Sunday, May 18, 2008

Well, I used to like that song

My friend JD from I Do Things (so you don't have to) wrote a great story the other day about songs that have become hits because they were first featured in commercials.

She posted a list of the "Top 10 Cool Songs You Might Never Have Heard of if Not for the Commercials." Check it out here.

While being featured in an ad can indeed be a major boost to your musical career, it can sometimes also be a curse.

For example... after I had heard the Sunkist commercial for the 10,000th time, I couldn't bear to listen to even 5 seconds of Good Vibrations when it came on the radio after that. And Chevy totally destroyed Like A Rock for me the same way.

Of course this now has me wondering about just how widespread this problem really is. Is it just me or do commercials suck the life out of a song for you too?

I can think of 2 more songs off the top of my head other than the ones I've listed above, but after that I draw a blank - although I'm positive there are tons more.

So maybe you can help...

What songs have been ruined for you as a result of being featured in an ad?

* * * * *

There are no commercials at


Unknown said...

What'll I do?

DOn't even remember what it hawks, but I remember the despair I felt hearing it butchered for an ad.

Anonymous said...

Old Navy put Ingrid Michaelson's "The Way I Am" into my head. It's been stuck there for weeks... and I still like it.

Steve Novoselac said...

heh, yeah

MYM said...

Wasn't the Carpenter's "We've only just begun" originally a bank commercial? LOL That's dating me!

JD at I Do Things said...

Hey! What's better than getting some link love from Jeff? Being referred to as his friend, that's what! basks in warm glow of friend-ness

Nice topic. And I finally did think of a song that has forever been ruined.

Thank you, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, for taking "Lust for Life"---Iggy Pop's ode to drug culture, from one of my favorite movies, "Trainspotting"---and playing it ad nauseum and accompanying it with completely inappropriate-to-the-song imagery.

JD at I Do Things

Memarie Lane said...

Intuition, by Jewel. A song about eschewing materialistic trappings and commercialism turns into a... commercial. For razor blades that suck.

Roger Miller said...

That John Cougar Mellancamp song " This is my country" that was played ad nauseum all fall last year through the baseball playoffs and the NFL season.

It was like 'Pop-Radio' entered my living-room through the television.

Alice said...

Now that you've asked me - my mind went blank. Can't take the pressure.

Heather said...

I'm with Alice. Performance anxiety. I'll come up with plenty 2 days from now when I'm not able to comment.

Ed (zoesdad) said...

Island in the Sun--Weezer.

You're right, I somehow think that commercialization of the song cheapens it. I was shocked when Led Zeplin finally sold out to Cadillac.

I Am Woody said...

OR Ford and Viagra using Queen songs!

JD at I Do Things said...

Two words: Viva Viagra.

(and thanks for deleting my overexcited double comment)

JD at I Do Things

Sornie said...

I think I discover more music than hate tunes due to commercials. The latest iPod commercial being a great example. The song is "Shut Up and Let me Go" by the Ting Tings.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

gette - I think that was for J.C. Penny.

rick - That IS a great song. I hope Old Navy doesn't ruin it for good.

steve - Great post! I'm going to reprint your link HERE because it got truncated in your comment.

drowsey monkey - You're right. It was originally written for Crocker Citizens Bank in California and was later included on their album. You're not old, you're just smart :-)

jd - Well ranted. I couldn't agree more. My friend.

marie - Funny. And to think she was all "oh, I'm a starving artist" when she debuted. Now she's all "oh, I'm a rich artist." She's still awesome though.

mylhibug - I think John's had a few tunes out there as ads. Didn't somebody do something with Jack and Diane a few years ago?

alice and heather - This is a low pressure zone. No need to worry. ;b

ed - Hey, I just sang "Islands" with The Receders 2 weeks ago. Who did they sell out to?

lori - You're right. Queen is another band who has been in quite a few ad spots.

jd - Thinking about Viagra too much eh? Those E.D. commercials are just weird. Is nothing sacred anymore?

sornie - That was what JD's post was all about. I still like Feist's even though it's being overplayed as an Apple ad. This post is the other side of that coin.

April said...

Commercials? Oh, you mean those things I whiz past w/ my DVR? Save yourself, Jeff!

Michelle said...

I'm with the Mellencamp song vote.


Mello Yello.

The Carwash Song.

Fortunately, I can't come up with much more because I refuse to watch tv live (except football). I love my DVR. That's why I'm watching Desperate Housewives -- now there's a guilty pleasure, eh? -- at 10:04pm instead of 8pm.

The Chick said...

I'm completely in agreement that "Lust for Life" was utterly ruined in my head for good.

But who else is still haunted by the friggin California Raisins bastardizing the classic "I Heard it Through the Grapevine"?

The Chick said...


I hafta add that a completely underrated band, Wilco, has a song on some car commercial. If they get more attention for it, I say god bless 'em!

Anonymous said...

Those Viva Viagra commercials are horrible. Nothing is more gross then Boomers singing a parody of an Elvis song about not being able to perform for the wife after they got home from the coolest middle-aged road trip ever.

Idaho Dad said...

I was trying to remember songs that were ruined for me by commercials, but all I kept thinking of were old songs that I actually started liking again because they were featured in ads, such as:

"Pictures of You" by The Cure (HP)
"This Is The Day" by The The (M&Ms)
"Hold On Tight" by ELO (Honda Accord)

Those didn't bother me at all.

Just as long as they don't change the lyrics to include the product name. That drives me crazy.

Anonymous said...

Not quite the same thing but we currently have a bank advertising in the UK using the Canned Heat song "Going Up The Country" - absolutely superb, I'd change my bank to them but I've just changed my bank to a different one.

Unknown said...

My husband and I are long-time Etta James fans. When we were dating we even went to a festival in Camden NJ so we could see her. We chose 'At Last' because the night he asked me to marry him, he made a mix tape, and took me for a drive, and between songs his voice came on the tape and said, "And now, the question you've been waiting for me to last". There was a pause, he asked me to marry him, and then that song started. So we chose it as our wedding song.

Three months before we got married, Jaguar put it in a commercial. I wanted to visit every table in the banquet hall and explain the story I just told you so they'd know we weren't just TV watching cheeseballs.

yoo hoo said...

George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", has been ruined by United Airlines. I hate advertising, it doesn't work on me.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

april - Too back they don't make DVRs for the radio too.

michelle - I'm honored that you paused Desperate Housewives to leave me a comment. Thanks!

the chick - Yeah, those raisins were kinda cool at first, and then got old and creepy after that. Kind of like Larry King.

chris c - The funniest part of that commercial is the dog. He looks a little nervous to be trapped in that cabin with all those guys on Viagra.

phil - I agree that changing the lyrics is a sin. I also hate it when they condense the phrasing or leave out part of the song.

jerrychicken - Can't say that I'm familiar with that tune, but I'll see if it's out their on utoob.

kimberly - What a bummer. Nice way to ruin your wedding song eh? That's too funny that you had to explain it to everyone :b

carla - Good point. Some classics should just be left alone.

Anonymous said...

I can honestly say 'none', though I have found a few bands by hearing snatches of their stuff on ads! What I do find annoying is when I hear something I like on an ad and want to follow it up, but I can't find out what it is!!! Drives me insane.

G said...

Luckily I don't watch much TV so I usually miss the ads. So funny - I am listening to that Feist cd at my desk right now (which I played as a Saturday Spin long before it was ever an ad :).

Mom Thumb said...

Now that you ask, I'm drawing a blank, but I can't count the times I've been in the car with Jess and switched the radio, saying "Oh, that (fill in the blank) commercial killed that song forever."

bon bon said...

kimberly, i'm with ya! i walked down the aisle to "at last" thirteen years ago so luckily no one had covered it yet, but over the next few years it was everywhere including a Friskees cat food commercial! egad.

i was going to mention wilco too! although, it didn't ruin it for me 'cuz wilco can do anything they want in my book. plus i read somewhere a few of them drive VWs, so if you stand by the product, why not back each other?

iggy pop has no excuse. ;o)

Ed said...

Interesting theme. But I think the biggest song of all time that started as a commerical was the Coke commercial from the 60s that was "I'd like to teach the world to sing..." one. In fact, it was so popular that they had to bring back the singers and cut it as a single. There were two versions of it. That commerical is considered on of the most influential of all time even to this day.

As to ruined songs; one of the Pizza chains used the "When a Man Loves a Woman" classic and changed it to "When a Man Loves a Pizza" and it got played so much that I cannot seem to go back to the original now. Damn them!

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

jay - I hate it when you hear a new awesome song on the radio for the first time and they don't tell you who it is. The other day I had to literally write down some lyrics on a napkin so I could Google them when I got home.

g - Hey, maybe the ad people are getting their ideas from your spins?

mom thumb - Same here. It's almost like it devalues the song as something you can just listen to, and turns it into a business tool. Who wants to listen to revenue?

bon bon - Iggy Pop? Funny. What song did he sell out?

ve - I think Michael Bolton did way more damage to that song than the pizza people ever did ;-)

Sandy said...

There was an underwear commercial featuring the song "Stuck in The Middle With You." I have never listened to that song the same way since.

Jake Titus said...

As I recall, the Whos "My Generation" was used for a minivan commercial. WTF? I will never identify my generation with "minivans"!!!

Anonymous said...

Busch beer used Lynerd Skynerds "Simple Man" I still love the song even if the over-exposure almost ruined it for me.

yellojkt said...

The Clash and Led Zeppelin in geezer luxury car commercials.

PG said...

Never did like the Mellencamp song, so it didn't ruin it for me, but yeah that song was on waaaaaaaay too much. All in all I am all for songs in commercials. I don't consider it 'selling out' at all. It's simply another distribution channel. And as much as i am not an apple guy, they do a great job picking tunes!

Doozie said...

I can't think of anything.....I don't really watch normal TV, and haven't for a long time. I order TV series on Net flix and avoid commercials entirely

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

sandy - Wait a minute, when you put it that way... what exactly is stuck in the middle?

jake - Yeah... who's making the decisions for the Who these days anyway? Their songs are also featured as theme songs on 2 different CSI shows.

mkoz - Sometimes the advertisers don't beat the songs to death and it doesn't make you hate them. SOMETIMES.

yellojkt - Well, I suppose the demographic is a pretty close match to the bands. Although I hardly consider myself a geezer - but I am in their car demographic.

pg - Apple does a great job with all their campaigns. I'm still not sick of their Mac vs PC schtick.

doozie - Well, except for the commercials on the front end of Netflix that is.

Unknown said...

I guess this is a confession of my ignorance, but I didn't know that "Like A Rock" was anything other than "The Chevy Song" until recently when some friends and I were in a bar and somebody played it on the jukebox. The lady that played it was trashed and singing along...badly. So I guess you could say it was pre-ruined for me...or ruined twice over.