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.

“Plain Jane”: Mean People Suck

Thanks to Lester Bangs for pointing me to one of the more unusual storylines in pop music – B.J. Thomas‘ 1966 single, “Plain Jane:

A dramatic narrative about a serious issue, “Plain Jane” might strike today’s ears as being a bit hokey or kitschy, even though this sort of thing still happens and will continue as long as our popular culture puts a premium on looks and surface appearance.  Quoth Bangs:

But dig the denouement:  the kids pull a fake phone call from a football hero, ‘inviting’ her to the prom, and when he fails to materialize on the big night, she commits suicide!  Take a lesson from that, kids.  Your brothers and sisters certainly did, at least until the next day at school where class lines were the lessons that mattered, where pariahs were pariahs, and the sentimental compassion mushed up from the pop songs was just that:  sentiment.

“Plain Jane” – released December 17, 1966 – “bubbled under” Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart, peaking at the #129 position the week of its release.  The single appears to have originally been released on a small independent label, Pacemaker, before being picked up by Scepter for national distribution.

“Plain Janes” was composed by Mark Charron, who wrote quite a number of single sides for Thomas, as well as The Vogues, fellow Scepter artist, Chuck Jackson, Hanna-Barbera legends, Pebbles & Bamm Bamm, and many others.

Plain Jane 45Seven years prior in 1959, Bobby Darin, had also voiced something called “Plain Jane” written by Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman, a song that manages to charm the listener, despite the lyric’s male chauvinism, nice trick that.  Eddie Hickey, Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians, and Sammy Hagar, among others, have written original compositions entitled, “Plain Jane.”

“I’ve Got to Be Strong”: Cultivating Inner Discipline

The horns really drive the sound in this great 1966 single “I’ve Got to Be Strong” from Chuck Jackson on the Wand label, an imprint of Scepter:

Song arranged and co-written by Thomas JeffersonTommyKaye, legendary hipster songwriter and producer who, in 1973, would produce the third album by Loudon Wainwright III (with the hit, “Dead Skunk“) and also Link Wray’s Be What You Want To album, as well as his own 1973 debut LP, Thomas Jefferson Kaye.

I've Got to Be Strong 45“I’ve Got to Be Strong” can be found on Jackson’s Tribute to Rhythm & Blues Vol. 2 LP from 1966.

Chuck Jackson LP