Weird Al Yankovic Says Prince Is the Only Artist Ever to Turn Down One of His Parodies

Comedy performer scored his first US Number One with 2014 album.

Weird Al Yankovic Says Prince Is the Only Artist Ever to Turn Down One of His Parodies
13
Weird Al Yankovic says Prince is the only musician to have refused him permission to parody his songs, NME reports.

Known for his comedic spoofs of pop songs, Yankovich recently returned with "Mandatory Fun," which gave him his first ever US Number One Album in a 30-plus year career. It contains parodies of Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" ("Handy"), Lorde's "Royals" ("Foil"), Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" ("Word Crimes") and Pharrell Williams' "Happy" ("Tacky").

All of the artists spoofed on the album gave permission to do so. Yankovich told NME: "I ask permission from every artist to parody their song. Legally I don't have to but I want them to be in on the joke, not just to turn on the radio one day and be like, 'What?'"

He added: "I've asked Prince several times, he's the only one to turn me down! All throughout the '80s I asked him – I had ideas for 'Kiss' and 'When Doves Cry' but his management turned me down every time. I still hold out hope – if he had another big hit of course I'd want to do my own version."

43 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    sdbukowski66
    I'm pretty sure i remember hearing coolio was pissed off about amish paradise.
    QuantumInfinity
    Coolio initially was pissed off but he came around to being cool about it. He went on to say that being against the spoof was one of the worst decisions in his career and that it was made due to his, at the time, huge ego.
    Shadow914
    Which is ironic considering he ripped the song off from Stevie Wonder so...
    sdbrown89
    Why am I not surprised in the slightest that its Prince that ruins the party, what a dick!
    twiggy3634
    I can see where Prince is coming from. He writes songs that he's really proud of and doesn't want them mocked. I understand that it's all in fun and Weird Al does it in respect, but once he parodies a song, it's forever handcuffed to the original. Every time I hear MJ's Beat It, I think of Eat It. Same with Gangsta's Paradise to Amish Paradise and so on.
    RCA1186
    I absolutely love Weird Al's songs. But its the same for me. I could swear I remember seeing an interview with Coolio and he stated he never gave permission to parody Gangsta's Paradise too. But, who knows after seeing this article.
    danny.kopij
    Coolio gave Weird Al permission. He just didn't like How it came out because apparently Coolio had no idea what Weird Al does. You know you've made it if Weird Al wants to parody your song. It's almost an honor to have him do it haha
    dorpzot
    He should give up hoping...I don't think Prince will ever have a big hit anymore.
    AlexGreat123
    Prince doesn't care. He still sells out big arenas and does what he wants to do. Plus I think Prince just doesn't have a sense of humour, hence the denying Al to parody one of his songs.
    dgtr23
    I thought one of Prince's album covers has a picture of Dave Chappelle on it dressed as Prince, thereby proving that he has a sense of humor. Although who knows. Artists do tend to be fickle of the heart.
    mop10893
    A lot of times it's the record company (Weird Al said in the article that he got the denial from the company). Al asked to parody a Lady Gaga song and the record company said no but Lady Gaga found out and personally said yes which lead to Perform This Way.
    chamiller005
    I don't think its unreasonable. Look what happened to Coolio, Weird Al parodied his biggest song and now I can honestly say I would think first of Amish paradise before Gangstas paradise. A lot of people would tell you the original is really a very good song. I'm not saying he is right or wrong, but it seems pretty clear that Prince feels a lot of personal ownership of his music and he's not interested in opening it up and risking outside influence on it. Its his vision, gotta respect that in my opinion. Al wouldn't ask if he had any intent on not respecting that, so good on him.
    guitgrinder
    I seem to remember Em turning down a parody as well, which was a bit hypocritical considering how much parodying Eminem does
    -xCaMRocKx-
    Em approved the parody (Couch Potato, an excellent parody of Lose Yourself), but he forced Al to shut down production of a music video to go with it, because it would be "harmful to his image." Very hypocritical when you look at things Em has done, like the Just Lose It video which was just a big "Michael Jackson is a pedophile" wank.
    ryanbwags
    He actually ended up saving Weird Al a ton of money on the video because he stopped them before he made it. There was no place to show the video at the time, MTV was done with music and there was no YouTube yet (to speak of). They would have had a video that no one would have seen.
    Chiefmachine24
    After Prince used Dave Chappelle's parody of himself as Prince on his album cover, he can do no wrong by me.
    ibanez124
    I hope Prince offered him some Pancakes, even though he did turn him down
    turkeyjerky214
    If I remember correctly, he recorded a parody of that James Blunt abomination You're Beautiful but then shelved it because Blunt's managers said "uh-uh"
    tom11
    I thought Rage Against The Machune turned him down too which is why I'll Sue Ya is a Rage style parody rather than a parody of an actual Rage song.
    MaidenisGOD89
    This Prince guy is just an absolute twat. He thinks everyone is out to steal his money. I cannot stand this ****ing douchebag!
    dgtr23
    Not true. Coolio turned him down to for 'Gangster's Paradise'. But then his manager said go ahead. Now Coolio no like Yankovic.
    Shadow914
    No, he asked Coolio's management and they said it was ok even though they never approached Coolio with the idea. Coolio got upset with the parody and now Weird Al talks to the artist/star directly for permission. It is however hypocritical that Coolio would be pissed at the parody considering he stole it from Stevie Wonder.
    buckeye.pher
    I thought there was a bylaw to infringement that excluded parodies?
    Cazman
    4 paragraphs and it's still too long for you to properly read it?
    AlexGreat123
    Weird Al likes to ask the original artists if he can parody the song. Show of good faith as it were.
    Izzy-Sweet
    QUOTE: "Legally I don't have to but I want them to be in on the joke, not just to turn on the radio one day and be like, 'What?'" Come on, this is easily one of UG's shortest articles.
    Jackderipper420
    At this point, Prince would get exposure to younger audience if he allowed the parodies. But hey, its his business who cares lol prince is 80s stuff it seems
    ledzep426
    Yeah but Al did a style parody of Prince here (plus he got him really good in Word Crimes):
    sideslick
    Um, Michael Jackson turned down a Weird-Al parody of "Black and White". This article is now void.
    mop10893
    I think he mean for any song whatsoever. Weird Al has Eat It (Beat It) and Fat (Bad). Michael basically said Al could parody any song he wants except for Black and White because of the meaning behind it.
    ledzep426
    Yeah but Al did a style parody of Prince here (plus he got him really good in Word Crimes):
    Who66
    That is actually him parodying Beck parodying Prince (Peaches & Cream from Midnite Vultures)