If no one has yet to opine that, in the event of an apocalypse, cockroaches and “Weird Al” Yankovic would pull through, I’m throwing that one out there now.
Up until 1979, when Yankovic first graced the airwaves with “My Bologna ( his spin on the Knack smash “My Sharona”),” the phrases “song parody” and “long-term career” rarely shared sentence space. Parodies of popular songs were – and pretty much still remain, save for Yankovic – novelties, appreciated when first heard, old news the second time around and annoying from the third time on out.
Yankovic, however, took the ball and ran with it, first with likeminded humorists/parodists and their audience on the nationally syndicated “Dr. Demento” radio show, then crossing over to the mainstream with “Another One Rides The Bus (his “Another one Bites The Dust”)” and “I Love Rocky Road (his answer to Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock n’ Roll”).” He became a household name a little after MTV did, which put Michael Jackson parodies “Eat It” and “Fat” on regular rotation throughout the '80s.
The hits continued for Yankovic throughout the '90s; most successfully by parodying Nirvana (“Smells Like Nirvana”) and Coolio (“Amish Paradise”) to the upper echelons of the pop charts. With the hits still rolling at that juncture, Yankovic succeeded, be it intentionally or not, in forging a career for himself that lasted longer than many of his subjects’ time on the pop culture radar.
Think about that. Like him or loathe him, that’s impressive.
After two decades-plus of seemingly non-stop work musically and visually, Yankovic has slowed down – at least for him – over the course of the last 10 years. He has only released three albums since 2003, with the most recent, “Alpocalypse,” which is two years old. His biggest release of note, though, can be found on bookstore shelves rather than download or CD racks; a children’s tome, “My New Teacher and Me,” which came out in June.
“Weird Al” Yankovic, 8 p.m. Oct. 12, Rialto Square Theatre 15 E. Van Buren St., Joliet. $35-$75. FYI: (815) 726-6600, RIALTOSQUARE.COM
ON SALE NOW
For more information, contact the venues or ticket sales agencies listed below. Unless otherwise indicated, all shows are all-ages.
Elton John, Nov. 30, Allstate Arena (ALLSTATEARENA.COM)
My Bloody Valentine, Nov. 3, Aragon Ballroom (ARAGON.COM)
Steepwater Band, Nov. 29, Double Door (21 and older, DOUBLEDOOR.COM)
Earl Sweatshirt, Oct. 15, Metro (METROCHICAGO.COM)
Lady Antebellum, Nov. 15, Allstate Arena (ALLSTATEARENA.COM)
Jars of Clay, Oct. 22, Subterranean (17 and older, SUBT.NET)
Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues, Nov. 3, City Winery (21 and older, CITYWINERY.COM)
David Cook, Nov. 21, Lincoln Hall (LINCOLNHALLCHICAGO.COM)
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Oct. 24, City Winery (21 and older, CITYWINERY.COM)
Trivium, Dec. 8, House of Blues (17 and older, HOB.COM)
Pokey LaFarge, Dec. 5, Lincoln Hall (21 and older, LINCOLNHALLCHICAGO.COM)
NOFX, Dec. 3, House of Blues (17 and older, HOB.COM)
The opinions expressed solely are those of the writer. He can be reached at T.firstname.lastname@example.org.