“He always stressed when I was a kid that I should do whatever made me happy, because that’s the key to success, doing for a living whatever makes you happy.” – Alfred Matthew Yankovic, speaking about his father
At age 19, Yankovic, accompanying himself on his accordion, recorded a parody of The Knack’s “My Sharona” in a bathroom at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, where he was studying architecture. He sent a cassette of “My Bologna” to Dr. Demento, who played it on his syndicated radio show. When The Knack came to perform at his school, he played it for them. Lead singer Doug Feiger liked the track and suggested to an executive at the band’s label, Capitol Records, that they release it. They did so, as a one-off.
Yankovic’s next single, a parody of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” entitled “Another One Rides the Bus,” was released on TK Records, who went bankrupt a couple of weeks after the release. He then signed with Rock ‘n Roll Records and hit the Hot 100 for the first time with his parody of Toni Basil’s “Mickey,” which he called “Ricky,” about Ricky Ricardo.
Since then “Weird Al” Yankovic has stayed in the public eye. In 2014 he notched his first #1 album, Mandatory Fun.
Today “Weird Al” turns 55 years old. Here are twenty of my favorite of his tracks.
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