Someone who always plays nice, born on this day in Downey, California, Alfred Matthew Yankovic (1959-) played the accordion at age seven and graduated valedictorian of his 1976 senior class.
Master of musical parody and harmless goofiness, Yankovic is a satirist, a loon. He's cute, clever, and funny.
"Most kids go through the phase where they listen to the radio and change the words around to amuse their friends and I never stopped," he said.
In 1979, he hit the big time with a tape he recorded in a tiled bathroom and sent to Dr. Demento's syndicated radio show--My Bologna, a parody of the Knack's My Sharona. From there, with clever videos and humor, he spoofed Michael Jackson (Eat It, not Beat It... and Fat, a takeoff of Bad) and Madonna (Like a Surgeon, not Like A Virgin).
"I'm kind of a walking cartoon," he admitted. "I'm a kind of a pop culture Cuisinart."
A perfectionist and taskmaster, Yankovic has directed all his videos. "He'll work and work over the lyrics of a song to make sure that every line is funny, that no lines are fillers," explained Barry Hansen, a.k.a. Dr. Demento.
In 1999, he released Saga Begins, set to the tune of Don McLean's anthem American Pie with lyrics that celebrated the plot of the Star Wars: Episode I and the life of Anakin Skywalker--the song was an inevitable success.
"Both the song and the movie begin with 'a long, long time ago,'" explained Yankovic. "It just seemed custom-made."
A special DailyC favorite, My Baby's In Love With Eddie Vedder, captured the sex appeal of the Pearl Jam icon with the eloquent lyrics: "But my girl can't get enough of his sullen demeanor/Like he's some big tortured genius and I'm some kinda wiener."