A Funny Story About Al Yankovich and Atlantic Records

By Phineas Upham

If you happened to have seen Al Yankovich in concert around 2006, you might have noticed a particular shirt he wore on stage. The shirt in question proclaimed in huge letters “Atlantic Records Suck”. If you didn’t know the back story, you’d think he was just “sticking it to the man”. The reality is that Yankovich and Atlantic got into a spat over, of all things, a James Blunt song.

Blunt had released a song called “You’re Beautiful”: a hit song made for Back to Bedlam that lived on the radio for a significant amount of time. Odds are good you can still hear it in rotation today. Blunt was approached by Yankovich to do a parody of it called “You’re Pitiful”.

The song was about a 42-year old man who lived with his mother, wearing homemade Star Trek Uniforms and binge playing Halo 2.

Blunt gave his blessing, but Atlantic Records had a problem with the song. Being Blunt’s label, the record label told Yankovich he could not include the song on his album Straight Outta Lynwood. Yankovich later said that Atlantic put a stop to the song, arguing they didn’t want his parody to turn Blunt into a one-hit wonder.

Instead, Yankovich used the song “White & Nerdy” as the main song on the album. In the music video, Yankovich is seen editing the Wikipedia page for Atlantic Records, replacing all text with the words “You Suck!”

The song is also available for free as a download directly from Yankovich’s site.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Twitter page.

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