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Weird Al: The Book Hardcover – September 25, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Nathan Rabin is a film and music critic and the head writer for The Onion’s A.V. Club. Al Yankovic lives with his wife and daughter in Los Angeles.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; 1 edition (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419704354
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419704352
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 54 people found the following review helpful By GLG on September 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Weird Al has had a very long and interesting career, longer than 95% of the people he's parodied over the years, so it only stands to reason that he's have a fairly interesting story to tell. This book isn't that, and if you buy this on a whim hoping to find that, then don't bother. To begin you'll need to separate the books into two parts, the written portion, and the visual portion. The visual portion is top notch, featuring many rare and previously unseen photos spanning Al's career over four decades. The written content however is where this book falls flat. It reads more like a snapshot or synopsis of his career, something you'd expect to see on VH1 or E!, not in a book. It's almost written like a Wikipedia entry, short on details, and heavy on extended metaphors and descriptive paragraphs that add nothing to the book, and only serve to pad out the pages. Now granted, I won't say I didn't learn anything from reading this book, even as a long time Al fan there is a lot of new information here, but there is also a lot that is rehashed. It almost seems as though the written portion was cobbled together from common knowledge, publicly available resources, and maybe a handful of notes provided by Al. This is disappointing, because I know someone who's had as long and distinguished a career as Al has must have more stories to share, more insight to give, and a better and more personal story to tell. Unfortunately Al is blunt about the fact that he has no interest at all in writing an autobiography, so this book may be the closest thing we ever get. So for what it is it's fine, very good even, but I can't help but wonder what could have been.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By James N Simpson on November 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Weird Al The Book, unfortunately probably will appeal more to those who are not huge "Weird Al" fans and maybe who just appreciated his music from time to time who want something interesting to read. For huge fans who have bought everything he ever released, and even a t-shirt or two, gone to his concerts and followed him on his website weirdaldotcom and more recently as fans on various social media, there's really not much new here. In fact the book reads as if Nathan Rabin (this isn't an autobiography, Weird Al tells us in the introduction he never has had any interest in writing one), has just surfed a lot of websites, and researched printed articles from over the years and compiled that information. It doesn't seem as if he had too many in depth interviews with the man himself. Al, and to a large extent, his drummer Jon Schwartz, have obviously been involved in adding a lot of photographic imagery, fan art, twitter captions, scanned letters as well as little I'll call them word bites, by Al every now and then such as Little Known Facts About Me or Last Will and Testament, that are very funny. But the body of the book itself just for the most part reads like a career achievement commentary, an albumography if you will, with the odd interruption when Al's career took another path for a while such as making the movie UHF, Weird Al show and the like, although we don't go into much depth at all with those and there's no behind the scenes stuff at all. But even if we except Weird Al The Book as simply that, there's gaping holes, for example Rabin never mentions Al's children's audiobook project with Wendy Carlos (there's a picture of it in the Discography at the back), even though it was nominated for a Grammy.Read more ›
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Donovan X on September 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Al did us all a favor by hiring Nathan Rabin to "do the heavy lifting" and write the bulk of this book. The general prose is a well done narrative of the the Weird Al rise to fame. Despite his apt writing ability, that alone would have made for yet another so,so celebrity biography worthy of 3 stars. Al embellishes heavily with wit and, well, weirdness that fans and by-standers can both appreciate; in captions to the many great pictures or little blurbs placed randomly throughout. His classic humor coupled with the many, many great pictures gets 5 stars from this long time fan. I also appreciate his obvious gratitude to the godfather of "weird" music, Dr. Demento. So a rating of 4 stars overall. If you just want a quick Al biography, look it up on the web. If you want great Weird Al photos and humor, definitely consider this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sean Gallagher on October 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a child of the 80's - or, to be more accurate, someone who was a teenager in the 80's - I am bemused by the repackaging of the 80's for nostalgia purposes, not to mention the remakes of 80's movies and music, and how people of today seem to enjoy 80's culture "ironically" (and yes, I'm aware this has happened with the 50's, 60's and 70's as well). Still, every once in a while, an artist from your childhood gets appreciated for who they really were (and every once in a while, still are), and that applies to Nathan Rabin's enjoyable coffee-table book "Weird Al: The Book" on Weird Al Yankovic, who was as much a part of the 80's as Michael Jackson and Madonna (to name two of the many artists whose songs he parodied) were.

Yankovic, of course, broke through in the 80's with "Eat It", his parody of Michael Jackson's "Beat It". Since then, he's become best known for poking fun at musicians ranging from Nirvana ("Smells Like Nirvana") to TLC ("Phony Calls") to Lady Gaga ("Perform This Way"), as well as his obsessions with pop culture ("The Saga Begins", both a parody of Don McLean's "American Pie" and a tribute to "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace") and songs about food ("Living in the Fridge", which is also a parody of Aerosmith's "Living on the Edge"). But that can obscure the fact Yankovic is also a genuine music and comedy fan, as evinced by songs done in the style of artists ranging from the B-52's ("Mr. Popeil") to Devo ("Dare to be Stupid") to the Beach Boys ("Pancreas") and even Bob Dylan ("Bob").
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