“Weird Al” Yankovic has built a long and storied career out of goofy parodies of pop songs, but he makes it a point to always ask artists for permission before parodying their music. Usually, that’s not a problem — “Lady Gaga called it a ‘rite of passage,'” Yankovic says in a new interview with People. “Kurt Cobain said you haven’t really made it until there’s a Weird Al spoof.”
But not all artists are so pro-parody: Weird Al approached Prince many times over the years, but was always turned down. “It’s too bad,” says Yankovic. “I hadn’t approached him in about 20 years because he always said no, but I had this fantasy that he’d come out with a new song, I’d have a great idea, he’d finally say yes and it would erase decades of weirdness between us. But that’s obviously not going to be the case.”
So what parodies of the late Purple One are we missing out on? “I had a parody of ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ that was about The Beverly Hillbillies,” Weird Al says. “And I wanted to do something funny with ‘When Doves Cry,’ and ‘Kiss.’ For ‘1999,’ I wanted to do an infomercial where you could get anything you wanted by dialing 1-800-something-1999.”
But that doesn’t mean that Weird Al never never joked about Prince. Exhibit A:
Some combination of that interview and Weird Al’s repeated parody requests must’ve put Weird Al on Prince’s shit list, as this old anecdote from Wired proves. Says Weird Al:
But one of the oddest things to ever happen between me and Prince was the year that he and I were at the American Music Awards at the same time. Apparently I was going to be sitting in the same row as Prince that year and I got a telegram — and I wasn’t the only one — from Prince’s management company saying that I was not to establish eye contact with him during the show. I just couldn’t even believe it.
Yep, sounds like Prince!