You're Pitiful

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"You're Pitiful"
Single by "Weird Al" Yankovic
Released June 7, 2006
Format Digital Download
Recorded April 12, 2006
Genre Comedy, folk rock
Length 3:16
Writer(s) "Weird Al" Yankovic
"Weird Al" Yankovic singles chronology
"Pretty Fly for a Rabbi"
(1999)
"You're Pitiful"
(2006)
"Don't Download This Song"
(2006)

"You're Pitiful" is a parody of "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt written and recorded by American parody musician "Weird Al" Yankovic. It was released exclusively online in June 2006. The cover is also parodied from James Blunt's album, Back to Bedlam, on which "You're Beautiful" was released.

Synopsis[edit]

In the song, Yankovic describes the pitiful existence of a 42-year-old man who still lives with his mother and his life which involves, among other things, wearing a homemade Star Trek uniform and his job as a Slurpee machine operator, as well as playing Halo 2 while eating chips upon his bare chest.[1]

Controversy[edit]

Yankovic recorded the song to be the lead single on his Straight Outta Lynwood album after, according to Yankovic, having been given Blunt's blessing to parody the song. However, after it was already recorded, Blunt's record company, Atlantic Records, allegedly told Yankovic that he could not include the song on his album. (When asked by NPR, Atlantic had no official comment on the matter.)

Yankovic eventually revealed that Atlantic "said it was 'too early' in James' career for a parody, and they were afraid that focusing any more attention on 'Beautiful' at that point might lead to the perception of James as a 'one-hit wonder.'" According to Yankovic, "They didn't say I couldn't do the parody… they just said they'd let me know 'when the time was right'. So we canceled our release date and waited. Finally, months later, we got the answer. The 'right' time, apparently, was 'never'."[2]

Yankovic had a policy of obtaining approval prior to releasing his parodies from the original artist's record company; but after a miscommunication surrounding "Amish Paradise", a parody of Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise", he sought permission directly from the artist. Yankovic told NPR[3] that this was the first time a record label has denied a release of one of his parodies. "[I]f James Blunt himself were objecting," Yankovic told NPR, "I wouldn't even offer my parody for free on my Web site. But since it's a bunch of suits — who are actually going against their own artist's wishes — I have absolutely no problem with it."

Yankovic told NPR in an e-mail that the question of whether Atlantic could legally forbid the parody, given the United States Supreme Court's 1994 Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. decision recognizing parody as fair use, is "moot", saying that the issue was "more of a political matter than a legal matter", suggesting that both Blunt and Volcano (Yankovic's label) would wish to avoid alienating Atlantic.

Yankovic released the song for free distribution on the Internet, and it has become popular on The Dr. Demento Show.

For the lead single for Straight Outta Lynwood Yankovic instead used "White & Nerdy".

One of the lines in the song, "You're suffering from delusions of adequacy", was also pointed out as a quotation from the character Alexis Carrington in Dynasty.

Still from "White & Nerdy, showing the vandalism of Atlantic Records' Wikipedia page

The video for Straight Outta Lynwood's second single, "White & Nerdy", depicts Yankovic taking revenge, of sorts, against Atlantic Records by vandalizing their Wikipedia article by blanking all text and replacing it with the words "YOU SUCK!" in large letters. This particular revenge was once actually performed by some online vandals. Yankovic has said that he does not approve of the vandalism, though he admits being amused by it.[4] At one point the video also shows Yankovic viewing his MySpace page and for a split second, "You're Pitiful" is visible as his profile song.

On the concert tour for Straight Outta Lynwood, Yankovic performed the song initially wearing a long-sleeved shirt, and progressively removing clothing to reveal different layers underneath (as Blunt does in the video for "You're Beautiful"). The penultimate t-shirt revealed says "Atlantic Records Sucks", however, in some shows he replaced the "Atlantic Records Sucks" shirt with an "I'm With Stupid" shirt (with an arrow pointing downward), followed by a "Tom Is My Only Friend" shirt (however, on his 2010 Tour, the shirt is modified from the original, stating "Atlantic Records STILL Sucks"). The final t-shirt is the face of SpongeBob SquarePants. Yankovic then removed his pants to reveal boxer shorts with red hearts, a pink tutu, and fishnet stockings.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Weird Al, your 'Pitiful's' fun, it's true. But it's not alone". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. June 22, 2006. p. E1. 
  2. ^ Skaggs, Austin (2006-09-19). "Weird Al Yankovic Dishes on James Blunt, Discusses His Role as the Whitest, Nerdiest Rock Star Ever". Rolling Stone Rock and Roll Daily. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-07-18. 
  3. ^ Thompson, Stephen (2006-06-13). "Free 'Weird Al' Yankovic!". Mixed Signals. National Public Radio. Retrieved 2006-09-22. 
  4. ^ Adams, Cameron (October 5, 2006). "Weird Al Yankovic". Herald Sun. Archived from the original on 2008-12-01. 
  5. ^ Nique. "You're Pitiful Live Performance at OC Fair." (video). YouTube. Retrieved 2007-11-04. 

External links[edit]