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Old 08-10-2018, 09:25 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Fun Trivia about Weird al Yankovic

Inspired by the comment in another thread that Mark Knopler played lead guitar in both "Money for Nothing" and the Weird Al takeeoff "Beverly Hillbillies," some cool Weird Al facts. Please add more.

1. "Like a Surgeon" is the only Weird Al spoof that was suggested by the artist of the original, in this case, of course, Madonna, who told a mutual friend it seemed like a really obvious parody, and the friend passed it on to Al.

2. James Blunt was thrilled to have "You're Beautiful" parodied, but his record label vetoed it, to his dismay.

3. Michael Jackson advised Weird Al as to the exact shooting location of the "Bad" video so that the video for "Fat" would be as authentic as possible. (It's a train station in Brooklyn.)

4. The same man plays the Janitor in the videos for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Smells Like Nirvana."

5. For parodies that require bass vocals, like the "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" parody, Weird Al records them as early in the morning as possible, when his voice is still kind of gravelly.

6. His parody of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" was rejected by her manager without Lady Gaga ever hearing it. In fact, when she saw the Youtube video of it, she was delighted.


7. Although "Mandatory Fun" is his only #1 album, it isn't even in his top five selling albums.
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Last edited by RickJay; 08-10-2018 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:43 AM
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Don McLean has self-reportedly mistakenly sung parts of "The Saga Begins" when performing "American Pie."

Prince never approved any Weird Al parodies of his music, and once had his lawyers send Al a telegram instructing him not to make eye contact during the American Music Awards, as they were seated nearby. Others seated in the same vicinity reportedly received a similar note.

He once applied to work at McDonald's, but was rejected for being overqualified.

In 1997 he had LASIK surgery and shaved his mustache, but wore glasses and a fake mustache for another two years under advice from his publicists.

He makes an appearance in all three Naked Gun movies.

Not so fun trivia: both of his parents were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in 2004 due to a closed fireplace flue.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:20 PM
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Weird Al has done over a dozen cartoon voice cameos including Wreck-Gar from Transformers and Cheese Sandwich from My Little Pony.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:21 PM
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Al's reaction to the death of Prince;
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Shocked and saddened to hear the news about Prince. The music world will miss his prolific genius.
He has also said that he will continue to honor Prince's wish to not be parodied.
Not only Weird but classy as well.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:47 PM
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I met Al at the After Party for the Adult Video Awards (Porn Oscars). So, maybe he's a porn-hound.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:47 PM
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Rumor has it he used to be a Doper like you and me...
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Old 08-10-2018, 02:03 PM
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Greg Kihn, whose band recorded Jeopardy, sang backup on Al's parody I Lost on Jeopardy and appeared in the song's video.

The late Doug Fieger of the Knack enjoyed My Bologna, Al's parody of the band's hit My Sharona, so much, that when Al introduced himself to Fieger and Capitol Records' president Rupert Perry at a concert, Fieger turned to Perry and said, "You should put his song out on Capitol."

Last edited by cochrane; 08-10-2018 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 08-10-2018, 03:19 PM
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Not only Weird but classy as well.
I do honestly believe that.
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Old 08-10-2018, 03:19 PM
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Weird Al has done over a dozen cartoon voice cameos including Wreck-Gar from Transformers and Cheese Sandwich from My Little Pony.
Wreck-Gar was voiced by Eric Idle. But "Dare to be Stupid" was featured during his introductory scene.
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Old 08-10-2018, 03:47 PM
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I believe when Weird Al called Kurt Cobain and asked if he could parody one of Nirvana's songs, Cobain was really excited. But then he said 'um, its not going to be about food it is'? Weird Al told him no, it'd be about how Cobain's lyrics don't make sense, which Cobain was happy with.

I'm not sure what the 'not going to be about food' thing was about. I guess because at the time, Weird Al was largely know for his Michael Jackson parodies like I'm fat or eat it.

Also Eminem won't let him parody his songs either. Technically Weird Al doesn't need the artist's permission to do a parody, but he chooses not to do one anyway if the artist doesn't like it.
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Old 08-10-2018, 04:01 PM
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I believe when Weird Al called Kurt Cobain and asked if he could parody one of Nirvana's songs, Cobain was really excited. But then he said 'um, its not going to be about food it is'? Weird Al told him no, it'd be about how Cobain's lyrics don't make sense, which Cobain was happy with.

I'm not sure what the 'not going to be about food' thing was about. I guess because at the time, Weird Al was largely know for his Michael Jackson parodies like I'm fat or eat it.

Also Eminem won't let him parody his songs either. Technically Weird Al doesn't need the artist's permission to do a parody, but he chooses not to do one anyway if the artist doesn't like it.
IIRC, I saw a clip of Al telling the story about Nirvana. Al said, somewhat sheepishly, that at the time he was known for doing a lot of food-related parodies. The video for Smells Like Nirvana is a work of pure genius.
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Old 08-10-2018, 04:10 PM
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Wreck-Gar was voiced by Eric Idle. But "Dare to be Stupid" was featured during his introductory scene.
IIRC, one of the members of DEVO called ďDare to be StupidĒ the perfect DEVO song. I donít know how serious he was being, though.
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Old 08-10-2018, 04:30 PM
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I'm not sure what the 'not going to be about food' thing was about. I guess because at the time, Weird Al was largely know for his Michael Jackson parodies like I'm fat or eat it.
Yes, the stereotypical Weird Al parody back in the day was something involving food. I even remember seeing some magazine's tongue-in-cheek "how to write a Weird Al parody" article (or maybe it was a comic) and it was all based on food parodies. I mean, of his oevre, we have: My Bologna, I Love Rocky Road, Eat It, Fat, Lasagna, Spam, and Gilrs Just Want to Have Lunch. Now, granted, not a majority of his parodies by any stretch, but he did seem to have an odd fixation on food and eating-related parodies.

ETA: Heck, and on the album "Smells Like Nirvana" came out on, there were two food-related parodies: "The White Stuff," and "Taco Grande," so Kurt wasn't exactly out-of-left-field with his question. And the cover features a Nevermind album parody with Weird Al swimming after a donut.

Last edited by pulykamell; 08-10-2018 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 08-10-2018, 04:31 PM
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Although they are both known for playing the accordion, Weird Al Yankovic is not related to "Polka King" Frankie Yankovic.
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Old 08-10-2018, 04:38 PM
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Al has had a remarkably stable band for a very long time.

Jerks don't maintain that kind of loyalty.
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Old 08-10-2018, 04:40 PM
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...the artist of the original, in this case, of course, Madonna, who told a mutual friend it seemed like a really obvious parody, and the friend passed it on to Al.
I wonder who it was that knew both Weird Al and Madonna. I mean, who wouldn't want to party with that guy?
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:06 PM
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Al has had a remarkably stable band for a very long time.

Jerks don't maintain that kind of loyalty.
They're also GOOD. i got to see the Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour (which concentrated on his original music instead of his parodies) and they shifted music styles easily. It gave some of the songs a completely different feel.
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:17 PM
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Rumor has it he used to be a Doper like you and me...
If memory serves, which it may not: I thought there was a poster, way back in the day, who posted here that she had had a date with Weird Al when he was 17 and she was 16 - or something like that. I don't remember who it was, but I think she did face some accusations that she was making it up (why, I don't recall).

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Old 08-10-2018, 05:24 PM
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Ray Manzerik of the Doors played his icnic organ on Weird Al's parody of The Doors sound on the song "Craigslist."
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:37 PM
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Ray Manzerik of the Doors played his icnic organ on Weird Al's parody of The Doors sound on the song "Craigslist."
Video of one of the recording sessions.
From the video description.
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I had the extreme honor of working with Mr. Ray Manzarek at Jerry Harrison's Sausalito Sound recording studio in 2009. He played keyboards on my song "Craigslist," which is a pastiche of The Doors, which of course is the seminal rock group that Ray himself had founded. The Sausalito session was one of the absolute high points of my life -- Ray was amazing. This video documents him learning to play "Craigslist" in the studio. R.I.P. Ray.
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:37 PM
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If memory serves, which it may not: I thought there was a poster, way back in the day, who posted here that she had had a date with Weird Al when he was 17 and she was 16 - or something like that.
This is probably what you're remembering.
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:46 PM
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Coolio was not cool with Amish Paradise.
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:47 PM
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Technically Weird Al doesn't need the artist's permission to do a parody, but he chooses not to do one anyway if the artist doesn't like it.
Al wrote to Coolio's record label for permission to parody "Gangster's Paradise". The label said "Yes". Al later learned that Coolio himself had said "No". Al sent all of the royalties from "Amish Paradise" to Coolio. When recounting the story, he turned to the camera and said "Please don't hurt me".
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:52 PM
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... Now, granted, not a majority of his parodies by any stretch, but he did seem to have an odd fixation on food and eating-related parodies.
I'm not sure I'd call it so much a fixation as an instinct or a discovery. Notice particularly the types of foods that end up in the parodies: Proust's madeleines never show up, and neither do manna or the nectar of the gods. Music lyrics have poetic themes, and he's chosen the really non-poetic stuff like baloney and Spam. "It doesn't matter if it's boiled or fried, just eat it." The ease with which common everyday foods can turn poetry non-poetic, or (to put it more grandly) turn the sacred into the profane, without causing major offence to anyone, has to be a factor. As well as the fact that everyone knows about food. He could probably do some great parodies based on weird trivia, but then only six people would appreciate it.
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Old 08-10-2018, 07:18 PM
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He could probably do some great parodies based on weird trivia, but then only six people would appreciate it.
You mean, like "White and Nerdy"?
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:18 PM
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I believe when Weird Al called Kurt Cobain and asked if he could parody one of Nirvana's songs, Cobain was really excited. But then he said 'um, its not going to be about food it is'? Weird Al told him no, it'd be about how Cobain's lyrics don't make sense, which Cobain was happy with.
In his Behind the Music episode on VH1, he told the story that he had a very narrow window of opportunity to talk to Kurt Cobain when the group was playing on Saturday Night Live (it being a live show that tapes in New York City). So during the taping, he called Victoria Jackson, who starred with Al in UHF, Alís terrific feature film. Victoria approached Kurt Cobain who agreed to speak with Al.

And the rest is history.

Wesley Clark, as I recall the story, Al told Kurt that the song was about how hard his lyrics were to understand (i.e., to hear clearly due to lack of enunciation), not that the lyrics didnít make sense.
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Old 08-10-2018, 08:26 PM
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Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:04 PM
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Not so fun trivia: both of his parents were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in 2004 due to a closed fireplace flue.
I think they died on a Friday, maybe Thursday. See, the reason I remember that is there was an article in our Friday paper about how Al was going to be performing in my city the following Wednesday and I wanted desperately to buy tickets.

Then on Saturday came the news of the deaths and I figured he wouldn't be in town. But he DID perform, and was quoted as saying he would work up until the funeral, because as long as he was working he wasn't crying.

What a trouper. He gave a fantastic show, when he must have been crying inside. Before the performance started a screen lit up in the darkened auditorium which said "Tonight's performance is dedicated to the memory of Nick and Mary Yankovic." Everybody stood up and clapped. and cheered.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:16 PM
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Coolio was not cool with Amish Paradise.
Which is actually based on a Stevie Wonder song, Pastime Paradise. Makes it kind of ironic that Coolio complained.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_H3Sv2zad6s
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:25 PM
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The members of Imagine Dragons were big fans of Weird Al growing up. The future bass player even got to meet him.
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Old 08-10-2018, 09:41 PM
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Wesley Clark, as I recall the story, Al told Kurt that the song was about how hard his lyrics were to understand (i.e., to hear clearly due to lack of enunciation), not that the lyrics didnít make sense.
You're right. Thats what I meant but I wasn't clear in my original post when I said the lyrics didn't make sense (ironically).
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:25 AM
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Which is actually based on a Stevie Wonder song, Pastime Paradise. Makes it kind of ironic that Coolio complained.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_H3Sv2zad6s
So if Weird Al always gets permission (even though he doesn't have to), was the case with Coolio that Coolio gave him permission to parody Gangsta's Paradise and then didn't like the outcome? Like what was he expecting?
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:33 AM
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You mean, like "White and Nerdy"?
Well,

It's based on BEING white and nerdy, and in any question of the relevance of that to a wider audience, I will (for predictable reasons) have to recuse myself from the decision.
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:57 AM
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Just as Mark Mothersbaugh supposedly said that Dare to be Stupid is the best Devo song, B.B. King is often quoted as saying that Alís Generic Blues is one of his favorite Blues songs.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:04 AM
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Technically Weird Al doesn't need the artist's permission to do a parody, but he chooses not to do one anyway if the artist doesn't like it.
Does anyone know when Al started his policy of always getting permission from the original artist? People know who he is now, but the first recording of My Bologna was done in the bathroom across the hall from the radio station when he was in college. It's hard to imagine a guy with one novelty recording managing to get in touch with Queen or Michael Jackson about parodying their songs.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:06 AM
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Just as Mark Mothersbaugh supposedly said that Dare to be Stupid is the best Devo song, B.B. King is often quoted as saying that Alís Generic Blues is one of his favorite Blues songs.
The guy really IS a very good songwriter (lyrics-focused obviously) with wide-ranging skill. Many songwriters are probably better at their own personal style than Yankovic is, but there can't be that many around who are as good as he is at just about everything at once.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:08 AM
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Does anyone know when Al started his policy of always getting permission from the original artist? People know who he is now, but the first recording of My Bologna was done in the bathroom across the hall from the radio station when he was in college. It's hard to imagine a guy with one novelty recording managing to get in touch with Queen or Michael Jackson about parodying their songs.
Why not? I mean, personally in touch probably not, but contacting their representative is as easy as looking up the address and sending a message. And such requests are going to go through the representative at some point anyway - if I really did walk up to a world-famous artist and ask their personal permission, their publicist or lawyer or whatever would have to get involved regardless.

Last edited by DavidwithanR; 08-11-2018 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:25 AM
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Why not? I mean, personally in touch probably not, but contacting their representative is as easy as looking up the address and sending a message. And such requests are going to go through the representative at some point anyway - if I really did walk up to a world-famous artist and ask their personal permission, their publicist or lawyer or whatever would have to get involved regardless.
"Hi, Freddie. The Wembley concert sold out in twelve minutes, so we're trying to see if we can book a second date. The Lear Jet is being repainted, but should be ready to take you from Montreux to Ibiza next week. And a student at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo wants to do a parody of one of your songs, so I told him that was fine. No, not food; something about buses."
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:34 AM
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So if Weird Al always gets permission (even though he doesn't have to), was the case with Coolio that Coolio gave him permission to parody Gangsta's Paradise and then didn't like the outcome? Like what was he expecting?
mbh explained above:
Quote:
Al wrote to Coolio's record label for permission to parody "Gangster's Paradise". The label said "Yes". Al later learned that Coolio himself had said "No". Al sent all of the royalties from "Amish Paradise" to Coolio. When recounting the story, he turned to the camera and said "Please don't hurt me".
I recall Coolio being upset as he thought Gangsta's Paradise had too important of a message to lessen by parody. It could also be because Amish Paradise is actually the best version of the song of the 3. That would probably piss me off too.

ETA: I understand that as Coolio got older, he realized that if people like Michael Jackson embraced the Weird Al parodies he was a little silly to be upset about it.

Last edited by What Exit?; 08-11-2018 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:42 AM
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Ah, apologies to mbh who provided the answer to my question earlier in the thread. I must have just skipped over to the last post on that topic in the thread and missed it.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:43 AM
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The number 27 occurs frequently in his works.
Why 27?
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In an interview with TheForce.net, Al is asked about the meaning of the number. He says, "I thought it was fairly obvious, but if you need me to explain it... it's the cube root of 19,683."
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:54 AM
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The number 27 occurs frequently in his works.
Why 27?
I'm guessing: Because it's a strangely specific number being used in situations where an approximate number would logically be expected. He has no reason to specify 27, and having no reason is exactly the reason he does it.
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:12 AM
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The number 27 occurs frequently in his works.
Why 27?
Maybe the 27 Club of premature deaths?
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:12 AM
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"It's Still Billy Joel to Me", a parody of Billy Joel's "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me", was originally planned for Al's debut album. According to wiki,

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Wary of the song being considered "dated" three years later, and doubtful that Joel would give his blessing, the band never bothered to ask.
Even though it was never officially released, it somehow got released via other channels. Here it is.
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:16 AM
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Not everything was a parody. Hereís a straight cover:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7SnZ2kcJvik
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:25 AM
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Not everything was a parody. Hereís a straight cover:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7SnZ2kcJvik
Another one. Harrison's What is Life?
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:42 AM
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77 Covers by Al and his band


(Am I the only one who thinks the capitalization in the thread title makes Weird al-Yankovic look like an Arab?)
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Old 08-11-2018, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
(Am I the only one who thinks the capitalization in the thread title makes Weird al-Yankovic look like an Arab?)
... which would mean Weird was his given name, and his last name meant "the Yankovic". Works for me.
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Old 08-11-2018, 12:32 PM
Wendell Wagner Wendell Wagner is offline
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There are interesting similarities between the backgrounds of Tom Lehrer and Weird Al Yankovic. Both learned to play an instrument as a child. Both entered college early. Both got degrees in technical fields unrelated to music. Both are satirical singer/songwriters.
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:03 PM
DavidwithanR DavidwithanR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendell Wagner View Post
There are interesting similarities between the backgrounds of Tom Lehrer and Weird Al Yankovic. Both learned to play an instrument as a child. Both entered college early. Both got degrees in technical fields unrelated to music. Both are satirical singer/songwriters.
At least when comparing only that of their material that's become famous, Lehrer's satirical stuff was much more "edgy" and tended to take on grittier or more serious topics (We Will All Go Together When We Go, National Brotherhood Week, even the more comedy-oriented Poisoning Pigeons in the Park).
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