Even a long, fulfilling career is bound to have its share of regrets. For Beck, one such misstep has haunted him for well over two decades: not allowing “Weird Al” Yankovic to parody his 1994 breakout hit “Loser.”
The veteran musician recently sat down with Audible Original’s Words + Music podcast to look back at his extensive body of work. Along with sharing a rerecorded version of “Loser,” Beck recalls the making of the song, as well as the aftermath of its surprise success.
“‘Weird Al’ Yankovic tried to do a version of it, it was going to be called ‘Schmoozer,’ which I regret denying him the permission to do,” he tells Words + Music. “I think it would have been an amazing video, I’m actually really sad it didn’t happen.”
At the time, the alternative rock icon had been working for years to break into the music industry and had been labeled a novelty act himself. With his future uncertain, Beck was apprehensive about what the spoof might have done for image.
“I had a lot of people who were veterans in the business telling me at 20, 21, 22, ‘You should go back to school. You don’t really have the talent to do this. The songs as they are aren’t going to work. They’re too rough, they’re too raw, they’re not real songs, they’re sort of hodgepodge ideas,’” he remembers. “It really wasn’t taken seriously at all. And when it came out, and it was popular, it still wasn’t taken that serious at all. You can go back to the press of the day. I just remember myriad articles and headlines of ‘One hit wonder, joke band Beck, novelty act.’”
The new version of “Loser” can be previewed over on Billboard. Beck’s full episode of Words + Music, which also includes an update of “Where It’s At,” will be released on Audible tomorrow. The “Weird Al” biopic Weird, starring Daniel Radcliffe, is set to hit Roku this fall.