Lady Gaga approves Weird Al Yankovic parody

Singer gives satirist permission to release Born This Way spoof, despite his claim that she initially rejected the track

Weird Al Yankovic has permission to make fun of Lady Gaga. In spite of repeated refusals by her management, the singer has given her approval to Yankovic's spoof of Born This Way.

"This was a strange day," Yankovic wrote on his blog on Wednesday (20 April). About 12 hours earlier, the parodist had leaked Perform This Way to YouTube, saying that Gaga had rejected the track without any explanation. "[I] don't know specifically what kind of problem she has with the song (obviously I take a few jabs at her, but y'know, it's satire)," he wrote. "And I'm especially confused as to why she waited until I actually recorded the song (at her insistence!) before saying no. It's not like there were any surprises in the finished song that she couldn't have foreseen by, you know, READING THE LYRICS." Though he would not be able to include it on his forthcoming album, Yankovic put it online because he has "a personal policy not to completely waste my stinking time".

Yet before the day was up, Gaga's camp had a change of heart. After a "huge outpouring of disappointment from the internet", Yankovic said, Gaga's manager "admitted that he [had] never forwarded [the] parody" to his client. And as soon as the singer heard it, she reportedly "loved" the spoof. "He's sorry," Yankovic said, "[and] I GET TO PUT OUT MY ALBUM."

Earlier that day, Yankovic told the New York Times that Gaga was definitely calling the shots. "They expressed over and over that it was, in fact, Lady Gaga herself making the decision [to reject the song]," he said. "[Her manager] strongly implied he was just a gateway, that Lady Gaga would have the final decision; it was completely up to her ... The whole thing's extremely disappointing."

This is not the first time Yankovic has ruffled feathers: while acts such as Michael Jackson and Madonna embraced his parodies, James Blunt allegedly rejected a spoof of Beautiful, and the Kinks denied him permission to turn Lola into Yoda. Perform This Way lampoons Lady Gaga in obvious ways, making fun of her rhetoric and style. "I strap prime rib to my feet, cover myself with raw meat," Yankovic sings. "I'll bet you've never seen a skirt steak worn this way."

While Yankovic and his label always seek permission before releasing a parody, the satirist says it's not clear whether his songs require legal approval. "Truthfully, it is still a gray area," he told the New York Times. "It all boils down to whether the artist can take a joke."

All proceeds from Perform This Way will go to the Human Rights Campaign, an organisation that works for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equal rights.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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