Way Back 2015

March 16, 2015 - Chickens Roam Free With Roy Orbison, Tokens Roar and Snore, Hendrix Turns Bleu

Chickens roam free and ride the rails cross-country, according to a new TV ad for Geico that's greatly enhanced by Roy Orbison's 1965 hit "Ride Away." Sleep Number beds claim to "take the roar out of snore," making the point with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by The Tokens, offering a noise-free night's rest to humans and, I suppose, beasts alike. A sleek, cinematic, blue-hued one minute spot for men's fragrance Bleu de Chanel cranks up Jimi Hendrix's innovative '68 hit remake of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower."

March 8, 2015 - Bee Gees on Walking Dead Soundtrack, Della Reese and Led Zeppelin Peddle Ice Cream and Perfume

"Spicks and Specks," the breakthrough top ten Australian hit by The Bee Gees from 1966 (several months before the group became known in America) plays in the final scene of the latest episode of AMC's The Walking Dead, the first time a recording from that decade has been prominently featured on the AMC zombie drama, one of television's highest-rated shows.

"Whatever Lola Wants" by Della Reese (from her 1961 album Della Della Cha Cha Cha) has surfaced on a commercial for Magnum Double Caramel ice cream bars, while a year-old spot for Christian Dior's Homme fragrance, starring Twilight actor Robert Pattinson and featuring Led Zeppelin's rock classic "Whole Lotta Love," has been getting a lot of current play.

February 23, 2015 - "Viva" Rita Pavone and Anton Karas, Elvis and Edith on Cool Current TV Ads

Italian singing star Rita Pavone and Austrian zither ace Anton Karas got together in 1964 to record "Viva La Pappa Col Pomodoro" (translation: "Long live the soup with tomatoes!"), now heard in a TV spot for Heineken Beer. Rita's rollicking vocals augment a wild fishing boat scene, tying the action into the current season of the UEFA (European Football/Soccer) Champions League.

The theme from "Follow That Dream," one of Elvis Presley's three 1962 film releases, has been called upon to further embed the Samsung brand name into our permanent memory banks via HD monitor speakers. Cadillac is shooting for a similar side effect with a commercial featuring "Non Je Ne Regrette Rien" by the great Édith Piaf.

February 8, 2015 - Mann-Weil and Hawkins Songs Sung on Grammys, Etta 'n' Wayne Warble for BOA and SFI

Classics Revisited on Grammy's 57th edition: Tom Jones and Jessie J duetted on "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" in honor of its composers, Trustees Award winners Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Annie Lennox teamed with Hozier, performing Screamin' Jay Hawkins' voodoo-chic "I Put a Spell on You," still fascinating after all these years, so much that the version by Joss Stone and Jeff Beck (which they performed on the Grammy telecast four years ago) was heard later in the evening (along with James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World") on a promo for the upcoming Will Smith movie Focus.

TV Spot Watch: Wayne Newton's 1963 hit "Danke Schoen" is back in the loop by way of commercials for Bank of America. "At Last" by Etta James, with more exposure in recent years than when it was first released more than 50 years ago, provides the soundtrack for the latest State Farm Insurance spot.

February 1, 2015 - The Rat Pack's Back on TV Ads, Brenda Lee Elevates Super Bowl Secret Spot

"Ain't That a Kick in the Head" by Dean Martin (from the movie Ocean's 11) has been on the tube lately for Nissan. Fellow Rat Packers (and Dino's costars in the aforementioned 1960 film) joined him on Super Bowl Sunday: Sammy Davis Jr.'s 1969 hit "I've Gotta Be Me" took on dark implications in a promo for the NBC drama The Blacklist and Frank Sinatra's "Can I Steal a Little Love," from '57, surfaced in an advance promo for talking stuffed-bear comedy Ted 2, slated for theatrical release in June. In addition, the latest Super Bowl spot for Victoria's Secret emphasized its assets with "I'm in the Mood For Love" by Brenda Lee, from her 1961 album Emotions.

January 22, 2015 - Martha Reeves, Rolling Stones and Steam Enliven TV Teasers

The History Channel is using vintage tunes to spread the word about two current programs. Swamp People emphasizes its beware-of-alligators theme with "Nowhere to Run" by Martha and the Vandellas on its promotional spots; Sons of Liberty, a dramatization of events surrounding the American Revolution, gets a 200-years-later twist with a British Invasion track, "Paint It Black" by The Rolling Stones. Meanwhile, Sprint commercials are using Steam's 1969 hit "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" to encourage would-be customers to give their current wireless phone plans the kiss-off.

January 15, 2015 - Simon, Garfunkel, Nina, Dinah, the Shangri-Las and the Stones Sound Superb

In Wild, Best Actress Oscar nominee Reese Witherspoon's character walked more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail hearing Simon and Garfunkel songs ("El Condor Pasa," "Homeward Bound") in her head and The Shangri-Las ("I Can Never Go Home Anymore") on the radio (while taking the occasional shortcut by hitchhiking). Two of the great divas show up elsewhere: a promo for Tyler Perry's OWN series The Haves and the Have Nots includes a remix of Nina Simone's explosive version of "Feeling Good," the 1965 Roar of the Greasepaint Broadway song that has gained recent notoriety through use in movies, TV drama series, reality shows, commercials and singing competitions. In addition, Dinah Washington's 1960 hit "This Bitter Earth" can be heard in The Gambler starring Mark Wahlberg (while The Rolling Stones' "Gimmie Shelter" accents the film's trailer).

January 2, 2015 - Oldies Fans Are in Danger of Developing an
Inherent Vice Vice

Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice, starring Joaquin Phoenix, has the highest vintage-song count of any movie released in the last 12 months. Three instrumental album tracks figure heavily: The Marketts' "Here Comes the Ho-Dads" (from the studio group's 1962 Liberty LP The Surfing Scene) is heard in the film and on current promotional spots. "Dreamin' on a Cloud" by The Tornadoes (from the U.K. band's Telstar album) and "Simba," from Les Baxter's 1956 exotic island music entry, Tamboo!, are also in the mix.

Going into wide release this week, the film also includes six '60s hits: "Rhythm of the Rain" by The Cascades, "Burning Bridges" by Jack Scott, "Never My Love" by The Association, Kyu Sakamoto's chart-topping "Sukiyaki," Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World" and the never-too-often-heard "Any Day Now" by Chuck Jackson. Many later songs add to the unique flow, including selections by Neil Young, Minnie Riperton and Radiohead; to top it off, the infamous mid-'60s TV sitcom Gilligan's Island and its theme are plot points in the offbeat storyline that is typical of Anderson's work. As diverse as this sonic assortment seems, the 2010 Inherent Vice novel by Thomas Pynchon, on which the film is based, references more than one hundred songs and artists, from Dick Dale and Dion to Frank Zappa and Antonio Carlos Jobim, from Webb Pierce, Johnny and the Hurricanes and The Byrds to The Olympics, Miles Davis, Fats Domino, Liberace, The Archies...


Ride Away The Lion Sleeps Tonight Follow That Dream You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' I Put a Spell on You Emotions Paint it Black Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye Rhythm of the Rain Sukiyaki