Weird Al' Yankovic parodies his way to top of Billboard chart

Weird Al' Yankovic parodies his way to top of Billboard chart
Weird Al Yankovic arrives at the 54th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California February 12, 2012.

"Weird Al" Yankovic, the parody singer and cult figure, on Wednesday earned his first No. 1 album on the weekly US Billboard 200 album chart on the strength of several viral videos released online.

Parodying pop hits such as Pharrell's "Happy" ("Tacky") and Lorde's "Royals" ("Foil"), Yankovic's "Mandatory Fun" album sold 104,000 copies in its debut week, according to figures compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.

Billboard said it is the first comedy album to top the chart since 1963, adding that "Mandatory Fun" had the most weekly sales for a comedy album since 1994.

Yankovic, who has scored hits over the past 30 years with parodies such as "Like a Surgeon"(Madonna's "Like a Virgin") and "Amish Paradise" (Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise") launched a promotional campaign releasing eight new music videos in as many days.

The next three spots on the Billboard 200 were all claimed by debuts: singer-songwriter Jason Mraz was No. 2 with "Yes!" selling 81,000 albums, rock band Rise Against's "The Black Market" was No. 3 with 53,000 copies and Kidz Bop Kids' "Kidz Bop 26" was No. 4 with 46,000.

The soundtrack from Disney's animated hit "Frozen" held on to fifth place, extending its run in the chart's top five to 31 weeks.

In the digital songs chart, "Rude," from Canadian reggae fusion band Magic! held on to first place with 195,000 downloads.

Total album sales for the week ended July 20 were 4.4 million, an 8 per cent decline from the same week last year, Billboard said. Overall year-to-date album sales are 133.5 million, a 15 per cent decrease from the same period last year.

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