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"Weird Al" Yankovic Says His First #1 Album Will Be His Last

Image courtesy of Robert Trachtenberg/RCA Records (via ABC News Radio)
Image courtesy of Robert Trachtenberg/RCA Records (via ABC News Radio)

"Weird Al" Yankovic's thrilled that his new album Mandatory Fun has become the first #1 album of his career.  But ironically, it's also going to be the last album of his career.

"It feels strange to say that but it's also very poetic to be able to go out on top," he tells ABC News Radio. "And I want to stress I'm not retiring. This isn't the end of the line for me, but I'm pretty sure this is the end of my conventional albums. I just think it makes more sense for me to release songs individually -- be more of a singles artist instead of an albums artist."

Al always felt constrained by the fact that he couldn't just put out his song parodies while a song was topping the charts: he always had to wait, gather up a bunch of them, and release them as an album.  But these days, thanks to the advent of digital downloads, you don't have to wait, so that'll be his business model going forward.

As for why Mandatory Fun was the disc that finally rang the bell for him after three decades, Al says he's got a few theories.

"I'm not one hundred percent sure why this album did so much better than all my previous albums," he tells ABC News Radio. "I think partly because I think it is, in, fact my best album. I'm very proud of this  And I think my marketing plan had a lot to do with is as well -- the eight videos in eight days thing really seemed to work in a major way. I had a world premiere every single day of release week."

Al says the nature of comedy videos today meant that he had to constantly provide something new for people to check out, and that's what he did, by releasing one new video each day for eight days straight.

"Things go very viral for a day and then the next people say, 'OK, well, seen that. What's next?' So it gave people something to talk about and be excited about every single day and also something to look forward to," he explains. "So there was anticipation there. And it worked so well that by the end of the eight days, there was kind of a Pavlovian effect. People woke up the ninth morning and said, 'Well, where's the Weird Al video!? Why should I even wake up in the morning if there's not a new Weird Al video?!!!'"

The first video in the onslaught was the star-studded clip "Tacky," a parody of "Happy," which featured comedic actors Eric Stonestreet , Kristen Schaal , Aisha Tyler , Margaret Cho and Jack Black .  Al says all of those people are friends of his, but he knew the clip would work if he could get one of them in particular.

"Jack Black was number one on the list," he reveals. "I figured, 'OK if we get Jack Black, he's going to have so much energy, and knock it out of the park.' And I found the one day Jack was available to do it. He was in Atlanta, shooting a movie and he said he would fly in for one day and do the video."

Also making "Tacky" possible was the fact that Pharrell Williams , who wrote "Happy," gave Al permission to do the parody. "I won't tell you how I got his personal email, but I emailed him and I explained what I wanted to do," Al tells ABC News Radio. "And Pharrell got back to me immediately and he was extremely nice and said he was honored that I wanted to do a parody and gave me permission on the spot." 

Al says he'll launch a tour next year to promote Mandatory Fun . Meanwhile, he says he's living large celebrating his chart-topping success....not.

"Yeah, my family and I went out," he says when asked how he marked the milestone.  "We had some Mexican food and I had a burrito." 


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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