You haven’t really hit the big time until Weird Al Yankovic parodies one of your songs. James Blunt’s ubiquitous single, “You’re Beautiful,” is the latest to get the merry prankster’s comedic treatment with a carbon copy entitled “You’re Pitiful.”
Blunt says it’s a “huge compliment” to join the pantheon of Yankovic’s creations, including Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” and “Bad,” but he fancies Australian comedian Tom Gleeson’s spoken-word a bit more. Gleeson takes the point of view of the boyfriend of the girl that Blunt sings about locking eyes with briefly on the train and “has to deal with James Blunt, the weird stalker,” Blunt says over the phone from Spain. “It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.”
The song pops up in the strangest places, from weddings to “Oprah”; Elton John even had Blunt sing the song at his own wedding. Despite a pretty chorus, the rest of the lyrics border on maudlin, which makes for an interesting first dance.
“For me it was a pretty depressing moment when I had to write the song,” Blunt says. “But, again, it’s how one perceives things and at the same time as being sad that I didn’t get the girl, I had a … moment where she and I caught eyes and we lived a lifetime in that. And it was a very special moment, so many people are latching on to that.”
Success and boyish good looks have made Blunt such a hot commodity that he finds himself plastered across pages of magazines for more than his music, especially when spotted in public with supermodel girlfriend Petra Nemcova. Blunt says he’s “stunned” by all the attention and finds it difficult to wrap his head around it.
“The notion of paparazzi, that’s a pretty weird idea. People hanging around outside your house trying to take pictures of you doing weird things. They probably need to go and find another way to get turned on,” Blunt says. “I think they used to be called peeping Toms, but now we pay them instead.”
Blunt deals with his newfound fame by retaining a sense of normalcy. “I don’t wander around with security and I don’t wander around with an entourage,” he says. “I hang out with my friends, but I don’t employ people to be my friends.”
Comparing his debut album, “Back To Bedlam,” to a diary, Blunt’s eagerness to share his innermost thoughts with the world, especially in a live setting, is disconcerting, but isn’t that what all music fans crave?
“I don’t really express myself emotionally very well in normal conversation, but I can really capture it in a song, so that’s why I love music. But to get out and play live… I’m dependent on the audience to be a part of what’s going on, otherwise it would just be a rehearsal,” Blunt says. “I really enjoy… taking people on an emotional journey and they all seem up for it and away we go.” (Janine Schaults)
James Blunt plays October 23 at the Aragon Ballroom, 1107 West Lawrence, (773)561-9500, at 7:30pm. $35.