Weird Al Yankovic Biography

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Birth Name: Alfred Matthew Yankovic
Born: 1959/10/23
Birth Place: Lynwood, California, U.S.
Years Active: 1979–present
Genres: Parody, Comedy, Polka


Alfred Matthew “Weird Al” Yankovic (born October 23, 1959) is an American singer-songwriter, music producer, actor, comedian, writer, satirist and parodist. Yankovic is known for his humorous songs that make light of popular culture and that often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts.

During Yankovic's sophomore year as an architecture student at Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo, he became a disc jockey at the university's radio station, KCPR. In 1978, he released his first recording (as Alfred Yankovic), “Take Me Down,” on the LP, “Slo Grown,” as a benefit for the Economic Opportunity Commission of San Luis Obispo County. The song mocked famous nearby landmarks such as the fountain toilets at the Madonna Inn.

In mid-1979, shortly before his senior year, “My Sharona” by The Knack was on the charts and Yankovic took his accordion into the restroom across the hall from the radio station and recorded a parody titled “My Bologna.” He sent it to radio DJ Dr. Demento, who played it to good response from listeners. Yankovic met The Knack after a show at his college and introduced himself as the author of “My Bologna.” The Knack's lead singer, Doug Fieger, said he liked the song and suggested that Capitol Records vice president Rupert Perry release it as a single. “My Bologna” was released as a single and the label gave Yankovic a six-month recording contract.

In 1980, Yankovic was a guest on the Dr. Demento Show, where he was to record a new parody live. The song was called “Another One Rides the Bus,” a parody of Queen's hit, “Another One Bites the Dust.” “Another One Rides the Bus” became so popular that Yankovic's first television appearance was a performance of the song on “The Tomorrow Show” with Tom Snyder in 1981.

Yankovic recorded “I Love Rocky Road,” a parody of “I Love Rock 'n' Roll” as recorded by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, which was produced by Rick Derringer, in 1982. The song was a hit on Top 40 radio, leading to Yankovic's signing with Scotti Brothers Records.

In 1983, Yankovic's first self-titled album was released on Scotti Bros. In 1984 he released his second album “Weird Al” Yankovic in 3-D.” The first single “Eat It,” a parody of the Michael Jackson song “Beat It,” became popular, thanks in part to the music video, a shot-for-shot parody of Jackson's “Beat It” music video. Peaking at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart in 1984, “Eat It” remained Yankovic's highest-charting single until “White & Nerdy” placed at #9 in October 2006.

Peaking at #50 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, 1985’s “Dare to Be Stupid” produced one of Yankovic's more famous singles, “Like a Surgeon,” a parody of Madonna's “Like a Virgin,” which peaked at #47 on the Billboard Hot 100 and helped to cement Yankovic's fame in the mid-80s. The album went on to be certified platinum for sales of over one million copies in the United States and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording in 1986.

Peaking at #177 on the Billboard 200, 1986’s “Polka Party!” was met with mixed reviews and was considered a commercial and critical failure. Despite this, the album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording in 1986.

Peaking at #27 on the Billboard 200, 1988’s “Even Worse” produced one Yankovic's more famous singles, “Fat,” a parody of Michael Jackson's “Bad,” which peaked at #99 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album helped revive Yankovic's career after the commercial and critical disappointment with “Polka Party!” in 1987. The album was later certified platinum for sales of over one million copies in the U.S. In addition, “Fat” was nominated and won a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording in 1989.

Peaking at #17 on the Billboard 200, 1992’s “Off the Deep End” sold over one million copies and was certified platinum in the U.S. and helped to reenergize Yankovic's career after a lull in the late-80s. The album produced an array of hit comedy singles, including “Smells Like Nirvana,” a parody of Nirvana's “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which peaked at #35 on the Billboard Hot 100. In addition, the album was later nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording in 1993.

Released after the successful album “Off the Deep End,” 1993’s “Alapalooza” was met with mixed reviews, although it later was certified gold by the RIAA. It peaked at #46 on the Billboard 200 and the album's first single, “Jurassic Park,” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Music Video, Short Form in 1994. Released after the successful album “Off the Deep End,” 1993’s “Alapalooza” was met with mixed reviews, although it later was certified gold by the RIAA. It peaked at #46 on the Billboard 200 and the album's first single, “Jurassic Park,” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Music Video, Short Form in 1994.

Peaking at #14 on the Billboard 200, 1996’s “Bad Hair Day,” sold over one million copies in the U.S. gaining platinum certification and helped to cement Yankovic's career in the 90s. The album produced an array of hit comedy singles, including “Amish Paradise,” a parody of Coolio's “Gangsta's Paradise“ and “Gump,” a parody of The Presidents Of The United States Of America's “Lump.”

1999’s “Running with Scissors” peaked at #16 on the Billboard 200 and contained the hit single “The Saga Begins,” a parody of Don McLean's song “American Pie.” The album was later certified platinum in the U.S. 2003’s “Poodle Hat” debuted at #17 on the Billboard 200 and won the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album in 2003.

2006’s “Straight Outta Lynwood” was Yankovic's most successful chart album in the U.S. and his first Top 10 album, entering the Billboard 200 at #10. “White & Nerdy“ also became Yankovic's first Top 10 single, peaking at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Both the album and the single were certified gold by the RIAA. “Canadian Idiot” also entered the charts, peaking at 82 on the Hot 100. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Recording in 2006.

In 2009 he released “Internet Leaks” an EP featuring five songs that are included on his upcoming “Alpocalypse” album. The EP was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards in 2009.

“Alpocalypse," released in 2011, debuted at #9 on the Billboard 200, marking his highest initial entry on the chart, and making it his highest peaking album on the chart to date.




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