By Hayden Wright
Weird Al Yankovic mourned Prince’s death with the rest of the music community, but it came with a bittersweet sting: the parody artist approached Prince with song ideas multiple times over the decades. The response was always “no thanks.” By the time of Prince’s death, Weird Al had long given up on trying to convince the “Purple Rain” singer that a parody cover was worth doing.
“I hadn’t approached him in about 20 years because he always said no, but I had this fantasy that he’d come out with a new song, I’d have a great idea, he’d finally say yes and it would erase decades of weirdness between us,” Al told People. “But that’s obviously not going to be the case.”
In the interview, Yankovic gave readers a small taste of what could have been.
“I had a parody of ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ that was about The Beverly Hillbillies,” Yankovic said. “And I wanted to do something funny with ‘When Doves Cry’ and ‘Kiss.’ For ‘1999,’ I wanted to do an infomercial where you could get anything you wanted by dialing 1-800-something-1999.”
Fortunately for Al, other artists supported and even championed his weird vision for parody long before YouTube existed.
“Michael Jackson wasn’t just cool about my parody of ‘Beat It,’ but he also loved my version of ‘Bad,’ which was ‘Fat.’ He even let me use the actual ‘Bad’ subway set for the ‘Fat’ video,” Yankovic said. “He was very supportive, which was huge with opening the doors with other artists. Because if Michael Jackson signed on, you couldn’t really say no.”
Unless, of course, you were Prince.