Beck Regrets Denying “Weird Al” Yankovic Permission to Parody “Loser” in the ’90s: “I’m Actually Really Sad It Didn’t Happen”

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

First released in March of 1993, “Loser” would become a breakthrough sensation for Beck, who previously toiled as a struggling musician before the quirky track drew attention his way, eventually peaking at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April of 1994 (after a re-release following Beck’s major label contract). Naturally, given its impact on music and pop culture as a whole back then, “Weird Al” Yankovic soon came calling.

Al was interested in a potential “Loser” parody called “Schmoozer” — but, Beck admitted recently, he denied Yankovic his blessing to record the track.

(It’s important to note that while Yankovic has never had to be explicitly granted permission to record a parody as they’re protected under “Fair Use,” he has always liked to honor the wishes of the artists he asks).

Beck revealed this tidbit in his new Audible Original’s Words + Music series, Dear Life. Through the lens of time, Beck — who is now one of the most celebrated and respected musical artists around, a chameleonic genre-hopper who maintains a sound all his own throughout each project — said he regrets the denial:

“It was going to be called ‘Schmoozer.’ I regret denying him permission to do it. I think it would have been an amazing video. I’m actually really sad it didn’t happen.”

Billboard suggests that Yankovic most likely had aims to include the “Loser” parody on his 1996 album Bad Hair Day (which became one of his most well-known albums thanks to his Coolio parody, “Amish Paradise,” and helped spark Al’s mid-’90s revival).

Despite the parody not happening, “Loser” made it onto the record anyway when Yankovic kicked off “The Alternative Polka,” that album’s customary medley of popular songs, with its recognizable slide guitar intro:

Back to the nixed “Schmoozer” parody: part of Beck’s original disinterest in giving Yankovic the green light stemmed from feedback he was receiving as a young, hungry musical act.

Billboard quotes Beck (you can also listen to a snippet of Beck’s audio series at the link):

“I had a lot of people who were veterans in the business telling me at 20, 21, 22, ‘You should go back to school. You don’t really have the talent to do this. The songs as they are aren’t going to work. They’re too rough, they’re not real songs, they’re sort of hodgepodge ideas.’ They weren’t taken seriously at all.”

Nearly three full later, both Beck and “Weird Al” Yankovic remain established, respected and accomplished artists with their own undeniable impact on music. And while the “Loser” parody may not have been recorded back when the song was at its peak, there’s no rule that says it couldn’t be recorded now.

Just saying …


  • Ed Banger says:

    Much like being parodied by MAD magazine, being covered by Weird Al is as much an honor for any artist. Kurt Cobain loved being covered by Weird Al.
    Beck the ‘Loser’ on this one.

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