Al Yankovic grew up in the ‘60s wanting to play in rock and roll cover bands.
To his surprise, the other kids just didn’t take the accordion-playing teenager seriously.
So Yankovic ditched the serious and carved out a career writing pop parodies, a field in which he’s Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and James Brown rolled into one. Novelty records have come and gone, but the staying power and cultural presence of "Weird Al" is unique in pop history.
Thirty years, three Grammys, and a handful of platinum albums later, Yankovic seems only to have gotten more popular. In fact, his first Billboard top-10 album didn't come until 2006.
If you’ve ever seen Yankovic perform live, you might possibly have heard him play a straight-ahead cover version of Elvis Costello’s “Radio Radio” — but only, Yankovic reveals, if there was a technical problem on stage that prevented the show from going on. He also performs an acoustic version of his first gigantic hit, the Michael Jackson parody “Eat It.”
Mashing up Jackson and Clapton, it must be heard to be believed.
Yankovic would like to keep playing music for another 30 years, long enough to deflate the pretensions of a third generation of pop stars, he said.
In the meantime, he’s started a second career writing children’s books. His second, My New Teacher and Me, comes out June 25.
It’s about a boy who has a little too much imagination to play by the rules.
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