Do advertising executives think long and hard about a song before they use it? Do the company’s have any idea of what songs the executives are using? In some cases I don’t think they have a clue. We all watch the commercials, hear the song from the past that they are using and tend to hum along but in some cases your ears tend to go..what? That song doesn’t belong there!
Case in point, tonight I was watching the ball game and on came a commercial for a company called Joe’s clothing and on the screen came a bunch of people wearing the clothes and dancing to Generation X’s song Dancing with myself(billy idol covered it, that’s another story), now the song is catchy but what is it about, well apparently it is about masturbating, not exactly what I would think about when I am out shopping for clothes. But they are not the only ones doing this of course, and the ad guys are trying to use nostalgia to sell things and are more than likely hoping that you ignore the actual lyrics or the meaning of the song, but I cant. Take Volkswagen for example, a few years ago they used music from one of my favorite artists, Nick drake, and in particular the Song “Pink Moon” to sell their cars. Now the Ad showed some friends piled into the car and cruising the hills of Los Angeles while the song played in the background, nice image right? Wrong! The song is about Suicide! So where were the friends going, to have a mass suicide? Bad Choice Volkswagen.
Another Car Company Mercedes-Benz had a commercial and of course they used Janis Joplin’s Song “Oh Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz”, but there is one problem with that song. It doesn’t praise Mercedes, it rails against commercialization. Good Call there.
And of course how could we forget about Royal Cruise Lines and the use of Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life, a cruise line using a song about heroin and alcohol abuse, works for me. Pepsi used the Rolling stones Song Brown Sugar, a song about inter racial sex with slaves during the 1800′s, what better to have a Pepsi with. And there are many more than just that, but again it comes back to the Advertising Code, people will buy anything if it has a catchy tune!!!So listen and watch and find your own songs that don’t belong, it is actually fun.
Twice a year I clean my dresser and my closet and dump the clothes that are worn or have lost their shape and in some cases just don’t appeal to me anymore. And since winter is coming up it was time to go through my summer shirts and my t-shirts and toss what I didn’t want anymore, or at least what my wife felt I didn’t need anymore. And that is when i realized at 57 years of age I am truly not a teenager anymore when it comes to clothes, and i should add a little disheartening as well. As I looked through my old t’s there was not a single RUSH t-shirt among them, no KANSAS, no MAX WEBSTER t-shirt with the logo peeling off in little patches, no LED ZEPPELIN Hermit t-shirt and I will admit, it made me a little sad to see what i had, instead of ZZ Top I had some dude on a t-shirt with a beard but it was from a TV show about Ducks or something. There was no shirt with a peace symbol on it, but one about keeping calm or something like that, I no longer have a Grateful Dead shirt but I do have a shirt that say’s I’m grateful I’m still above ground, not exactly counterculture is it? My Dress shirts..no pastel colors, no Elvis type collars just sound bland middle age shirts that if I was in a group of others you wouldn’t be able to pick me out of a crowd. And worse than that my winter stock of clothes are even worse to imagine, My old Red Ernies sweatshirt from the 80’s? the one with a circle on the front with the word Ernies in the middle,long gone, it has been replaced by a nondescript grey Cardigan, all I need is a pipe and as my grandson calls them”old man slippers”, right now my Dad is most likely looking down at me and laughing his ass off. And I can’t forget the full piece pajamas and the hats with ear flaps attached, or the shoes and boots that i wear for comfort not for style. But as for the t-shirts I guess those days are behind me and I must get used to the plain white and the black and the red after all I cant be wearing a “I drive a Plymouth Duster” shirt when in fact I drive a Chrysler, of course I could get a shirt that says “Shed Wars” on it, that may be cool, in reality though I should probably get one that says “Old Guy’s USED to Rule”. But what it comes down to is the fact that like many I missed the boat on a great opportunity, on E-Bay they are selling a RUSH 70’s era t-shirt for $125, damn, well at least I still have my Replica Neil Diamond Hot August Night shirt that I paid 40 bucks for..anybody know where I can find a Walter Matthau T-shirt?
“They paved paradise and put up a parking lot”..Joni Mitchel’s paradise may have been paved over but mine had 2 houses put on it. This is a story about that.
And as Joni wrote in her song “Woodstock” “We got to get back to the garden”.
Now this garden sat beside the old family home on Cooper Street and during the 60’s it was like a haven to many of us, and it seemed to go on forever and ever, and to everyone in the family it was paradise. There was everything in it,peas,beets, raspberry and strawberry bush’s,potatoes, onions, tomatoes, rhubarb and just about anything else you could think of. And come August corn stalks so tall we little ones could hide in them, and we used to play constantly in the garden eating the fresh veggie and fruits much to our Grandmother’s chagrin, and the big Cherry tree beside it was just the icing on the cake.
Sunday dinners always meant fresh veggies and plenty of fruit for dessert, and I never thought that we were an ordinary working class family, I thought we were farmers, Gawd those were beautiful day’s and during the summer the sun setting on the garden would have made a beautiful postcard.
Ah, but those day’s are gone and as the Sixties came to an end so did the garden. First the far section was sold to build a house and for a few years the garden still survived and produced great product. But after Grandma McLaughlin’s passing things rapidly changed and a few years later we moved out of the big house and built another one right beside it that took up most of what was left of the Garden, even though my Uncle Alex stayed in the big house and kept a little version going, it was never the same. Now as I walk or drive past the property and I see flowers growing in the property’s I feel that we had a little something to do with that, even though Paradise has been paved over. Lord on day’s like this I miss that garden!
Harry Forster Chapin was an amazing singer/songwriter whose body of work is second to none. From Cats in the cradle,Circle,Sniper to WOLD he wrote material that stands the test of time but in 1972 he released the Song TAXI and it became a standard.
From the opening lyrics you knew this was not going to be about happiness
It was raining hard in ‘Frisco,
I needed one more fare to make my night.
A lady up ahead waved to flag me down,
She got in at the light.
The song tells us about a lonely Cab driver in San Fransisco whose last fare of the night turns out to be an old girl friend who is now a struggling actress and how they had gotten away from each other””took off to find the footlights” and Harry “took off to find the sky”. But is this story true? Apparently yes.
Clare McIntyre was a woman who Harry fell in love with while at Columbia University and indeed she wanted to be an actress and the two of them planned to be successful show business veterans. However after a two year relationship Claire wound up going to Europe and then went on to San Fransisco and lost contact with Harry. But did the meeting in the taxi take place? According to his wife Sandy”
“I think he was feeling pretty low about it, and wrote the song ‘Taxi’ with the idea that the people he had told his dreams – that he was gonna make a great film – were gonna get into the cab, and so he ended up being a cab driver after all the big talk. And one of whom would be the girlfriend that he had while he was at Cornell. Sue was a real person.” That really doesn’t answer the Question but we can only imagine that the meeting did in fact take place because Taxi is an Immortal song.
On Thursday, July 16, 1981, just after noon, Chapin was driving in the left lane on the Long Island Expressway at about 65 mph on the way to perform at a free concert scheduled for later that evening at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, New York. Near exit 40 in Jericho he put on his emergency flashers, presumably because of either a mechanical or medical problem (possibly a heart attack). He then slowed to about 15 miles (24 km) per hour and veered into the center lane, nearly colliding with another car. He swerved left, then to the right again, ending up directly in the path of a tractor-trailer truck. The truck could not brake in time and rammed the rear of Chapin’s blue 1975 Volkswagen Rabbit, rupturing the fuel tank by climbing its back and causing it to burst into flames.
The driver of the truck and a passerby were able to get Chapin out of the burning car through the window and by cutting the seat belts before the car was completely engulfed in flames. He was taken by police helicopter to a hospital, where ten doctors tried for 30 minutes to revive him. A spokesman for the Nassau County Medical Center said Chapin had suffered a heart attack and “died of cardiac arrest”, but there was no way of knowing whether it occurred before or after the accident. As for Claire, well nothing can be found about her as she has slipped into the memory’s of many of us when we hear
“And she walked away in silence,
It’s strange, how you never know,
But we’d both gotten what we’d asked for,
Such a long, long time ago.
You see, she was gonna be an actress
And I was gonna learn to fly.
She took off to find the footlights,
And I took off for the sky.
And here, she’s acting happy,
Inside her handsome home.
And me, I’m flying in my taxi,
Taking tips, and getting stoned,
I go flying so high, when I’m stoned”.