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#whatstrending: A strange week for Weird Al and Lady Gaga

Saturday - 4/23/2011, 11:22pm  ET

#whatstrending

WTOP's Neal Augenstein and Nathan Hager rehash the drama between Weird Al Yankovic and Lady Gaga this week over Weird Al's parody of "Born This Way."

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Neal Augenstein, wtop.com
Nathan Hager, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Lady Gaga's at the top of the pop world, and musicians know imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But when Weird Al Yankovic asked Mama Monster's people for her blessing to do a parody of "Born This Way," he was told Gaga said no.

Since it's a parody, under fair use rules, he doesn't have to ask permission, but Al has always tried to get the person he's parodying on board. He really liked the effort, so he put his audio demo out for free on YouTube.

Turns out Gaga's manager had never sent it to her. And she loved Al's version once she heard it.

So now, Al is working on a full-blown video and will include it in his next album.

Nirvana never complained when Al did "Smells Like Nirvana". In fact, they considered it a sign they'd made it.

But some artists have said no and meant it. Coolio, Eminem and several times, Prince weren't willing to let Al take comedic liberties with their songs, even though an Al Yankovic parody invariably translates to more sales for the original artist.

So what do you think... does a Weird Al parody help or hurt the original artist? Let us know in the comments or tag your tweet with #whatstrending.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)