Despite having enough talent to compete for the spotlight, Weird Al Yankovic chose to forge his own path. Fans adore his bizarre and often hilarious parodies over the years. But Did you know that Michael Jackson actually supported Weird Al and his parodies?
Michael Jackson permitted Weird Al Yankovic to perform “Fat,” the parody of his song “Bad.” He allowed him to use the same set built for his “Badder” video from the Moonwalker film. Yankovic said that Jackson’s support aided him in gaining acceptance from other artists he wanted to parody.
Beat It and Eat It!
Of course, Jackson and Yankovic are linked by their love of music. Yankovic is well-known for always seeking permission from artists whose work he wishes to parody. Early in his career, Yankovic obtained Jackson’s permission to transform the latter’s hit Beat It into the food-focused Eat It, which became a breakout hit and remains one of his biggest.
Michael Jackson wasn’t just cool about my parody of ‘Beat It, But he also loved my version of ‘Bad,’ which was ‘Fat.’ He even let me use the actual ‘Bad’ subway set for the ‘Fat’ video. He was very supportive, which was huge with opening the doors with other artists. Because if Michael Jackson signed on, you couldn’t really say no.Weird Al Yankovic, Singer and Songwriter
The Rejection or The Savior of His Career?
Despite Jackson’s early assistance, the King of Pop eventually rejected a Yankovic parody idea. Yankovic had hoped to make a parody of Jackson’s 1991 hit Black or White in the early 1990s, but Jackson denied permission due to the song’s racially charged message. Yankovic told Wired in 2011 that he believes this decision saved his career.
Frankly, my wanting to do Michael Jackson a third time was a pure act of desperation. I was feeling pretty down after UHF came out and didn’t do that well commercially and I was kind of feeling like, ‘Oh, man, maybe my career is over.’ And I was grasping for that last straw. But thankfully he said ‘no’ because I ended up doing Nirvana, which ended up revitalizing my career. Michael had always been very supportive and part of me wants to think that in his heart he knew what was best for me.Weird Al Yankovic
A third Jackson parody would have been pushing it. Eat It and Fat were massive hits. But, at that point in his career, Yankovic was unlikely to experience a comeback. Rather than drawing inspiration from his musical past, he focused on the future with Smells Like Nirvana. (Source: Cheatsheet)
The Aftermath of the Michael Jackson’s Approval and Rejection
Yankovic’s 1992 album Off the Deep End ushered in a new era of hit songs. The singer released fan-favorite songs like You Don’t Love Me Anymore, Jurassic Park, Amish Paradise, and The Saga Begins throughout the 1990s.
Yankovic’s popularity grew over time. He had his first number one album in 2014, thanks to a week of daily music video releases. Mandatory Fun, which includes parodies of Pharrell Williams, Iggy Azalea, and other artists, cemented his place as a living legend. (Source: Cheatsheet)
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