cover image Weird Al: The Book

Weird Al: The Book

Nathan Rabin, with Al Yankovic. Abrams Image, $29.95 (208p) ISBN 9781419704352

The story of Alfred Matthew Yankovic's unlikely rise to fame as song parodist nonpareil "Weird Al" is adoringly chronicled by longtime fan Rabin (My Year of Flops) in this fun and colorful coffee table book. Rather than write his own autobiography%E2%80%94something the man who gave the world Like a Surgeon, Amish Paradise, and UHF "never had any interest" in doing%E2%80%94Weird Al personally requested that the head writer of the Onion's entertainment section do the honors. As a result, this book is far from definitive. Rabin's prose reads like an essay and Weird Al's voice appears only in captions for revealing archive photos, silly tweets, and random observations. From Weird Al's first accordion-powered 1979 single, "My Bologna" (a parody of The Knack's "My Sharona," recorded when he was an architecture student at California Polytechnic State University), to 2011's Alpocalypse (Weird Al's 13th and highest-charting album), Rabin covers the highlights and occasional lowlights of an impressive career that encompasses music, movies, television, and publishing. But the author's greater strength lies in analyzing the parodies and placing the performer's art into wider context. Such insight may force a reevaluation of Weird Al's body of work, but it also will leave readers wanting more of Weird Al. (Oct.)