Amid many other glorious revelations in Brian Raftery’s awesome profile of Vulture hero “Weird Al” Yankovic in the new Wired (“Remember how I told you that music parody was the lowest form of comedy? I forgot about prop comics”), Yankovic opens up about the days before he’d earned creative freedom, back when revenue-minded record-label demands still dictated which pop songs he lampooned: “For a number of years, I was a cash cow for Scotti Brothers,” he says, “which put me in an uncomfortable situation: If they weren’t having a good year, it was like, ‘Where’s the next Weird Al record?’ … ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Lunch’ was parody done under duress.”
“Lunch,” of course, comes from Yankovic’s epochal 1985 album Dare to Be Stupid, which featured such classics as “Like a Surgeon,” his Madonna-inspired ode to medical malpractice, and “Yoda,” his Kinks send-up sung from the perspective of Luke Skywalker — did the label not think these were singles? Which other now-beloved Yankovic classics were born out of record-label strong-arming? “Fat” and “Eat It” seem like obvious candidates, brilliant though they may be. How about “Smells Like Nirvana,” which, though it took the pulse of a grunge-obsessed nation that couldn’t understand a word Kurt Cobain was saying, we always felt could’ve maybe been slightly funnier? Please, Al, just tell us “Lasagna” was all your own idea.