Monday, July 6, 2009

Commercials: This Notes For You

Ain't singin' for pepsi; ain't singin' for coke; I don't sing for nobody; makes me look like a joke... (Neil Young - This Note's For You)

Music and advertisements have always gone together hand in hand. These days it's pretty common to hear some great music in commercials (or as theme songs to TV shows). For me this is a double edged sword, it either makes me feel like the artist has sold out and it hurts a little or on an occasion or two I don't mind. Recently I have even discovered some pretty good music this way. So I have mixed feelings about the subject.

When the song is from one of my favorite artists or a favorite song, I often take this personal. I feel like I own the song in some ways; that song takes me to a place or time or a moment; it wasn’t written for a cola company or an auto manufacturer; that song was written for me.

I’m sure the controversy has always been around, but I remember back in the 80's The Who enlisted Schlitz beer company to support their farewell tour. Schlitz had a commercial which featured The Who and Schlitz Beer was displayed on their merchandise, etc… Pete Townshend and The Who took a few knocks over their sponsorship.
Schlitz Rocks America - The Who

Sometime after that Eric Clapton rerecorded his song After Midnight so that it could be used in a Michelob beer commercial. This move was looked down upon by some in the media and and some of his fans.
Michelob Beer - Eric Clapton

One of the ads that I did like was with the up and coming Boston, Mass band the Del Fuegos. They were introduced to the public via a Miller Beer commercial. I remember this commercial for the line Rock music is folk music, because it's for folks.
Miller Beer - The Del Fuegos

In 1988 Neil Young along with his Blue Notes released the anti-commercialization of music anthem This Notes For You. Neil took a stand against allowing his music to be used in commercials. I ain't singin' for Pepsi, I ain't singin' for Coke. I always respected Neil for his stance.

I was searching for information for these sites that list the pop songs that have been used in advertisements in the last few years. The number of songs is shocking.

On a positive and as I said previously I have discovered some new tunes from commercials;
such as:
Valley Winter Song by Fountains of Wayne in this LL Bean ad.

Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg in an AT & T ad.

Landon Pigg - Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop

The WAND by The Flaming Lips in this Del Inspiron ad.

Remind Me by Rockysopp in one of my favorites ads; the Geico Airport Caveman
and from one of my favorite bands The Kinks, Picture Book in this HP ad.

In 2007 my favorite band Wilco allowed their new music from their then just released Sky Blue Sky album to be used in volkswagon commercials.

Jack White did a wonderful Coke commercial.

This is a complex issue for me. I never want to hear a Springsteen song in an ad. I hate hearing Beatle songs in ads. There are way too may Who songs being used. Maybe it is okay for new young bands to promote their music with these ads. I just don't know.

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