Tuesday, December 03, 2002

I'm Gonna Kick You Out  by Twelve Caesars is being used in new TV commercial.  I suspect I am one of maybe five people in the entire country who is excited to hear this song on television.  Two are probably the WLUW DJs who have played the song and made me want to buy their CD, Youth Is Wasted on the Young.  Another might be my friend Carla, the only other person I know who owns the CD.  Four years after the release of their only album in the U.S., I doubt there's anyone at their label who still cares.  But I figure there's gotta be someone else out there who loves this song that sounds like lost cut for Nuggets, the fabulous late-'60s garage rock box set.  Well, more like Nuggets II, the foreign-focused follow-up, since they're Swedish.

But I'm still feeling torn.  There's still part of me that thinks musicians shouldn't sell their songs to sell someone else's toothpaste.  Chrissie Hynde had a point in 1986 with "How Much Did You Get for Your Soul?" proclaiming, "Millions of kids are looking at you/You say 'Let them drink soda pop.'"  (She also said this two years before Neil Young expressed a similar sentiment with "This Note's For You."  He got lots of acclaim and she was never acknowledged for beating him to the punch.)  On the other hand, Pete Townshend talks about licensing Who recordings in a Rolling Stone interview and makes it sound like doing anything but was a slap in the face to Roger Daltrey.

It's not fair to compare the Who and Twelve Caesars selling their songs, though. The Who probably get more radio play across America in an hour than Twelve Caesars have in their entire career.  The Swedes derive so much more marginal benefit, in terms of both the licensing fees they earn and the indirect effects of exposure to a mass audience.  So it's hard to criticize them.  Besides, I certainly don't worship Pete any less for allowing some car company to play Who songs in their ads.  He's still better than someone like Britney Spears who created music with no artistic ambition, just a desire to shift a lot of units, of their own CDs or someone else's toothpaste.

Oh, yeah.  The ad?  I'm not getting paid for this, so I don't want to plug the product.  But the commercial takes place in a laudromat and the song has an urgent Farfisa riff in the background and big swooping guitar chords.

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