Apparently Lady Gaga didn’t get Chamillionaire’s memo.
When the Houston Chronicle asked the Houston-born rapper how he felt about Weird Al turning his hit single Ridin’ into an anthem for caucasian Apple users, Renaissance fair fans and editors of Wikipedia, Chamillionaire responded with this: “It’s one thing to go platinum. Where do you go from there? Then Weird Al calls.”
Traditionally, a parody from Weird Al is a status symbol most musicians and pop stars covet, revere, or at least greatly appreciate. Sam Anderson notes in an article for Slate how Michael Jackson donated the parodist “his Bad set for the Fat video, and Nirvana loaned him their janitor.” There have been a dozen or so famous cases of conscientious Yankovic rejection, but those instances are few and far between.
You can now, however, add Gaga to the list. Sort of.
Today, Weird Al uploaded his latest single to YouTube. It’s a spoof on Lady Gaga’s Born this Way called Perform this Way that parodies the singer’s “larger-than-life image.” Today, Yankovic also wrote on his blog about why he’s uploading his latest single to YouTube and not releasing it with the rest of his in-the-works-but-almost-done album. The Gaga Saga goes like this:
I was really hoping that this blog entry would be all about me announcing the release date of my new album. Sadly, it’s not.
In a metaphorical nutshell, here’s what happened.
I wrote and recorded what I thought was going to be the first single off of my new album: a parody of “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga called “Perform This Way.” But after hearing it, Lady Gaga decided not to give me permission to release the song, so… it won’t be coming out commercially anytime in the near future. Sorry.
Okay, now the long version…
(Editor’s Note: You should read the long version it’s just too long to post here.)
The whole ordeal has gotten a ton of press, so much so that Gaga changed her tune and/or claimed she had no tune to change in the first place. The pop star claims she actually knew nothing about the song before today. It was her manager that gave it the thumbs down because he didn’t want to bother his client, who was too busy touring and filming and editing her web series. Gaga is now giving Yankovic her full blessing to make fun of her.
I think the situation is interesting for a few reasons.
- Stars are just like us! They have to work really hard and get permission from a bunch of people and jump through ridiculous hoops and miss important family functions in order to make things happen in the name of art and profit. And wherever there is injustce, they get POed and post about it on their blogs.
- YouTube can be used as a powerful persuasive tool (which is old news, obv, but reaffirmed here).
- YouTube is the go-to music distribution platform for the work of all musicians, whether those musicians are successful parodists, internationally known performers, or undiscovered indie acts (which is becoming obvious and reaffirmed here, too).
All proceeds from the song and its upcoming music video will go to the Human Rights Campaign.