Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jingles All The Way!!!

Today we wrap up The Hz So Good Commercial Favorites Countdown from a few years back ... and then, after running a few more of your comments, we'll put this topic to bed for a while. (Rumors that we've permanently switched our focus over to "Jingles All The Way" are greatly exaggerated!!!) Thanks again to everyone who shared their memories with the rest of our readers ... it was fun looking back and seeing and hearing some of these again. (AMAZING what has stuck in our heads for all these years, isn't it?!?!? Yet most of us can't remember where we parked the car!!!)

Meanwhile ... on with the countdown!!!

50. Nescafe / ”43 beans” (1955) … This sounds like a duet of Wally Cox and Marilyn Monroe; ok, I’m exaggerating a little, but, trust me, it’ll help paint the picture here. “(Male:) Two beans times two beans is four beans / (Female:) Nescafe uses much more beans / (Male:) Ten beans times four beans / and add three more beans / (Both:) Make 43 rich coffee beans / (Female:) Yes, you get - / 43 beans in every cup - of Nescafe / real coffee beans / that’s all there is – in Nescafe / 43 beans in every cup - makes Nescafe / the all-coffee instant coffee / with the let’s-have-another-cup taste.”

49. Ballantine / ”A smile every time” (1963) … Maybe just another “better living through beer” ad, but I fell for it. The best was a summer ’63 male-female duet of “you get a smile every time / a smile every time / with the heads-up taste / of a Ballantine.” The :60 includes the “good taste, good time” bridge with an irresistible Al Hirt-esque horn.

48. Contadina / ”Eight great tomatoes” (1954) … This is the only Stan Freberg spot to make the “Crass 100,” but that’s only because it’s the only one he ever did for radio with a recurring jingle (at least best I know). There’s not much to it, either, but it’s all in the delivery, which suggests something I’m not sure even Stan intended. The casual male vocalist, if you will, warbles “who put eight great tomatoes in that little bitty can? / who put eight great tomatoes in that little bitty can? / who put eight great tomatoes in that little bitty can? / you know who / you know who / uh-huh, uh-huh.” The friendly announcer tells us who afterward, and he’s certainly got our attention by that point.

47. Schaefer / ”Schaefer City” (1980) … So, then, a terrific campaign in spite of itself. Jake created great little stories of urban irony to put our heroes in the land of what should have been great beer. Here’s one I particularly liked: “Your ball team hasn’t got a chance, they shouldn’t even play / so you pour yourself some Schaefer beer and bet them anyway / they pull an upset victory they said could not be done / and suddenly are winners / at 25 to 1 / (spoken:) we’re rich! / a-ha / sittin’ pretty / all together in Schaefer City.”

46. Carnation Instant Breakfast / ”Go-go” (1967) … At an opportune moment in pop history - that point when both the Mamas & Papas’ and Petula Clark’s hit streaks were coming to an end - this came onto radio to fill the gap. ”Go-go / breakfast gives you go-go / that early morning go-go / to make it through the day / time, timing, takes the prime time, the time you need to get underway / Carnation has the answer / with energy to go on / Carnation Instant Breakfast / never puts your slow on / you drink it / Carnation / the power-packin’ meal that’ll keep you up when you’re on the mooooooove / so put yourself into an early morning breakfast-drinkin’ groove.” And be sure to wear some flour in your hair.

45. Coca-Cola / ”Coke is it” (1982) … Not their best but still bigger than most radio ads that year. Plus I loved the little piano opening before it all blows up big time. “Coke is it! / the most refreshing way / to make the most of every day / and wherever you go and whatever you do / there’s something big waiting for me and you / Coke is it! / the biggest taste you’ve ever found / Coke is it! / the one that never lets you down / Coke is it! / the most refreshing taste around / Coke is iiiiiiit / Coke is it!” If there was any downside, it would have been that it could be interpreted that Coke therefore had cooties.

44. Pepsi / ”For those who think young” (1961) … Even though it was basically “Makin’ Whoopee” with new lyrics, the coquettish Joanie “Johnny Get Angry” Sommers gave this a fresh innocence that Britney Spears really couldn’t in her 2001 tribute version. I can’t decide which verse is best so I’ll run ‘em both here: “The lively crowd / today agrees / those who think young / say ‘Pepsi, please’ / they pick the right one / the modern light one / now it’s Pepsi / for those who think young / so go ahead / and pick the drink / that lets you drink / young as you think / yes, get the right one / the modern light one / now it’s Pepsi / for those who think young.” At one point Joanie must have recorded market-specific versions, as there’s one on a 1961 WWDC / DC aircheck.

43. Pontiac / ”Ride” (1987) … How easy can it be to sell the feeling you get driving a car on radio? Pontiac made it work with its “Born to Be Wild” update. Over hoofbeat-like guitars came “you feel the thunder, the call of the road / no time to wonder / youuuuuu’ve gotta go / you feel excitement / yeaaaah! / ride Pontiac / get on your Pontiac and ride! Pontiac ride! / ride! Pontiac ride! / ride! Pontiac ride! / get on your Pontiac / we build excitement / Pontiac ride!” That’s it? It’s over? Damnnnnnn.

42. Pepsi / ”Taste that beats the others cold” (1967) … In that it temporarily dropped the ‘Pepsi generation’ line, this seemed like a step backward after “Come alive!” But maybe that was just to me; John Mehno said, “this was as good as anything Coke did, [it] brought Pepsi’s sound up to date.” Most importantly, it sounded great on top 40, especially on hot summer days. “Taste that beats the others cold / Pepsi pours it on! / anytime a thirst takes hold / Pepsi pours it on! / Pepsi’s got that special taste created for the cold / the cold turns on that Pepsi drive / makes Pepsi-Cola come aliiiiive / taste that beats the others cold / Pepsi pours it on!”

41. Sheraton / ”800-325-3535” (1969) … Who here can’t sing it? Therein lies the genius. Did anyone even know what toll-free numbers were until this came along?

40. Jell-O / ”J-E-L-L-O” (1934) … This was born on Jack Benny’s radio show, written and performed by original orchestra leader Don Bestor. A few years later a longer jingle was done at the opening of “The Aldrich Family” which ended with Bestor’s lasting contribution, the trademark “J-E-L-L-O.” The rest, at least at one point, went like this: “Ohhhhhhhhhhh, the big red letters stand for / the Jell-O family / ohhhhhhhhh, the big red letters stand for / the Jell-O family / that’s Jell-O – yum yum yum! / Jell-O puddings – yum yum yum! / Jell-O tap-ioca puddings, yes, sir-ree!.” Voter Steve Thompson makes a good point: “this was the first radio jingle I can recall that spelled out the product's name"

39. Wrigley / "Hi ho, hey hey" (1966) … Not to be confused with a Ramones song (I know, as if). This one seemed to get better with age, benefiting from each newly-recorded version (and each harder rock hit top 40 ran close by it). Everybody, now: “Hi ho, hey hey / chew your little troubles away / hi ho, hey hey / chew Wrigley’s spearmint gum / work goes faster, smoother too / life seems brighter when you chew / hi ho, hey hey / chew Wrigley’s spearmint gum.” Mike Devich calls it “cheesy.” Mike, I don’t suppose you think the Velveeta ads are “gummy”?

38. 7Up / ”The Uncola” (1968) … This is the original one, the “ba-ba-ba-baaa” version, as in “7up, 7up / 7up, the Uncola / 7up, the Uncolaaaaa - / 7up goes wet and wild / like no cola can / a freah, clean taste, Uncola style / and we love it / the Uncolaaaaaa.” RC Price’s take: “As sung by the somewhat heavier, FM-version of the Mosquitoes (after their landmark ‘Rubber Sting’ LP). After awhile, the tune would get interrupted by that smarmy narc who'd suggest weird, counter-cultural things you could do with your soft drink. The Man can't stop our bubbles.”

37. 7Up / ”Un for all” (1972) … Maybe it’s 1up on #38 due to sheer lyrical strength. “It’s the nothing that makes us something / it’s what we miss that hits the mark / it’s what left out that leaves us in / it’s the light shining over the dark / it’s un for all, all for un / 7up, the Uncola.” Heavy, man. John Mehno: “lyrically beyond most of the Tin Pan Alley-type commercials: they weren’t just selling fizzy beverages twelve ounces at a time, they were promoting a way of life that challenged all conventions. Some of the best pop music of 1972, which was a tremendous year for singles.”

36. Brylcreem / ”A little dab’ll do ya” (1953) … Steve Thompson said, “I … still can sing ‘a little dab'll do ya ....” That’s reason enough to include it here. Go ahead, Steve, we’re all listening. “Brylcreem makes men’s hair look neat / smooth and lustrous, can’t be beat / use it daily, just a bit / Brylcreem always makes a hit / Brylcreem, a little dab’ll do ya / Brylcreem, you’ll look so debonair / Brylcreem, the gals’ll all pursue yaaaaa - / simply rub a little in your hair.” Of course, most of you may not be old enough to remember the radio ads and probably remember the animated TV spots, if anything at all.

35. Budweiser / ”But you know that” (1969) … Possibly the swingin’est of the A-B campaigns over the years, sporting the 5th Dimension sound on “Bud-weiser / is the king of beers / Budweiser / but you know that, but you know that / with all the beers there are today / Budweiser makes it all the way, all the waaaaay …” (insert key change here).

34. Sergio Valente / ”Uh-oh, Sergio” (1982) … There’s always extra points if you can cram into sixty seconds a song that segueways perfectly out of any hit. This track was surprising, as Sergios had a ‘disco image,’ and this was, well, not disco. From the insistent opening drumbeats to the Farfisa fade, it’s one fun ride. “Uh-oh, Sergio / uh-oh, Sergio / you caught my eye when you walked on by / uh-oh, Sergio / striped jeans to wear anytime, anywhere / uh-oh, Sergio / Sergio Valente, Sergio Valente (striped jeans!) / uh-oh, Sergio / ooooh, Sergio / you caught my eye.” Ok, so it wasn’t the lyrics here either.

33. Coca-Cola / ”I'd like to buy the world a Coke" (1971) … The only example I could come up with of a national radio commercial that became a hit song. Actually, it was Steve Thompson who came up with it, I just threw in that little tidbit. And, yes, this is the aforementioned exception to that self-imposed rule re artist-specific Coke jingles; let’s face it, this one took on a life of its own and for Coke became a campaign within a campaign (as “look up America” did in 1974 during the height of the Watergate scandal), so then it’s an understandable exception. Believe it or not, the original radio spot with the New Seekers was first heard late in the summer of ’71, not during the holidays, even though it quickly became associated with Christmas. Not that you need to be reminded, especially given the top ten hit the New Seekers had with it shortly after the spot hit, but here goes anyway: “I’d like to build the world a home / and furnish it with love / grow apple tree and honeybees / and snow white turtle doves / I’d like to teach the world to sing / in perfect harmony / I’d like to buy the world a Coke / and keep it company.” Another perspective from John Mehno: “the notion of world peace through carbonated soft drinks was a reach but the song was nice.”

32. Pepsodent / ”You’ll wonder where the yellow went” (1955) … Whether it was Billy Brown or Susie Q – or Richie, Potsie and Ralph, for that matter - every kid knew the way to whiter teeth thanks to this jingle that wouldn’t go away. Save for the actual sung slogan, this was one of the first ‘rap’ commercials. Here’s the BB version: “(whistle) / Billy Brown / the smoothest, coolest guy in town / the chicks all seem to dig his jive / hey, tell us, Bill – how can WE arrive? / ’it’s eeeeeeeeasy, Jack / any gal gets sent / when you flash a smile by Pepsodent!’ / you’ll wonder where the yellow went / when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent.”

31. Seagram’s / ”Two parts fun” (1984) … A throwback to the unabashed-pleasure-of-adult-social-drinking spots of the ‘60s, right down to the unapologetically-retro music track. Sample verse: “life should be – one part opera and two parts rock ‘n roll / life should be – getting wiser without growing old / a double bonus for a job well done / life should be one part Seagram’s, and two parts fun.” And then here’s where they get you – the ice-in-the-glass SFX. This WAS your father’s booze ad.

30. Peak Freans / ”Very serious” (1982) … ”Peak Freans are a very serious cookie / they're made for grown-up tastes / Peak Freans are much too good to waste on children / oh, they're serious / very serious / Peak Freans are extraordinarily serious - cookies / if you're a grown-up or plan to be one, you'll know what we mean / Peak Freans are a very serious cookie.” Beauty.

29. 101 / ”A silly millimeter” (1968) … As we’ve already seen, not all great radio ad campaigns need be set to original music. “La Bamba” was the basis for this irresistible ditty which was everywhere that summer. Pretty simple jingle: just replace “ba ba bamba” with “101” and “ba-da-ba-da-ba-da-bamba” with “a silly millimeter longer, 101.” Here was a product with an absolutely dumb premise: since longer 100mm cigarettes were all the rage, why not add an extra mm? Wonder if any loyal smoker ever sued these guys for having gotten lung cancer x% earlier than with the 100s?

28. Coca-Cola / ”Coke is it 2” (1984) … Eat your heart out, P. Diddy. Coke’s second (but not final) version of “Coke is it” was a winner, based on Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Waters of March” and sung to perfection by both Aretha Franklin and Phoebe Snow. “A field, a flight / it is totally now / it’s taking your shot / it’s showing ‘em how / the real things in life / a stop, a start / a hope, a friendship / it’s losing your heart / it’s just how you feel when you know it’s for real / it’s a hit / it’s a Coke / Coke is it / Coca-Cola is it.” For me it was always just a lot of belching, but I guess I’m always the guy who ruins it for everyone else.

27. Psssssst!/”P-S-S-S-S-S-S-T” (1968) … Who says there were no radio dramas left in the ‘60s? Every night for awhile there teenage girls faced down the problem of hair-washing with nothing on the clock. Take, for example: “Oh, drat! / why can’t he ever plan ahead? / I can shower and change / and put on my face / but what can I do / about washing my hair? / Psssssst! – there’s something new / Psssssst! – instant spray shampoo / Clairol freshens your hair – instantly / with P-s-s-s-s-s-s-t / Psssssst! – is not a wet shampoo / oh, no / Psssssst! – is not a dry shampoo / oh, no / spray and brush is all you do / then go / ’cause Clairol freshens your hair – instantly / with P-s-s-s-s-s-s-t.” RC Price weighs in: ”The chirpy little faux-Lulu's acoustic version around 1970 ranks right up there with ‘Love Grows’ and ‘Gimme Dat Ding’ as my fave pop moment of the new decade.”

26. Honda / ”You meet the nicest people” (1965) … Dare I say, the Hondells’ Honda ad was better and more fun on radio than their actual top 40 hit about Honda about a year earlier. Voter John Mehno says it best: ”It became so popular that the Hondells even stretched it out for a short single (Mercury) that didn’t chart. A nice piece of sun-splashed fluff that fit in nicely with ‘California Girls’ but seemed a bit anachronistic when it was anywhere near ‘Like a Rolling Stone.’ And the song? “You meet the nicest people on a Honda bike / it’s the world’s biggest seller and I know you’ll like / 200 miles per gallon and a rugged sale machine / and Honda prices start about 215 / go little Honda, go little Honda / you meet the nicest people on a Honda.”

25. Diet Coke / ”Introducing” (1982) … If you recall, one of the biggest new product rollouts ever, and this one was everywhere. “Introducing Diet Coke / you’re gonna drink it just for the taste of it / livin’ good with Diet Coke / this is the one from Coca-Cola / new cola taste with just one calorie / just for the taste of it / Diet Coke.” I guess splashy counts for something.

24. Volkswagen / ”Farvergnugen” (1990) … Maybe the word sounded like something I really didn’t want to be associated with, but … you gotta admit that after the first few times you heard it on the radio, you didn’t forget it or the car that allegedly gave it to you. Not sure the words really mattered, but here’s how one version went, as sung by “Helga”: “Exhilarating cruisin’ / the road to farvergnugen / flowing into smooth and curving / feeling great, nimble turning / zippin’ an’-a zoooooooo-min’ / (male:) 30-40-55-in’ / farrrrrr-verg-nuuuuu-gen / Volkswagen / farrrrrr-verg-nuuuuu-gen / say the word / farrrrrr-verg-nuuuuu-gen / say the word!”

23. Helena Rubenstein Heaven Scent / ”Suddenly” (1967) … It’s a hit, alright, even if she did sound like she was straining on the word “scent.” Which may explain why later versions featured a different vocalist. “Suddenly / there’s a heavenly fragrance that clings / it’s Heaven Scent / suddenly / you’re an imp wearing angel’s wings / in Heaven Scent / suddenly / you are all of the things that you want to be / a little bit naughty but heavenly / in Hea-ven Scennnnt.” 1967 translation: maybe second base but that’s about it.

22. Barrelhead / ”Don’t spare the ice” (1973) … Irresistible. You can just imagine the guys with handlebar moustaches tapping that ol’ barrel and spillin’ root beer on the floor during “for old-fashioned flavor / take our advice / drink Barrelhead root beer / and don’t spare the ice! / and it’s real draft-style root beer with real draft-style foam / ’cause Barrelhead has, Barrelhead has / brought old-style root beer home,” all over a great rinky-tink piano. Old-style, indeed. And, far as I know, never a TV campaign.

21. Bain de Soleil / ”For the St. Tropez tan” (1982) … There it was, you just read the entire jingle. For many summers during the ‘80s, I couldn’t decide if this was a commercial for tan lotion or tourism. It’s that girl I wanted, forget about the tan. I especially liked the spots when all she did was hum the thing. Oh, God. You can keep Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby,” I’ll take this anytime. Don’t give me that look; based on your votes, I’m not the only one with this fantasy.

20. Doublemint / ”Double your pleasure” (1960) … So simple it’s great – even without seeing double, as in those twins. You voters seemed to agree, too. "Double your Pleasure, double your fun / with double good, double good, Doublemint gum / double delicious, double smooth too / Doublemint’s double-delightful to chew / so double your Pleasure, double your fun / get double everything rolled into one / oh, double your Pleasure, double your fun / with double good, double good, Doublemint gum."

19. Robert Hall / ”Where the values” (1959) … Best I can recall, one or the other version of this classic (“where the values go up, up, up / and the prices go down, down, down / Robert Hall this season / will show you the reason / low overhead / low overhead,” or “Robert Hall will show you / the reason they give you / high quality / economy”) ran throughout the ‘60s and until the chain closed its doors in the ‘70s. In the early ‘60s, the Les Paul & Mary Ford rendition seemed inescapable.

18. Army / ”Be all you can be” (1980) … What else needs to be said? Its longevity - and that it became a staple of syndicated programming - speaks for itself. With apologies to Jake, I couldn’t locate a copy of the original spot with that great opening verse before the one everyone knows: “Be / all that you can be (whoa, yeah) / keep on reaching / keep on growwwww-ing / be / all that you can be / ’cause we need you / in the Ah-ah-ahhhr-my.” Paid for … oh, sorry. See, you just don’t forget that stuff. Editor’s note: the line “’cause we need you” was eventually replaced with “you can do it” and even later with “find your future.”

17. Michelob / ”Weekends” (1976) … I never got a straight answer as to how some A-B :30s wound up in the cart box at my college’s AM carrier-current station. No matter: lucky for me, my show was on Sundays, so I could slip this one into breaks and sound at least semi-professional talking out of it (I mean, there had to be a tag, right?). Anyway, sit back and relax. “Weekends were maaade – for Michelob (repeat) / have a nice one, y’hear? (‘cause the time is your own) / 52 weeks a year (be with friends or alone) / don’t forget – remember to pick up some beer / it’s Michelob / weekends were made for Michelob.” And if you were lucky, this was followed by both John Forsythe’s A-B tag and that girl’s very breathy “yeah.”

16. Castro / ”First to conquer living space” (1962) … This should be remembered if only for having used the word “incontrovertible,” as in “Who was the first to conquer space? / it’s incontrovertible / that the first to conquer living space / is a Cas-tro Convertible / who conquers space with fine design? / who saves you money all the time? / who’s tops in the convertible line? / Cas-tro Convertible.” Why this sounds like the guy’s riding a horse in order to get modern furniture is beyond me.

15. Miller High Life / ”Welcome to Miller Time” (1983) … Or, what weekends were really made for. Kenny Rogers handled it nicely, but Southside Johnny really rocked the place. “Welcome / to Miller Time / it’s all yours / and it’s all mi-ine / bring your thirty self right here / you’ve got-the time, we’ve got the beer / for what you have in mi-ind / welcome – you know you’re welcome / welcome – everybody’s welcome / welcome / to Miller Time / yours and mine.”

14. Schlitz / ”When you’re out of Schlitz” (1966) … The first radio ad jingle I can think of which incorporated “yeah yeah,” as in “There’s just one Schlitz (yeah, yeah) / nothing else comes near / when you’re out of Schlitz / you’re out of beer / just one beer fits (yeah, yeah) / this great one here / when you’re out of Schlitz / you’re out of beer / if you like it light with a big taste, too / there’s only one brew that will do / when you’re out of Schlitz / you’re out of beer / re-al gusto with a great – light – beer / Schlitz!”

13. Beneficial Finance / ”You’re good for more” (1968) … Some votes came in for this with “toot toot,” others with “boop boop.” Here’s a case where I really know what it is, because there was a short-lived animated TV spot that spelled it out at the end. And here’s where I reveal that earth-shattering revelation: “At Beneficial – doot! doot! – you’re good for more / at Beneficial – doot! doot! – you’re good for more / at Beneficial – doot! doot! – where the money is / we want / to give you / the full amount / you have in minnnnnnd.” Price: “It's been thirty years, and I STILL can't get this one out of my head. At 23.9% APR, it's also taken 30 years to finally get down to the principal.”

12. Pepsi / ”You’ve Got a Lot to Live” (1970) … Don’t sit down, yet, RC: “Had to rate this stand-up-and-cheer rouser as the best of the Pepsi's (my fave was by Three Dog Night), although it happened to be from my most formative soda years. But, man, for me, that trumpet call will always open the gates of No Deposit, No Return heaven.” Roy Currlin: “Was so glad to see Pepsi bring back this underappreciated ‘70s jingle via the Super Bowl Britneyfest last year.” Should you need reminding, it was: “There’s a whole new way of livin’ / Pepsi helps supply the drive / it’s got a lot to give / to those who like to live / ’cause Pepsi helps ‘em / come ali-i-i-i-ive / it’s the Pepsi generation / comin’ at ya, goin’ strong / put yourself behind a Pepsi / if you’re livin’ / you belo-o-o-ong- / you’ve got a lot to live / and Pepsi’s got a lot to give.”

11. Miller High Life / ”If you’ve got the time” (1971) … Not sure I even have to remind you about this one, either, but here goes anyway: “If - you’ve got the time / we’ve got the beer (Miller beer) / Mil-ler takes too good to hurry through / but when it’s time to relax / Mil-ler stands clear (beer after beer) / if you’ve got the time (if you’ve got the time) / we’ve got the beer (Miller beer).” Just made you want to hang the transistor radio on the same hook as the hammock, slide in, and throw back a few.

10. Honda / ”Follow the leader” (1981) … Gets you right at second one. “The look / the feel / the power / of the leader / catch him if you caaaaaan / follow the leader / he’s on a Honda / he’s got the wo-orld / in / his /haaaands.” Not sure about you and me, brother, and the itsy bitsy baby, but you get the idea.

9. Pepsi / ”Hits the spot” (1939) … This was, so I’ve been told or have read, the granddad of the type of commercial jingles most of us hold dear. Yes, that’d be “Pepsi-Cola hits the spot / twelve full ounces, that’s a lot / twice as much for a nickel, too / Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you / nickel-nickel-nickel-nickel / trickle-trickle-trickle-trickle …” The earliest version I’m familiar with was performed in a light-swing style befitting the times. Steve Thompson reminded me that this campaign was born of the same thing just about all Pepsi campaigns that followed were: competition with that other cola. “It dates back to when Coca-Cola came in six-and-a-half-ounce bottles.”

8. Ford Mustang / ”Only Mustang makes it happen” (1967) … Back when car models got their own jingles, this really stood out of the pack and rivaled some of the best top 40 hits of that fall for effect. This in spite of the fact that it was basically a hootenanny, and probably didn’t best capture the feeling of riding in a Mustang. Even so, “only Mustang makes it hap-pen / only Mustang makes life great / Mustang moves you / Mustang grooves you / Mustang, Mustang ‘68 / only Mustang makes it hap-pen / only Mustang had the key / Mustang warms you / and transforms you / Mustang, Mustang sets you free.” was a winner of a jingle.

7. Schaefer / ”The one beer to have” (1961) … Kinda makes you sad how all of these beer companies ate – well, drank – each other up. Over all the years “Schafer / is the / one beer to have when you’re / having more than one / Schafer / pleasure / doesn’t fade even / when you’re thirst is done / the most rewarding flavor in this man’s world / for people who are having fun / Schafer / is the / one beer to have when you’re / having more than one” ran, nothing beat the original “marching band” arrangement.

6. Lowenbrau / ”Here’s to good friends” (1977) … Currlin: “Both [this and] Miller High Life’s ‘If you've got the time’ introduced catch phrases (‘Miller Time’ and ‘Here's to Good Friends’); you'll never hear such mellow tunes used to hump beer ever again.” Good point, Roy, but I wonder why, especially given the effect this one has. Singer Arthur Prysock scored his first album on the pop chart in eleven years thanks to this campaign, which still chokes me up. “Here’s to good friends / tonight is kind of special / the beer we’ll pour / must say something more somehow / so tonight, tonight / let it be Lowenbrau / it’s been so long / gee, I’m glad to see you / raise your glass / here’s to health and happiness / so tonight, tonight, let it be all the best.”

5. Pepsi / ”Come alive!” (1964) … When Pepsi kept Joanie Sommers aboard to kick off this campaign, it never sounded better: “Come alive / come alive / you’re in the Pepsi generation / drink light, drink great / drink right, up to date / young taste, young drive / young pace, come alive!” The piccolo and horns here are stellar and carry the message nicely. Not only was this the first use of the phrase “Pepsi Generation,” but the music and construction of this jingle represented a major leap from any soft drink’s advertising at the time.

4. Winston / ”Tastes good like a cigarette should” (1954) … One of the few jingles I can recall whose accompanying TV campaign – basically animated notes on a scale – proved how much more powerful it was on radio. For most of the ‘50s, anyway, the lyrics stayed “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should / Winston tastes good like a – (clap! clap! optional) – cigarette shoooooould / Winston gives you real flavor / full, rich, tobacco flavor / Winston’s easy drawing too / the filter lets the flavor through.” Might have inspired the most famous parody of a commercial, which every 10-year-old knew during the ‘60s (“Winston tastes bad like the one I just had / no filter, no taste, it’s a – 50-cent waste”). Ah, youth.

3. Coca-Cola / ”Things Go Better” (1964) … It was almost as if you couldn’t have a radio station without these ads. And nothing beat the original version by the Limeliters (although in all fairness, the rendition by the Caravelles, of “You Don’t Have to Be a Baby to Cry” fame, is nice, too). Either way, it’s “things go better with Coca-Cola / things go better with Coke / life is much more fun when you’re refreshed / and Coke refreshes you best / it’s the refreshing-est / food goes better with - / fun goes better with - / you go better with Coke / the real live one puts extra fun in you and everything you do, so - / things go better with Coca-Cola / things go better with Coke.” Price: “For my money, the most memorable of the Coke campaigns.”

2. Coca-Cola / ”It’s the Real Thing” (1969) … Let’s let the experts speak. Currlin: “I was always partial to The Fortunes’ version, which I think was the original; just a top notch, everything right about it campaign. I drink my weight in Coke every week (ok, Diet Coke) and these ads are probably the reason why.” Price: “This one sounded as great as anything on the radio back in the ‘60s (whoa-oh-oh-yeah!). Probably the ‘Lovin' Feeling’ of cola jingles.” No argument here. “It’s the re-al thing (Coke - is) / in the back of your mind (Coca-Co-o-laa) / what you’re hoping to find (whoa-oh-oh-yeah) / is the real thing / it’s the re-al thing (Coke – is) / that’s the way it should be (Coca-Co-o-laa) / what the world wants to see (whoa-oh-oh-yeah) / is the real thing (Coca-Cola is Coke!).” Ok, that’s a :30 edit, but you know the whole thing anyway.

1. Budweiser / ”When you say Bud” (1972) … To be honest, I had no idea what would top this list even as I was constructing it. I just assumed that the pile of suggestions and whatever inspiration I got while listening to all of these spots over again would lead naturally to an obvious answer. And I think it worked out like that. In its :60 form, this builds to such a great climax, and then it’s like everyone leaves the building at the very end. Even in its :30 versions, it still outclassed everything around it. Price: “it was an all-time classic melody, and the brassy arrangements with the tuba were great. Tubas rock.” Currlin: “once in a while, I'll hear that original version - a veritable anthem - and feel proud to be an American.” And here’s the whole darn thing: “when you say Bud / you’ve said a lot of things nobody else can say / when you say Bud / you’ve gone as far as you can go to get the very best / when you say Bud / you’ve said the word that means you’d like to do it all / when you say Bud / it means you want the beer that’s got a taste that’s number one / when you say Bud / you tell the world you know what makes it all the way / when you say Bud / you say you care enough to only want the king of beers / there is no other one / there’s only something less / because the king of beers / is leading all the rest / when you say Bud-weiser / you’ve said it all.” That’s like the “Stairway to Heaven” of ad jingles.

And there you have it!!! Thanks again, Rich --- (wonder how many of our readers were "You-Tubing" while reading this!) Remember, you can pick up Rich's Book Of Days (The '60's and / or The '70's) exclusively at Barnes and Noble!

Meanwhile, Hz So Good has a NEW topic they're taking on this month ... here are all the details:

Don't Touch WHAT Dial???
It’s long due, and now it’s just weeks away: the first Hz So Good devoted to off-road listening – Internet, satellite, HD, streaming terrestrial, Pandora, live365, you-name-it.

If you’ve gone over to the dark side, even for just a few hours a week, we’d like to know what got you there, what you listen to, and how it’s changed your ‘regular radio’ habits. We’ll cram as many of your comments as we can in this special Hz, the first of 2010.

And if by chance you operate an off-radio radio service, we’d like to hear from you too, and make you part of our special Hz “No Paper,” Going Tubeless. Just let me know you’re interested and I’ll send a round of questions under separate cover.

This Hz drops end of January, so you’ve got a little time to get your thoughts together.

Thanks, Kent ... and remember: if any of your readers would like to receive Hz So Good in their own email in-box, drop me a line and let me know:

Happy New Year from

P.S. Filing in the 3rd annual I.R.S. (as in, It Really Shoulda been a top 10 hit) has begun! You can declare as many as 40 songs this year, just send ‘em here. As always, don’t worry about actual charting info, we’ll handle all of that. The Top 104 will appear in the Hz So Good just before, that’s right, April 15th, so lots of time.

Friday, January 8, 2010

More Of Your Commercial Favorites

And the hits just keep on comin'!!! (Commercially speaking, of course!)

Typically, that would mean "hit interuptus" ... but you guys seem to be diggin' these commercial sounds so we've got a ton more memories for you over these next couple of days.

Yesterday we told you about Rich Appel and his Hz So Good Newsletter ...

Now comes word from Rich that he's been down this "Favorite Commercials" Road before!

Here (in its entirety ... and with Rich's kind permission) is a piece that he ran in HIS publication back in 2002 ... see how many of THESE catchy musical interludes you remember!!! (Being a Top 100 Countdown, it's a bit long, so we'll split it into two days ... and, as a special bonus, we're also featuring Rich's exclusive interview with Jake Holmes, a guy who knows his way around a successful advertising campaign or two.)

More cool stuff today and tomorrow in Forgotten Hits. Enjoy!


In 2002, Hz So Good ended the year with a countdown of the The Crass 100, the best radio commercial jingles ever, based on pains' votes and my collection. Here's that. Thanks so much.
-- Rich Appel

And now, a word … make that, 100 words ... from our sponsors.

Ah, were they only our sponsors.

Thanks to your suggestions and, well, mine, too, we’ve ‘tallied’ (yeah, right) the first-ever HZ SO GOOD “Crass 100” countdown of the best / catchiest / most effective / I-really-don’t-know-what-our-criteria-was musical radio commercials / ad campaigns of all-time (I hesitate to use the word ‘jingles’ since not all fell into that category) … featuring a special ‘half-time show’ you’re just gonna have to stay tuned for. There’s a switch for you, a break between the commercials.

Whether you’re a collector or fan of classic top 40 radio airchecks, or you just have a great memory for radio over the years, you already know how important those ‘little songs’ were to the overall sound of those stations. Sure, back then most of us, like kids today, hated ads (“get back to the music already!”); some of us were savvy enough to know when the breaks came on ‘LS’ clock so we could switch over to music on ‘CFL. I use that example because one of my favorite airchecks is a homemade job done by a friend who, while growing up in Chicagoland, basically switched back and forth between both top-40 powerhouses one night in December of 1971 lookin’ for the hits. Although I didn’t get to hear the ads on that tape, I was a more patient listener myself in December ‘71, the kid who stuck around for the spots (many of which were, dare I say, as good as if not better than the hits).

The criteria for musical radio commercials making this list wasn’t, as you’ll see, as clear-cut as it was for the songs qualifying for the two earlier big countdowns we’ve done here. But here are a few things I thought were important:

- By ‘musical commercials’ I mean mini-songs, not just one or two musical lines and that’s it. I made a few exceptions along the way for campaigns based on just a sung slogan, where those campaigns were so memorable and so tied to radio that we couldn’t leave them out …

… leading nicely to criteria #2: these campaigns had to be ‘out there.’ The goal here was for you to recognize just about every entry, simply because back in the day there was no way you could have avoided any of them. In my own research I was suspect of anything I heard on only one aircheck, unless I remember having heard it a lot more in my youth. That also meant I had to discard local or regional campaigns, which I hated to do. Having grown up in the Boston area, I had a soft spot for “How does Dinger do it?” and “Meet me tonight at the Red Coach Grill,” among others.

- While I tended to favor campaigns which sounded wonderful up against the music on radio, I still didn’t exclude musical commercials from pre-TV. After all, none of those had the benefit of being double-pumped, so they may have been more effective than later campaigns airing on both radio and TV. And that was another criteria: if the TV campaign really overshadowed that of radio, jingle or no, it was outta there or at least ranked significantly lower than it might have been under other circumstances.

- Consistency and longevity counted. Meaning, one-time-only jingles - such as those Coca-Cola ran for nearly a decade featuring various songs by various artists, great as many of them were (and we’ve covered that in an earlier HZ) - didn’t (make that, they didn’t with one obvious exception). Nor did campaigns with extremely short flights, best typified by the ever-changing shoe outlet spots featuring the latest cheapo fashion footwear for teens. I really hated leaving these out, too, given how great some of the Thom McAn and Miles songs were over the years.

Words of warning:

1) My background not being in advertising, and my knowledge of the actual names or first years of these campaigns therefore slim to none, I’ve relied on sheer memory and guesswork – ah, the American way;

2) Between your great suggestions and my memory being what it is, we’ve surely left out some key musical radio spots, but I’m sure you’ll come back at me on that, as you always do;

3) I did my best to get the words right on all of these, listening to old airchecks and checking websites, but surely I goofed up in many places. Re #3, several pains have suggested that I either attach 100 mp3s or create an audio version of this countdown. That’s an idea I absolutely love; whether we can actually do that remains to be seen.

All of that said … on with the countdown, and # --

100. Halo / ”Halo, everybody, Halo!” (1944) … Proving that this list has as much statistical accuracy as any local radio countdown you heard over the holidays, we kick it off with the obvious. This co-sponsor of CBS Radio’s “Theater of Romance” was first sung by in-studio singers known as “The Smart Set,” but over the years, sponsoring other radio shows, some more famous names took a stab at it, one being this guy Sinatra. Here goes: “Halo, everybody, Halo! / Halo is the shampoo that glorifies your hair / Halo, everybody, Halo! / for softer, lively curls / and brighter, sparkling hair / so Halo, everybody, Halo! / Halo shampoo, Haloooooooo!”

99. Moxie / ”If you’re over 30” (1968) … In the spirit of the name “Crass 100,” I thought this needed to be included, even if it was one of the worst ad ideas ever concocted. I guess that’s why it’s here at the bottom. I’ll let the jingle tell the story: “If - you’re - over 30 / your Moxie days are at an ennnnnnd / Moxie’s for people under 30 / sorry about – that – friend / too bad, too bad / Moxie’s for the groovy set / be glad, be glad / you’re not 30 yet / join the Moxie set.” Well, that would explain all those photos in Life and Look of naked kids drinking Moxie at Woodstock.

98. Alka-Seltzer / ”Plop plop, fizz fizz” (1977) … Perhaps as proof that their classic TV spots of the early ‘70s failed to move the product (think “Mama Mia, that’s-a some spicy meatball”), Alka-Seltzer brought back the 1950s “Speedy” character combined with one of the catchiest jingles in ad history. Although “plop plop, fizz fizz / oh, what a relief it is” was heard plenty on radio, the accompanying massive TV campaign surely diluted its effect, hence its lower ranking here.

97. Black Label / ”Mabel” (1956) … Over the years this ran, there were all sorts of jingles built around “(whistle) / Mabel! / Black Label / Carling Black Label beer” – such as slipping the line “there’s nothing too good for gooooood company” in the middle of the above in this early version - but of course that by itself is enough of a gem to let it sneak onto the “Crass 100.”

96. Amstel / ”95 calories” (1981) … While this guy sang as if his entire life depended on discovering a good imported light beer, “95 calories / never tasted so imported / ’til they imported Amstel light” sure was tough to shake after the first hundred times you heard it.

95. Alpine / ”Who did it?” (1961) … Hard not to like this period piece, sung by a band of macho men only the Village People could love: “Who did it? / how did they do it? / what in the world did they doooooooo? / who put the ‘men’ in ‘menthol smoking’? / Alpine - that’s who! / (female:) who? / Alpine – that’s who!” I’m certain, were I old enough in 1961, I would have stayed awake nights wondering when a cigarette company would answer my plea for a menthol cig’ that wouldn’t compromise my heterosexuality.

94. Contac / ”Give your hand” (1973) … Simple, effective and light enough to match the latest Helen Reddy smash: “give your hand to a friend / give your heart to your love / but give your cold (sneeze SFX) to Contac.”

93. Maxwell House / ”Good-to-the-last-drop feeling” (1981) … Man, that Ray Charles could sell condoms to John Wayne Bobbitt. Ok, better example: I’ve never liked coffee, and I almost came around every time I heard “Mornings seem to start much better / you seem to start much better / when you start your day together / Maxwell House and you / get that good-to-the-last-drop feeling / with Maxwell House, only Maxwell House / gives you good-to-the-last-drop feeling / Max-wellllllllllll House….yeah.” There’s the payoff, by the way, Ray’s “yeah.”

92. Canada Dry Ginger Ale / ”Tastes like love” (1971) … Love WAS all around in ’71, and not just in Minneapolis, Mar’. The movies gave us “Love Story,” “The Love Bug” and “The Love Machine,” and art gave us the “love sculpture” (you know, the L-O on top of the V-E). So this didn’t sound out of place in the least on radio that summer: “love us all or love just one / don’t miss love, you’ll miss the fun (repeat) / ginger ale tastes like love / Canada Dry ginger ale.” By the way, were that actually true I’d send it back.

91. Mexico Board of Tourism / ”Stay with me Mexico” (1989) … After having recorded the Grammy-winning “Canciones de Mi Padre,” Linda Ronstadt was perhaps considered a natural to do this commercial, which really sounded like the pop Linda most of us knew and loved. ”Like a dream you call to me / in my heart you stay with me / you always touch my soul / and the memories unfold / ooh-ooh-oooooooh-ooh, you stay, you stay / you stay with me, Mexico.” Makes you almost want to drink the water.

90. Lava / ”L-A-V-A” (1944) … Not much to it, but it sure packed a punch. The jingle of this longtime sponsor of CBS Radio’s “The FBI in Peace and War” was simply a husky male voice singing the above in quotes twice over a bass drum, to carry the message that this was tough, pumice-based soap for washing dirty filthy hands of hard-working men - MEN, damn it. The tune is similar to any “let’s go (insert team name here)” stadium cheer, just a whole lot more sinister.

89. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish / ”Here’s our jingle” (2000) … A late entry, but I’d say a worthy one, especially in this ‘no jingle’ age we’re currently in. No doubt inspired by the theme to TV’s “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” (“This is the theme to Garry’s show / the opening theme to Garry’s show / this is the music that you hear / as they roll the credits”), here, it’s: “Here’s our jingle for Goldfish / The radio jingle for Goldfish / Close your eyes and try to picture crunchy little Goldfish / That is unless you’re driving / Oh yeah, now that reminds us / (Spoken:) Goldfish Brand Crackers are great to munch on in the car / Here’s our jingle for Goldfish / Did we mention it’s for Goldfish / Oh good we’re at the part where we say that they’re baked and not fried / Did you know they’re made with real cheese / Even though they look like fishies / The snack that smiles back. Goldfish.” Later radio spots may have been wittier, by the way, but the original’s still the greatest.

88. Wildroot / ”Get Wildroot Cream Oil, Charlie” (1946) … In the ‘let men sell a man’s product’ department, this “Adventures of Sam Spade” sponsor’s jingle would be as PI as they come these days. ”Get Wildroot Cream Oil, Chaaaaaar-lie / It keeps your hair in trim / you see, it’s – non-alcoholic, Chaaaaaar-lie / it’s made with soothin’ lanolinnnnn / you’d better get – Wildroot Cream Oil, Chaaaaaaaar-lie / start usin’ it today / you’ll see that – you will have a tough time, Chaaaaaaar-lie / keepin’ all the gals away / (Spoken:) Hiya baldy! / Get Wildroot right awaaaaaay.” Steve Thompson reminded me of the other later life this one had: “I remember that ad more from newspapers than from radio, 'cause the ads used Fearless Fosdick (the Dick Tracy parody character from ‘Lil’ Abner’) as a ‘spokesman.’"

87. Score / ”Gives you good-looking hair” (1968) … Update #88 twenty years and you get this. A Jim Morrison sound-alike appeals to the sort of man who reads Playboy with “Score gives you no outrageous promises / Score gives you good-looking hair / (repeat) / use it with water, it mixes with water / Score gives you good-looking hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair! / Score gives you no outrageous promises / Score gives you good-looking hair / gives you good-looking / Score gives you good-looking / hair, gives you good-looking … (fade).”

86. Schlitz / ”Once around life” (1972) … As you may recall, their ‘60s campaign eventually morphed into: “Once around life / once around living / once around beer and you'll keep around Schlitz / when you're out Schlitz / you're out of beer.” I remember Kenny Rogers & the First Edition’s take on it, and RC Price remembers “the O'Jays’ version cooked so much that [WCFL / Chicago’s] Larry Lujack even gave it a ‘whoo.’" That’s high praise right there from Superjock.

85. Juicy Fruit / ”Pick a pack” (1974) … Over the years, most of this Wrigley gum’s campaigns have been ‘TV-first’; remember the images attached to “strrrrrretch your coffee break” or “the taste is gonna move you”? IMHO … ”pick a pack, what a happy feeling / Juicy Fruit, what a happy flavor / let’s pick a pack / of Juicy Fruit gum / let’s pick a pack / from the Juicy Fruit tree / ’cause the flavor’s so good / you gotta get some / just pick a pack and you’ll see” was the best of the Wrigley :60 radio jingles during the ‘70s. Chew on that.

84. HFC / ”Never borrow money needlessly” (1960) … Back when moneylenders were all over radio, this spot made these guys out to be the nicest, if that’s possible. “H-F-C / says never borrow money needlessly / just when – you must / borrow them where loans are a specialty / from folks – you trust / borrow confidently from H-F-C.” Yeah, I know they tweaked those lyrics around as the years went on.

(Makes you wanna call Friendly Bob Adams 'tho, doesn't it?!?! Where is this guy when I really need him?!?!?) kk

83. Ben & Jerry’s / ”There ain’t no Haagen” (1987) … Talk about getting right to the point. “There ain’t no Haagen, there ain’t no Dazs / there ain’t no Frusen, there ain’t no Gladje / there ain’t no guy named Steve at Steve’s / but there are two guys at Ben & Jerry’s.” So it won’t win any poetry awards, but I get it, or, got it. I never knew whether most people really cared whether their ice cream had a human face on it, especially one with a scraggly beard, but this was clever.

82. TIE: HyperPhase / ”Today’s the day” and TheraBlem / ”Zits, zits, zits, zits” (1970) … The counterculture actually cared about pimples; who would’a thunk? Listening to “Today’s the day / today’s the day / HyperPhase can wash it away / the news is out (yeah) / it’s fun to shout (yeah) / HyperPhase is here to stay” you’d swear you’re at a love-in … with sponsorship. RC Price reminded me of the Kurt Cobain-like TheraBlem spots out at the exact same time, also designed to take an “FM” approach to the product. What those ads lacked in lyrics (“Zits, zits, zits, zits / I don’t like zits / you don’t like zits” sung to the tune of “Volga Boatmen” in one spot, “I want TheraBlem / you want TheraBlem / I’ll buy TheraBlem / you’ll buy TheraBlem” in another) they more than made up for in pre-punk-era attitude. Made you forget all about the one invented by a pharmacist for his own kids (ok, I really didn’t forget, that was PropaPH).

81. Stri-Dex / ”Give your face something to smile about” (1975) … And here, the gold standard of the zit spot world, and it took Barry Manilow to reach it.

80. Pan Am / ”Makes the going great” (1967) … Short (the entire jingle’s at left) but unforgettable.

79. Tijuana Smalls / ”You know who you are” (1970) … Taking a tip from Tiparillo (like that?), this brand kicked off a mini-trend just as cigarette ads left the airwaves. “Tijuana Smalls / it’s something new, baby / for you, maybe / you know who you are / it’s a little cigar” was the jingle that threw down the gauntlet for men to decide whether these were ‘man enough’ to smoke. I may be a sample of one, but all I know is, all those shots of women smoking ‘em in Playboy and Penthouse at the time were incredibly sexy. Anyone out there remember Tiffany Bolling?

78. Manischewitz / ”Man-oh-Manischewitz” (1953) … Look, no one I know can stomach the stuff, either, but you gotta give ‘em points for the song: “Man-oh-Manischewitz, kosher wine for me / Man-oh-Manischewitz, sweet as wine should be / Manischewitz wine is palate-sweet, you see / yes, the best there is / is Manischewitz’/Man-oh-Manischewitz, what a wine/what a wine!” The ’53 arrangement, by the way, cooks, opening with a plinky piano and featuring a mostly female chorale, one of whom does such a sexy job on the last line that you know she’s never been to a Seder.

77. Diet Coke / ”Just for the taste of it ‘90” (1990) … Some, like me, would argue that Elton John and Paula Abdul could have very easily turned this into a 3½-minute smash, even if it did owe a debt to Toto’s “Hold the Line.” Captain Fantastic and Ms. Phe-nomenal go back and forth on ”Not for the way it goes down easy / not for the way it puts a smile on your face / not for the way it quenches a big thirst / not for the way it won’t show on you / just one reason, just one reason / just for the taste of it / the real, real taste of it / just for the taste of it / Diet Coke.” If not for their in-your-face TV spot with the exact same track – the one where Groucho Marx drinks a Diet Coke, then does his trademark dance – this would have placed a lot higher. Still, it might as well be “I Got Diet Coke, Babe.”

76. L&M / ”Unlocks the flavor” (1960) … I never saw or knew of a TV commercial for this, but if they’d done one, I hope it’d been true to my ‘theater-of-the-mind’ interpretation, which is that 1700s fife-and-drum painting come alive. That’s pretty much the arrangement for this spot, with whistling replacing the fife, all this to send out the incredibly important message that “L&M has found the secret / that unlocks the flavor / unlocks the flavor / unlocks the flavor / L&M has found the secret / that unlocks the flavor / in a filter cigarette.”

75. Gentle Care / ”A young girl’s hair” (1968) … A knockout arrangement rivaling the pop hits of the moment, with a pop star of the moment, Lulu, on vocals. “A young girl’s hair / needs Gentle Care / to keep it soft and shining / (repeat) / Gentle Care / for shining hair / so natural and silkyyyyy / a young girl’s hair / needs Gentle Care / to keep it soft and shi-ninnng.” Ok, not much in the lyric department, but the music and Lulu is what grabbed you here. I admit it, I used to wait around for this one.

74. The Gap / ”Fall into The Gap” (1975) … Possibly the best ‘punchline jingle’ in radio history, although it’s actually what I believe is known as a ‘sting’ (which would therefore make this a ‘stingle’?). It didn’t begin that way, though: there was an entire “fall into The Gap” jingle ending with the above, which was soon replaced by the brilliant Dick & Bert :60s, all of which ended with the goofy version of the slogan sung by a Melvin-Franklin-of-the-Temps-like imitator.

73. Kent / ”You’ll feel better” (1961) … Maybe it’s the irony of all those cigarette ads that made their jingles so appealing. “You’ll feel better about smoking with the taste of Kent / Kent with the micronized filter / refines away harsh flavor / refines away hot taste.” That little flute thing made this the perfect antidote to all that raucous rock’n roll.

72. Marlboro / ”You get a lot to like” (1959) … Now, here we go: not only one but three big reasons to join the smokers. “You get a lot to like with a – Marrrrrrl-boro / filter, flavor, flip-top box / fil-terrrrrr / fla-vorrrrrrrr / flip-top box.” A little lounge piano and you’re there with ‘em.

71. Wendy’s / ”Ain’t no reason” (1981) … Not only was this the standout fast-food jingle at the time - vs. McDonald’s’ “nobody can do it” and Burger King’s “make it special” – but it was also the only real jingle the chain’s ever done. Gave this type of ad a much-needed dash of humor, as in “Wendy’s (mm-hmmm) / ain’t no (uh-uh) / reason to go / anyplace else / you get your hamburger hot off the grill / that’s another reason, if you will” (in another spot those two lines replaced with “you get individual attention/that’s another reason we could mention”).

70. Dodge / ”Depend on it” (1972) … Cute. “Who got the deals / on your kind of wheels? / Dodge – depend on it / who wrote the book / on styling and look? / Dodge – depend on it.” I’m assuming the writers didn’t have the Dart in mind.

69. Panasonic Toot-A-Loop / ”Toot-A-Loop” (1973) … Based on my careful research, most radio spots for fad products just weren’t that interesting. RC Price pointed out the exception to that, the song for this ugly thing: “It’s a loop inside a hoop you can scoop / it’s a thing around your wrist / it’s a radio that you can twist / Panasonic's Toot-A-Loop (Toot-A-Loop!) / it’s a scoop inside a hoop that you can loop / it’s a ring around a ring that you can string / it’s an “S” (it’s an “S”!) / it’s an “O” (it’s an “O”!) / it’s a crazy radio! / it’s Toot-A-Loop!” As donut-holer Chuck Leonard would explain, “It looks like a big letter ‘O’ until you twist it open, then it’s a big letter ‘S’!” Price recalls the aforementioned Lujack saying, "Is that cosmic or what?"

68. Almond Joy / ”You can share half” (1971) … Shortly after a guy name of Jake Holmes got to #29 in Cashbox with “So Close,” he’d entered the ad world and did this cute take on Peter Paul’s 2-bars-in-a-pack treat: “Do you remember that special candy / your friends would always ask to share it / you could never have just one bar / you could call your own / but there’s two whole chocolate coconut allll-mond bars / in every Peter Paul Almond Joy / with Al-mond Joy / you can share half and still have a whole.” It starts folky then gets big and brassy at the “with Al-mond Joy,” which makes a whole lot of sense given the words. Also a whole lot more sense that most radio ads were making back then. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

67. Burger King / ”It takes two hands” (1969) … The best of this series of radio spots (“it takes two hands to handle a Whopper / the two-fisted burger at Burger King / ’cause the bigger the burger / the better the burger / and the burgers are bigger at Burger King”) was sung by a kid who sounded like he wouldn’t have been able to fit one in his mouth. I was lucky if I could down one of those dinky McDonald’s hamburgers at that age myself.

66. STP / ”The racer's edge” (1968) … That’s all it took, five seconds at the end of every spot (“S-T-P……is the ra-cer’s edge”), although for awhile there were also :60s which used that jingle throughout. Price loved “not just the chorus but the whole shebang, especially the ‘Andy's the name’ part. Turned a portly guy in an overcoat who spent his life working with petroleum lubricants into a high-energy Top 40 icon. Not to mention Dolly; the Granatellis were truly the Sopranos of the ‘60s-‘70s.”

65. Old Spice / ”Means quality” (1958) … That catchy little tune that was only whistled in those ‘70s TV ads began life as a salty set of radio spots peppered by “yo ho, yo ho” at both the open and close of most. But you always got “Old Spice means quality / said the captain to the bosun / so look for the package / with the ship that sailed the ocean.” I had to look up “bosun,” too: that’s short for “boatswain,” who’s the officer in charge of the ship’s crew. Possibly the guy who got the constable to come and take away the drunken first mate in “Sloop John B,” but I digress.

64. Turtle Wax / ”Gives a hard shell finish” (1973) … The first use of reggae in a commercial that I can recall. For most of the ‘70s these spots featured the short “Turtle Wax gives a hard shell finish / Turtle Wax” or variations thereof (“Anything else is just mock turtle / Turtle Wax” at the end) woven in-between either voiceover hard-sell for hard-shell or comedians doing shtick about Turtle Wax with dreadful canned laughter. In 1983 the ads got shorter and more to the point, with a series featuring an annoying phone-caller singing the jingle without the words.

63. Dr. Pepper / ”The most original soft drink” (1976) … Another one voted in by the irrepressible RC Price, and he’s right when he says it “tweaked the world-harmony aspirations of Coke and Pepsi with it's ‘just a soft drink’ message. Plus, it brought Hank Snow and B.B. King back to regular rotation on Top 40 radio.” Not to mention Chuck Berry on the version I’m listening to right now. ”It’s not a cola / it’s something much much more / it’s not a root beer / there are root beers by the score / drink Dr. Pepper / the joy of every boy and girl / it’s the most original soft drink ever in the whole wide world.”

62. Heineken / ”Come to think of it” (1980) … Actually, the “come to think of it” line came several years into this campaign, but it’s in the best-known version of this jingle: “one day soon the best will come / rich rewards for all you’ve done / starting now you can begin / with the best beer, Heineken / great taste you will find / the number one of its kind / come to think of it / I’ll have a Heineken.” After which you’d hear a shotgun ID and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”

61. Irish Spring / ”Like taking a shower in Ireland” (1972) … Another great example of a radio spot that wasn’t dwarfed (or, in this case, leprechauned) by its TV counterpart. That spot didn’t use a jingle at all, but the radio version did and was the better for it. One big jig. “With a bar of Irish Spring in your hand / it’s like taking a shower in I-re-land / a manly soap that’s really new / a double deodorant system, too / soooooooooo - / with a bar of Irish Spring in your hand / it’s like taking a shower in I-re-land.” Of course, if you were reading the news in ’72, even showering there was risky.

60. McDonald’s / ”Big Mac” (1973) … One of several examples of a ‘spinoff campaign’ on the “Crass 100.” This started out as just another in the series of “you deserve a break today” spots but soon became a national craze, with everyone trying to sing “two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese / pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.” My high school’s annual variety show did a sketch on it (which was not my idea).

59. LU / ”Please don’t call them cookies” (1984) … A heavily-steeped-in-R&B musician friend of mine used to love this one, as there’s a very hot sax break in there, even if everything else about it is, well, pretty white. Nonetheless, “a cookie is a cookie and a LU is a LU / both are good but one is toooooooo - / good to be a cookie so we call it a LU / please don’t call them – cook-ies” made a sale with me.

58. Mountain Dew / ”Gimme a Dew!” (1982) … This sounded like it was tailor-made for those very-tight-playlist-album-rockers so prominent during this time, where so many of the groups and songs had a similar sound to them. That version of this opens with a by-the-book guitar intro and the vocalist really feelin’ it with an “uh-huh-uh-huh-yeah / gimme a mountain / and nothin’ to do / gimme the sunshine / gimme a Dew / gimme something simple and true / all I need is sunshine / and cool re-fresh-ing Moun-tain Dew, yeah! / gimme a river / gimme a Dew / gimme my good friends / gimme a Dew / gimme the sunshine / gimme a Dew!” Actually, if you listen close, it’s a rocked-up version of Music Explosion’s 1967 hit “Little Bit O’Soul.”

57. Revlon / ”Natural Wonder Un-lipsticks” (1968) … Since I gave extra points to any radio ad without a TV counterpart – at least without one getting decent exposure beyond just Saturday’s “American Bandstand” – this campaign that can only be described as ‘very 1968’ makes it on. As pop music changed radically that summer, few commercials sounded as good up against the likes of “Hurdy Gurdy Man” and “Born to Be Wild.” This was, in effect, an acid trip about lipsticks, lipsticks with flavors you’d surely only find on acid trips. The woman singing “come hither, Georgie Peach, great Granny red, sweet potato” (yes, those are the lipsticks) even sounds like the one on those anti-drug filmstrips they showed us in middle school. And just to seal the deal, they double-track her voice speaking in tongues behind her vocal. Moral: drugs are bad, lipstick is worse.

56. Chewels / ”Smack dab in the middle” (1984) … Possibly the best radio spot from the ‘80s to sound like it. These guys doing the quirky take on “smack dab in the middle / smack dab in the middle / smack dab in the middle of the gum / is the secret to Chewels’ sugarless fun / a delicious center filling where others have none / smack dab in the middle of the gummmmmmm” could have been Men Without Hats or Re-flex or the The Fixx for all any listener back then could have cared.

55. RC / ”Escape” (1967) … Why is this up here? Because it was the poor man’s cola ad in every way, and they just didn’t care. Not one of the celebrity singers could boast one pop hit, save for the already-long-in-the-tooth-by-then Dino, Desi & Billy. Even the jingle couldn’t hold a candle to what either Coke or Pepsi were doing at the time (and we’ll get to each of those). Still, “Escape / come over / to Royal Crown Cola / it’s a mad, mad, mad, mad co-laaaaaaaa / RC! / the one with the mad, mad taste” is so bad it’s good. Although I can’t say the same for RC Cola itself. They still make this stuff?

54. Gillette / ”To look sharp” (1944) … This was originally known as the “fight song” from the Gillette-sponsored “Friday Night Fights” on radio (yes, even boxing was on radio at one time) but certainly outlasted that, being updated for TV through the early ‘70s. The original version featured the boxing ring bell sound effect, represented by the “ding!” in the following: “To look sharp (ding!) every time you shave / to feel sharp (ding!) and be on the ball / just be sharp (ding!) in Gillette blue blades / for the quickest, thickest shave of alllllll!” Not for nothing, but this also became a drum-and-bugle-corps favorite over the years.

53. Pabst Blue Ribbon / ”What'll You Have?” (1950) … Originally heard as sponsor of radio’s “Wednesday Night Fights,” this took on many forms over the next four decades, including a strange series of :60s in 1988 done in then-current genres (one was a just-ok Paul Simon “You Can Call Me Al” imitator). One of the best was possibly one of the original bunch: “When bowlers bowl a spare or strike / that smoother taste is what they like / what’ll you have? the answer’s clear / pour me a Pabst Blue Ribbon be-er / what’ll you have? Pabst Blue Ribbon / what’ll you have? Pabst Blue Ribbon / what’ll you have? Pabst Blue Ribbon / Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.” By the way, each of those “what’ll you have’s” were voiced by different barkeeps, or keep-ettes. I don’t recall the ‘70s versions, but our pal RC does: “most memorable singer on this one was another mellow-voiced soul guy (a la Arthur Prysock, Lou Rawls) doing a cool, soft and sexy sit-around-the-fire-and-get-blitzed take.” So, this was a journey through the Pabst, if you will.

52. Doublemint / ”Adds to your fun” (1968) … You might say it was just another cookie-cutter Wrigley’s campaign, but it sure brightened things up during a pretty awful time in America. “Doublemint adds to your fun / double pleasure all in one / so delicious, great to chew / you will love it – millions do / makes your mouth feel fresh and clean / after meals and in-between / Doublemint adds to your fun / Doublemint / chewing gum.” Come on, who can argue with that?

51. Chevrolet / ”The heartbeat of America” (1986) … There’s not much to this, but what there is is absolutely riveting. Those opening beats under “listen to the heartbeat … of America,” followed by, in most cases, Scott Muni in the donut hole, and then the big finish, “the heartbeat of America (choral: Chev-ro-let) / that’s today’s – Chevrolet.” And then you get it – that burst of guitar, the hook that stays with you all day. Possibly the best hook in the “Crass 100,” even.


A few HZs back we tried a little something we called 20 Questions (how amazingly original), where we grilled ABC Radio’s Rob Frankel about his laboratory of aircheck restoration. That was cool stuff, and it worked so well we thought we’d give that idea another go.

So who could we get that would best represent the colliding worlds of this issue – pop music, radio, commercials? How about the only ad writer ever inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, that on the strength of campaigns such as “I’m a Pepper” (for Dr. Pepper) and “Be All You Can Be” (for the U.S. Army)? A guy who’s sang, never mind written, so many radio ads it’d make your head spin, and probably did, listener that you are? A guy who, on the recorded music side, if you didn’t know better, you’d file under ‘one hit wonder’ – which would therefore make him the only one hit wonder to say he’s had his material done by both Frank Sinatra and Led Zeppelin, and to have worked with both Harry Belafonte and the Four Seasons? So, then, a guy who’s more than qualified to do the halftime honors here on the “Crass 100”?

If you said Jake Holmes, you picked up the little clue from earlier, and, well, you’re right. These days, Jake’s a partner at Three Tree Productions ( here in NYC, a ‘music house’ whose work extends way beyond the advertising world. You can find out even more about what Jake’s up to at

1. Ok, let's get this out of the way: are you all that you can be?

No, never have been. And, matter of fact, the truth be told, when I was feeling very depressed, and I was walking in New York, and I walked into a store that had the radio on, and I heard myself saying “be all you can be,” it snapped me out. I thought, yeah, what the heck’s the matter with me, I should struggle to be all I can be. So, actually, the message got back to me for at least once. But, no, I don’t think I’ve ever been; I hope to continue to be more than I can be each day.

2. Listening to radio all these years, I’d always imagined that the radio advertising song world was like a parallel universe to the music business. Am I delusional, or can you shed some light on this?

It’s changed quite a bit in the last fifteen years. Awhile back, it was very much like the record business, because a lot of commercials were – you’d take successful bands and you’d run a campaign, one song, say, through all different kinds of ramifications - so you’d end up having a country band do it, a rock band do it, folk people do it, pop people do it. Now everything is much more in-house; everybody has synthesizers and they send their mp3 files in. It’s much less what it used to be in terms of a community; it’s more separate people feeding in, it’s gotten extremely digital. But it’s still to me a huge, vast, uncharted source of creativity because it’s cheap. You can still do very interesting music and be ‘out there’ and it’s not costing you a fortune to do.

3. Is it me, or is the advertising song – dare I use the word ‘jingle’ - less prominent on radio today?

Yes, although it is coming back again. And it’s not only on radio, it’s in television as well. There was a period of time about ten years ago when creative people in agencies thought that corporate jingles were sort of déclassé: you didn’t want to use them because they were just stupid and old-fashioned and silly and ridiculous. But it’s coming back, the idea of using music, songs. By the way, the word ‘jingle’ is ok, it’s just that it refers to things like “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener” – that to me is a jingle. There’s a lot of stuff that’s been done commercial-wise that doesn’t sound like jingles. I don’t think “The heartbeat of America” sounds like a jingle. I don’t think “Be all you can be” sounds like a jingle. It’s coming back because people realize there’s a great deal of power in song, in a song that actually fits a product, not some song that’s taken from a hit and thrown onto a product. I think people are getting tired of existing songs and are beginning to say, let’s try doing original stuff. I don’t ever think that it will be like it was, where every product had a jingle with a little hook.

4. In Will Shade’s interview with you on your website, you talk about your musical influences and how you fell into this business. In terms of advertising, are there influences there as well? Are there certain campaigns that you hold dear? Seeing as this is the “Crass 100,” what are your own favorite musical radio commercials, whether you did them or not?

Many years ago there was a commercial done with an a cappella vocal group, maybe the Four Lads, and I remember thinking, that’s really cool, it doesn’t sound like a commercial. Steve Karman and Joe Brooks did some great commercials; Steve did “I love New York.” I don’t know if I was influenced by them but I certainly respect them. I definitely think “The heartbeat of America” is one of [my favorites]. My ex-partner did “Reach out and touch someone” which is also strong. One that doesn’t use an original song is the Chevrolet truck campaign using Bob Seger’s “Like a Rock” – that’s an incredibly good use of existing music. Another of my favorites was the 7up commercial “all for un” – “it’s the nothing that makes us something, it’s what we miss that hits the mark.” That ended up in a book of Zen sayings.

5. Is there something special about commercials for radio, that is, is there a certain sensibility you have for creating campaigns for radio vs. other media?

Oh, yes. What I think happens in radio a lot are you get these cute studio-repartee things, and it all sounds like it’s in a studio. I always feel like radio should sound like it’s outside; like in a movie, it should have this environmental aspect to it. It’s like in old movies when you saw people driving in cars with the screen behind them: you knew they weren’t actually driving on a road. It’s kind of like that on radio: you hear people and you know they’re not where they are. Even with music, there should be a sense of space and place so you can imagine where you are. We did a spot for literacy where we sat in a classroom for a whole day. There was this kid where the teacher said ‘come on’ and he didn’t want to come to the board, and it was this wonderful real-life thing where he was afraid because he couldn’t read and write, and she was trying to get him to write on the board. We took it back to Three Tree and added music and put stuff underneath it to give it drama, and we cut this piece out and it was brilliant because it really sounded like this was really happening, it was like a movie. The way I look at radio is the way a movie director looks at a movie, thinking about what it looks like. When you’re listening to radio, and you’re hearing it, what does it look like?

6. Of all your creations, of which are you most proud?

There’s one called “Little Old Ladies” [for Lipton tea] that I really love. There’s something wonderful about the juxtaposition there. I think “Be all you can be” is really strong as is “I’m a Pepper” and “The softer side of Sears.” There’s some ones that you may have never heard: one for Crystal Light with some very vocal African kind of stuff. I spent some time in Africa and did an album with [Harry] Belafonte in Johannesburg. I actually did a couple of spots with African music in them.

7. So you’ve been able to marry these worlds, to take music you’ve created outside of the realm of advertising and bring it in?

Yeah, and also taken stuff I’ve done in advertising and bring it out. I’ve learned a lot from being in advertising about how to manipulate sound and play instruments and constantly being forced to listen to new things. I feel like I’m always learning, and this business is a great teacher because you get the chance to do all kinds of different things. So it works backwards and forwards. And, no, I’m not an anomaly: there are a lot of writers who do both. And some who, this is just all they do. There are those who don’t particularly like to do commercials, but that’s changing: even now a lot of celebrities are doing commercials where twenty years ago they wouldn’t be caught dead doing them.

8. What about skeletons – are there campaigns you worked on that you’re still trying to forget?

There was one campaign I worked on that I didn’t actually do, which was for douche. And I said, “I can’t write a song about that.” About a year later somebody came in with a demo reel, and on it somebody had actually written a song about douche, and now I know why I didn’t do it. There’s a lot of stuff where I cringe when I think about it; thank God a lot of it didn’t make it to the air. In the old days, I had a lot of silly stuff that for some reason was successful, but that I didn’t particularly like doing. Like “Mr. Bub-bub-bub-bub-bub-ble in the tub-ub-ub-ub-ub-ubble.” We were sitting in the back of this limousine - the Creative Director, my partner and me - discussing whether it should be “Mr. Bub-bub-bub-bub-bub-ble in the tub-bub-bub-bub-bub-bubble” or “Mr. Bub-ub-ub-ub-ub-ble in the tub-ub-ub-ub-ub-ubble,” and I thought to myself, this is ridiculous, we’re in the back of a limousine. This is huge amounts of money being spent on this silliness. Why isn’t it being spent on poetry, why isn’t it being spent on brain surgery? That was a big awakening. Needless to say, not much has changed in terms of the advertising world.

9. Years ago, I recall having a particularly bad day and buying myself flowers when I heard the – was it FTD? – spot where you said to do just that, you know, "say hey, the smile’s on me today.” Do you get other stories like this from people you know who were affected by your ads?

My sister told me she heard two kids outside her classroom singing “I’m a Pepper, you’re a Pepper.” Another guy in our office wrote the song for Country Time that sounded like an old song. And some woman calls to say, “oh, that song was at my wedding thirty years ago.” That song didn’t exist thirty years ago, and she somehow got it into her head that it was this song that had been written for her wedding.

10. Was the current post-grunge version of “Raise your hand if you’re Sure” (another Jake Holmes creation) your idea? Is is strange to hear one of your creations go second generation? Can we expect more of this, say, Nelly doing “right now I’ve got to have 100 thou”?

[The “Sure” thing] was another agency’s idea. Actually, we were up for that, and ours wasn’t grunge-y enough, I guess. And yes, it’s strange, but it’s kinda nice to think it has those kind of legs. A lot of people don’t realize that a song, when it has a certain solidity, it’s usually very easy to take that song and change it into other machinations and to morph it into other things. Nowadays, people think, “well, once a song is like this, it can’t be anything else,” so it’s nice when people realize that something has enough power to be able to be redone and still have the original power. I’m not in control of [my old campaigns]; the agencies are, so they decide. But I think there could all of a sudden be this resurgence of old jingles in new ways.

11. Do you think that guy doing the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish spots is stealing your act?

I did an article on that in Shoot magazine about the fact that the power of commercials is proven by that, because, what started as a parody became, over a period of a few years, no longer a parody: it’s its own thing, it’s now a jingle. And they’re realized that that thing has a lot of selling power and it’s selling little Goldfish right off the shelves. So as stupid as it may sound or as silly as it may be, it’s effective, and my point in the article is to say, jingles are very effective. I’ve done a lot of silly stuff in my time – I’ve got this goofy side to me – but I much prefer the stuff I’ve done that sticks, that’s really got some meat-and-potatoes to it.

12. As a kid hearing your late-1970 spot for New Hampshire skiing on the radio (“goin’ to New Hampshire, gonna ride the mountains, I’m goin’ where the ski people go”), I remember thinking to myself, this could be the follow-up to that “So Close” song. Was moving from recorded music to advertising then as natural a transition for you as these two pieces of music made it sound?

I may have been one of the first [to make that transition], and it was not me that did it. My first boss had a philosophy of, he didn’t want to use people who wrote commercials to write commercials, he wanted people from outside. But it turned out that I happened to be very good at it, and he couldn’t not use me. For a long time that wasn’t my living, I was doing that as a side thing. But I always took it seriously: I always wanted to do [commercials] as well as I did my own songs. I’ve never felt in my whole life that there’s any difference in the quality that you put into something. It sounds more important when you’re doing a song than it does when you’re doing a commercial for a product, but it’s the same craft, and I have the same standards.

13. Can you compare the creative challenge of writing a three-minute hit song vs. a thirty-second commercial, or is that a ridiculous question?

It’s very interesting, because there’s two sides to it. If you’re doing a song for yourself, you have the freedom to do and be whatever you want to be – which is great, but it’s also terrible. You can sit there with a blank piece of paper saying “now what do I do?” And then on the other side you have this limitation, where you have these barriers that you have to stay within – and that’s good, and that’s terrible. Because when somebody tells you that you have to write something, you’re forced to finish the project, and you’re also forced to think very creatively how to get around all of the things that you can’t do, and so you become very creative within a very small thing. One gives you a lot of freedom but it also makes it very difficult to focus, and the other one keeps you narrow but it makes it very easy to focus.

14. Are the checks still rolling in on “So Close”?

The oldies station in Boston played it once last spring and I know CBS-FM here spins it now and then. I’ve actually had three hits: one called “Dazed and Confused,” “So Close,” and I had a hit in Europe called “How Are You.” “So Close” was a very big hit on the East Coast, but I had a lot of problems with that record because it was one of those records that took two weeks to break and in those days, a lot of radio stations only gave a record a week. The stations who stuck with it, it went through the roof. It was also a time when there were five or six major ballads going on. The Drake stations were where I really got screwed: the Drake station in L.A. took it off after a week. If I’d had it in L.A., and in a couple of other cities, I think it would have broken really big. There was this station in Pittsburgh that was gonna go off it, and this kid who was totally whacked by the song and was a promoter went out there and went to the radio station and said to the guy “you gotta keep it on!,” and he did, and it took off there. That’s been the story of my life: for some reason it takes a little time to get to know me as an artist.

15. Going back to that other hit … in terms of writing credits, how dazed and confused is Jimmy Page?

I actually finally put a stop on it at ASCAP because I was getting very annoyed with him. I’d written him a bunch of letters saying, look, you guys [Led Zeppelin] took it and made it even better, I liked the version you did, but you should still give credit. It’s been so long, and there’s also statute of limitations problems, and every time I get help from a lawyer it just never turns out the way you hope, so we’ll see.

16. In that Will Shade interview, you recall in amazing detail your days touring with the likes of Van Morrison, the Doors and of course the Yardbirds, among others. Is there evidence to suggest that you’re the only musician to actually remember anything from that era?

You see, my problem was I tripped on grass, so I never was much of a drug person. I was a little older than most people in the ‘60s, so I was a little more mature; although I was totally crazy, I guess I was less crazy. But also I remember those things because they were so interesting, although there were a lot of experiences I’ve had that I don’t remember. Someone was talking the other night about us being at a club and seeing B.B. King, Elvin Bishop, Mike Bloomfield and Eric Clapton jammin’ at one time. When he remembered it, we both remembered it, every instant of it. It was amazing, those were historical moments.

17. Most HZ readers might be surprised that you’ve recorded five albums aside from the one with “So Close.” Tell me about the new one, “Dangerous Times”; what’s Jake Holmes the musician up to these days?

I’m trying to do more poetry on this album. I do a thing called “Miles” which is a cappella, almost like rap but more like jazz poetry. I did all of the stuff in my studio at home and then brought in some musicians and singers that I love and added on to that.

18. Given your impressive list of credits, what’s left on your to-do list?

Lots of stuff. I want to do an album and go as far out as I can possibly go in terms of what I have to say about organized religion, which is one of my big bugaboos right now, as it’s causing all kinds of disasters all over the world. And I have a couple of theater projects I desperately want to do. I’m writing a lot of short stories; I’ve had a theory since I was a kid that you write twelve short stories in a year, and then go write a novel. So that’s my goal. I’m up to four. And I’m working on another album with Belafonte, and that’s gonna be very interesting because it’s gonna use a lot of celebrities.

19. You’ve spent a lot of time in New York. Is this Schaefer City?

Now…that’s an example of a good spot killing a bad product. There’s an old adage, if you have a bad product, don’t have good advertising. What happened with Schaefer was that [after those ads] it really went through the roof, people buy the beer, and… [find out] it sucks. And then the word spread. Because it was such a big product, the advertising hurt it.

20. For you, what’s the real reward in this? Is it more a client’s achieved results or just the sheer creative accomplishment?

I have a couple of spots that never ran that make me feel good every time I hear them because I know I did a great job. I did a Mercury spot that was one of my favorites I ever wrote, and it never went. And I feel like, how stupid that they didn’t know how good this was, but at the same time, it’s the feeling of knowing that you nailed something, like when you hit the ball and get the sweet spot. When you do that, that’s the best feeling in the world. It’s not the success of the spots, it’s the success that you know you’ve had when you’ve done something really good.

And there you have it. Big thanks to Jake.

And now back to the countdown, meaning we therefore go from class back to “Crass.”

And you'll find the REST of this countdown on tomorrow's Forgotten Hits Web Page!!! Stay Tuned!!!


Diggin' Rich's countdown??? There's LOTS more of this kind of stuff on a regular basis in his Hz So Good Music / Radio Newsletter. You can get on his list by simply dropping an email to:

In fact, right now he's in the process of compiling votes for the 2010 I.R.S. Countdown (as in "It Really Shoulda ... Been A Hit"!!!) You can send YOUR votes and nominations to the same address. (Come on, guys, this is RIGHT up our Forgotten Hits alley!!!) Get on the list (and tell him that Forgotten Hits sent you!!!) And join us tomorrow for the rest of The Crass 100 Countdown!!! (kk)