Even without hard data on hand to back this up, it feels right to say that most people have spent more time playing the guitar than they have playing the accordion. That said, Weird Al Yankovic bucks that trend: He’s been playing accordion either in studio or in front of an audience for decades, and yet, he’s never publicly played the guitar, by his own admission.
He revealed this during a show at the Apollo Theater in New York on Friday, March 23rd, and at that same show, he decided to make his live guitar playing debut. Although he’s been a professional musician since the ’70s, he didn’t let his ego get the better of him, so he started out pretty easy: He and his band performed “Cinnamon Girl” by sci-fi novelist Neil Young, and he kept his guitar slung around his back for most of the song until it came time for the song’s solo. That solo famously only includes one note, a note that Yankovic successfully played multiple times during his performance.
Before starting the song, Yankovic explained how happy he was to be playing the legendary Apollo Theater, and how he “learned the guitar” in order to make the special evening even more special:
“Tonight is a very, very special night for two big reasons. One is: On this next song, I’m going to make my guitar playing debut. My whole life, I never learned to play the guitar. I figured, you know, I’ve been in entertainment, I’ve been a recording artist and a professional musician for most of my life, and I should know how to play the guitar. So, for the last several months, I’ve been studying and learning how to play the guitar so that I could debut it at the Apollo on this next song.”
Watch Yankovic perform “Cinnamon Girl” above.