Beck didn’t want “Weird Al” Yankovic to turn his song into a joke. In the ’90s, when Beck first broke through with his out of the blue hit “Loser,” Yankovic said he wanted to parody the song. Yankovic not need to ask permission from artists, since parodies are protected by the First Amendment, but he always does it out of courtesy, and Beck said no. Beck says today he regrets the decision.
As Billboard reports, Beck has a podcast coming out as part of Audible’s Words + Music series. In his episode, which he calls “Dear Life,” Beck tells some stories about his career. At SXSW this year, Beck said he re-recorded new versions of his hits “Loser” and “Where It’s At,” and he did so for this podcast. Billboard has a clip from the first episode, and it includes the re-recorded “Loser,” which now sounds significantly less rickety, as well as the story about “Weird Al” Yankovic. Beck says Yankovic wanted to call the parody “Schmoozer”. Beck turned it down because he was afraid he wasn’t being taken seriously.
In the clip, Beck has this to say:
I’ve had a lot of people who were veterans of the trade telling me at 20, 21, 22, “You should go back to school. You don’t really have the talent to do this. The numbers, as they are, don’t go They’re too rough. They’re too raw. They’re not real songs. They’re kind of a hodgepodge of ideas.” It wasn’t taken seriously at all, and when it came out and was popular, it still wasn’t taken so seriously.
I mean, you can go back to the press of the day. I only remember countless articles and headlines from ‘one-hit wonder joke band Beck’, ‘novelty act’. I remember there was a review once in a major newspaper in LA, and it wasn’t much of a kindness. I felt very rejected and a bit of a footnote.
“Weird Al” Yankovic Tried To Make A Parody Of [“Loser”]† It would be called ‘Schmoozer’, which I regret not giving him permission to do. It would have been a great video. I’m actually really sorry it didn’t happen.
The complete Words + Music episode airs tomorrow on Audible, and you can hear the clip at Billboard†