How The Knack Helped Weird Al Get A Record Deal

It takes a special kind of stamina to keep up with the times, and furthermore, to make the most popular thing of the time your own. When it comes to parodies, you could say that "Weird Al" Yankovic has a "knack" for them (that pun will make more sense in a moment). Since the early '80s, Weird Al has been spoofing notable songs of all different genres, twisting them with quirky nuances that maintain the tune's general format while adding a few silly perks into the mix. Titles like "Amish Paradise" and "My Balonga" are staples to his roster that devout fans probably know better than the songs that actually inspired them (via Discogs).

Speaking of "My Balogna," it was The Knack and their song "My Sharona" that Weird Al Yankovic can thank for his fame. It all started back when Yankovic was still in college using rudimentary methods to record his music (per Mental Floss).

'My Balogna' was recorded in a bathroom

It took an exceptionally long microphone cable to reach across the hall from a college radio station's tape deck into an acoustic-tiled bathroom that Weird Al surmised was the perfect location to record "My Balogna" (per Mental Floss). In 1979, The Knack's "My Sharona" was a major hit, so it stood to reason that Yankovic should reinvent it in his own glorious fashion. With a microphone and his trusty accordion, Al gave birth to "My Balogna" (via Rolling Stone)

The parody track first aired on Dr. Demento's show and was met with staggering praise and positive reception. Locally, Yankovic became known as the oddball architect behind "My Balogna" and started developing the reputation that would carry over into his soon to be wildly successful music career. However, it wasn't until The Knack came to town and played a local show at his school that the tides truly turned for Yankovic (per Mental Floss).

The Knack helped Weird Al get a record deal

"Back in those days, I didn't ever think that this was going to be released on an album some day, so contacting the original artists was the furthest thing from my mind," Weird Al once shared. "I thought, 'They're never gonna hear this — why even bother them?'" Nonetheless, a surge of impulse overtook Yankovic after a Knack concert on his college campus and he snuck backstage to meet the group personally (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet). 

He was shocked to learn that, contrary to his own expectations, Doug Feiger (The Knack's lead singer) had not only heard "My Balogna," but absolutely loved it. What happened next played out in a way that seems almost serendipitous. On the spot, Feiger turned to Rupert Perry, the VP of Capitol Records and suggested that the label team up with Yankovic and formally record and release "My Balogna." Six months later, Al signed with Capitol Records and began his career as music's most prized goofball (per Mental Floss).