For his 1989 film UHF, Yankovic covered the band’s 1985 hit. To reflect the hit sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, the singer changed the lyrics to Money for Nothing. But did you know what the condition Mark Knopfler made for Weird Al was?
Mark Knopfler agreed to let Weird Al Yankovic parody “Money For Nothing” on the condition that Knopfler plays lead guitar on the track to add authenticity.
The Special Request of Mark Knopfler
Mark Knopfler, the lead singer, and guitarist for Dire Straits, granted Yankovic permission to parody the song. However, only Knopfler himself performs the guitar line on the track.
Furthermore, Yankovic’s song was forced to release his parody as Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies. The singer has been very open about his displeasure with the released title.
We had to name that song Money for Nothing — slash — Beverly Hillbillies — asterisk because the lawyers said that was the only name that could be used.Weird Al Yankovic, Singer Songwriter
(Source: Cheat Sheet)
Making A Request Before Making Fun of Them
Weird Al Yankovic reigns supreme in the world of musical comedy. Tenacious D, The Lonely Island, and Garfunkel and Oates have all achieved fame by combining music and humor in the decades since the singer’s breakout hit My Bologna. On the other hand, Yankovic is unique in that roughly half of his music catalog is parodies. On one occasion, the original artist insisted on participating in his parody version.
According to fair-use laws, Yankovic is not required to obtain the original artists’ rights before creating his parodies. However, since the start of his career, the singer has personally requested permission. In most cases, the artists are delighted to give Yankovic their approval. After all, for music stars, a Weird Al parody has become a rite of passage.
I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. I don’t want to be embroiled in any nastiness. That’s not how I live my life. I like everybody to be in on the joke and be happy for my success. I take pains not to burn bridges.Weird Al Yankovic, Singer and Songwriter
And, for the most part, this has worked to Yankovic’s advantage. His fan base is as devoted as ever, thanks to hits like Eat It and White and Nerdy.
Of course, some artists have refused to permit Yankovic. Most notably, Prince never permitted the singer to create a parody of his music. That makes sense, given that tracks by Michael Jackson and Madonna received Yankovic’s signature comedic touch. Similarly, vegetarian Paul McCartney refused to allow the singer to perform a Live and Let Die parody called Chicken Pot Pie.
Even some of the artists who initially granted Yankovic permission later expressed reservations. Rapper Coolio, whose Gangsta’s Paradise inspired Yankovic’s Amish Paradise, expressed displeasure with the parody. Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers was reportedly dissatisfied with how the singer’s Bedrock Anthem riffed on his band’s music. However, the case of Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing stands out in a significant way. (Source: Cheat Sheet)
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