Anti-American songs used as Pro-American slogans

Lenny Kravitz’s (shitty-ass, watered down) version is on the soundtrack, but the scene introducing Heather Graham’s character uses the original Guess Who version.

I find this campaign to be offensive and frustrating for a few reasons -

  • it’s so jarringly “off” from the original intent of the song;
  • I don’t know who to hate more for desecrating the song - Ford (Jaguar) or the Clash for selling it (and the original version, even); and
  • I feel so old, because by using the song that way, it means that it is out of public consciousness enough that the targeted demographic is expected to basically say “hmmm, I remember that song so it is familiar and Jaguar can leverage that, but I have no recollection what the song is about” - back in the day, that song mattered.

At least with the Who songs opening up CSI, it doesn’t feel like such a pure sell out - oh, I know that it is (“Won’t Get Fooled Again” to sell a show? - yeah, you’re angry, Pete, we can tell. Angry about potentially being forgotten)

Bear something in mind: if songs you used to like (it doesn’t matter whether they were angry, rebellious songs or pretty ballads) are being used in TV commericals, you’re old. REALLY old.

Truth is, most big corporations don’t care what the lyrics to old songs meant. If the advertising department of Cadillac chooses a Led Zeppelin song, or Jaguar chooses a Clash song, it’s because they figure the people who liked those song in their teens are middle aged farts now- just the types who’d be in the market for a Cadillac or Jaguar!

Of course, middle-aged farts these days do NOT want to admit they’re no longer young or cool. They WANT to believe they’re still as hip and cutting edge as ever. So, Led Zeppelin and the Clash serve a secondary purpose: they allow middle-age guys to pretend that buying a gaudy car isn’t really selling out! “Oh sure, I may be a pot-bellied 48 year old conformist with teenage kids and a mortgage… but I’m listening to the Clash as I buy my midlife- crisis car, so obviously I’m still a rebel and a maverick, deep down.”

The opening song for CSI is “Who Are You”, not “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.

I believe that “Won’t Get Fooled Again” is used for the spin-off, CSI: Miami.

Joe Piscopo had a bit in his standup act about how New Jersey is so proud of Springsteen they were talking about making “Born to Run” the official state rock song. He pointed out that Jersey is the only state that would want a state song that contained the word, “suicide.”

I remember hearing that the people of Allentown, PA were going to adopt Billy Joel’s “Allentown” as their town song or use it for some other official purpose. Sheesh.

Especially strange since Allentown isn’t even about Allentown, but a different nearby town whose name didn’t fit the meter as well.

Okay, neither of these were used in political campaigns, but…
Eminem’s “My Name Is” in NFL commercials, until someone decided to actually listen to the whole song.
Third Eye Blind’s “Semicharmed Life” being used in Inspector Gadget, commercials aimed at kids, etc. While peppy-sounding, it’s clearly about doing speed (“bumps”).

I think you’re putting far too much thought into this, astoria. Sure the bottom line is to appeal to your demographic, but “Been a long time since I rock -n- rolled” could be construed as “You’ve been saving money all of your adult life, making sacrifices, paying your bills and taking care of your family, now live a little”.

Believe me, middle-age folks buying their first Caddie or Jag are anything but concernced about “selling-out” or what you may think of them. Besides, what do you think Robert Plant is driving these days? I’m guessing it’s not a Hyundai.

My memories of the hours I spent watching reruns of Short Attention Span Theatre on the old Comedy Channel tell me that this riff belongs on the resume of Robert Wuhl.

In 1988 George Bush was either sufficiently oblivious or sufficiently cynical to use Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” as a campaign song. It’s not an anti-American song, but it’s definitely an anti-people-like-George-Bush song.

Remember the Target ads that used Devo’s “It’s a Beautiful World” to promote mindless consumerism? (Leaving out, of course, the lyric “…but not for me!” following “It’s a beautiful world, for you…”.)