June 19, 2012 - Hank W. at the Movies, Mary Wells, CCR, Nilsson and Wile E. on TV!
JC Penney continues its monthly series of spots using colorful images and classic tunes. The song for the June campaign is "My Guy" by Motown maven Mary Wells. AT&T, in its "Road Music" 4G network commercial, features several older songs including Creedence Clearwater Revival's 1969 flip side "Born on the Bayou," shown as a traveling couple drives through the French Quarter of New Orleans. DirecTV began running an ad for Major League Baseball's "Extra Innings" package in March, depicting former Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols arriving at Angel Stadium while Nilsson's "Everybody's Talking" plays. Apparently MLB and/or DirecTV haven't hit their sales quotas yet...the commercial is still running, several weeks into the season.
Two of our beloved characters are back on TV! WB's The Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote (introduced in the 1949 short Fast and Furry-ous) meet the Geico Gecko in a current spot. An Acme safe falls on Wile E.'s head, natch! No music on this one, just great memories. At the multiplex, Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom features three tracks by the great Hank Williams: "Ramblin' Man" and two number one country hits, "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" from 1950 and "Kaw-Liga" from '53.
May 23, 2012 - Robin Gibb Tribute, Fogerty, Diamond on Idol Finale
The anticlimactic eleventh season finale of American Idol was not without its way back moments, the most bizarre being The Trashmen's 1964 hit "Surfin' Bird," played almost in its entirety. More serious segments included John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival and eventual AI winner Phillip Phillips performing the CCR hits "Have You Ever Seen the Rain" (from '71) and "Bad Moon Rising" and the show's six male finalists doing Neil Diamond's "Cracklin' Rosie" (from '70) and "I'm a Believer" (made famous by The Monkees) prior to Neil's joining them onstage. The six guys also paid tribute to the recently departed Robin Gibb with several of The Bee Gees' hits including "Words" and "To Love Somebody." Hollie Cavanaugh and 2007 Idol winner Jordin Sparks tackled the evening's oldest selection, "You'll Never Walk Alone" from the 1945 musical Carousel, revived in the 1960s by several artists including Patti LaBelle and the Blue Belles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Jerry Lewis, long associated with the song through its use as the closing theme for his annual Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon.
May 16, 2012 - 4 Seasons, Dusty, Isley Songs Pop Up on AI, and it's JB's "Man's World" - Again!
As American Idol nears the end of its eleventh season, so goes a major outlet for oldies exposure. Joshua Ledet's segment in his home town of Westlake, Louisiana featured the original recordings of Dusty Springfield's "Son-Of-A Preacher Man" and The Isley Brothers' "Shout." Joshua also sang "Shout" and reprised James Brown's '66 smash "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" for the song's fourth straight week in the current TV and/or movie mainstream. Phillip Phillips lent his distinctive style to the 1967 4 Seasons hit "Beggin'"...but once again, Idol ignored the original artist while giving credit only to the 2008 remake by Madcon.
May 9, 2012 - James Brown's "Man's" Saturates, Jimmy Hughes' "Steal Away" Revived Via Idol
For the third time in as many weeks, the James Brown classic "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" received high-profile exposure, this time by way of an American Idol rendition by Joshua Ledet so strong as to make JB proud. Jessica Sanchez delivered a bluesy "Steal Away," the 1964 hit by Jimmy Hughes. It was identified as an Etta James song and, while featured on her Tell Mama album in 1968, the original is by Hughes (he wrote and recorded the original nearly four years before Etta). Note to Idol: Give credit where credit is due!
Less eventful (but arguably more accurate in giving props), The Voice featured several updated oldies: Blake Shelton and finale winner Jermaine Paul teamed up on Sam and Dave's '67 smash "Soul Man," Adam Levine and Tony Lucca took on The Beatles' "Yesterday" and Cee Lo Green duetted with Juliet Simms on an untamed take of "Born to Be Wild," Steppenwolf's 1968 rocker. Jermaine also brought back ousted contestants James Massone, Jamar Rogers and Pip for a group performance of The Jackson Five's "I Want You Back."
May 2, 2012 - Bizarre Talent Promo with Ray Charles, AI '60s Blitz
NBC's America's Got Talent is gearing up for a wild summer with the addition of Howard Stern. A current promo for the show pushes the weirdness meter to the edge..."What'd I Say" by Ray Charles plays while upwards of a thousand competition hopefuls attach themselves to a car...it has to be seen to be believed! In the current competition show arena, Juliet Simms put herself in the forefront of The Voice's final four, lending her infectious rocker-girl spin to James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World," also featured in the hit movie Think Like a Man, which tops the box office for the second consecutive week.
American Idol blew out all the stops with 1960s songs in the first hour and hits from Britain in the second. Phillip Phillips delivered The Box Tops' "The Letter" and The Zombies' "Time of the Season." Joshua Ledet took on The Temptations' "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" and The Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody." In between the two duetted on The Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'." Hollie Cavanagh tackled the Ike and Tina Turner classic "River Deep - Mountain High," while Skylar Laine went outside her country confines with Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" and Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me." Hollie, Skylar and Jessica Sanchez became a a girl group with "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher," followed by some fond, and accurate, reminscences by judges Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson on the greatness of Jackie Wilson, who recorded the first hit version in 1967.
April 25, 2012 - Zooey dances to Joe Turner Classic, Cee Lo does some "Dancing in the Street"
Zooey Deschanel has the best current '50s moment in a spot for the iPhone 4S when she tells Siri "Today we're dancing" and requests Joe Turner's benchmark '54 hit "Shake, Rattle and Roll," then shuffles out of the room. Siri: remind the networks to play this commercial again!
Two '60s tunes have popped up in recent hit movies: James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" is a logical choice for the number one box office hit Think Like a Man, directed by Tim Story, while Bob Dylan's "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" features unexpectedly in the Farrelly Brothers' new Three Stooges film. Back on the small screen, Cee Lo Green led his "Team Cee Lo" finalists on Monday's The Voice in a faux-retro performance of Martha and the Vandellas' Motown monster "Dancing in the Street."
April 18, 2012 - RIP Dick Clark, Idol Serves Up Soulful Second Hour
With the Wednesday afternoon news of Dick Clark's passing, American Idol producers had no chance to react in time for the live broadcast beyond a brief mention. Their "Now and Then" theme went on as planned, with the "then" segment consisting of classic soul songs chosen by the remaining contestants and performed in the second hour in a nod to the long-running Don Cornelius show (and Bandstand competitor) Soul Train. Hollie Cavanagh went a bit above her head with Dusty Springfield's "Son-Of-A Preacher Man" and Phillip Phillips put his usual blues-rock twist on Wilson Pickett's "In the Midnight Hour." Jessica Sanchez confirmed the judges' save from the previous week, digging deep on "Try a Little Tenderness" (a 1930s tune best known by Otis Redding), the strongest of the night's '60s era remakes. Skylar Laine put her country stamp on the overexposed Gladys Knight and the Pips/Marvin Gaye classic "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" and Joshua Ledet closed the evening with yet another Idol attempt at doing justice to Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come." He came close.
April 4, 2012 - "Wonderful World," Dr. John and a Lesley Gore Springtime
Lesley Gore is the latest artist getting TV play in JC Penney's spots for spring with "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" following Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin" last month. NBC's voting audience for The Voice put Jesse Campbell of "Team Christina" (as in Aguilera) into the next round after his rendition of the 1968 Louis Armstrong standard "What a Wonderful World" set a high bar for most of the other contestants. Tuesday's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon welcomed New Orleans great Dr. John, whose voodoo-infused music career stretches back to the late 1950s when he was going by his given name Mac Rebennack. Anyone who caught the show knows "The Night Tripper" is still going strong!