Weird Al’s "Pitiful" dispute

While I find most modern comedies (especially the PG-13 kind) to be fairly unbearable amalgams of lewd and crude shlock, I’m constantly amused by the witty musical parodies of "Weird Al" Yankovic. His new album "Straight Outta Lynwood" hits stores on September 26, but one of the most talked-about singles from that album won’t actually be on the album.

Here’s the story from NPR:

In a career spanning more than 25 years, pop-music parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic hasn’t exactly ranked among the music business’ fiercest iconoclasts: He doesn’t release his song parodies without the consent of the artists being parodied, and he’s rarely used the Internet as more than a tool to promote his projects and connect with his fans. But a music label’s efforts to block a (relatively tame) parody of James Blunt’s ubiquitous hit "You’re Beautiful" has Yankovic fighting back publicly, and using his Web site as a tool to do so.

According to Yankovic, Blunt himself gave his blessing to a song called "You’re Pitiful," which was to appear on Yankovic’s now-finished but as-yet-unreleased new album. But after Yankovic finished recording the parody, Atlantic Records, Blunt’s label, told Yankovic that he couldn’t release "You’re Pitiful."

"The legality in this case is somewhat moot," Yankovic writes when contacted via e-mail. "James Blunt could still let me put it on my album if he really wanted to, but he obviously doesn’t want to alienate his own record company… and my label could release the parody without Atlantic’s blessing, but they don’t really want to go to war with another label over this. So really, it’s more of a political matter than a legal matter."

However, this hasn’t stopped Yankovic from offering "You’re Pitiful" as a free download on his website. You can stream it from his MySpace page or download the MP3 from this link, among many others.

The whole brouhaha with Atlantic is rather unfortunate, because it’s a great song, and was probably set to be the album’s first single. Give ‘er a listen and enjoy what "The Man" don’t want you to hear!

(My favorite part is at the beginning, when Al parodies the little "flub" that Blunt makes at the beginning of "You’re Beautiful." If your memory of that song is a bit hazy, Blunt seems to say "My life is brilliant" a bit before his cue.)

Oh, and as good as his parodies are, his music videos are classics.

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