Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I See, Said the Blind Man

Wow. When did "Weird Al" Yankovic become so controversial?

So, three things have happened that have made Weird Al fans go, "Hmmm...something's odd here." Those three things are:

- Weird Al's new album being delayed for a few months. At his website, Weird Al has described the reason for the delay as "silly record company politics."

- In the official write-up on Weird Al's new album, there is now one song missing

- Weird Al has made a new song available for download at his official website. The song is You're Pitiful, a parody of James Blunt's You're Beautiful.

Naturally, people went, "There's got to be a connection between these three things." And, of course, there is.

Thanks to some fine investigative reporting at NPR, we now know the whole story. I suggest you go read that article, or just scroll down to the Coles Notes.

It's like this. James Blunt has heard You're Pitiful. He loves it, he thinks its hilarious, he's given his official thumbs up to the parody.

But, Atlantic Records, Blunt's record label, does not like it. So they've threatened legal action.

As Weird Al points out in the article, the legalities are fairly moot. It's been shown many times that Weird Al is officially parody, and is therefore safe from all kinds of lawsuits like this one. But still, rather than launch into a long, drawn out legal battle, Weird Al decided to remove the song from his album.

As Al says in the article, James Blunt could ask Al to put the song on his next album, but Blunt doesn't want to alienate his record label. Al could go ahead and put it on his next album, but his record label doesn't want to start a war over this.

In the end, Al says that he's always respected the original artists, so if James Blunt were saying "no" to this parody all along, then You're Pitiful would never see the light of day. But, since this is just "a bunch of suits -- who are actually going against their own artist's wishes," Al has no problem with releasing the song for free through his website.

And, as Paul Harvey always says, "Now you know the rest of the story."

No comments: