“Weird Al” Yankovic released his first album in 1983, but he has been leading a successful career in music now spanning five decades. Yankovic recently sat with the CBC radio show Q to talk about his long-lasting, laugh-filled career. “I’ve always been the guy on the outside of the inner circle, kind of poking fun at the people on the inside,” he said.
Yankovic quickly became one of the biggest-selling comedy recording artists in history. Since his self-titled debut release, the singer has released 13 more studio albums, several of which have gone platinum, and has won five Grammy Awards, accepting the latest earlier this year for Squeeze Box, an anthology bringing together his original songs and signature parodies of such hits as “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana, “Piano Man” by Billy Joel, and more.
But, it wasn’t all that easy at first. “Nobody wanted to sign me to a record deal back in the early ’80s because I do what is ostensibly novelty music, and the implication there is ‘one-hit wonder,’ just ephemeral, you know?” he said. “Most people that have funny songs hit on the radio, and you never hear from them again, they’re a footnote in rock music history.”
Yankovic is no one-hit wonder—he is back on a North American tour called “Strings Attached,” which includes his debut performance at Ravinia on July 28. The tour is a high-energy rock and comedy production featuring his original band, costumes, props, a video wall, and—for the first time—background singers and a full symphony orchestra. Tickets to this performance are on sale now, exclusively at Ravinia.org.