Princess Diana: Why You Never Got to Hear ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s 1st Parody of Her
“Weird Al” Yankovic doesn’t just parody music, he parodies all elements of popular culture. His songs have incorporated satire of everything from Gilligan’s Island to Star Wars to Jurassic Park. He once satirized Prince Charles and Princess Diana in a track that’s never been released. Here’s why he released a different song about the couple instead.
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s original song about Princess Diana
Yankovic told The A.V. Club about a song he wrote satirizing Prince Charles and Princess Diana. “I had written the song as a parody of ‘Jack & Diane’ by John Cougar Mellencamp; the original was supposed to be [Sings] ‘Little ditty ’bout Chuck and Diane / Couple British kids from the palace of Buckingham,’ and it went on from there.”
Yankovic explained why his “Jack & Diane” parody was never released. “John Mellencamp at the time was like, ‘Yeah, you know what, I’m trying to sell the rights to this song to a movie. They’re supposed to make a Jack and Diane movie, and I don’t want to muck up the deal, so I don’t want to be doing the parody.’”
Yankovic added “Of course, we’re all still waiting for that ‘Jack & Diane’ movie to come out, but in the meantime I was thinking, ‘Oh maybe I can just change the melody a little bit, you know, how people try to get away from royalties, like Vanilla Ice, where I’ll change one note and claim it’s a new composition.’” He added “I tried several iterations of that, and it always felt cheap because it’s like, if you’re going to do a parody, do a parody, and if you’re not, don’t. So I totally changed the musical concept, and made it a blues song, which also worked on a different level.”
Will we ever get to hear the “Jack & Diane” parody about Prince Charles and Princess Diana? No. Via his website, Yankovic said he has no intention of releasing that parody following Diana’s tragic death. However, in 1983, Yankovic released a separate song about Prince Charles and Princess Diana called “Buckingham Blues.”
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s ‘Buckingham Blues’
“Weird Al” Yankovic’s “Buckingham Blues” is a blues parody. Blues songs often dealt with hardship. “Buckingham Blues” pokes fun at the carefree lives of Prince Charles and Princess Diana during the early years of their marriage.
Yankovic told The A.V. Club “Buckingham Blues” features “Basically the same kind of concepts and gags from [the ‘Jack & Diane’ parody] that I wound up writing.” Explaining the relationship between the parody and “Buckingham Blues,” he said the latter is a revision of the former. “I totally changed the musical concept, and made it a blues song, which also worked on a different level.”
When asked if he’d record a new version of “Buckingham Blues” for a royal wedding, he replied “That’s been suggested of course. [Laughs.] But I kind of let that one live in its own era. That song didn’t age very well, did it? It’s one of those songs that I wound up not playing very much in concert and ended up as a back-catalog song.” Matt Wild of the Milwaukee Record said “Buckingham Blues” is “a then-timely goof on Prince Charles and Princess Diana…Diana’s tragic death in 1997, however, has rendered the already dated song all but unplayable.”
Will we ever get to hear the “Jack & Diane” parody about Prince Charles and Princess Diana? No. Via his website, Yankovic said he has no intention of releasing that parody following Diana’s tragic death.
Yankovic is one of the most popular comedians alive. He’s made light of numerous dark topics. However, he still respects the boundaries of good taste.