April 27, 2007

Rock Songs on Commericals!

There is a great post on "Classic Rock" called "Is Advertising Killing Rock and Roll" and it inspired me to write about all the songs I can think of that use rock/pop songs to sell their goods.

I won't pretend to understand the business end of all this - but am I wrong to think that the person who wrote the song, let's say Bob Seeger, is the one who ultimately sold out? If so WHY? Why would an artist do that to their work? Will someone please educate me on this topic? How does this happen????

And...does it bother you? It drives me NUTS!

Here's a few, please feel free to add more to the list (I didn't include any from the above mentioned article, you'll have to check it for more).

"Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin - Cadillac
"Revolution" by The Beatles - Nike
"Like a Rock" by Bob Seeger - Chevy Trucks
"Fortunate Son" by CCR - Wrangler Jeans
"Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynrd - KFC
"Start Me Up" by The Rolling Stones - Mircosoft
"Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who - Nissan
"Taxman" by The Beatles - H&R Block

I know there are more but I can't match them up, help me out here:
Cat Stevens, Eric Clapton, Marvin Gaye, Styx, Aretha Franklin....probably hundreds more!


bob_vinyl said...

It really depends who owns the rights to the song. For instance, Paul and Ringo and John and George's estates don't own much of the Beatles anymore. Michael Jackson bought most the rights and then I believe lost them to Sony when his Invincible album flopped.

"Revolution" is the first one I remember seeing maybe 15-20 years ago and I just thought, "John must be rolling over in his grave." Unfortunately, I've gotten used to it all. But even now some strike me as funny. Wrangler is trying to portray an idyllic America to sell their clothes, yet they use a song that cries out against class privilege. It's a protest song!

Another one that cracks me up is the Buzzcocks' "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" in the AARP commercial. Granted they're probably around 50 now, but still, it's a punk song! it's also interesting that they had "What Do I Get" in a Toyota commercial not that long ago. If they still own the rights, then they've probably made more off of those two commercials than the ever did in album sales and tours!

The one that probably upsets me the most is the Clash's "London Calling" showing up in a commercial for some luxury car (Jaguar, maybe?) The Clash were class warriors, speaking out against the powers that be as the very core of who they were as a band. Now they're selling cars that people should be embarrassed to own because they're such an expensive luxury in a world where the divide between rich and poor continues to get wider.

Ariel said...

Well I can think of a few reasons why they do this. 1. Plain greed, 2.Not to be forgotten and to be once again in the spotlights, 3. In many cases, the rights to the songs are not in the hands of the people who wrote them, like in the case of the Beatles. Anyway it is painful to hear a song you grew up on turn into a stupid commercial, and personally it has never made me buy something.

Bond said...

The above two comments make the main point for all of this. Many artists sold the rights to their music at some point because they needed the C-A-S-H.
Why is the music used? Because the people who loved it have grown up and moved on. The Clash song is a perfect example.
The "class warriors" who were their base, are now business people who have the ability to own an expensive luxury car.
So get their attention (if even subliminally) while they are sitting in front of their 52" plasma screen and have them relate the car to their past lives.

First time here...On the COUCH we use music everyday as an embellishment and illustration of our posts.

Bruce said...

If I'm not mistaken, there was a Toyota commercial a few years back that used one of Stevie Ray's songs. Even Godsmack let the Navy use "Awake" in one of their recruiting ads.

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