Breaking news from the music world today as Weird Al Yankovic reveals that “Perform This Way,” his parody of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” will not be released on his next album because Lady Gaga has refused to give her approval. So you’ll know what you’re missing, the Weird One has released it on YouTube:
More as this story develops.
Update: More details have emerged in this shocking story.
Weird Al explains what happened from his side of the negotiation in a new blog post: The Gaga Saga. You should read Al’s whole explanation, but basically when he asked Lady Gaga’s people for permission, they refused to give permission based on his description of the concept or even on the lyrics. They insisted that he go through the trouble and expense of actually recording the song–using lyrics they had already seen, sung to the same music that Lady Gaga had used for the original song–before Lady Gaga could give him an answer.
So he did that. And then Lady Gaga said “no.” What the fuck?
By the way, if you’re wondering why Weird Al needs permission to record the parody, he doesn’t. Here’s how he explains it:
My parodies have always fallen under what the courts call “fair use,” and this one was no different, legally allowing me to record and release it without permission. But it has always been my personal policy to get the consent of the original artist before including my parodies on any album, so of course I will respect Gaga’s wishes. However, given the circumstances, I have no problem with allowing people to hear it online, because I also have a personal policy not to completely waste my stinking time.
I think Weird Al might also need extra permission for certain other uses of the song.
This Just In: TMZ is reporting that sources close to Lady Gaga say she has not rejected Weird Al’s proposal. They say she’s been on tour and has never even heard the song. Here’s the link to the story, but a word of caution is in order: What has been seen cannot be unseen.
By the way, for those of you who think I’m making too big a deal out of a Weird Al story, those last two links were to Rolling Stone and the New York Times, so bite me.
Finally: It’s confirmed by The Man. “Perform This Way” is back on the album.