Were it not for Michael Jackson, it’s quite possible that “Weird Al” Yankovic would have gone down in history as the oddball that sang “Another One Rides the Bus” on The Tom Snyder Show and then faded into complete obscurity. It was his 1984 Jackson parody “Eat It” that introduced “Weird Al” to much of America when MTV began playing the video, and it was the “Bad” parody, “Fat,” four years later that made him an even bigger star.
Jackson approved both of those songs, but when he approached him again in 1991 about turning his new single “Black or White” into yet another food song, this one called “Snack All Night,” he got a very different reaction. Jackson thought the song was too serious for that sort of treatment and refused to give his approval. With the benefit of hindsight, “Weird Al” now realizes that Jackson did him a huge favor.
“‘Snack All Night’ would have been horrible,” Yankovic told Rolling Stone in 2014. “It would have been desperate and horrible. It just another generic, not-that-funny food song, frankly. I was upset at the time, but I honestly like to think that Michael Jackson had my best interests at heart when he kind of said, ‘You know what, Al? Not this time.’ I was like, ‘Oh well, I guess I’ll do this Nirvana group.’ And that was a total reinvention. Shortly afterward, I realized that Michael Jackson turning me down was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”
The Nirvana song he decided to do was “Smells Like Nirvana,” a hysterical take on “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that once again introduced adolescent boys all over America to the genius of “Weird Al.” He couldn’t have picked a better song to kick off the second decade of his career and he’s been going strong ever since. “Snack All Night” has been almost completely forgotten, but he did play a bit of it throughout his 1992 tour. This YouTube clip from a show in Lake Buena Vista, Florida is the best version available.
“Weird Al” just announced plans for his 2019 Strings Attached tour — where he’ll be joined each night by a symphony orchestra. He plans on playing many of his famous parodies, so the odds of “Snack All Night” getting into the mix are pretty much nonexistent.