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Alfred Matthew Yankovic (a.k.a. “Weird Al” Yankovic) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, actor, author and producer. Yankovic gained much fame and notoriety for his comedic parody versions of popular songs and their accompanying music videos.
In 1976, Yankovic gave radio host Barret Hansen (a.k.a. Dr. Demento) a homemade audio tape containing parody songs performed with an accordion. A song from the tape titled “Belvedere Cruisin” was subsequently played on the Dr. Demento radio show. During his sophomore year of college, Yankovic was given the nickname “Weird Al” by other students and used it as his on-air persona while DJing at the university’s radio station. In 1979, Yankovic recorded the song “My Bologna” as a parody of that year’s hit rock song “My Sharona” by the Knack (shown below, left). In 1980, Yankovic released the song “Another One Rides the Bus” as a parody of the song “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen (shown below, right).
In 1983, Yankovic released the music video for the song “I Love Rocky Road,” a parody of the song “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Arrows (shown below, left). In 1984, Yankovic released the music video for his parody of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” titled “Eat It” (shown below, right).
In 1985, Yankovic’s “Like a Surgeon” parody of the pop song “Like a Virgin” by Madonna was released (shown below, left). In 1988, Yankovic released the music video for “Fat,” a parody of the song “Bad” by Michael Jackson (shown below, right).
In 1992, Yankovic released “Smells Like Nirvana” as a parody of the grunge rock song “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana (shown below, left). In 1996, Yankovic’s Amish-themed parody of the rap song “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio was released (shown below, right), which Coolio later claimed he had not Yankovic permission to parody.
In 1999, Yankovic released a music video for the computer hardware-themed song “All About the Pentiums,” a parody of the rock remix of the song “It’s All About the Benjamins” by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs (shown below, left). In 2003, Yankovic was prepared to produce a music video for the song “Couch Potato” off his eleventh studio album Poodle Hat when Eminem refused to give permission to shoot it out of concerns that it may hurt his public image. This marked the first album Yankovic had released without an accompanying music video. In 2006, Yankovic released a video for his song “White & Nerdy,” a parody of the hip hop song “Ridin’” by Chamillionaire (shown below, right).
On June 29th, 2014, Yankovic tweeted that he would be releasing a new music video each day for eight consecutive days starting on July 14th to promote his new album Mandatory Fun (shown below).
On July 14th, Yankovic released the music video “Tacky” as a parody of the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams (shown below, left). On the following day, Yankovic released the music video for his grammer Nazi song “Word Crimes” as a parody of the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke (shown below, right). The video features references to the Doge meme and the /r/hamstergifs subreddit.
The AlyankovicVEVO YouTube channel was launched on September 2nd, 2009, which gathered upwards of 245 million video views and 372,000 subscribers in the next five years.. In March, the @alyankovic Twitter feed and the “‘Weird Al’ Yankovic” Facebook page were launched, gaining more than 3.28 million followers and 1.3 million likes in four years.
Know Your Meme Episode
In 2009, Weird Al made a guest appearance for the Know Your Meme episode on auto-tune, in which he assists Internet scientist Jamie Dubs in analyzing the pitch-correction software’s rise in popularity.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
In February 2014, Yankovic guest starred as the voice of the pony Cheese Sandwich in Season 4 Episode 12 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic titled “Pinkie Pride” (shown below).
Epic Rap Battles of History
In June 2014, Yankovic played the role of scientist Sir Isaac Newton in the web series Epic Rap Battles of History (shown below).
On July 15th, 2014, Yankovic participated in an “ask me anything” (AMA) post on the /r/IAmA subreddit to promote his new album Mandatory Fun. Within one hour, the post gained upwards of 3,297 votes (95% upvoted).
Yankovic was born on October 23rd, 1959 in Downey California as the only child of parents Nick and Mary Yankovic. In 1992, Yankovic became a vegan after reading the book Diet for a New America. In 2001, Yankovic married Suzanne Krajewski with whom he had a daughter Nina in 2003.