Weird Al Yankovic

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Yankovic on tour 2010
Yankovic on tour 2010
Chart positions
Explanation of the data
“Weird Al” Yankovic
  US 139 
05/21/1983 (8 weeks)
In 3-D
  US 17th 
03/17/1984 (23 weeks)
Dare to be stupid
  US 50 
07/13/1985 (16 weeks)
Polka party!
  US 177 11/15/1986 (4 weeks)
Even Worse
  US 27 
05/07/1988 (26 weeks)
  US 146 08/19/1989 (4 weeks)
Off the deep end
  US 17th 
05/02/1992 (27 weeks)
  US 46 
10/23/1993 (24 weeks)
Greatest Hits Volume II
  US 198 12/17/1994 (1 week)
Bad hair day
  US 14th 
Double platinum
× 2
Double platinum
03/30/1996 (56 weeks)
Running with Scissors
  US 16 
07/17/1999 (32 weeks)
Poodle hat
  US 17th 06/07/2003 (15 weeks)
Straight Outta Lynwood
  US 10 
10/11/2006 (23 weeks)
The Essential “Weird Al” Yankovic
  US 178 11/14/2009 (1 week)
  US 9 07/09/2011 (6 weeks)
Mandatory fun
  UK 71 07/26/2014 (1 week)
  US 1Template: Infobox chart placements / maintenance / NR1 link 08/02/2014 (12 weeks)
Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of “Weird Al” Yankovic
  US 185 December 16, 2017 (1 week)
  US 63 04/30/1983 (8 weeks)
Eat It
  US 12 
03/10/1984 (12 weeks)
  UK 36 04/07/1984 (7 weeks)
King of Suede
  US 62 05/05/1984 (6 weeks)
I lost on jeopardy
  US 81 06/30/1984 (3 weeks)
Like a surgeon
  US 47 06/22/1985 (8 weeks)
  US 99 May 21, 1988 (2 weeks)
  UK 80 07/17/1988 (4 weeks)
Smells Like Nirvana
  US 35 04/25/1992 (11 weeks)
  UK 58 07/04/1992 (1 week)
Amish Paradise
  US 53 03/30/1996 (16 weeks)
White & Nerdy
  US 9 
Platinum + gold
Platinum + gold
Platinum + gold
10/14/2006 (20 weeks)
  UK 80 12/09/2006 (2 weeks)
Canadian idiot
  US 82 10/21/2006 (10 weeks)
Word Crimes
  US 39 08/02/2014 (1 week)

Alfred Matthew "Weird Al" Yankovic [ ˈjæŋkəvɪk ] (born October 23, 1959 in Lynwood , California ) is an American musician and parodist . He is best known for his humorous songs that parody pop culture.


The day before his seventh birthday, Yankovic, the son of an American of Yugoslavia and an Italian-American woman , began playing the accordion .

After seeing Dr. Having heard Demento's broadcast (a radio show with funny music) on the radio, Yankovic sent the “Doctor” a cassette with a piece called Belvedere Cruising in 1976 . Yankovic was at the time in the upper school of "Lynwood High School" in Lynwood (California). The cassette marked the beginning of his later career.

Three years later, Yankovic was an architecture student and disc jockey at the KCPR radio station at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo. Because the song at this time My Sharona by The Knack was on the charts and The Knack was planning to play at Cal Poly, Yankovic took his accordion into the toilet opposite the receiving chamber and took a parody titled My Bologna on. The musicians from The Knack thought it was funny and made sure that the song was released on their record company Capitol Records , which earned Yankovic a six-month contract.

When Yankovic was working in the postal department at Westwood One in 1980 , at the time Dr. Dementos radio station, he announced that he had a new parody ready. Drummer Jon Schwartz was also there, so he was hired to drum on Yankovic's accordion case. The resulting performance of Another One Rides the Bus was a parody of the band Queen's hit , Another One Bites the Dust .

In 1981, Yankovic first went out with Dr. Dementos Show on tour. His performances were particularly interesting because few, if any, people played parodies of rock music on the accordion. His stage appearance aroused the interest of the manager Jay Levey , who liked the performance very much and became Yankovics manager. Levey insisted that the show would sound better if Yankovic had a full band, which is why they had musicians auditioned. They chose Steve Jay as bassist and Jim West as guitarist. With Jon Schwartz on drums, the band was complete.

Yankovic claims that he was inspired by Allan Sherman , whose mini-portrait (with name) the attentive viewer can spot on the cover of his first album.

Yankovic has performed annually at the Minnesota State Fair since the mid-1990s .

On February 10, 2001, he married his girlfriend, with whom he has had a daughter since February 11, 2003.

On April 9, 2004, his parents were found dead at their home in Fallbrook, California. Apparently they had been poisoned with carbon monoxide . One evening after the bodies had been found, Yankovic appeared at a concert in Mankato ( Minnesota ) and said that music had many of his fans helped through hard times and this might also work with him.

On August 27, 2018, he was honored with the 2,643rd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame .

Yankovic's songs

Although he is best known for his parodies of well-known songs, Yankovic has written a large number of his own humorous songs, for example You Don't Love Me Anymore , Albuquerque , Why Does This Always Happen to Me? or hardware store . His albums usually consist of parodies and half of his own compositions. Much of Yankovic's work is satirically skewing pop culture including television, movies, food, pop music, and sometimes breaking news topics. Recurring motifs are Star Wars and geek culture .

Although many of his songs are parodies of current radio hits, it is rare that he wants to hit the artist himself with them. Rather, Yankovic's humor lies in creating unexpected mismatches between the image of the artist and the subject of the song, contrasting the style of the song with its content, or highlighting trends or work that have become clichés in pop culture. Some of his own songs are style parodies where he selects the entire work rather than just a single hit by a band to honor / parody; some bands that have been honored in this way are Devo ( Dare to Be Stupid ), The Beach Boys ( Trigger Happy ), They Might Be Giants ( Everything You Know Is Wrong ) or Bob Dylan ( Bob ).

His nine-minute piece Genius in France pays homage to Frank Zappa . The song combines a number of stylistic devices used and shaped by Zappa and was highly praised even by Zappa's fans who (after Zappa's death) had not expected any more pieces in his special style. His album Straight Outta Lynwood (including a parody of Chamillionaire's song Ridin 'Dirty titled White & Nerdy ) reached number 10 on the Billboard charts in its second week of sales , making it Yankovic's first top 10 album. The popularity of the song Don't Download This Song among Internet users contributed to the album's success. It ironically picks up on the ongoing discussion about copyright in the digital age and made it available for download free of charge.

After the next album, Alpocalypse, made it into the top 10 of the US charts, his 14th album, Mandatory Fun, took first place in the album charts in the summer of 2014 . The album was named Best Comedy Album at the 2015 Grammy Awards . In March 2018, "Weird Al" Yankovic reached over 17,000 downloads and 1.2 million streams with The Hamilton Polka , a polka medley based on pieces from the musical Hamilton , and thus reached number 1 on the US comedy charts and number 23 the digital charts.

Musical work

Al Yankovic's musical work includes numerous albums and - as Yankovic calls them - " cheesy compilations ". His pieces can be grouped into original compositions, parodies and polka remixes .


  • Weird Al Yankovic - 1983
  • Weird Al Yankovic in 3-D - 1984
  • Dare to Be Stupid - 1985
  • Polka Party - 1986
  • Even Worse - 1988
  • UHF (soundtrack) - 1989
  • Off the Deep End - 1992
  • Alapalooza - 1993
  • Bad Hair Day - 1996
  • Running with Scissors - 1999
  • Poodle Hat - 2003
  • Straight Outta Lynwood - 2006
  • Alpocalypse - 2011
  • Mandatory Fun - 2014


  • Greatest Hits - 1988
  • The Food Album - 1993 (US:goldgold)
  • Permanent Record - Al in the Box - 1994
  • Greatest Hits - Volume II - 1994
  • The TV Album - 1995
  • The Essential "Weird Al" Yankovic - 2009
  • Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of "Weird Al" Yankovic - 2017


  • 1994 - Headline News (parody of "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by the Crash Test Dummies )
  • 1996 - Theme from Spy Hard ( Spy Hard soundtrack)
  • 2000 - Polkamon ( Pokémon: The Movie 2000 soundtrack )
  • 2006 - White & Nerdy
  • 2008 - Whatever You Like (only released as a download, then in 2011 on Alpocalypse )
  • 2009 - Craigslist (only released as a download, then in 2011 on Alpocalypse )
  • 2009 - Skipper Dan (only released as a download, then in 2011 on Alpocalypse )
  • 2009 - CNR (first only published as a download, then in 2011 on Alpocalypse )
  • 2009 - Ringtone (first only released as a download, then in 2011 on Alpocalypse )
  • 2011 - Perform This Way (download single from album Alpocalypse )
  • 2018 - The Hamilton Polka (download single)

Parodies (selection)

Listed here are the 72 parodies that were released on at least one album. In addition, there are 54 other parodies that were not released commercially.

Most famous originals

  • Albuquerque (from the album Running With Scissors )
  • Bob (a Bob Dylan tribute from the album Poodle Hat )
  • Callin 'in Sick (from Bad Hair Day album )
  • Dare to be Stupid (from the album Dare To Be Stupid )
  • Don't Download this Song (from the album Straight Outta Lynwood )
  • Everything You Know Is Wrong (from the album Bad Hair Day )
  • Genius in France (a Frank Zappa tribute from the album Poodle Hat )
  • Hardware Store (from the album Poodle Hat )
  • Melanie (from the album Even Worse )
  • Spy Hard (parody of the James Bond film opening sequences)
  • The Night Santa Went Crazy (from the Bad Hair Day album )
  • UHF (from the album UHF )
  • You Don't Love Me Anymore (from the album Off The Deep End )
  • Your Horoscope for Today (from the album Running With Scissors )

Video albums

  • Video Library - Greatest Hits (US:goldgold)
  • Alapalooza, The Videos (US:goldgold)
  • Bad Hair Day (US:goldgold)
  • Weird Al - Live (US:goldgold)
  • The Ultimate Video Collection (US:platinumplatinum)

Awards for music sales

Golden record

  • AustraliaAustralia Australia
    • 2000: for the album Running with Scissors
  • CanadaCanada Canada
    • 1984: for the album In 3D
    • 1984: for the single Eat It
    • 1988: for the album Even Worse
    • 1995: for the album Greatest Hits Volume II
    • 1997: for the album Greatest Hits
    • 1999: for the album Running with Scissors

Platinum record

  • CanadaCanada Canada
    • 1995: for the album Off the Deep End
    • 1996: for the Bad Hair Day album

2 × platinum record

  • AustraliaAustralia Australia
    • 2011: for the video album The Ultimate Video Collection
  • CanadaCanada Canada
    • 1998: for the album Alapalooza

Note: Awards in countries from the chart tables or chart boxes can be found in these.

Country / Region Gold record icon.svg gold Platinum record icon.svg platinum Sales swell
Awards for music sales
(country / region, awards, sales, sources)
Australia (ARIA) Australia (ARIA) Gold record icon.svg gold1 Platinum record icon.svg 2 × platinum2 65,000
Canada (MC) Canada (MC) Gold record icon.svg 6 × gold6th Platinum record icon.svg 4 × platinum4th 700,000
United States (RIAA) United States (RIAA) Gold record icon.svg 10 × gold10 Platinum record icon.svg 9 × platinum9 11,300,000
All in all Gold record icon.svg 17 × gold17th Platinum record icon.svg 15 × platinum15th

Film projects

In 1989, Yankovic fulfilled his long-standing dream of making a movie. The film, which is a parody of the American television landscape and contains a number of film parodies, was named UHF . Yankovic co-wrote the script with friend and manager Jay Levey; the latter directed. Al Yankovic, Victoria Jackson , Michael Richards , Fran Drescher and Kevin McCarthy played the leading roles . The film did extremely well in test screenings, which is why Orion Pictures Corporation released it as their 1989 blockbuster . But UHF got a lot of competition from the films Batman , Two Steel-Hard Professionals and Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade , which is why it became a commercial flop. Over time, UHF became a cult film and was released on DVD and Blu-ray .

The film team dedicated the film to the actor Trinidad Silva , who was hit by a drunk driver shortly before the end of the shooting and died as a result of this accident.

other projects

  • Babalu Music - 1991: A collection of I Love Lucy music. The video contains snippets from many I Love Lucy episodes and the Desi Arnaz songs Babalu and Cuban Pete as well as the theme music of the series were used as music.
  • Peter and the Wolf - 1988: "This quirky classic children's CD features short stories and poetry written by 'Weird Al' Yankovic, as well as music arranged, composed and performed by synthesizer prodigy Wendy Carlos ". Yankovic's lyrics change the original story considerably, while the music includes some innovations by Wendy Carlos compared to the original Sergei Prokofiev . The B-side of the album is called "Carnival of the Animals, Part II", which is a kind of homage to Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns , with Yankovic taking on the role of Edward Lear by writing humorous poems about the snail, the shark etc writes.

Television appearances

"Weird Al" Yankovic had a short-lived television series called The Weird Al Show that aired on CBS from September 1997 to January 1998 . The program was part of the morning program on Saturday and was designed as a children's program. The humor in the series was more likely to hit Yankovic's adult fans. The show was canceled after only one season, as it only achieved moderate ratings.

Yankovic hosted AL-TV on MTV for many years , usually whenever a new album had just come out. For the album Poodle Hat, however, AL-TV appeared on VH1 . The most popular part of AL-TV is the one in which Yankovic manipulated interviews, which were specially commissioned by the broadcaster for AL-TV, for the comic effect.

VH1 produced a " Behind the Music " episode about Yankovic. It's so clearly delineated that the producers couldn't find any of the typical problems that make many of the rock star's stories interesting (as Yankovic noted in an interview with BTM), so the focus was on Yankovic's life as a bachelor and (what she as such perceptions) his loneliness (as well as the commercial flops of UHF and Polka Party ).

Yankovic also had a number of guest appearances and cameo appearances in films such as The Naked Cannon and the American television series How I Met Your Mother (Season 7, Episode 7).

He has also appeared in cartoons like Eek! The Cat , The Simpsons ( Homer on the wrong track , The wild 90s ), Futurama , Scooby-Doo and who are you? and The Brak Show and lent his voice to a modeled character in My Little Pony . In the Disney children's program Gravity Falls, he speaks a character in the original.

In the Disney cartoon series Worse Always With Milo Murphy , he speaks the main character Milo Murphy.

Since 2019, he has embodied himself in the Showtime series Work in Progress .


  1. a b Chart sources: US chart history UK chart history
  2. Conrad, Harold. The Glamorous Life of Al Yankovic . // SPIN , Vol. 1, No. August 4th, 1985, pp 48-50, ISSN  0886-3032

    “It is of no minor coincidence that his parents are of Yugoslavian lineage and it so happens that Frankie Yankovic (no relation), known as the polka king and one of the best accordionists in the country, also happens to be a Yugoslav. A little chauvinism here. "

  3. ^ "Weird Al" Yankovic | Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved September 3, 2018 (American English).
  4. Song Don't Download This Song for free download ( Memento from February 3, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  5. Weird Al Yankovic The uncoolest pop star of all time , portrait of Christian Lehner on Deutschlandfunk from August 9, 2014, accessed August 13, 2014
  6. Weird Al Yankovic really successful again. Retrieved March 15, 2018 .
  7. Source:

Web links

Commons : "Weird Al" Yankovic  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files