It continues to happen. Mister Boomer has chronicled the abduction of boomer-era music by the powers-that-be in the world of TV commercial advertising for several years, and now here is a fresh batch. Mister Boomer has spotted these in the past couple of months:
Born To Be Wild, Steppenwolf (1968)
There are no babies on motorcycles, but the song is utilized to sell Pampers diapers. Really? Why not Depends?
My Way (written by Paul Anka in 1967), made famous by Frank Sinatra, (1969)
Performed by some unknown musicians in a Verizon ad, we can thank our lucky stars they had the wherewithal not to use either the Frank Sinatra or The Sex Pistols version (1978). Even though it came to be known as Sinatra’s signature song, his daughter, Nancy, said he hated it. The song was also recorded by Anka himself (1969) as well as Elvis (1977) and a host of others. One interesting tidbit is, the song is the most requested song to play at funerals in the United Kingdom.
You Don’t Know What’s It’s Like, The Bee Gees (1966)
In a Facebook Groups ad about fathers and daughters the song tries to evoke that lovin’ feelin’ between a father and daughter, but don’t they listen to lyrics? This song is about romantic love, not paternal warm and fuzzies, man! Facebook Groups is on a roll, using other songs from our era as well.
I Think We’re Alone Now, Tommy James and the Shondells (1967)
An HP computer ad is using the song to advertise its camera-blocking software. The song wasn’t about technological peeping toms, bro. That beating-heart drum now takes on a very creepy tone.
Turn Around, Look At Me, The Lettermen (1962)
Written by Jerry Capehart, the song was Glen Campbell’s first to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 (at #62) in 1961. The Letterman’s version a year later hit number five. It was also recorded by The Bee Gees in 1964, which failed to chart, and The Vogues in 1968, which peaked at number three on the Adult Contemporary chart.
You Got It, Roy Orbison (1989)
OK, the song was released well beyond the boomer era, but come on — it’s Roy Orbison for Pete’s sake, and it was released shortly after his death. Figuring prominently in a Stop ‘n Shop commercial (a northeast supermarket chain with over 400 stores), strains of “anything you want” in a supermarket hardly seems the best way to celebrate the talent of a legend.
In the Midnight Hour, Wilson Pickett (1966)
Party City is using this one, but should we give them a pass since it’s a Halloween ad? Hmmm. The song was selected for historic preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress in 2017. Now it’s selling costumes and party goods. They’ve used Michael Jackson’s Thriller in the past, too.
As if these weren’t bad enough, the merry marketeers have now officially crossed a line in Mister Boomer’s eyes. Celebrity Cruise Lines somehow got the rights to use White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane (1967)! Mister Boomer’s jaw dropped the first time he saw it. How dare they take an iconic anthem of the Psychedelic Era and reduce it to background fodder to a red-head’s (what’s up with that?) Alice-In-Wonderland fantasy aboard a cruise ship! The song does in fact reference Alice-In-Wonderland — but it is about drugs, man! Who writes these commercials now, anyway? Are they Gen Xers? Millennials? Have they no sense of history, let alone no sense of shame? Besides, in Mister Boomer’s humble opinion, Grace Slick is the premier rock singer of all time, and the Surrealistic Pillow album is on his Top 10 list. She could sing the phone book (if there still was one) and Mister B would listen. But geez, Beav, what have they done to my song?
What do you think, boomers? Does this latest salvo amount to unforgivable boomer-culture appropriation or Ob-La-Dee, Ob-La-Da, life goes on?