Weird Al Yankovic Biography

Comedian, Film Actor, Actor, Songwriter, Singer, Music Producer (1959–)
Weird Al Yankovic parodies popular hit music. His version of Michael Jackson's "Beat It", which he titled "Eat It", became an MTV favorite.


Alfred Matthew Yankovic was a high school valedictorian and studied architecture in college. His college radio show earned him the nickname "Weird Al." He made a name for himself parodying popular hit music and made accompanying music videos. His first major hit was "Eat it," a parody of Michael Jackson's "Beat It."

Early Life

Singer, musician, songwriter. Alfred Matthew Yankovic was born on October 23, 1959, in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey, California, and raised in the neighboring town of Lynwood.

An only child, he first took up the accordion at age seven when a salesman came around to solicit accordion or guitar lessons for a local music school. Yankovic claimed his parents were inspired by polka star Frank Yankovic (no relation) and chose the accordion.

As a child and young teen, Al became a fan of such musician/comedians as Allan Sherman, Tom Lehrer, Spike Jones and Stan Freberg. He became especially acquainted with these musicians through the radio show of Barry Hansen, aka "Dr. Demento."

After graduating as valedictorian from Lynwood High School, Al attended the California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo to study architecture. It was at Cal Poly that Al had a radio show and earned the nickname "Weird Al."

First Parody

It was at Cal Poly where he recorded his first single, a parody of the popular "My Sharona" by The Knack, called "My Bologna."

After graduating in 1980, Yankovic released "Another One Rides the Bus," a parody of Queen's smash hit, "Another one Bites The Dust." He followed up with "I Love Rocky Road," a satire of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts' "I Love Rock 'n Roll."

Commercial Breakthrough

Yankovic's success went to a whole new level, thanks to his skilled use of music video. His first was a parody of Toni Basil's "Mickey" for his debut album, "Weird Al" Yankovic. But it was the video from his sophomore effort, "Eat It," a parody of Michael Jackson's smash "Beat It," that became a smash on MTV.

Dare to Be Stupid, the first comedy record ever released in the new compact disc format, featured "Like a Surgeon," a take-off of Madonna's hit "Like a Virgin."

Yankovic's 1986 Polka Party LP fared poorly, but he returned in 1988 with another Jackson parody, the platinum-selling Even Worse. Its title and album cover referenced Jackson's Bad LP. The first single, "Fat," portrayed Yankovic as a grotesquely obese tough guy.

The next year, he starred in the feature film UHF, which he also co-wrote and issued as as soundtrack.

Further Success

Yankovic returned in 1992 with Off the Deep End, which featured the hit "Smells Like Nirvana," a takeoff of Nirvana's landmark song "Smells Like Teen Spirit." After 1993's Alapalooza, he resurfaced in 1996 with Bad Hair Day, featuring the single "Amish Paradise," a takeoff of Coolio's smash hit "Gangsta's Paradise."

Yankovic followed up with Running with Scissors in 1999 and with Poodle Hat in 2003. Sadly a year after Poodle Hat's release, he lost both of his parents. Nick and Mary Yankovic were killed on April 9, 2004, when a closed fireplace-flue caused their home to fill with carbon monoxide.

His most recent release, Straight Outta Lynwood (2006), featured the single "White & Nerdy," a suburban parody of Chamillionaire's "Ridin." During 2007 and 2008, he toured extensively to support Straight Outta Lynwood, playing dates in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

In 2011, he released his 13th album, Alpocalypse, which spoofed Lady Gaga ("Perform This Way") and Miley Cyrus ("Party in the CIA.")

Yankovic married Suzanne Krajewski on February 10, 2001. Their daughter Nina was born one day after their second wedding anniversary. He and his family live in Hollywood, California.

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