Weird Al Yankovic, the accordion-playing satirist who has made mockery of everything from the American diet to gangsta rap - as if he needs any
introduction - turns 50 today. As Rocks Off's editor asked, "How can he be only 50?"
It's a good question, because if you're anything like us, Weird Al was a huge part of your cultural lexicon as a kid growing up in the '80s. From his early work, showcased on the Dr. Demento
show - our dad used to force us to listen to Dr. Demento
on Sunday nights on our hometown's classic rock station - to his series of songs making fun of Michael Jackson's work, there's something about Weird Al that just seems timeless.
After the jump, five videos from Rocks Off to say Happy Birthday Weird Al, and thanks for making our lives just a little sillier.
C'mon. You knew we'd lead with this one. "Eat It" is the song that put Weird Al on the map in the early days of MTV. The video is such a spot-on take of Michael Jackson's controversial homage to West Side Story
that for the first few seconds you might not be not sure which song you're hearing. The Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences thought so too. In 1984 Weird Al won his first Grammy for the song, the award for Best Comedy Recording.
True story: Rocks Off's significant other once ran into Weird Al shopping for records at a Berkeley music store.
YouTube user weirdal27
(obviously a big fan) bills this as Al's first real music video. Yankovic is only 20 here, covering a version of The Knack's "My Sharona," which he originally recorded as a homemade tape and then mailed to Dr. Demento. Demento's fans loved it, Capitol Records bought and released it as a single, and the rest is history.
The lyrics might be a little cheesy (get it?) but when you boil it down, this really is an awesome acoustic cover of an already awesome song, rendered in accordion.
Weird Al fancies himself both musician and actor (and writer and producer). In 1989 he made his first film, UHF
, which allowed him to move towards satirizing not just music but all aspects of Western culture. Rocks Off gets the idea that, as a nerdy high-schooler (his "friends" gave him the nickname Weird Al), Al might just as easily gone the way of the Trenchcoat Mafia. Instead, he chose to take revenge the intelligent way on that which annoyed or ostracized him, by making fun of everything
is so full of quote-worthy gems that is was hard to pick one
Weird Al does Devo from his official concert DVD. Is this really what a Weird Al show is like? The production values look out of control!
Weird Al has recorded so much over the past 30 years it's really hard not to include all of our favorites here. So we'll link them: "Smells Like Nirvana"
, "Like A Surgeon"
In his EP released earlier this year, Internet Leaks
, Al's taken on technology and The Doors. As Rocks Off's significant other said recently, this song, and "Dare To Be Stupid," are perfect examples of how Al is able to copy a musical style exactly without actually copying a song note for note. And we love the video, which was directed by Liam Lynch