A word from our sponsors

December 28, 2010

Perhaps 5 or 10 years ago there was a time when I got the impression that most of the people responsible for the incidental music in adverts or documentaries were about the same age as me. Short extracts or instrumental breaks from 50s/60s/70s pop songs would appear in the most unexpected or inappropriate places. I would exclaim to the bafflement of those around me “That music is from Skinhead Moonstomp/Kites/Soft Machine Six” or whatever. Those days have passed now as more hippety hop music is used by a younger generation of admen.

There is one piece of music that continues to be (over)used. It comes from an LP I love recorded (and released) in 1977 . Although it featured reasonably high in the UK album charts and scraped in at the bottom of the USA album charts it never got much radio play and my friends at the time and the world in general showed a marked lack of interest. By 1978 the record had been forgotten by all but the singer’s loyal fans. The title track from this LP should have been a single. What was wrong with the marketing dept ?? It would have been massive. I refer in particular to the insistent drum-dominated instrumental break/riff that begins track one side one before the vocals.

So, although this song disappeared in 1978 after virtually no radio airplay it suddenly re-appeared about 10 years ago on the TV. It was used on a number of adverts or programme trailers and as a background to car chases or fast moving sporting events. It would crop up in science programmes on the Discovery Channel. Our local news programme used it regularly. I even heard it once on the BBC News Channel. The whole song was belatedly used in a couple of popular films you probably saw in the 1990s.  Also this piece of music was often messed around with. Sometimes looped and extended, sometimes slowed down, sometimes speeded up. Sometimes it sounded like the original. Invariably it sounded like it had been re-recorded by someone else. There is even an orchestral version. In all cases the music fades just before the moment when the vocal begins (or they start the instrumental again from the beginning). 

I’m sure you’ve guessed which tune I’m on about by now haven’t you ?

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3 Responses to “A word from our sponsors”

  1. Dave Roberts Says:

    Well … I know the track and I love it but I didn’t get it! I usually hate my favourite tracks being bastardised for some advert or film. In fact the associations with the ads or films can spoil my enjoyment when listening to the original full track too. Miserable sod aint I?

    Hope you had a great Christmas and I wish “Magic Robot” a Happy New Year ( when it comes ) and of course another year of excellent and obscure postings.As the Depeche Mode song says “.. I just cant get enough!…”

    Cheers from Dave in slushy thawed out St Albans.

  2. Niblet Says:

    I didn’t recognise the track from your description, but of course as soon as I heard the slamming drums I knew what it was. I had a quick trip over to wikipedia to find out who the drummer was – Hunt Sales, apparently. He’s probably very well known, but not a name I’m familiar with. That has to be the nearest anyone ever got to replicating John Bonham’s titanic drum sound. Great track.


  3. Hunt Sales has a surprisingly slim discography on Wikipedia (although I tend not to treat that as a place for definitive info about anything anymore) with not much listed since he and his brother Tony were in Bowie’s (mostly awful) Tin Machine 20 years ago now (?!!?).

    The Sales brothers did feature in Mr Osterberg’s earlier forgotten 1975 LP masterpiece “Kill City” though.

    And perhaps I ought to mention that there is an even better (but definitely not for the faint hearted) version of this song on an obscure Iggy tribute CD. I’ve put an extract here
    http://www.box.net/shared/c5f2cna2sq if you haven’t had too much to drink over xmas and your head can stand it…….

    happy noo year


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