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‘Weird Al’ Yankovic wins a Grammy for art direction

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic wins a Grammy for art direction
"Weird" Al Yankovic, photographed in 2017 at his Los Angeles home, earned his 16th Grammy Award nomination for helping design the package for his career retrospective boxed set, "Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of 'Weird Al' Yankovic." (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

“Weird Al” Yankovic now has the distinction of being the first recording artist with a Grammy Award for an album packaged inside an accordion.

His career retrospective box set, “Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic,” won the Grammy for boxed or special limited edition package Sunday, an award that recognizes the art direction of the project.

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The collection packed all 14 of his studio albums, plus a 15th disc of rarities, into a container replicating the shape of one of his favorite accordions, each disc afforded its own slot within the expandable bellows. Two editions were created: one containing CDs, the other for 12-inch vinyl LPs.

“Humor is such an important part of the human experience,” Yankovic told The Times when the project was still in the planning stage in early 2017. “I just don’t know why showcasing it makes people think, ‘You’re not a real artist.’ Artists who inject humor into their music run the risk of being labeled a ‘joke’ band.

Grammy-nominated packaging for 'Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of 'Weird Al' Yankovic'
Grammy-nominated packaging for 'Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of 'Weird Al' Yankovic' (Legacy Recordings)

“I wear that label proudly, of course,” he said, “but it’s sad to me that other artists will hide the lighter side of their personality, or their sense of humor, because they’re afraid that it’s going to get points marked off their grade.”

Should he win, however, he’ll have a long way to go to catch the artist with the most wins in the category: Miles Davis.

Boxed sets featuring different facets of the jazz trumpet great’s music have taken the boxed set Grammy Award four times since the category was introduced for the 1994 ceremony: Davis projects were honored for 1996 (for a box featuring Davis recordings with pianist Gil Evans), 1999, 2000 and 2003.

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