Eric Clapton: Why ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic Wouldn’t Parody 1 of His Biggest Songs

“Weird Al” Yankovic had parodied songs by numerous artists; however, he wasn’t keen on parodying one of Eric Clapton’s classic rock songs. During an interview, Yankovic said he wouldn’t want to parody certain artists because of their personal lives. Interestingly, the song Yankovic didn’t want to spoof was a major hit.

Eric Clapton playing songs on his guitar
Eric Clapton | Phil Dent/Redferns

What ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic once said about listeners who were offended by his songs

The Morning Call reports Yankovic comically rewrote songs by many major artists without having any issues. Despite this, he occasionally received pushback for his songs. “Every once in a while, though, I’ll hear from somebody about how un-PC I am,” Yankovic said in 1996.

Yankovic said he wasn’t fazed by controversy. “Humor is taking reality and twisting it a bit,” he opined. “If I didn’t do that it wouldn’t be comedy, it would be a documentary. I try to respect people’s feelings as much as I possibly can, but I can’t make everybody happy.”

"Weird Al" Yankovic with a bowl
“Weird Al” Yankovic | Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic thought it would be ‘uncool’ to spoof Eric Clapton’s ‘Tears in Heaven’

Although Yankovic wasn’t interested in making everyone happy, there were some songs he didn’t want to mock. “In general, I like to think that no particular artist or song is beyond parody, but obviously you want to stay away from people who have had major tragedies recently,” Yankovic said.

“It would probably be uncool to do a ‘Tears in Heaven’ parody,” Yankovic opined. For context, Clapton wrote “Tears in Heaven” as a tribute to his son, Conor Clapton, who died at the age of 4. Conor died in 1991, so his death was fairly recent when Yankovic said he didn’t want to joke about celebrities who recently faced personal tragedies.


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‘Tears in Heaven’ became 1 of Eric Clapton’s biggest songs

“Tears in Heaven” became a massive hit. The track peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 26 weeks. It’s Clapton’s highest-charting solo single, with the exception of his cover of Bob Marley and the Wailers’ “I Shot the Sheriff.” “Tears in Heaven” appeared on the album Unplugged, which became a hit as well. Unplugged lasted on the Billboard 200 for 139 weeks, spending three of those weeks at No. 1.

“Tears in Heaven” was popular in the United Kingdom too. The Official Charts Company reports the track climbed to No. 5 in the U.K., remaining on the chart for 14 weeks. Meanwhile, Unplugged peaked at No. 2 in the U.K. and spent 101 weeks on the chart.

In the 25 years since Yankovic said it might be “uncool” to spoof “Tears in Heaven,” he’s left the song alone. “Tears in Heaven” seemed to connect with the public even if Yankovic wasn’t keen on parodying it.