In July 1969 David Bowie released "Space Oddity" (see original video below) and now, forty years later, anyone can remix the song on their iPhone or iPod Touch with the Remix David Bowie Space Oddity Application powered by iKlax which was very recently made available for purchase. This marketing launch, of course, strategically ties in with the 40th anniversary of Man's first steps on the moon. According to the marketers,"'Space Oddity' has become cult material, marking David Bowie's career forever. Moreover, the track was broadcasted along with the live images from the moon landing by the BBC as Apollo 11 and Neil Armstrong made history. By choosing the iKlax multitrack iPhone application for "Space Oddity"'s own 40th anniversary, David Bowie provides a unique experience to his fans.
The remix application contains the original soundtracks for each and every instrument used in the song, letting users vary the volumes of the voice, the 12 string guitar, drum & bass, mellotron, organ, violin and orchestra, as well as save each new remix. Oh yeah, and it also has a fun feature whereby you can shake the iPhone to get new sounds, as shown above.
Artists' music being used in commercials was once a touchy subject. And it is still is, but to a lesser degree nowadays than in bygone decades, it seems. It also depends on what context the music is used and what exact song by which artist is being utilized. Some commercially popular music is just geared to be a jingle. But traditionally the typical "serious" artist felt lending their art in exchange for cash as the soundtrack to some shallow TV commercial geared to sell (the word "pimp" would often be used) cars or washing detergent was the ultimate sellling of your soul to "the man."
And of course, if said artist's music is reactionary, revolutionary, anti-authoritarian, protest type music, it really is contradictory to have it included in a cheesy TV ad -- hence the reason Jello Biafra fought so hard against his litigating former friends/bandmates who he insisted were trying hard to make a quick buck by selling the rights of the Dead Kennedys' song "Holiday In Cambodia" to be used in a Levi's commercial.
But even less politically overt artists than Biafra are against their music being used in commericals. Still, there are exceptions to every rule. A good example is Jack White, who has long been opposed to the White Stripes' music being sold for use in a commercial. Reportedly over the years he and his bandmate have been approached many times and turned down the offers to use the Stripes' music in commercials. But he wasn't opposed to composing a whole new song for a TV commercial a few years ago; he penned the sixties Brit psychedelic inflected tune called "Love Is The Truth" (reminiscent of the Small Faces' hit "Itchycoo Park") with the repeated lyrics "Love is the truth/ It's the right thing to do," to be used in a Coca Cola ad.
The world of the instructional record is really quite fascinating. From sincere DIY teachings to crass bandwagoning & fad jumping, the instructional record was a force unto itself in the 60's & 70's. The endless barrage of salesman related "you can do it" LPs from that era rival the male enhancement ad fads of today and reveal a similar, sinister undercurrent of predatory schemes that feed on the insecurity of many a male ego. It's entertainment all the way around! You'd be hard pressed to find more timely LPs than Strategy At the Bridge Table or either of the dance related records below.
I always find it funny that the three most important classes I took in High School were one semester electives-- guitar, speech and typing. Guitar was the beginning of the dymistification process between music and I. It also gave me much needed entertainment as I watched the jock meatheads fumble through "Lovesong" by the Cure in preparation for a lame attempt at buttering up some ditz over at the girls school. Speech was SO important, as it gave me an opportunity to get over performance anxiety by forcing me to give contrarian speeches to the same hamfisted types I mentioned in the guitar bit, within the safety net of the classroom. The teacher always wore suits and had a small mustache, traits that may have settled into my subconcious. He was asked to leave by the end of the semester because his affair with a jr. over at the girls school had been discovered, a trait I don't think I've picked up. The third class prepared me for the internet age. Not that I 'm a great typist, but whenever I watch a two fingered wonder pecking away, I'm always glad I took the class. Anyhow, this rant was brought on by the plethora of typing related LPs that I've seen over the years, a few of which are featured below.
I have a recollection, probably faulty, of some TV character, dressed as a beatnik, on a mid seventies sitcom reciting a beat poem. And the poem went something like, “little puppy with your nose pressed up against the pet store window, there is no puppy food for you today ... only death.” I found it hysterical.
As some people know, I’m a modern poetry fan, and I’m even a bigger fan of beat poetry, even with all its occasionally preposterous immoderations. But what I really live for is faux beat poetry. Years ago an old friend of mine read a pumpkin pie recipe as a beat poem; it was the most illuminating piece of prose I have ever heard ... until now. Here is Sarah Palin’s farewell speech read by the ultimate hepcat, William Shatner.