For many rock n’ roll bands, the day inevitably comes when they cash their chips and sell songs from their song catalog to be used in television commercials.
To many fans, it can be a personal affront for an adored song long associated with the soundtrack of their lives to be used in ads for anything from banks to personal hygiene items.
Granted, long after the album releases and touring have gone dark, musicians still need to generate income to support their lifestyles. To them it’s a necessary evil, but to fans it’s the ultimate sell-out.
In an Ad Week article by Tim Nudd, Apple’s Top 50 identifies some of the more memorable culprits: the late Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistable” (Applebee’s Restaurant), the Scorpions “Rock You Like A Hurricane” (TGI Fridays), and The O’Jays “Love Train” (Coors beer) more than adequately make the point.
Bottom line? Every rock or pop song has its’ price.
A recent example is a Geico insurance television commercial featuring 1980's couple-hits wonder Eddie Money as a travel agent, waving vacation tickets in front of a family and chortling, “Two ticket to paradise, pack your bags and leave tonight, I got two tickets to paradiiiiiiiise”.
Funny, yes, but sad at the same time.
No one is saying musicians don’t have a right to sell their melodic handy-work to the highest bidder; it can just be a downer to think of songs like Bon Jovi’s “Bed of Roses” or “It’s My Life” losing their personal significance by being used to pimp out product, forever soiling our cherished memories.
And speaking of Bon Jovi, if ever a band had a song catalog that screams advertising opportunities, the rabidly adored gifted handiwork of guitarist Richie Sambora and band namesake Jon Bon Jovi will no doubt be in high demand if and when the band decides to hang it up and head out to the pastures of the nearest golf course.
In fact, Bon Jovi has already had a couple songs used for television advertising: in 2009 “We Weren’t Born To Follow” was used in Japan only TV advertising for Crystal Bearers ( a promotion for the Final Fantasy Chronicles) as well as hype commercials for the Turner Broadcast Systems playoff baseball coverage.
The State of New Jersey has also employed “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” as part of a tourism advertising initiative, and anyone who is a football fan knows that the New England Patriots use Bon Jovi’s seemingly custom-tailored “This Is Our House” every time the team scores, ad nauseaum.
But it was the Eddie Money commercial that prompted us to scan the Bon Jovi discography and come up with songs we hope to never see used in television advertising:
Bed of Roses: It’s Valentine’s Day. The commercial opens with a husband away on a business trip calling home to his honey. He tells her as she rips open a box of candy, “I wanna lay you down on a ‘Bed of Roses’. 1-800-Flowers.
One Wild Night: Dateline, Las Vegas Nevada, the shimmering uber-Times Square of the wild west. Parties, gambling, strippers, endless buffets and countless incriminating moments. “One wild night, blinded by the moonlight; one wild night, 24-hours of midnight”. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Dry County: Married couple in bed reading magazines. Dog runs into the room with a box of KY Ultra like delivering a newspaper. Lights go out to happy sounds of the couple...
All I Wanna Do Is You: Husband and wife asleep in bed. Guy dreaming about various women: the mail lady, a secretary at work, his wife in a wig to the erectile dysfunction narrative. Viagra.
Love Ain’t Nothin’ But A Four-Letter Word: does someone in your family have trouble holding their tongue? Do they spew foul words at inappropriate times in public or in private? Tourettes Syndrome treatment.
Lost Highway: iPhone maps or GPS. “I’ve finally found my way, say goodbye to yesterday; hit the gas there ain’t no brakes on this lost highway”
Lay Your Hands: you’ve just come home from a hard day at work and everything hurts. Zoning out in front of the television, suddenly you see strong oiled hands doing a deep muscle massage on a toweled at the waist back “Everything you want is what I need; satisfactions guaranteed; but the ride don’t ever come for free; if you want me to lay my hands on you”.
Whole Lotta Leavin’: boyfriend hugs his girlfriend at the airport; cut to a husband being greeted at Arrivals by the family as the American Airlines jets appear "...
Livin’ On A Prayer: skydiving.
Wild Is The Wind: hubby and friends are watching a ball game, chowing on hot wings and chips. Suddenly fart sounds and belching take over the home, wafting into the living room where wifey is having a book reading with her friends. As she goes to the medicine chest for the antacid, “Wild, wild is the wind; (fart sounds) that take me away from you; cold is the night (fart) without your love (fart) to see me through; wild wild wild is the wind that blows through my heart (farts) Alka Seltzer or Pepto Bismol.
Hook Me Up: for eharmony.com. Men and women alone and lonely, sitting in front of the computer searching the web for the right dating site. “Hello, is there anybody out there? I’m alone, hanging by a thread; everywhere around the world, someone’s waiting for someday; calling out around the world, maybe someday might be tonight hook me up!
99 In The Shade: Everybody loves a road trip. Scenes of driving in cities and on highways with different GM cars.“Whoa tell the boys I’m on my way, I got the radio blastin’ in my old man’s Chevrolet, I got a party in my pocket and you know I just got paid, and I’m feelin’ fine its 99 in the shade, oh yeah". Chevrolet.
In all likelihood, Bon Jovi fans should enjoy the album releases and touring every couple of years, for when Jon Bon and the Boys decide to hang it up before they become living breathing caricatures of themselves like Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, some of our favorite songs will no doubt be pimped out on Madison Avenue.
In the meantime, let it rock.
Be sure to read more articles by National Bon Jovi Examiner Glenn Osrin here.
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