“Sweet Touch of Love,” from the aforementioned acclaimed 1970 album, Toussaint (later named From a Whisper to a Scream), would be the A-side of a promo 45 that appeared not to have enjoyed any chart action:
“Sweet Touch of Love” Allen Toussaint 1970
“Sweet Touch of Love” (the final installment in this week’s “time walk” tribute to Allen Toussaint) would later be covered by Etta James, Esther Phillips, Irma Thomas, and Grady Tate.
Funny to see history’s twists and turns: who could have predicted that Allen Toussaint’s 1970 hymn to love would be used 38 years later as the centerpiece of an oddly creepy ad campaign for Axe Dark Temptation “chocolate” deodorant in 2008?
Axe Dark Temptation ad featuring “Sweet Touch of Love” by Allen Toussaint:
Hey, just in time for summer: here’s a catchy bicycle-themed dance step “Bike Beat” from 1964 that was actually a work-for-hire product by Joe (“Telstar“) Meek for Raleigh Bicycles and was only released onflexi-disc! Providing the backing track are Joe Meek’s house band, The Outlaws, disguised as “The Rally Rounders” – with lead guitar work almost certainly supplied by future Deep Purple guitarist, Richie Blackmore, dude:
“Bike Beat” (pt. 2) The Rally Rounders (a.k.a,, The Outlaws) 1964
Dance steps provided below – be the first on your block to learn the “Tandem” and “Brake”!
Animator, Ed Seeman – who would later film the Mothers of Invention’s famed 1967 shows at the Garrick Theater in New York City (and quite a bit more over the course of 13 months) – initially joined forces with Frank Zappa when he formally contracted the bandleader and composer to provide the modernist soundtrack for a 30-second Luden’s Cough Drops television ad:
“”I first met Frank when he was playing a steady gig at the Garrick Theater in Greenwich Village. I hired him to score a 30-second animated TV commercial I was animating and producing for Luden’s Cough Drops. He requested $2,000 plus a studio for a day with a wide variety of instruments, plus a guy to do cough sounds.
The Spot was called “The Big Squeeze.” It won a Clio for “Best Use of Sound” in 1967 and is mentioned in the [1996 posthumous] release Frank Zappa The Lost Episodes (track #19)”
“This is the actual track for a Luden’s Cough Drop commercial that won a Clio Award in 1967 for Best Music for a Commercial. A freak in an ad agency who was an animator, Ed Seeman, who came to the Garrick shows, did the pictures and recruited me to do the music. I went along with it. The commercial shows a squiggly white thing that’s supposed to be the cough wriggling around. A box of Luden’s appears on the left side of the screen, like a monolith, and squashes it.”
FZ: I did one commercial in ’67 for Luden’s Cough Drops, and that got an award. It got a CLIO for the best music in a commercial in ’67. […]
EB: Do you have the CLIO?
EB: Was it presented to you?
FZ: No, I found out about it after the fact. I mean, they don’t invite me to CLIO ceremonies, but the advertising agency that did it, y’know, they told me that it got a CLIO.
Public television’s The History Detectives would also incorporate this advert into its episode “Frank Zappa’s Lost Collage” about a long-time art collector who found an early 1960s modernist collage with an intriguing “FZ” signature that may or may not have been created by Frank Zappa.
“Just want to mention that chronologically I hired him to score my Ludens Commercial first, then after we worked together on that I went to the Garrick Theater and filmed some stuff that was put together for a three minute film he used for a convention about underground merchandising which is why he tore up the FREAK OUT album on camera. I also recollect he also used it at a Hagstrom guitar event. After that filming and editing together experience that he enjoyed we then decided to continue working together and putting together footage that he would eventually use for a film idea he had called UNCLE MEAT which he later released with a lot of other footage.
After separating the next year and after i had amassed 14 hours of footage and had traveled to London and Amsterdam with the group and I saw it was never going to come to an end I finally had to sue him and we settled with him paying me (GRYPHON PRODUCTIONS) $25,000 for the footage. He used many pieces of our footage in subsequent releases but I regret that the world hasn’t seen this footage that hopefully is still stored in his vault.
I managed to create a 40 minute film before releasing the footage to him which he liked and gave me permission to show at film festivals
After many years of trying to get Gail [Zappa] to release my version I finally decided to sell it on my own. Although ZFT’s attorney stopped me from selling T-Shirts on Zazzle, I still sell them on my Ebay store as well as the DVD.
My rationale which I wrote to their attorney is that if they can copyright the music I hired and paid for then I can sell this version of my footage.”
Long-time DC music fans are likely very familiar with this remarkably tuneful work-for-hire product (“Nobody Bothers Me“) created by none other than Nils Lofgren for Jhoon Rhee Self Defense — but for everyone else, this might be a revelation, especially those who seek out examples of advertising jingles that bring honor to the art form:
“Nobody Bothers Me” – jingle created by Nils Lofgren for Jhoon Rhee
Nils Lofgren, in his Q&A within Washingtonian‘s June 2015 issue informs the masses:
“I wrote and recorded it at Bias Studios in Falls Church [VA]. We just found an old 16-track master. I got paid with free lifetime classes, which I haven’t really taken advantage of. There’s a band [OK Go] who play it live. It’s become a kitschy cult classic.”
Nils Lofgren “word cloud”
Washington Bullets Fever: Here to Stay
The same DC-area folks referenced at the top of the piece are likewise just as familiar with Nils Lofgren’s earnestly rocking Washington Bullets jingle from 1978 that came solely from his quill:
Insidious 1980s McDonald’s campaign that used music for crass commercial purposes:
This musical ad immediately brings to mind last August’s piece about the history behind Jimmy Radcliffe’s gospel-flavored “R&B” take on “You Deserve a Break Today” for McDonald’s in the 1970s.
Radcliffe, by the way, would release at least 8 singles between 1962-1970, including his first, “Calypso Twist” and 1969’s lone RCA 45, “Funky Bottom Congregation” – written by none other than Thomas Jefferson Kaye (who co-wrote “I’ve Got to Be Strong” for Chuck Jackson in 1966; produced Loudon Wainwright III‘s “Dead Skunk” and Link Wray in 1974, as well as Gene Clark‘s 1974 cult album, No Other).
Jimmy Radcliffe “Funky Bottom Congregation” 1969
“Funky Bottom Congregation” – written by Kaye; arranged/conducted by Radcliffe
Dusty Springfield once served as a musical “pitchman” for Mother’s Pride bread in this adorable ad, where she travels door-to-door each morning as a “happy knocker-upper” delivering “a cuppa” and “tasty Mother’s Pride” fluffy white bread to the townsfolk:
This Yank would likely have never encountered this ad had it not been included on a 1994 BBC Dusty Springfield documentary, which also contains a small bit of surviving audio featuring Dusty and Jimi Hendrix singing a duet of “Mockingbird.” Hey, whadda ya know, someone has thrown this live performance on YouTube, and it’s as delightful as I remembered — despite the guitar riffing that nearly threatens to overpower them both:
According to Video Beat, Brian Jones wrote this Rolling Stones Rice Krispies jingle (shown only in the UK) with the J. Walter Thompson ad agency, who created this 30-second spoof of pop music TV show, Juke Box Jury:
“On Sunday’s Mad Men, Heinz executive Raymond Geiger (John Sloman) suggests to Don Draper (Jon Hamm) that he get the Rolling Stones to sing a version of ‘Heinz is on my side’ set to their hit song ‘Time Is on My Side’ for the commercial promoting the company’s baked beans.
Draper and Harry Crane (Rich Sommer) set off in pursuit of the Rolling Stones, managing to set up a meeting backstage at their concert at the Forest Hills Tennis Club. Don is dubious but Harry says, ‘The manager sounded greedy.’
Once they arrive at the concert, the meeting keeps getting delayed and Harry and Don end up talking to a couple of college women who managed to get backstage. When one expresses skepticism to Don that the Stones would do a commercial, he says, ‘They did one for cereal in England … three years ago.’ The coed rolls her eyes.”
WCAU, one of Philadelphia’s earliest radio stations (first broadcast: May 22, 1922), couldn’t sit idly by and allow Philadelphia’s less-than-stellar reputation go unchallenged — so it went on the offensive. The result: Just a Philadelphia Minute.
WCAU, “a CBS-owned station – represented nationally by CBS Radio Spot Sales,” produced this collection of 60-second spots that were created by a number of top Philadelphia advertising agencies. Incredibly enough, no information whatsoever can be found on the Internet about this historic effort to rebrand the City of Philadephia — I can only guess that this album was issued sometime in the 1970s. The text on the back cover is priceless:
“Just a Philadelphia Minute is in itself an end, and a beginning.
An end to Philadelphia’s dark ages and Chinese wall ugliness. An end to a city thinking with an inferiority complex.
And a beginning that says Philadelphia doesn’t have to take a back seat to any place. A beginning that means a new spirit of positive action for Philadelphia.
The committed Philadephia advertising agencies who produced these 60-second spots constitute the beginning.”
My favorite piece on this album is this jaunty musical number — needless to say, it’s the old-timey theater organ that steals the show:
[Pssst: Click the triangle above to play “Philadelphia Is the Greatest Little City in the USA”]
Considerably less effective is this spoken-word radio spot in which the tough-guy announcer appears to berate the listener into appreciating Philadelphia’s charms – or else:
[Pssst: Click the triangle to play “How Long Has It Been Since You Visited Philadelphia?”]
Revisiting those iconic images of the world’s peoples joined together on a hillside singing as one – while sipping a Coke – brought to mind The Hillside Singers, whose non-denominational plea for unity, “We’re Together,” I had always assumed was the inspirational basis for what would later get turned into the all-pervasive McDonald’s theme of the 1970s, “You Deserve a Break Today.” The name of the group, The Hillside Singers – it only now occurred to me – was a shameless attempt to cash in on Coke’s hugely successful “I’d Like to Teach the World” singalong ad.
Several years ago I had picked up The Hillside Singers’ one and only album at a local thrift shop, and all this time I’d assumed that “We’re Together” was an early 70s God Pop-style track that got plucked out of relative obscurity for a massive McDonald’s national ad campaign. How mistaken I was in my assumption.
Contrary to popular notion, Barry Manilow did not write “You Deserve a Break Today” (although he did sing on the “pop” recording). Chris Radcliffe – son of singer, Jimmy – sets the record straight:
“The Hillside Singers were an American folk group. The ensemble was assembled by advertising agency McCann Erickson for the purposes of singing in a television commercial. McCann Erickson had written the jingle ‘I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke’ for Coca-Cola, and had sought to have The New Seekers sing it, but The New Seekers could not fit the project into their schedule and turned it down.
McCann Erickson then got in touch with producer Al Ham, who then put together a group of singers for the project (including his wife, Mary Mayo, and their daughter Lori). The commercial began airing late in 1971 and was extremely popular, convincing Ham to rewrite the song as “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” and to record a full album and a Christmas record; the single hit #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #5 on the Adult Contemporary chart, which convinced The New Seekers to issue it as a single as well.
Hoping to create an equally successful campaign, after the initial push with the Hillside Singers, Gavin & Woloshin set about the task of producing alternate Pop and R&B, as the term “Soul” was now passe, versions.”
Here, then, is Jimmy Radcliffe’s “R&B” version that was produced March 31, 1971:
Songwriter, vocalist, musican, jinglesmith, producer, arranger & furniture/clothing designer, Jimmy Radcliffe – it bears pointing out – has a long, and wide-ranging CV whose commercial work includes songwriting for TV’s “Banana Splits,” as well as writing, vocal and production work for the Harlem Globetrotters animated television series. Click here to learn more about Jimmy Radcliffe’s musical legacy.
Chris Radcliffe adds:
“If you get the chance, get a copy of Steve Karmen’s book, Who Killed The Jingle? – How a Unique American Art Form Disappeared, for an amazingly, funny and interesting look inside the advert music world by the undisputed ‘King Of The Jingle.'”