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‘Weird Al’ marks 40 years as king of pop parody with 15-album box set

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Alfred “Weird Al” Yankovic arrives at the premiere of “All Things Must Pass” in Los Angeles in 2015.

If the prospect of a 15-album box set of nothing but novelty records sounds a little weird, that’s exactly the idea. Actually, it’s designed to be a lot weird — “Weird Al” Yankovic, that is.

The all-time king of pop music parody is preparing the monumental release later this year to mark his 40-year anniversary, sending up most of pop culture’s most influential forces, from Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson and Nirvana to Madonna, Lady Gaga and “Star Wars.”

Although the box set isn’t surfacing until the fall, Yankovic is launching a pre-order campaign through the direct-to-fan website PledgeMusic.com. Pre-orders begin Jan. 18, and the full promo video for the set will be available on the site.

The set will be housed in a box replicating one of Yankovic’s signature accordions, with each of the CDs or LPs housed in the accordion’s bellows.

It spans his 1983 debut album, “‘Weird Al’ Yankovic,” through his most recent studio collection, “Mandatory Fun,” in 2014, the first comedy album to enter the Billboard 200 Albums chart at No. 1 and the first to top that chart in more than half a century.

In addition to the 14 remastered studio albums included in the box, six of which were never available on vinyl, the set also will include a bonus album, “Medium Rarities,” containing tracks spanning Yankovic’s career that never previously appeared on his albums.

The 40-year anniversary aspect of the box set dates to the first airing in 1976 of a home recording Yankovic sent to longtime radio show host Dr. Demento, who gave Yankovic his first public exposure with that recording of the original song “Belvedere Cruising,” written about his family’s Plymouth Belvedere.

The Lynwood, Calif., native subsequently became a production assistant for Demento’s show, which also gave career-boosting exposure to some of Yankovic’s earliest parody songs, “My Bologna” (based on the Knack’s “My Sharona”) and “Another One Rides the Bus” (Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”).

“If there hadn’t been a Dr. Demento,” Yankovic told the Syracuse Post in 2000, “I’d probably have a real job now.”

One irony of Yankovic’s long-running success crafting songs poking fun at major pop hits of the day is that his career has far outlasted many of those he parodied.

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