Weird Al Yankovic turns 60 today

One of the most popular parody singers

Weird Al Yankovic turns 60 today

Weird Al Yankovic was born Alfred Matthew Yankovic on October 23, 1959, in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey, California, and raised in the neighboring town of Lynwood. Al became a fan of such musician/comedians as Allan Sherman, Tom Lehrer, Spike Jones, and Stan Freberg. He became especially acquainted with these musicians through the radio show of Barry Hansen, aka “Dr. Demento.” After graduating as valedictorian from Lynwood High School, Al attended the California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo to study architecture. It was at Cal Poly that Al had a radio show and earned the nickname “Weird Al.” Al became a fan of such musician/comedians as Allan Sherman, Tom Lehrer, Spike Jones, and Stan Freberg. He became especially acquainted with these musicians through the radio show of Barry Hansen, aka “Dr. Demento.” After graduating as valedictorian from Lynwood High School, Al attended the California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo to study architecture. It was at Cal Poly that Al had a radio show and earned the nickname “Weird Al.” After graduating in 1980, Yankovic released “Another One Rides the Bus,” a parody of Queen’s smash hit, “Another One Bites The Dust.” He followed up with “I Love Rocky Road,” a satire of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ “I Love Rock ‘n Roll.” Yankovic’s success went to a whole new level, thanks to his skilled use of music video. His first was a parody of Toni Basil’s “Mickey” for his debut album, “Weird Al” Yankovic. But it was the video from his sophomore effort, “Eat It,” a parody of Michael Jackson’s smash “Beat It,” that became a smash on MTV. Al scored another massive hit in 1988 with a new Jackson parody, the platinum-selling Even Worse. Its title and album cover referenced Jackson’s Bad LP. The first single, “Fat,” portrayed Yankovic as a grotesquely obese tough guy. Yankovic returned in 1992 with Off the Deep End, which featured the hit “Smells Like Nirvana,” a takeoff of Nirvana’s landmark song “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” After 1993’s Alapalooza, he resurfaced in 1996 with Bad Hair Day, featuring the single “Amish Paradise,” a takeoff of Coolio’s smash hit “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Yankovic followed up with Running with Scissors in 1999 and with Poodle Hat in 2003. Sadly a year after Poodle Hat’s release, he lost both of his parents. Nick and Mary Yankovic were killed on April 9, 2004, when a closed fireplace-flue caused their home to fill with carbon monoxide. His most recent release, Straight Outta Lynwood (2006), featured the single “White & Nerdy,” a suburban parody of Chamillionaire’s “Ridin.” In 2011, he released his 13th album, Alpocalypse, which spoofed Lady Gaga (“Perform This Way”) and Miley Cyrus (“Party in the CIA.”) Yankovic married Suzanne Krajewski on February 10, 2001. Their daughter Nina was born one day after their second wedding anniversary. He and his family live in Hollywood, California.



Watch the 1992 music video for the Nirvana parody “Smells Like Nirvana” by Weird Al Yancovic





By Ken Warren, 2017/18

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