"Weird Al" Yankovic
Alfred Matthew "Weird Al" Yankovic ( YANG-kə-vik; born October 23, 1959) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, satirist, actor, music video director, and author who is known for humorous songs that make light of pop culture and often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts. He also performs original songs that are style pastiches of the work of other acts, as well as polka medleys of several popular songs, most of which feature his trademark accordion.
Since having a comedy song aired in 1976, Yankovic has sold more than 12 million albums (as of 2007), recorded more than 150 parody and original songs, and performed more than 1,000 live shows. His work has earned him five Grammy Awards and a further 11 nominations, four gold records, and six platinum records in the U.S. His first top ten Billboard album (Straight Outta Lynwood) and single ("White & Nerdy") were both released in 2006, nearly three decades into his career. His latest album, Mandatory Fun (2014), became his first No. 1 album during its debut week.
Yankovic's success comes in part from his effective use of music videos to further parody pop culture, the song's original artist, and the original music videos themselves, scene-for-scene in some cases. He directed later videos himself and went on to direct for other artists, including Ben Folds, Hanson, The Black Crowes, and The Presidents of the United States of America. With the decline of music television and the onset of social media, he used YouTube and other video sites to publish his videos; this strategy proved integral, helping to boost sales of his later albums. He has stated that he may forgo traditional albums in favor of timely releases of singles from the 2010s onwards.
In addition to recording his albums, Yankovic wrote and starred in the film UHF (1989) and the television series The Weird Al Show (1997). He has also made guest appearances and performed voice acting roles on many television shows and video web content, in addition to starring in Al TV specials on MTV. He has also written two children's books, When I Grow Up (2011) and My New Teacher and Me! (2013).