Yes, I am referring to none other than “Weird” Al Yankovic, about as unlikely a rock star as you would ever want to meet.
The undisputed king of pop parody and the original rock and roll accordianist, Yankovic has been performing his “schtick” since graduating from Cal Poly with a degree in architecture. He may be the smartest weirdo in the history of the world.
He was class valedictorian at his Lynwood, CA., high school and perennial straight-A student. The guy is scary smart, so to go from class geek to one of the most recognizable faces in rock is not your normal American success tale.
He credits California’s comedy disk jockey, Dr. Demento, as the genesis for his career in parody. He handed Dr. Demento a tape recording of his bedroom accordian/parody ramblings which included his first air play song, Belvedere Cruisin‘, about his family’s Plymouth Belvedere.
It was during his time at Cal Poly that classmates and friends began referring to him as Weird Al. In his senior year the first somewhat commercial success came with the release of My Bologna, a parody of The Knack’s, My Sharona. Dr. Demento picked it up and the song shortly became the most requested record on the show.
Al Yankovic began to think there might be a possibility of making money in music. As it turned out that choice of parody song was provident. The Knack’s label, Capitol Records , was so enamored with the song that their vice president Rupert Perry decided to release it as a single.
His first national success came by his parody of Michael Jackson‘s hit single, “Beat It.” The parody of the song became popular, thanks in part to the music video, a shot-for-shot parody of Jackson’s “Beat It” music video, and what Yankovic described as his “uncanny resemblance” to Jackson. The song became a charted hit for Yankovic, peaking at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 on April 14, 1984.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Yankovic went on to perform some of the most creative music parodies ever conceived. His recent knock-off of Lady GaGa‘s, Born This Way, is his latest creation and a bona-fide social network hit.