2017 departs with its TV ad music

2017 was a year for getting to know things. I have, for many a year, enjoyed the musical extravaganza that is Mr Blue Sky. Almost operatic (in a good way!) and bouncy and positive, it winds down at the end, complete with a chugging cello beat and then the vocoder voice saying “Please turn me over”. Which is what you would do in those Victorian days of vinyl when you turned over the 45 or, in my case, turned over the LP. Except… for years I had thought those words were simply “Mr Blue Sky”. Which is crazy because that sounds nothing like “Please turn me over” – not even the same number of syllables…

But in 2017, I found out that those were indeed the words uttered at the end of that opus and after almost 40 years of mishearing those lyrics, I was, at last, in sync with the veracity of the musical world.

In 2017 I also discovered that Michael Jackson does not sing “Eddie, are you okay?” in the song Smooth Criminal. It is, as you no doubt already know, “Annie, are you okay?”. And it does sound like “Annie” now, when I listen to it. Still, I’m not alone. For as long as there have been lyrics, there have been misheard lyrics. I remember a reviewer of the Stephen Stills song Myth of Sisyphus being concerned for Mr Stills’ paranoia because he was singing “I got members of the CIA following me everywhere I go”. In fact, Mr Stills was singing “I got memories of the city following me everywhere I go”.

In 2017 I listened to The Beatles’ album Let It Be for the first time. It had only taken me 47 and a half years to get round to it. I wasn’t in a hurry to listen to it as I had heard it wasn’t great. And it wasn’t. Apart from Get Back.

And I became aware in 2017 of just how many songs are used for TV adverts. The band Chicago are advertising kitchens. Ed Sheeran for Marks and Spencer. Fleetwood Mac for ASDA. Even a Beatles song (albeit recorded by Elbow) for John Lewis. And lots of Queen songs. It’s not a new thing of course, even Old Style Fleetwood Mac had the song Albatross in a Marks and Spencer ad in 2005. It is illogical for me to disapprove of this. After all, I only found out about Jose Gonzalez’s songs because I heard one being used in an advert. So I should not bemoan. And yet I do. I am of the generation who sneered at I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing because it started life as a jingle. Mind you, that is a pretty bad song, jingle or not. Oh well, I shall simply approve and disapprove of the practice. Come to think of it, I will probably both approve and disapprove of my approval and disapproval. Roll on 2018!

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