4 Decades of Weird Al

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weird al

In June Weird Al released his 13th studio album Alpocalypse.  It marks his 4th decade in the major pop scene (80s, 90s, 00s', 10s).  Though for those who know his biography, his first recordings took place in the late 70s (so I guess we could really say 5 decades).  

Weird Al was the first performer I ever really listened to intently--buying all his albums, memorizing the lyrics to everyone of his songs.  He was the first concert I ever went to (Bad Hair Day Tour '95) and to this day I still can quote extensive portions of the cult-classic UHF.  In two parts we will cover a retrospective with songs from his multi-decade career focusing in particular on:  1. his use of the music video  2. his live performances 3. his underrated singing ability and his band's talent 4. covers as well as originals.



The first video is his first live major television performance on the Tom Synder show in 1981.  He performs along with John "Bermuda" Schwartz Another Rides the Bus (parody of Queen's Another Bites the Dust). This performance is epic, manic, and totally ballsy.  


Through the 80s Yankovic parodied many of the great performers (Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Idol), but it was twice that he parodied The King of Pop, Michael Jackson.  Jackson was a huge fan of Yankovic's, allowing him to use his set for the film of his video Fat (parody of Bad).  Below is his first flattering homage to Michael:  Eat It (parody of Beat It).  This one covers a sub-theme (food) that reoccurs in any Al songs.


The 90s.

The 90s saw Al take to parodying grunge (more of that in the 2nd post).  His early 90s album Off the Deep End restarted his career.  This is one of the lesser known but brilliant songs on the album, You Don't Love Me Anymore.  This one is representative of the trend of songs by Al around crazed exs, psychopaths, murderous Santas, and stalkers.

You Don't Love Me Anymore is a parody of Extreme (and 90's "sensitive male rock" generally).


The 2000s saw Al shift into download releases and online content.  This song White and Nerdy reflects the era perfectly (check the reference to MySpace).  While he began rap/hip hop parodies with the classic Amish Paradise, this track is his best rap song.  It was Al's first Top Ten Hit.  It parodies Chamillionare's Ridin' who loved the song (and gave props to Al's rap skillz).  Guest appearance by Donny Osmond, who Al asked to do it because he was "the whitest guy I could think of". As a guy who learned the song and practiced it in order to do it at a karaoke, I can attest to how fast Al's spittin' on this one.  


Last a song from Al's new album.  In the style of The White Stripes with the video done by the JibJab guys, CNR (Charles Nelson Reilly):

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