Monday, October 02, 2006

More Weird Al stuff, including the REAL reason why Atlantic tried to squash "You're Pitiful"

Ain't It Cool News has an interview with "Weird Al" Yankovic about Straight Outta Lynwood which came out last week. Meanwhile thousands of miles away the West Australian has another interview with Al, who reveals why it was that Atlantic Records tried so hard to keep Al's parody of "You're Beautiful" from being released...
Ali versus Frazier it wasn't. Things took a serious turn when Atlantic Records didn’t see the funny side of "Weird Al" Yankovic's parody of James Blunt's hit, You’re Beautiful.

Yankovic recorded You're Pitiful as the lead single to his new album, Straight Outta Lynwood, but pulled the track when Atlantic refused to give permission. Blunt had apparently told the Los Angeles based comedian he was fine with it but Yankovic's label, Volcano, didn't want to mess with the major.

Either way, Yankovic usually seeks the artist's blessing as a courtesy before commercially releasing his skewed remakes of hit songs.

Prince, Paul McCartney and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page have apparently knocked back Weird Al makeovers but most artists relish Yankovic's humorous and harmless homages.

Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler played guitar on the Beverly Hillbillies parody of Money For Nothing while executives at Nirvana's label once told the comedian that his Smells Like Teen Spirit remake sold an extra million copies of Nevermind.

However, the wise men guiding Blunt's career don't share Yankovic's zany sense of humour.

"The reason I heard was that they felt like You're Beautiful was getting too much attention," Yankovic, 46, explains from his home in LA. "They don't want him perceived as a one-hit wonder. They thought You're Beautiful was getting bigger than he was... and that my parody would put more focus on that song."

Atlantic didn't immediately put the kybosh on the parody, rather the suits asked Yankovic to wait until the soppy UK singer-songwriter had established himself as an artist. He obliged, for a while, but the album full of timely parodies couldn't hold for more than a few months.

A frustrated Yankovic pushed the label for a final answer and was eventually told that they didn't want the song to ever see the light of day.

"At that point I just lost my mind because they had basically pushed back my album and I had no idea what I was going to be doing," he says. "They basically jerked me around."

While the song won't be commercially released, Yankovic made You're Pitiful available for free download via www.weirdal.com — and the MP3 became a worldwide viral hit. Despite his run-in with Atlantic, Yankovic will stick to his policy of seeking approval before unleashing his comic gems. "I've always done that historically and I'd like to keep doing it, but I'd have to say that experiences like this make me wish that I wasn't so dependent on the kindness of strangers."

Thta's the DUMBEST thing I've ever heard in my life!! No wonder Al is editing the Atlantic Records entry on Wikipedia to say "YOU SUCK" in the "White and Nerdy" video.

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