Why Paul McCartney Nixed ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s ‘Live and Let Die’ Parody
“Weird Al” Yankovic has parodied numerous legendary artists, from Michael Jackson to Madonna to Elvis Presley. Fans of the artists he parodies often like his work and don’t see it as an insult. However, sometimes artists refuse to give him permission to spoof their work. Perhaps the most famous artist to turn Yankovic down is Paul McCartney.
Yankovic wanted to release a parody of “Live and Let Die” by Wings. Yankovic felt the parody was perfect. However, Paul felt Yankovic’s song would promote immoral behavior.
‘Weird Al’ Yankovic’s parody of ‘Live and Let Die’
According to LA Weekly, our story begins when Yankovic met Paul. Paul told Yankovic he was a fan of his work. Paul said he’d give Yankovic permission to parody any one of his songs. Initially, Yankovic couldn’t think of a good idea for a parody. After two years, Yankovic had an idea late at night. He’d write a spoof of Wing’s “Live and Let Die” but he’d replace the title phrase with “chicken pot pie.” Yankovic’s song “Chicken Pot Pie” would become the most legendary unreleased song in his catalog.
Some of the humor in Yankovic’s songs and music videos comes from the way he replicates the aesthetics of what he is parodying. “Chicken Pot Pie” would have been no different. Yankovic managed to speak with the members of the orchestra who played instruments on “Live and Let Die.” Yankovic brought them to his studio to work on his track.
Yankovic felt “Chicken Pot Pie” was perfect. He liked it more than any song he’d ever composed. However, Paul wouldn’t let him record the track unless he made substantial changes. Yankovic ultimately gave up on the track.
Why Paul McCartney wouldn’t let that version of the song get released
According to Rolling Stone, Yankovic said “Paul didn’t want me to do it because he’s a strict vegetarian and he didn’t want a parody that condoned the consumption of animal flesh. He said, ‘You can do something else like tofu pot pie.’ I said, ‘No, the chorus of my song will be ‘Bawk-bawk-bawk-bawk’ and tofu doesn’t make any noise. It’s not going to work.”
In a separate interview, Yankovic said Paul refused to allow him to release “Chicken Pot Pie” because Linda McCartney would disapprove of a song that referenced the killing of chickens, even indirectly. Yankovic, who is also a vegetarian, took no issue with Paul’s reason for refusing his offer to parody “Live and Let Die.” Ultimate Classic Rock reports Yankovic said “It’s a valid reason and I get it. And I hate it when people put him on the list of humorless guys, because that wasn’t the case at all. In fact, he said, ‘Think of any other subject and I’m happy to OK it.'”
“Chicken Pot Pie” never made it onto any of Yankovic’s albums. However, he did perform the track in concerts sometimes. Regardless, the existence of the unreleased track remains a famous bit of Paul/Yankovic trivia.