WEIRD SLIM SHADY

Weird Al Yankovic is going to be doing a parody of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” on his next album. It is just remarkable that Yankovic is able to keep plugging away despite vast changes in popular music over his now 20-plus-year-old career.

Update (19:31): A post on Amish Tech Support (via Inoperable Terran) put me in mind of this: Way back in 1991, the group 2 Live Crew did a rather raunchy parody of “Pretty Woman,” the Roy Orbison hit. Orbison’s people sued and lost. The court ruled that parody constituted “fair use” and there was no need for Orbison to give permission. (The first source I found on Google.)

Update (19:38): Laurence responds via e-mail that

If I’m not mistaken, Weird Al likes to seek permission of his subject before parodying them. Not only does this avoid legal hassles, but many artists are flattered by the fact that he wants to paordy them, they recognize that it might boost their own sales, and they often provide him with keyboard programming or even sit in on the studio sessions to perform.

Didn’t Mark Knopfler perform on the Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies song for UHF?

This is my recollection as well. My take is that Al is a class act and doesn’t want to offend the “artist” in question. He has pretty much said that he wouldn’t have done the Coolio parody if he’d realized it was a problem.

FILED UNDER: Popular Culture
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. DaPrince says:

    Cledus T. Judd, the country equivalent to Weird Al, often has the parodied singers in his videos or songs… and in some cases uses them in later videos having fun at his expense….

  2. James Joyner says:

    Yep. I think they have both been decent and/or smart enough to just have fun with the parodies rather than being mean spirited. The only one of Weird Al’s I’m aware of that actually seems to insult the artist is the Teen Spirit parody which mocked Cobain’s lack of enunciation, but clearly Cobain and company were quite flattered by being “done” by Weird Al. As an added bonus, this style of parody is more likely to appeal to fans of that artist.

    There is a country parody act that predates Cletus, called Pinkard and Bowden. But they’re a little more risque and never got much airplay.

  3. PoliBlogger says:

    Yep–Al has always sought permission. It tooks years for George Lucas to let him do his “Yoda” version of the Kinks’ “Lola” (which is one of his classics), even though “Yoda” was one of Al’s original “recorded in the bathroom for Dr. Demento” tracks.

  4. Ian S. says:

    James: yup. There’s a quote by Dave Grohl (I think I last saw it in the Weird Al “Behind the Music”) that they knew they’d made it when they saw Al’s video, so clearly they took no offense.

  5. emal says:

    el favorito del rapero de la milla de los eres del eminem, yo los canciones gustan del tus del mucho, personalidad del caracter y del mucho del con del persona del una de los eres del que del creo, ningún tanto de los odies los mujeres de los las ningunos iguales de los somos de los todas, ningún que de los olvides tambien mujeres del hijo de los ventiladores del tus. dano olvidar del mucho del hace del porque del pasado del siempre del mejor bajo del es, mama de olvidate de tu, de exesposa, dano del hicieron del te del loque de y de todos ningún bueno del es, te del que de los cosas de los otras del busca pueden el una Amiga del carino del con del hacer felis. emal.

  6. Michelle Lynne James says:

    I AM SICK OF PPL TALKING SHIT ABOUT MY BOO EM , ANYONE WHO TALKS SHIT ABOUT HIM ARE JUST SAYING THAT BECAUSE EVRYONE LOVES EM AND NOT THEM , SO YA STOP FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF!!!