July 13th, 2009
He's known for sending up pop songs, but Weird Al Yankovic's
latest piece is a straight-up remembrance of the star who inspired
some of his most famous parodies: Michael Jackson.
Yankovic, who warned that "other kids are starving in
Japan, so eat it, just eat it," when he playfully mocked
Jackson's "Beat It," and also turned "Bad"
into "Fat," praises Jackson on RollingStone.com as
a gracious man who was able to poke fun at his songs.
"The first time around I pursued Michael Jackson about
a song parody, it was a shot in the dark. We're talking about
the most popular and famous person in the known universe, and
here I was, this goofy comedy songwriter. He not only returned
our phone calls, but he approved it," Yankovic writes.
Yankovic only met the singer in person on a few occasions,
and he remebers him as "very soft-spoken, very quiet, but
always very friendly to me."
He described his experiences of meeting Jackson as "otherworldly.
He was and continues to be so iconic, it's hard to even conceive
of him as a human being. He always was bigger than life,"
While Jackson might be credited with the height of Yankovic's
career, ironically it later got a boost when Jackson said no
to a parody of "Black or White." Instead Yankovic
Still Yankovic recognizes that for a parodist, your starting
material is key, and his words ended up being a perfect comedic
fit with Jackson's music - one that shot the imitator to fame.
"I don't know what kind of career I would have today if
it hadn't been for Michael Jackson. In a very real sense, he
jump-started my career. 'Eat It' basically changed me from an
unknown into a guy that got recognized at Burger King."
Back to Michael´s mystery