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September 03, 2006

Comments

bob

jeez.... dont you understand the songs were for sale in the first place ??? did you get your copy for free?? if he was writing for love and only love of writing they would have never been recorded and sold.

as for his life hitting a snag since he sold a few songs to be used in adverts, i dont think so. and no, im not against Ray Davies doing it either.

it all somehow seems alot more graceful and businesslike than getting their ass kicked by a drunk Ron Wood and having to pretend they fell out of a tree.

Vic Perry

I don't know if I can get real worked up about this either, this or anything else said by any former rock legend anywhere....the only people I care about re:stupid ad music relocations is musicmakers who one way or another (tragedy, exploitation, stupid carelessness, drug addiction) lost the rights to their own work and it gets sold to commercials by others: did this not happen to Sly Stone, for example, and was it not Michael Fucking Jackson who sold some of his work out? (I'm actually asking, not just being rhetorical...)

Anyway, on a more irrational note, "Magic Bus" is like the worst "classic Who song" of the 60's anyway. If he sells "Substitute" I might actually have to go hurt him.

By the way, he wouldn't let Michael Moore use "Won't Get Fooled Again" in Fahrenheit 911, proving that he has his...uh...principles.

Which leads me to this oddity: it was actually a lucky thing that Moore didn't get what he wanted. The funny thing is that using "Won't Get Food Agin" would have been as crazy and inappropriate for that movie as using "Magic Bus" to sell a Nissan, a classicly wrongheaded example of finding the whole meaning of a song in the title. I'm sure Moore thought he would mean that in 2004 America would rise up and vote the creeps out of office (yeah sure), but that requires ignoring lines like "the parting (or party) (or partying) on the left, is now a party (or parting) (or partying) on the right," oh yes, that's referring to Cheney and Bush's days in the Socialist Worker's party (or parting) (or partying).

Even without it "fooled" is unlistenable at this point, just like the rest of "Who's Next." Now I better go away, before my fist clenches and I use it to lose my cool, I'd call that a bargain, the best I ever had. THE BEST I EVER HAD!!!!

Fatherflot

Wasn't there a commercial recently for jeans or something that somehow managed to use use parts of "Fortunate Son" by CCR without so much as hinting at the song's anti-war content---perhaps even turning it into a pro-miliary song? You got the opening guitar riff, the line "Some folks are born with star-spangled eyes" and then an instrumental patch, then the guitar intro.

Did I imagine this? Somebody help me out.

Spaceman One

It's his material, if he can earn more money from it, great. Now if Pampers used Keith Moon's version of "Don't Worry Baby", that would be supercool.

DanO

Dear Pete Townsend

WAAAAAAAAHHHH!

signed,
Chris T
resident leftwing windbag

PS - you are contributing to the warming of our earth; "waaah"x2

bartelby

Art is a commodity, but there are conditions. If I sew a coat together I can't 30 years later decide that the person wearing it has to give it back so I can then sell it to someone else at a higher price. Part of what enables PT to take his music, which many of us have paid for, and transform its meaning years after the fact in the interest of making more money off of it, is the concept of intellectual property. If there were totally transparent and friction free markets, allowing for personal aptitudes, anyone could invent, build or purchase a car, a guitar, a bus, and it would only afford the procurers of the raw materials or finished product just a bare minimum over and above the necessary expenses. In such a scenario, I could record and use PT song for any reason, were it not for intellectual property laws. After all, he's the one with the talent, he could just write another song.
The meaning of the song, inasmuch as it has has changed from his intent, is the result of emotional and phsyical work on the part of millions of people the overwhelming majority of whom have never met PT in person. The economic and social conditions which made the composition possible are the result of millions more people back to the dawn of time, those of that number still alive will include maybe a few hundred who have enjoyed the monetary benefits pricipally enjoyed by PT.

It's like the Treasure of Sierra Madre. Why is it, like the gold, so valuable? The money realized is the payment for the work of many, many people who went up that mountain and came back with nothing.

The recent NYC transit strike imbued the song with meaning that is at variance with the ideas of PT. Arguably transit workers are much more the "godfathers or punk" than The Who. No subway-no CBGBs. Further, no subway-no jazz clubs on 51st St. etc., etc. The exact impact of the work people work, people who take or drive the bus is considerably more than is represented in their bi-weekly compensation when you consider the profits realized by rock stars, the Ertegun brothers, or even real estate interests in NYC e.g. rent is higher when you live closer to the subway, or even a bus stop. There is an explanation for that and it has little to do with magic.

D. Stamp

A site that posts entire albums in violation of authors' copyrights is complaining that an artist turns to advertising to make money.

Interesting.

Vic Perry

bartelby's post is extremely interesting, something i can gain light from. here are further complications i hope:

as soon as I'd written my earlier post I thought, I'm being naive too. Anything that's been perpetually on commercial radio for 30-40 years has already been de facto selling more stuff than any further specific advertising uses can possibly match. Yes there is a difference between records as the bait for the ads and records as the ads themselves. But it is hard for me to pretend after years of dreadful 'classic rock' stations that the difference is vast.

Chris T.

Dear Bob:

>jeez.... dont you understand the songs were for sale in the first place ??? did you get your copy for free?? if he was writing for love and only love of writing they would have never been recorded and sold.

I understand it's all product. But this is an opinion posting and I have a low opinion of Pete's doing business with Madison Ave. All Madison Ave. wants is to create what they term "an authentic experience" by equating these songs that have become meaningful to me with some 3-ton piece of crap that gets 12 miles to the gallon. Then Pete says, essentially, "Fuck how you feel about my songs." and all I can think is, "Didn't we make him rich enough yet?" Yes, I believe in a place called "rich enough". I know because we're Americans were supposed to all get as rich as the market will allow. And Pete's just serving a market. But I hate how lazy Madison Ave. has become. I'm a big fan of commercial jingles and with all this pre-fab crap the jingle thing's been blown all to hell. BRING BACK THE F-ING JINGLE!

Note that I never refer to Pete as a whore but those to whom Pete is licensing his songs.

>as for his life hitting a snag since he sold a few songs to be used in adverts, i dont think so. and no, im not against Ray Davies doing it either.

I never said anything about The Kinks, first off. I don't think Ray made nearly as much money as Pete - and that's one of the criteria for me. I'm not some communist arguing against a person making money with their intellectual property. But how much money does Pete really need and why? Is something wrong? Can I send him a check?

I'd sooner do that then see one more goddamn car commercial with Who music. Sue me. And Pete's life hit a BIG snag, Bob. People laugh at him now. I own a T-shirt with the picture of Pete in the back of the police car (from the child porn incident) and underneath the picture it says PORN RESEARCHER. That's hitting a snag.

>it all somehow seems alot more graceful and businesslike than getting their ass kicked by a drunk Ron Wood and having to pretend they fell out of a tree.

Huh?! Graceful? Businesslike? Ron Wood? I don't know where to begin...

Dear Vic Perry:

>I don't know if I can get real worked up about this either, this or anything else said by any former rock legend anywhere....the only people I care about re:stupid ad music relocations is musicmakers who one way or another (tragedy, exploitation, stupid carelessness, drug addiction) lost the rights to their own work and it gets sold to commercials by others: did this not happen to Sly Stone, for example, and was it not Michael Fucking Jackson who sold some of his work out? (I'm actually asking, not just being rhetorical...)

First, I don't know if it happened to Sly or if Mike did it. Second, yes, you're right: the scenario you describe is FAR more tragic than my nonsense. Congratulations.

>Anyway, on a more irrational note, "Magic Bus" is like the worst "classic Who song" of the 60's anyway. If he sells "Substitute" I might actually have to go hurt him.

Again, sorry. I mentioned the wrong song. I wonder what product "Substitute" might help sell? "You think we look pretty good together. You think my shoes are made of leather?" How about a Mini Cooper commercial, where you see a Hummer driving down the road and it splits open through the magic of television and a Mini drives out from it. And the tag line is something like, "Substitute a car that gets 35 mpg for the beast you drive now." Or maybe Pete signed a non-compete deal with Hummer and none of his songs can be used to put Hummer in a bad light? Maybe they can dummy a truck that kind of looks like a Hummer? And did you care at all when "Happy Jack" became a Hummer commercial?

>By the way, he wouldn't let Michael Moore use "Won't Get Fooled Again" in Fahrenheit 911, proving that he has his...uh...principles.

>Which leads me to this oddity: it was actually a lucky thing that Moore didn't get what he wanted. The funny thing is that using "Won't Get Food Agin" would have been as crazy and inappropriate for that movie as using "Magic Bus" to sell a Nissan, a classicly wrongheaded example of finding the whole meaning of a song in the title. I'm sure Moore thought he would mean that in 2004 America would rise up and vote the creeps out of office (yeah sure), but that requires ignoring lines like "the parting (or party) (or partying) on the left, is now a party (or parting) (or partying) on the right," oh yes, that's referring to Cheney and Bush's days in the Socialist Worker's party (or parting) (or partying).

Yeah, that Micheal Moore what an oaf.

>Even without it "fooled" is unlistenable at this point, just like the rest of "Who's Next." Now I better go away, before my fist clenches and I use it to lose my cool, I'd call that a bargain, the best I ever had. THE BEST I EVER HAD!!!!

I feel I should direct you to a Who discussion board...

Dear Fatherflot:

>Wasn't there a commercial recently for jeans or something that somehow managed to use use parts of "Fortunate Son" by CCR without so much as hinting at the song's anti-war content---perhaps even turning it into a pro->miliary song? You got the opening guitar riff, the line "Some folks are born with star-spangled eyes" and then an instrumental patch, then the guitar intro.

Yeah, I dimly recall this. The ironies abound!

>Did I imagine this? Somebody help me out.

Anybody? Confirm/deny?

Dear Spaceman One:

>It's his material, if he can earn more money from it, great. Now if Pampers used Keith Moon's version of "Don't Worry Baby", that would be supercool.

First, I disagree. Pete OWES me. I spent plenty money on his discs. I made him rich in the first place. Second, HA!

Dear DanO:

>Dear Pete Townsend

>WAAAAAAAAHHHH!

>signed,
>Chris T
>resident

I'm no longer a resident. I haven't been on the air at FMU since March and - unfortunately - I rarely make it to the station these days.

>leftwing

Didn't you mean to say "liberal"?

>windbag

Can't argue with that...

>PS - you are contributing to the warming of our earth; "waaah"x2

Do you mean "...with your hot air"? Otherwise, I don't take your meaning. And thanks for hauling out "waaah" again. I never get tired of that.

Dear Bartelby:

WTF?!

Dear D. Stamp:

>A site that posts entire albums in violation of authors' copyrights is complaining that an artist turns to advertising to make money.

Huh?! I'm not speaking for the "site". I'm speaking for myself.

>Interesting.

You should say it more like Henry Gibson as the Laugh-In Nazi: "VEDDY IN-TA-RES-TING!"

All best,

Chris T.

lee

i love how the recording industry is showing thru its own illusion. musicians are those who go out and play for the people. 110 yrs ago thats how it was. the whole industry was a temporary scam. the great MR.WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS DID A NIKE COMMERCIAL after all. cut it up and spit it back. if life is infinite then karma is also an illusion. oh and in uncut magazine mr Townshand admits that the WHO were mainly just ripping off the Kinks in the sixties. steal it and sell it........... and who amongst us ''older'' nyc area folks dont miss the 2nd avenue thief's sidewalk market from the 80s back. how many of those used records from the used rec store were stolen by someone and traded in for crack? if you buy one and eventually resell it, what are you? karma is like genetics. the more you study the mapping, the more hidden stuff is found. and no one can claim knowledge of factual reality in regards to either. but....... the musicians role is to play live.

the man in lumberjack vee

I agree with you, Chris.

I had no idea that "Free"-form radio attracted such business-apprentice types.

Selling art as commodoties? Yuck.

I come from the school of thought that money makes art worse, that money ruins art, that art is the opposite of money.

Art is here to rescue us from money.

It makes me sad that songs that have made my life better are being used for questionable capatilist sludge.

But advertising makes me sad in general.

William Berger

A few years ago, the car commercial that featured The Buzzcocks' "What Do I Get" nearly broke my heart—transforming Pete Shelley's hyper-catchy whelp of pure loneliness into an upwardly-mobile status anthem. These days I'm over it. While I agree with Chris in principle, I think we have to separate the actions and personalities of our Rock Gods from their great work. We expect too much of them in general, based on what their music has meant to us personally. It's the music that I love, not the men and women who made it. The creative inspiration that led to "Magic Bus" or "Substitute" was a brief, youthful flash, when you consider the larger lifetime of a messed-up, conflicted guy like Mr. Townshend. Expect your Rock heroes to be greedy, mentally-distressed and perverted and you won't be disappointed by them. Keep playing their records and harvesting your subjective inspiration from their art, but don't expect them to be more than human. Besides, taxes in the UK are murder.

Brian Turner

I heard "You're Gonna Miss Me" on a Dell commercial, and all I could think of after seeing the Roky Erickson documentary is that the poor guy could surely use the green, so if he gets some, I'm very happy.

Holland Oats

maybe you watch too much tv?

Listener_Paul

Who in the rock pantheon has yet to sell out by allowing their music to push merchandise on us? Lou Reed did it a long time ago with his Honda Scooter ad.

Has anyone heard a Dylan song in a commercial? I'm pretty sure I've never heard a Springsteen song. Jonathan Richman has probably had bunches of offers for Roadrunner.

I actually think Townsend has probably diminished the commercial value of his catalog by over-exposing himself. Now, it's just yawn, did you hear that? They're using Fiddle About to see breakfast serial.

But is this really a problem? The Lemonheads were used in a Target commercial, and people think it's cool. Same with the Volkwagen ads of a few years back. Is it somehow acceptable when it's a relatively obscure song but unacceptable when it's well known? Did anyone care or raise an eyebrow when they heard the Romnatics What I Like about You? What about say Pink Floyd?

Don't you want to hear Tommy Tutone's 8675309 again on a commercial? I do.

I was more disturbed by the Jaguar's use of London Calling or some cruise line Using Iggy's Lust for Life. Is this some cruise where I use herion and have wild groupie sex?

\_escarpment

This comments section makes me miss Aerial View (it would have made a great subject)...but I see that you're starting to put up old archives again so I'm somewhat sated.

craig

i always thought the vw commercial that used pink moon would have been great if the kids drove straight off the cliff. much more appropriate to the lyrics.

cxa

"Fogerty, the guiding force behind Creedence Clearwater Revival's hits of the late '60s and early '70s and now a solo performer, has fretted for more than two years as one of his most meaningful songs, the Vietnam War-era protest anthem "Fortunate Son," has been used by Wrangler as a patriotic endorsement of its jeans.

"It makes me angry," he said by phone from his home in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife and four children and is writing songs for a new album, his first since 1997. "When you use a song for a TV commercial, it trivializes the meaning of the song. It almost turns it into nothing."

Wrangler was able to have its way with Fogerty's 1969 hit because he long ago signed away legal control of his old recordings to Creedence's record label, Berkeley-based Fantasy Records. Without consulting Fogerty, Fantasy sold Wrangler permission to use the lyrics and master recording of "Fortunate Son," a stark, hard-rocking song about privilege and hypocrisy.

Wrangler estimates the commercial has so far received 3 billion "impressions," or individual viewings. The company boosted its TV buys 25% this year to promote its Five-Star Premium Denim line, which means a significantly higher number of people are noticing the use of the song.

"People walk up to me, people I've met through my kids, at school, people who rarely talk to me about the old days, and they say, 'Oh, John, I saw your commercial,' and the first thing out of my mouth is: 'It stinks,' " said Fogerty, who first saw the spot in the summer of 2000. "They usually get a surprised look on their face — they're just making conversation — and then I have to explain."

trendinista

Re Listener Paul's question about rockers who haven't had songs on commercials: Dylan's song "Love Sick" was used in a Victoria's Secret ad a couple of years ago. As I recall, Dylan actually appeared in the ad as well, lending a creepy lunatic vibe that kind of overshadowed the commerce vs. art question. He also appears in an iPod ad doing a song from his current album, but I'm not sure if that counts because it's kind of promoting both the iPod and the record.

One could make a flip comment about how other Dylan songs haven't been used because you can't be expected to sell anything using, say, "It's Alright Ma," but the "Fortunate Son" ad gives the lie to that. Anything can be edited to have a happy/patriotic/pro-commerce message, I guess. That Fogerty actually has to explain to people that the ad contravenes his song's message is really depressing, the real-life version of Mike Judge's satire of popular stupidity (see above post).

Townshend et al. never made any of their fans a promise to be above the commercial fray; the songs were commercially recorded and released, and it was hoped that profit would be made. But what was supposed to set these songs apart from other popular music styles was their ferocity, their appeal to subliminal aggression, their ability to pierce the heart and mind in a way that, say, Johnny Mathis didn't. By allowing them to be made into commercial jingles, the authors (or owners of copyrights) mock that whole premise, Townshend openly and defiantly so. They mock us for having bought into it. That's what's so grating. Of course, there's no reason to still cling to any idealistic notions about rock music, and ample reason to feel silly for enjoying any of it in the first place. But now they're just rubbing our noses in it.

Listener Paul

>But what was supposed to set these songs apart from other popular music styles was their ferocity, their appeal to subliminal aggression, their ability to pierce the heart and mind in a way that, say, Johnny Mathis didn't. By allowing them to be made into commercial jingles, the authors (or owners of copyrights) mock that whole premise, Townshend openly and defiantly so. They mock us for having bought into it.

I know that classic rock used to strike a pose that it was about art and not commerce, but surely by now that myth is gone. And yes, there's anger and all that, but when you consider the fundamental hedonism of rock, it shouldn't be surprising that doing something for money is a common response of many stars of music.

I guess I just think it's interesting why some people get upset. Now, I surely understand why Fogerty is unhappy--that just shouldn't happen.

But does anyone care when say Beethoven or Coltrane or Duke Ellington are used in commercials?

steve

You shouldn't watch those commercials if they hurt your feelings. This is a lot of wind about nothing.
That said - I'll add to it; the most annoying thing about the way they use pop music in TV ads is they way they edit them, so all the catch phrases run into each other, with no consideration for rhythm!
It makes me weep salty tears.

I'm not Lisa

Bullharkey!

Grey Somali

Someone mentioned Dylan in commercials. Does anyone know the scoop on the Bank Of Montreal commercials that used "The Times they are a changing". That might have been the most grotesque example of this subject if that sort of thing bothers you. Tough to argue that they can't do what they want with their property, just as it would be tough to argue that we can't admire them less for doing so.
I'm pretty sure John Densmore is still holding out. I read an interview with him a year or two ago and I really respected the guy. The Doors made a pact long ago that any such decisions must be unanimous and John believes that Morrison would never agree. He also said he felt it cheapens the memory of the songs and that is a personal opinion but I agree. I still love Pete Townsend and Ray Davies and it's their business but I can't help feeling a little disappointed when I hear their art turned into "jingles".

Bar View

Pete's music is all over the television: it's the theme music for CSI Miami and CSI New York and isolated riffs are ubiquitous.

A funny thing about this is that my father, who is 66 years old, has taken an interest in The Who because of these television spots. I recently watched The Kids are Alright with him, and he was very entertained by it.

Ironically, my brother and I played The Who incessantly in the house when we were kids during the 70's. Back then, my father hated it, and was irked by the fact that we kept playing the same songs over and over again. I pointed this out to him while he was watching Kids are Alright, but he waved me off as though it had never happened. The world, and the passage of time, are both amazing works in progress.

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