Rusty York’s Cincinnati Indie

Billboard, in their January 8, 1972 edition, would report this quirky news item in the Cincinnati division of their “From the Music Capitals Around the World” column:

Rusty York, who heads up the Jewel Recording Studio[s] here, learned last week that the new ‘Smash-Up Derby’ commercial [for Cincinnati-based Kenner Products], which he created and did all the instrumental work, has been entered into the Hollywood Film Festival as an entry to select the best film commercial of the year.  The commercial is currently being spotted on all three major networks.”

Kenner SSP Smash-Up Derby TV Commercial   =  Music by Rusty York

Rusty York’s Jewel Recording Studio – in Mt. Healthy, just north of Cincinnati – would begin releasing 45s in 1961 and would once host The Grateful Dead, believe it or not, according to Cliff Radel’s obituary for York in the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s February 4, 2014 edition.

You can survey Rusty York’s musical legacy in three ways:

Discogs also allows you to browse LP & 45 releases that were recorded at Jewel Recording Studio, including Lonnie Mack‘s Whatever’s Right 1969 LP for Elektra (engineered by Gene Lawson) and Paul Dixon‘s Paul Baby 1973 album (on which Dixon is accompanied by former King recording artist Bonnie Lou).

Two memorable song titles that can only be found on the Jewel label:

Baby You Can Scratch My Egg” – vintage 1967 San Francisco-style psych blues – and “Don’t Munkey with the Funky Skunky” – “post 60’s garage/proto punk” from 1974 that features maniacal drumming and laughing choruses that are strategically interrupted by a softly-spoken catch phrase intended to win over the Pre-K crowd.

Jewel Records featured 45 #1

“Baby You Can Scratch My Egg”     The Fabulous Fish     1967

Jewel Records featured 45 #2

“Don’t Munkey with the Funky Skunky”     Dry Ice     1974

From Billboard‘s ‘Music Capitals of the World – Cincinnati’ column = Oct. 14, 1972 edition:

Mike Reid, defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals [previously celebrated here], and Dee Felice [musical associate of James Brown] and his group set for early recording dates at Rusty York‘s Jewel studios.  Felice recently cut two sides at Jewel.  Sonny Simmons, Cleveland gospel promoter, in town recently to produce an album for the gospel-singing Monarchs at Jewel studios.  Others in recently at Jewel to do gospel albums were Judy Cody of Akron; The Crossmen of Lansing, Mich.; and the Cooke Duet of Wise, Va.

Mad Lydia Wood, accompanied by Cincinnati Joe, did the warbling on six commercial spots on Wiedemann Beer for the Campbell-Mithun Agency of Minneapolis at Jewel last week.  Mad Lydia and Joe have held forth at various locations here for the last several years.”

Based on Rusty York’s cameo appearance in a recent piece, no doubt you will not be surprised to learn that Albert Washington was a Jewel recording artist, as was/were Jimmie SkinnerThe Russell BrothersJ.D. Jarvis, Linda Webb, and Dale Miller [let’s not forget 1969’s Sharon Lee and the Moonrockers, not to mention that same year’s The Funnie Papers).

Rusty York at Jewel = courtesy of Randy McNutt’s Home of the Hits

Click on image above for ultra-high resolution

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Did You Know?
Rusty York/King Records Trivia From Randy McNutt’s website:

Rusty York, a former King rockabilly and country singer, bought some of King’s echo equipment and microphones for his own Jewel Recording Studios in suburban Mt. Healthy, Ohio.  He even bought Nathan’s desk chair.  “The Neumann tube mics cost $300 new in the early ’60s,” he said.  “I just sold one for $2,800.  Like King, quality doesn’t go out of style.”

Bonus Jewel 45 for steel guitar fans!  1977‘s “Rose City Chimes” by Chubby Howard

Excerpt from Zero to 180’s Facebook blurb

“Zero to 180’s latest piece pays tribute to a former King recording artist – Rusty York – whose kind and gentle nature and lack of ego may have accidentally conspired to obscure his legacy as an accomplished musician (who “could play any tune in any style“) as well as recording studio founder/engineer, whose Jewel recordings run the gamut of musical sounds and genres, not unlike King (and Fraternity and Counterpart).”

Friendly reminder:  for optimal presentation do not view Zero to 180 on a smart phone!

Love Hymn = Deodorant Ad

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.

Ed Ochs’ “Soul Sauce” column for Billboard would report in its November 14, 1970 edition that Allen Toussaint’s first for Scepter-distributed Tiffany label is ‘Sweet Touch of Love.’

But alas, promo-only 45

Allen Toussaint 45-c

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:

For some people (as YouTube comments attest), Axe Dark Temptation did, indeed, bring new listeners to Allen Toussaint via “Sweet Touch of Love.”  Would you be surprised to learn (as I was) that this commercial won a Gold Lion at the 2008 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity (formerly International Advertising Festival)?

Shameless Plug:  This is the eleventh Zero to 180 piece tagged as Music in Advertising.

Joe Meek’s Bike Anthem of ’64

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 on flexi-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”!

Bike Beat sleeveThis is the tenth refreshing example of Music in Advertising on Zero to 180.

Frank Zappa’s Clio Award

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:

Frank Zappa’s 1967 Luden’s Cough Drops commercial

Ed Seeman tells the world via his website

“”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)”

Says Frank Zappa in the liner notes to The Lost Episodes:

“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.”

Den Simms, Eric Buxton & Rob Samler would interview Frank Zappa in the September, 1990 edition of Society Pages for “They’re Doing The Interview of the Century (pt. 3)“:

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?

FZ: No.

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.

Mona Zappa

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.

Ed Seeman (who is on Facebook) adds this coda to the story:

“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.”

Nobody Bothers Nils Lofgren

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

Check out the other YouTube comments attached to this video — many affirm the degree to which this jingle will remain permanently embedded in their memory.

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”

Bullets FeverWashington 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:

Cautionary Note:   This is the eighth Zero to 180 piece tagged as “Music in Advertising

This Record Could Win You $1 Million?

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

Jimmy Radcliffe 45

Dusty Springfield Sings Grain’s Praises

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:

Rolling Stones 1964 Cereal Advert

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:

Billboard reported in its April 2, 2012 edition:

“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.”

Philadelphia’s Rebirth Begins Here

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.

Philadelphia LP-x

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?”]

Jimmy Radcliffe Deserves a Break Today

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.

Hillside Singers LPSeveral 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.

Jimmy RadcliffeChris 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.'”