weird Al Bio
Source: Weird Al Bio

Since then, Yankovic has performed 240 concerts throughout North America, Australia and Europe, including England’s All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival. He released his greatest hits package The Essential “Weird Al” Yankovic (Legacy), directed the themed attraction “Al’s Brain: A 3-D Journey through the Human Brain” (featuring cameos by everybody from Fabio to Paul McCartney) and accumulated over 2 million followers on Twitter. And with the recent release of his children’s book When I Grow Up (HarperCollins), Al now adds “New York Times Bestselling Author” to his resume. An app version of the book will be available for the iPhone and iPad soon.

Article: Alpocalypse Biography The...
Source: Alpocalypse Biography The...
Lauren Walters

Lauren Walters

30 Knowledge Cards 

A polka star that creates parodies seems more like a fad than a untimely classic. Yankovic keeps his image alive with other accomplishments including books, TV series,movies, music videos, and guest appearances.

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Over that time he’s won 3 Grammys (with 12 nominations), racked up 31 Gold and Platinum Albums, and won countless awards and accolades for Weird Al classics like “Eat It,” “Like a Surgeon,” “Fat,” “Smells Like Nirvana,” “Amish Paradise” and “The Saga Begins.” Yankovic is also well-known for his cult-hit feature film UHF (1989), his late ‘90s CBS Saturday morning series The Weird Al Show and the numerous AL-TV specials that he’s made for MTV and VH1 over the years. His previous album Straight Outta Lynwood (2006), the highest-charting of his career, spawned the Billboard Top 10 single “White & Nerdy,” the video of which spent two months at #1 on iTunes and garnered over 100 million hits on the Internet.

Article: Alpocalypse Biography The...
Source: Alpocalypse Biography The...

But Yankovic himself has admitted that he did not intend for “Perform This Way” to mock the original work from which it derived. He felt that since Lady Gaga’s song was “such an earnest human rights anthem,” a work ridiculing it might be poorly received.[10] Instead, Yankovic rewrote “Born This Way” to poke fun at Gaga herself—specifically her tendency to perform in bizarre costumes.[11] Indeed, nearly every line of “Perform” bitingly claims that the singer would wear all sorts of strange items on stage, including Swiss cheese, a porcupine, and even bodily organs.[12]

Article: Work as Weapon, Author as...
Source: Journal of Intellectual P...
Lauren Walters

Lauren Walters

30 Knowledge Cards 

Rather than making fun of Gaga's work, Yankovic made fun of Gaga herself. Hopefully this approach to parody of a person rather than their work will become more accepted.

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In April 2011, comedic musician “Weird Al” Yankovic was preparing to release his thirteenth studio album. The LP Alpocalypse would provide his listeners with the same amusing rewrites of popular songs that they have come to expect from his previous efforts.[1] Yankovic intended for the album’s lead single to be “Perform This Way,” a spoof of recording artist/songwriter Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” which she released earlier that year.[2] As had been his standard practice throughout his career, Yankovic sought the pop icon’s permission prior to adding “Perform” to his album.[3] After sending her a recording of the song for her review, Gaga’s camp rejected his request.[4] In response, “Weird Al” decided instead to post his song on YouTube and offer free downloads of “Perform” on his website.[5] But Alpocalypse’s twelfth track would be saved yet. In an interview, Yankovic told Billboard.com that the initial refusal was made by Gaga’s manager unbeknownst to Gaga herself and, after listening to “Perform,” Gaga gave her personal blessing for the rewrite.[6]

Article: Work as Weapon, Author as...
Source: Journal of Intellectual P...
Lauren Walters

Lauren Walters

30 Knowledge Cards 

Some pop stars may not be okay with sharing their work with someone who will later mock it. Yankovic's parodies can come off as offensive considering the outlandish nature of his work.

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He went on to California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, majoring in architecture. At Cal Poly he was a disk jockey on student radio station KCPR, where he adopted "Weird Al" as his professional name. He recorded his parodies in the tile-walled bathrooms for the acoustics. He had a hit with "My Bologna", a parody of "My Sharona", a then-popular song by The Knack. The Knack loved it and their lead singer made the introduction that got him his first recording contract with Capitol Records. His whacky parodies are delightfully literate, echoing the work of Allen Sherman and Tom Lehrer, and are always done with the permission of the artists' whose work he assimilates.

Article: Alfred Matthew "Weird Al"...
Source: Qotd

A door-to-door salesman called offering guitar or accordion lessons, his parents chose the accordion because Frankie Yankevic (not related) was then known as the King of Polka and they thought there should be a second Yankovic playing the instrument; Al's first lesson was on the day before his sixth birthday. He started school a year early and then skipped a grade, graduating with straight As from Lynwood High School in 1976. He started to send tapes of his original songs to Dr Demento, the foremost authority on unusual music.

Article: Alfred Matthew "Weird Al"...
Source: Qotd
Lauren Walters

Lauren Walters

30 Knowledge Cards 

Weird Al learned his musical ability at a young age with the influence of Polka. This first impression set the tone for his entire musical career.

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