Saturday, March 6, 2010

I'm just standin' here sellin' everything....

We'll return 2 the Nostalgia portion of R program shortly. But 1st....
I remember Bing vaguely suprised & disappointed when a coupla Beach Boys hits were used in TV commercials in the mid-'70s: "California Girls" was used 2 sell Clairol Herbal Essence shampoo, & "Good Vibrations" was used 4 Sunkist orange soda. I just figured mayB Brian Wilson needed some Xtra $$$ in his early retirement.
Wasn't til a few yrs later that I read that Brian's father Murry Wilson sold-off the rights 2 the old BB's hits at the Nd of the '60s, when he thot the Boys were Over With.
I remember Bing disappointed again later when -- after alla Pete Townshend's high-standards purity-of-rock talk in the '60s & '70s -- The Who's majestic "Love, Reign O'er Me" was used in a soda commercial. Eric Clapton's great "Let It Rain" was used briefly 2, if I remember right.
Then slightly later, Steve Winwood started apparently selling his latest songs 2 the folks at Michelob Beer B4 he even put them on an album. Didn't stop those songs (like "Don't You Know What the Night Can Do" & "The Finer Things") from winning him a coupla Grammy Awards, but it just Cmd odd. I thot he peaked w/ ARC OF A DIVER & the 2 singles that came after it ("Still in the Game" & "Valerie") NEway....
& how 'bout the Beatles' "Revolution" Bing usedta sell Nike shoes...? (Thanx 2 Michael Jackson.) & more Who songs have bn used since. Even Led Zeppelin cashed-in (like they needed 2?) w/ the use of "Rock and Roll" in a Cadillac commercial.... Nick Drake's "Pink Moon" in a VW commercial (which likely got him more listeners than he ever had B4 -- a Good Thing).
Now I'm hearing Michelle Branch's rather good "Everywhere" Bing used in a phone commercial -- which is fine if, when U go 2 sleep, U dream of a telecommunications network that can take U almost ... everywhere.
But connecting is not what that song was about. It was about NOT connecting, or at least a failure 2 connect. Can yr phone make U feel less alone?
Now, I'm not saying Branch's tune is a work up at the level of Brian's or Pete's or Eric's or John's or Jimmy & Robert's or Nick's, tho I think it's got some great guitar & it's passionately sung & it Cms sincere enuf. Really I think it's her only song worth hearing more than 1nce, tho I'm no Xpert.
I'm just wondering why all the time we've gotta B SELLING SOMETHING.
Can't a piece of music or art just B?
Now I know we're inna consumer/capitalist society, & who am I 2 Bgrudge a probly 1nce-starving musician from making a few Xtra $$$?
But more & more it Cms mora the art is going in2 the sale, not in2 what is Bing sold. Sell the sizzle, not the steak. Keep the box, throw the contents away.
I know a good head 4 bizness hasta B parta the package if U wanna B a success, specially these days. I remember Hemingway's old line: "When I'm writing, I'm an Artist. When I'm not, I'm a son of a bitch." I think that's a good way 2 approach the bizness Nd of creating art, these days.
Rock critics from the '60s & '70s useta really get bent outta shape about this stuff, about how using pop classics in commercials was perverting the pure strains of the blahblahblah, cashing-in on people's cherished memories, etc. & 1nce upon a time I sorta agreed w/ that. Now I don't know so much NEmore.
& Bsides, sometimes it works backwards. Sometimes it Cms like catchy new songs appear in commercials 1st & then get picked-up & Bcome hits. Which blurs the line even further. R we just trying 2 sell a catchy tune here, or is there something else Bing sold along w/ it? Like w/ that "Had a Bad Day" song a coupla yrs back (Daniel Powter? Whatever happened 2 him?).
I dunno. MayB people can tell the diffrence Btween Bing sold a tune or some other product. Or mayB no1 cares NEmore.
What Do U Think?
...& w/ this, I should probly note that -- if there's NE1 in Publishing out there reading this -- that this blog is COMPLETELY AVAILABLE & OPEN 4 offers 2 B turned in2 a book. My girlfriend has already told me that nobody's gonna buy a book of this stuff if they can already read it on-line 4 free. & she's right, of course.
But mayB this is a sorta dry-run 4 what I Really Wanna Do. MayB it's practice 4 that book on Strange Music that I hope 2 get written B4 I die. Or mayB it's a warm-up 4 that Rock Group Novel I someday hope 2 finish.
So, in the not-2-distant future, if yr in the Music section of yr fave local bookstore & there's some new book there & the author's initials R T.A.D. (or even just T.D.), well, ... hope ya don't 4get U read about it here 1st.
& if my work should B found on the shelves of that bookstore, I think U can B pretty sure I'll B writing in Real English....
I'm also available 4 advertising purposes, if U pay cash.....
Can't wait 4 my 1st Book Tour....


drewzepmeister said...

At first, I was horrified to hear all the great classic tunes on commercials and TV shows, but now I've gotten used to it. I may not like it, in fact I hate it! But what can I do about it? Nothing! It's THEIR music! They are free to do what they want to do with it, regardless of what you and I have to say about it. I'm just thankful for the few that hasn't "sold out!"

rastronomicals said...

I think Kings of Leon became famous because of that song they sold to Volkswagen.

While I'm most bothered by those like Townsend who talked a big game when young, then caved when older, I gotta admit that even though I always knew Led Zeppelin were all about the money, that Cadillac commercial still managed to bother me.

But it's worse when the formerly alternative and left of the dial reach a retrospective popularity such that the conglomerates come calling. Townsend isn't the biggest hypocrite, let's just say that.

Three cheers for Tom Waits and Neil Young, who have both rebuffed all offers . . . so far. This Note's For You Two!

tad said...

Thanx 4 commenting, guys. & Drew, reading yr comments reminded me about songs that have bn used 4 TV show themes, like "Who Are You" Bing used 4 CSI, etc. I hadn't even thot about that. ....& Rod Stewart & Faces' "Ooh La La" was used 4 ... something, I can't remember what. Cool song that shoulda bn a hit. But whenever I hear that commercial I focus more on the song & less on the product, so that 1 was probly a bad choice -- but it got a good song 2 more listeners, like w/ "Pink Moon," so I guess this "process" ain't all bad. Just mostly.... Thanx again. -- TAD.