Weird Al Yankovic Tickets for Sale

The foremost song parodist of the MTV era, "Weird Al" Yankovic carried the torch of musical humor more proudly and more successfully than any performer since Allan Sherman. In the world of novelty records — a genre noted for its extensive back catalog of flashes-in-the-pan and one-hit wonders — Yankovic was king, scoring smash after smash over the course of an enduring career which found him topically mocking everything from New Wave to gangsta rap.

Alfred Matthew Yankovic was born October 23, 1959 in Lynwood, California. An only child, he began playing the accordion at age seven, following in the tradition of polka star Frank Yankovic (no relation); in his early teens he became an avid fan of the Dr. Demento Show, drawing inspiration from the parodies of Allan Sherman as well as the musical comedy of Spike Jones, Tom Lehrer and Stan Freberg. In 1973 Demento spoke at Yankovic's school, where the 13-year-old passed the radio host a demo tape of home recordings; three years later, Demento played Yankovic's "Belvedere Crusing" — an accordion-driven pop song written about the family's Plymouth — on the air, and his career was launched.

Alfred Matthew "Weird Al" Yankovic is an American musician, parodist and accordion player. He is known in particular for humorous songs which satirize popular culture and/or parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts.

He first started playing the accordion one day before his seventh birthday, mastering the instrument by age ten.

After hearing Dr. Demento's radio show (a comedy radio program featuring humorous music), Al sent the Doctor a tape of a song entitled "Belvedere Cruising" in 1976. Al was a senior at Lynwood High School in Lynwood, California at the time, but that tape was the start of his eventual career.

Three years later, Al was an architecture student and a disc jockey at the Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo radio station (KCPR). Since "My Sharona" by The Knack was on the charts and the Knack was going to play at Cal Poly, Al took his accordion into the bathroom across from the listening booth and recorded a parody entitled "My Bologna". The Knack thought it was funny, and arranged for the song to be released on their label, Capitol Records, which gave Al a six-month contract.

In 1980, Al was working the mail room at Westwood One, Dr. Demento's radio network at the time, when he announced he had another parody. Jon Schwartz was also there, and he was a percussionist, so he was recruited to bang on Al's accordion case. The resulting performance of "Another One Rides the Bus" was a parody of a Queen hit, "Another One Bites the Dust".

1981 brought Al on tour for the first time as part of Dr. Demento's act. His performances were particularly interesting as few, if any, people at the time were doing parodies of rock and roll songs on accordion. His stage act caught the eye of manager Jay Levey, who loved it and became Al's manager. Jay insisted that the act would sound better if Al had a full band, so he held auditions. Steve Jay became Al's bass player, and Jim West the lead guitarist. With Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz on drums, the band was complete.

Al claims to have been inspired by Allan Sherman, whose portrait in miniature (with name) can be found by the observant on the cover of Al's first album.

Since the mid-1990s, Al has performed annually at the Minnesota State Fair.

Though he is best known for his song parodies, Yankovic has recorded a greater number of original humorous songs, such as "Why Does This Always Happen to Me?" and "Hardware Store." Yankovic's work depends largely on the satirizing of popular culture, including television, movies, food, popular music, and sometimes issues in contemporary news. Although many of his songs are parodies of contemporary radio hits, it is rare that the song's primary topic is the lampooning of that artist. Yankovic's humor lies more in creating unexpected incongruity between an artist's image and the topic of the song, contrasting the style of the song with its content, or in pointing out trends or works which have become pop culture clichés. Some of his original songs are "style parodies," where he chooses a band's entire body of work to honor/parody rather than any single hit by that band; some bands so honored have been Devo (Dare to be Stupid), The B-52's (Mr. Popeil), Talking Heads (Dog Eat Dog), Nine Inch Nails (Germs), The Beach Boys (Trigger Happy), Oingo Boingo (You Make Me), and They Might Be Giants (Everything You Know is Wrong).

Yankovic has received three Grammy Awards and will be eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, although he says, "I think my chances of ever making it into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame are about as good as Milli Vanilli's."

The popularity of Al's music among users of Internet file sharing networks has led to many parody or comedy songs being made available as Weird Al tracks which in fact have no connection to him. One major victim of this seems to be Bob Rivers, but so many such wrongly attributed tracks exist that several fans have set up websites attempting to list such tracks along with their real artists. It has been pointed out that this not only deprives the real artists involved of credit for their creations, but sometimes associates Al's name with types of music he would never produce and would not want to be known for.

On April 9, 2004, Al's parents, Nick Louis Yankovic, 86, and Mary, 81, were found dead in their Fallbrook, California home, apparently the victims of carbon monoxide poisoning. The night after their bodies were found, Al went on with his concert in Mankato, Minnesota, saying that since his music had helped many of his fans through tough times, maybe it would work for him as well.

Albums
Since Al got a record contract in 1983, he has released many albums and parodies. The following is a comprehensive list of his albums to 2003:
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Weird Al Yankovic - 1983
"Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D - 1984
Dare to Be Stupid - 1985
Polka Party - 1986
Even Worse - 1988
UHF (movie soundtrack) - 1989
Off the Deep End - 1992
Alapalooza - 1994
Bad Hair Day - 1996
Running With Scissors - 1999
Poodle Hat - 2003

Compilation albums
Greatest Hits - 1988
The Best Of Yankovic - 1992 (Korean LP)
The Food Album - 1993
Permanent Record - Al in the Box - 1994
Greatest Hits - Volume II - 1994
The TV Album - 1995
The Saga Begins - 1999

Singles
"Polkamon" (Pokémon The Movie 2000 (soundtrack) - 2000)
Theme from "Spy Hard" (Spy Hard soundtrack - 1996)
"Headline News" (Parody of "Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm" by Crash Test Dummies) - 1994

Yankovic's hit songs from his albums include:
Ricky (a parody of "Mickey" by Toni Basil, humorous lyrics themed from I Love Lucy; a parody of and tribute to the series)
Couch Potato (Eminem's "Lose Yourself" from the movie 8 Mile)
The Saga Begins (Parody of Don McLean's "American Pie"; tells the story of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
Eat It (Parody of Michael Jackson's "Beat It")
I Love Rocky Road (Parody of Joan Jett's "I Love Rock N' Roll")
Pretty Fly For A Rabbi (Parody of The Offspring's "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)")
Smells Like Nirvana (Parody of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit")
Cavity Search (Parody of U2's "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me")
Jerry Springer (Parody of Barenaked Ladies' "One Week")
Theme from Rocky XIII (Parody of Survivor's "Eye Of The Tiger")
Gump (Parody of the Presidents of the United States of America's "Lump")
Bedrock Anthem (Parodies of Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under The Bridge" & "Give It Away")
Phony Calls (Parody of TLC's "Waterfalls")
Like A Surgeon (Parody of Madonna's "Like a Virgin")
Grapefruit Diet (Parody of Cherry Poppin' Daddies' "Zoot Suit Riot")
Fat (Parody of the title track from Michael Jackson's Bad album)
Living with a Hernia (Parody of James Brown's "Living In America")
Amish Paradise (Parody of Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise")
It's All About the Pentiums (Parody of Puff Daddy's "It's All About The Benjamins")
Polka Power (from the album Running with Scissors)
In addition to parodies such as these, most of Al's albums include a medley of popular songs played in polka style, as well as original songs with his own lyrics and words. Originals such as "Melanie" and "Albuquerque" are favorites of many of his fans.


Other Projects
UHF- 1989: A commercially unsuccessful movie satirizing the television industry, starring Yankovic, Michael Richards, and Victoria Jackson.
Babalu Music - 1991: A collection of I Love Lucy music.
Peter and the 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" - WeirdAl.com (http://weirdal.com/). Weird Al's text modifies the original story considerably: "The Grandfather will be played by... Don Ameche! What? He can't make it?", while the music features various innovations by Wendy Carlos over the original by Sergei Prokofiev. Side two of the album is "Carnival of the Animals, Part II" which is a sort of homage to The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens, with Weird Al taking the role of Edward Lear in writing humorous poems about the slug, the shark, etc.

Television appearances
Weird Al had a short-lived TV series called The Weird Al Show, which aired from September 1997 to January 1998 on CBS. The show was in the Saturday morning lineup and appeared to be geared at children, but the humor was really more for adult fans of Weird Al.

Al has hosted AL-TV on MTV many years, generally coinciding with the release of each new album. For Poodle Hat, however, AL-TV appeared on VH1. The most popular part of AL-TV is Al manipulating interviews especially commissioned for AL-TV by the network for comic effect.

VH1 produced a Behind the Music episode on Al. Al is so clean-cut that the producers couldn't find any of the typical angst-laced problems that make many rock stars' stories compelling (as Al noted in an interview with BTM), so their angle was on Al's life as a bachelor and (what they presumed was) his loneliness. (Also, the commercial failures of UHF and Polka Party.) However, since the taping, Al has married. He and his wife, Suzanne, recently had a daughter, Nina.

Al has also made a number of cameo appearances in films such as The Naked Gun.

He has also appeared in cartoons such as EEK! The Cat, The Simpsons, and The Brak Show.


External links
Official site

Weird Al fans have a discussion board at the World of Weird Al Yankovic forums
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