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Weird Al Yankovic

"Weird Al" Yankovic (born Alfred Matthew Yankovic, October 23, 1959) is a parodist and accordion player. Surprisingly, his career has lasted longer than many of the artists he has parodied over the years.

He first started playing the accordion one day before his seventh birthday, mastering the instrument by age ten.

After hearing Dr. Demento's radio program (featuring music with a comedic bent), Al sent the Doctor a tape of a song entitled "Belvedere Cruising" in 1976. Al was a senior in high school at the time, but that tape was the start of his eventual career.

Three years later, Al was an architecture student and a disc jockey at the Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo radio station (KCPR). Since "My Sharona" by The Knack was on the charts and the Knack was going to play at Cal Poly, Al took his accordion into the bathroom across from the listening booth and recorded a parody entitled "My Bologna". The Knack thought it was funny, and arranged for the song to be released on their label, Capitol Records, which gave Al a six-month contract.

In 1980, Al was working the mail room at Westwood One[?], Dr. Demento's radio network at the time, when he announced he had another parody. Jon Schwartz[?] was also there, and he was a percussionist, so he was recruited to bang on Al's accordion case. The resulting mayhem, "Another One Rides the Bus", was a parody of a Queen hit, "Another One Bites the Dust".

1981 brought Al on tour for the first time as part of Dr. Demento's act. His performances were particularly interesting as few people at the time were doing parodies of rock and roll songs on accordion. His stage act caught the eye of manager Jay Levey[?], who loved it and became Al's manager. Jay insisted that the act would sound better if Al had a full band, so he held auditions. Steve Jay[?] became Al's bass player, and Jim West[?] the lead guitarist. With Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz[?] on drums, the band was complete.

Since Al got a record contract in 1983, he has released lots of albums and parodies. The following is a comprehensive list of the AL-bums to 2003:

  • "Weird Al" Yankovic - 1983
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D - 1984
  • Dare to Be Stupid - 1985
  • Polka Party - 1986
  • Even Worse - 1988
  • UHF (movie soundtrack) - 1989
  • Off The Deep End - 1992
  • Alapalooza - 1994
  • Bad Hair Day - 1996
  • Running With Scissors - 1999
  • Poodle Hat - 2003

Al claims to have been inspired by Allan Sherman, whose portrait in miniature (with name) can be found by the observant on the cover of Al's first album.

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