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Music artists who refused to let Weird Al parody their music (9 Photos)
“Amish Paradise,” a play on Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” is one of Yankovic’s most popular parodies to date. While he technically had permission to make the parody, Coolio himself never gave consent. After the Grammy Awards in 1995, Coolio spoke out against the parody, “[I] ain’t with that … I think that my song was too serious … I really … don’t appreciate him desecrating the song like that … his record company asked for my permission, and I said no. But they did it anyway.”
We all remember the Academy Award winning song “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. During the height of its popularity, Yankovic wrote a parody called “Couch Potato” and intended for it to be the center of his new album. Eminem gave Weird Al permission to parody the song, but the rapper denied him permission to use it as a single and be the center of a music video. “Eminem was fine with me having the parody on my album but said he was afraid that a Weird Al video might detract from his legacy, that it would somehow make people take him less seriously as an important hip-hop artist,” Weird Al said.
Page happens to be a big fan of Al’s music, but he declined to have his own music become victim. Page
did allow Weird Al to do an interpretation of “Black Dog” in Yankovic’s “Trapped in the Drive-Thru,” which is a parody of R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet.”
Prince happens to be the only artist to completely deny Weird Al from making a parody. It’s not for lacking of trying. He’s tried to do spoofs of “Kiss” and “1999” since the 1980s without success. “The only person who’s consistently said no has been Prince. I haven’t approached him in 20 years, he’s just not into doing parodies,” Weird Al said.
While he was a good sport in entertaining the idea, McCartney turned down Weird Al’s request to make a parody of “Live and Let Die.” He respectfully asked Al to change the parody title from “Chicken Pot Pie” since he doesn’t eat meat. According to Yankovic, McCartney said, “I would love for you to do this, but could you not make it about chicken because I’m a vegetarian. I don’t want to condone the eating of animal flesh.’”
After receiving permission from James Blunt to make a parody of “You’re Beautiful,” Blunt’s record label stepped in and denied Yankovic permission. They felt the recording artist could potentially damage James Blunt’s public image. He released the song anyway. “I have a long-standing history of respecting artists’ wishes. So if James Blunt himself were objecting, I wouldn’t even offer my parody for free on my website. But since it’s a bunch of suits—who are actually going against their own artist’s wishes—I have absolutely no problem with it.”
In 2006, Weird Al wanted to spoof Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” with the parody “You Had a Bad Date,” but the recording artist denied Yankovic permission to record it. At least at first. “And then literally the day before we went into the studio to record ‘White & Nerdy,’ we got a call saying he changed his mind and he wanted to do it after all, and I had to inform him that the train had left the station.”
In one of Weird Al’s more popular songs, ‘The Alternative Polka,’ he originally had included a snippet of Weezer’s “Buddy Holly.” After hearing the song the band reconsidered. ‘Buddy Holly’ by Weezer was originally in ‘The Alternative Polka,’ says Yankovic on his website.
“In fact, it was completely recorded, and we were about to do the final mix when we got a call from Weezer’s management—apparently the song’s writer, Rivers Cuomo, decided for whatever reason that he didn’t want his song in my medley after all, so at the very last minute (after the ‘special thanks’ had already been printed on the CD and cassette booklets) we had to physically cut the song out of the medley. I’m still kind of bummed about it—it sounded really cool.”
Although Michael Jackson gave Weird Al permission to spoof “Bad” and “Beat It” into the parody songs “Fat” and “Eat It,” respectively, the King of Pop denied Yankovic consent to parody his 1991 song “Black or White.” “Michael wasn’t quite so into it, because he thought ‘Black or White’ was more of a message song, and he didn’t feel as comfortable with a parody of that one, which I completely understood,” said Yankovic.