Weird Al Yankovic Thrills Graham Nash With 'Instant' Crosby, Stills and Nash Parody

"That happens sometimes in social settings - an artist will make a comment at a party or awards show," says Al.

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When rock stars meet Weird Al Yankovic one of the first things they often ask him is, "When are you going to parody one of our songs?" In fact, Graham Nash recently asked him that very question - and Yankovic had a perfect answer!

During his recent recent Reddit AMA, the comedy legend explains, "That happens sometimes in social settings - an artist will make a comment at a party or awards show like, 'Hey Al, when are you going to do a parody of one of MY songs?' I don't know if they're being polite or making conversation, but that's always nice to hear. Actually, last year I was in New York doing a satellite radio tour, and Graham Nash was in the very next room ... and it just so happens I had just recorded my CSN pastiche 'Mission Statement' (which is on the new album). So I walked over to say hi ... he sees me, and the first words out of his mouth are, 'So, when are you gonna do a parody of 'Suite: Judy Blue Eyes?'' I whipped out my iPhone and played 'Mission Statement' for him. Instant request! (He loved it, BTW.)"

Far more than simply a parody artist, Yankovic has become a cultural institution over the last few decades. But he's also, by all accounts, a remarkably friendly and grounded guy - and one who still seems sort of starstruck when meeting the artists he parodies, even though his career has outlasted many of the acts whose work he's lampooned in the past.

For a good example, look no further than his '80s encounter with then-Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler. As Weird Al explained in his chat, he reached out to Knopfler to request permission for a parody, and the result turned out to be one of the most memorable meetings of his career. "One of my favorite reactions was from Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits," he recalled. "I did a parody of 'Money for Nothing' in my movie 'UHF,' and when I asked him for permission, he said, 'Well, yeah ... but you have to let me play GUITAR on it!' So ... he did!"

Yankovic's 14th studio album, "Mandatory Fun," was released July 15.

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I thought he always asked for permission before doing the song. In that case, how did he play it for him?
    He often records and writes parodies as demos prior to their inclusion on a record and though he always asks permission, the songs do exist and even if they say no to him he may still play the songs live. This was the case with his James Blunt parody.
    Actually, a lot of times artists may not know he's doing a parody because it could be a case of Al's management getting in touch with the artist's management. In this case, the artist might not even know the deal went down. He doesn't actually always ask the artist himself. That's what happened with James Blunt. He asked the record label and they said no, but James Blunt himself was fine with it which is why Al released it for free.
    Thank you for clearing that up! But yes, Al does record a lot of his parodies prior to asking permission. Fair use laws and all. And a lot of his refused parodies come down to label issues rather than artist issues.