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“Weird Al” and His Mandatorily Successful Week

With more than 80,000 units sold this week, "Weird Al" is finally No. 1 on the Billboard music charts.

In this July 17, 2014 photo, “Weird Al” Yankovic poses for a portrait in Los Angeles. Billboard reported that Yankovic's “Mandatory Fun” debuted at No. 1 this week with more than 80,000 units sold. That’s almost double the amount his last album, "Alpocalypse," sold in its debut week in 2011. (Photo by Casey Curry/Invision/AP)

By Michael Oxman

Artists Pharrell and Iggy Azalea, who Yankovic covered on his latest album, “Mandatory Fun,” learned that if “Weird Al” Yankovic tracks down your personal address or shows up at your concert, you’re likely next on his parody list.

For his 14th album, Yankovic had his heart set on Williams’ No. 1 smash “Happy.” But he heard nothing from Pharrell’s camp, so he ventured straight to the source.

“I somehow got Pharrell’s home email address – I won’t say how – and I emailed him and asked if I could do the parody,” recalled the 54-year-old musician. “He couldn’t have been nicer and he said he was honored to have me do the parody.”

Sometimes an in-person request was necessary. Yankovic flew to Denver to attend an Azalea concert, waited patiently backstage for the show to end, and eventually got a chance to ask permission to use her summer hit “Fancy.”

“I talked to her as she was literally walking offstage. I introduced myself, ‘Hi. I’m “Weird Al” Yankovic and I would love to do a parody of “Fancy,”‘” he said. “The next morning I was in the studio recording.”

Yankovic’s efforts paid off in a major way–according to Billboard, “Mandatory Fun” will debut at No. 1 (his first ever), with more than 80,000 units sold this week. His last album, “Alpocalypse,” sold about half that number in its debut week in 2011.

In a recent interview discussing his new album, Yankovic discussed the amazing success of his new record. Other singles include covers of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and Lorde’s “Royals,” and the accompanying music videos are already viral hits.