Saturday, March 10, 2007


Several posts down I was griping about seeing an AARP commercial that used a Buzzcocks song. Well, it's happened again. A few days ago I was watching TV and heard a familiar bass riff. It was the Jam's great "Start" being used to sell Cadillacs of all things. (If you're not familiar with this song it has the same bass line as the Beatles' "Taxman". And if you're not familiar with either the Jam's "Start" or the Beatles' "Taxman", I have some bad news for you: your record collection probably sucks. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.)

So lets review my outrages. I've heard the Buzzcocks in an AARP commercial and in a car commercial. I've heard the Jam in a car commercial. I've heard Stiff Little Fingers' "Gotta Getaway" in a video game commercial. I've heard Iggy and the Stooges' "TV Eye" in a minivan commercial. I've also heard the Velvet Underground's "Heroin" (sans lyrics, of course) in a minivan commercial. I've heard an early Ramones song in a commercial, but I can't remember what it was. (Was it a cellphone company?) And I've heard a Feelies song in a Citibank commercial. Good god, have I left any out?

I hate this sort of stuff. It's bad enough to hear classic rock stuff like Zeppelin and the Who in commercials, but it's really annoying for me to hear great, more non-commercial stuff in commercials. (Non-commercial in the sense that most of the bands listed above didn't have any US hits.)

Naturally, if I were in the Feelies and Citibank offered me a bunch of money I'd take it, but it still irritates me to hear music that a lot of us (like me) think of as thumbing its collective nose at big time rock'n'roll success being used to hawk crap I can't afford.

If companies are going to do this sort of thing, why not at least make it interesting? (Although using "Heroin" to sell minivans is pretty interesting. Or maybe just deranged.) Why not use the Buzzcocks' "Orgasm Addict" in a Viagra commercial? How about Big Star's "Holocaust" to sell Prozac? And now that I think about it, the pharmaceutical industry would have a field day with alternative/indie rock stuff. But I don't want to give anyone any ideas, not without a commission at least.

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