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Weird Al and Mailbox Money

Weird Al and Mailbox Money

I just received an email asking me about Weird Al and what happens with the royalties from "I lost On Jeopardy," Weird Al's parody of my song "Jeopardy." It's an interesting situation.

First of all, before anybody can do a parody of your song for commercial profit, they have to obtain permission from the author. So, when Weird Al called me one day and asked if he could do a parody of "Jeopardy," of course I said yes. I was flattered. It's nice to be parodied, it means you're popular enough to make fun of, which is a good thing. The songwriting royalties are then split between the new and old versions.

So, to make a long story short, I get half the royalties from that parody. God bless Weird Al! What a champ! I still get mailbox money from that song to this day. Plus it was on Weird Al's Greatest Hits which went platinum! Yikes! I asked Al if anyone had ever turned him down and he said yes, Prince had turned him down when he wanted to do a parody of "Purple Rain." I guess Prince took himself very seriously at that time. I had no such problem. I was happy to receive the money.

Here's a footnote about Weird Al- he's a really nice guy and very pleasant to work with. He told me a few Michael Jackson stories that I can't tell you here (maybe later.) After the song came out and was a hit (again) I was asked to be in the video. So, I flew down to L.A. and spent a fun day shooting the video with Al and I got to meet Don Pardo! I made a cameo appearance at the end, which was a further parody of the "Jeopardy" video, where I get tossed into an old MG and drive away. Cool! I have nothing but good memories of Weird Al.

So, if you ever have a hit record and Weird Al or anybody else wants to do a parody of it- say yes!


Post a comment...
  • Herbz 'n' Vices

    I think you should wite a song about Mailbox Money...

    2 years ago
  • Brent Alan Beck-Solo Ar…

    If I may emphasize you firstly did state "FOR COMMERCIAL PROFIT." Other than that via free speech anyone can hum, speak, or perform anyone else's song. It's only when profit becomes involved, that the question you explore on your latest blog; for everyone's benefit; becomes an issue.

    I had airplay once and asked weird Al to make, "Chankuh in Coral Beach" for "Christmas In Hawaii." I'm told you're not supposed to ask. I still wait.

    2 years ago
  • alan merritt

    Thats a great story Greg! Thanks for adding that! I'm sure lots of us wondered how that roalty thing worked! Best of luck to ya what ever you continue to do!

    2 years ago
  • Pat

    Sweet Story!!! There is a band from Denver called Weird Al-Qaida...I'm sure he wouldn't be too pleased with that!

    2 years ago
  • Ron

    Yes Wierd al is Almost as great!!

    2 years ago
  • Ludo

    What a lovely tribute to a very nice guy indeed!

    2 years ago
  • NEIL

    prince.... it figures.....

    2 years ago
  • Deborah

    Weird Al's aunt, Lena Fuller, was my mother's hairdresser for over fifty years. She lives in Fallbrook, Ca., with Al's other aunt Dorothy, called "Dot". Lena and I correspond with Christmas cards each year, because I knew her when I was growing up. She always praises Al's devotion to them and his family, and his love for his parents, who were tragically killed in an auto accident a few years back. Lena used to have a hair salon in her home in Lynwood, and my mother and I were there every few weeks when I was growing up. Mom would get her hair done, and Lena would cut mine (against my will, of course) every few visits. I was pretty young. Every so often, we would see Lena's nephew, Al, coming around the shop to visit or hang out, after all, he lived a few doors away. At one time, my mom told me that Lena's daughter, Cheryl, got married, and 12-year-old Al played the accordion at Cheryl's wedding. Al's website has photos of him with Lena. She's an awesome lady, always was loving and generous, and their big Italian family was always welcoming to my mom and our family. The southern California fires a few years back came rather close to Lena's property in Fallbrook, so they evacuated to Cheryl's home nearby, but she said Al had been in touch with them to be sure everything was okay. He's a great guy, doesn't do drugs, and is a wonderful, family oriented person. They absolutely adore him, have autographed pictures all over their home that he's given them, and they have scads more that they give to fans. He's very attentive to them. I've met him a couple of times and told him that his Auntie Lena used to be my mom's hairdresser, and he lights up at the sound of her name. He's truly amazing.

    I'm really glad to read your blog about Al, and that your experience with him was so meaningful to you and positive for your career. What a treat! I can't think of two people I'd rather have collaborate on a project. I remember seeing that Jeopardy video at Al's show awhile back, and laughed myself silly when I saw you hop into the MG and drive off. That cracked me up! Most artists didn't really get involved in Al's parodies, but I'm really glad you did that.
    It makes the video that much better!

    Hope today your Spring-Forwarditis has cured itself. I had to come home early yesterday to sleep on and off from 3:30 until 9:30pm just to feel human today, for the first time since Saturday.
    I have the dubious distinction of having my birthday follow the time change for the rest of my life, which thrills me no end!

    Love ya,


    2 years ago


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