Saturday, March 01, 2014

What Song Has Been Overused in Popular Culture?


This was almost a throwaway song in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC. But singers like Judy Collins made it into an iconic song. But at some point, it became a common tune for ice skaters, elevators, and Starbucks. What other once lovely songs have suffered this fate for you?


George said...

Katrina and the Waves' DANCING ON SUNSHINE has been used in hundreds of commercials (and made the band a $100+ million dollars). It's a song that has been overdone.

pattinase (abbott) said...

After a while, you don't even remember who first sang it.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

"What A Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. But it's still a lovely song. And Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive."

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yep. I know there is money to be make in allowing your song to be used in advertising but you pay a price.

Steve Oerkfitz said...

George-Its actually Walking On Sunshine.
There are some artists who refuse to license their songs for commercials-Bruce Springsteen for one.
Iggy Pops Lust For Life has been overused in commercials.

Anonymous said...

Steppenwolf - Born to Be Wild

Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

I hope this isn't too long but you need to see it because I doubt if any song has been more overused:

Steppenwolf's version of "Born to Be Wild" has been used in several movies, trailers, TV shows and commercials, including:
Easy Rider (1969)
Coming Home (1978)
The Serial (1980)
The Miami Vice episode "The Great McCarthy" (1984–1985)
Alvin and the Chipmunks episode "New, Improved Simon" (1984)
Lost in America (1985)
One Crazy Summer (1986)
Armed and Dangerous (1986)
The Married... with Children episode "Have You Driven a Ford Lately?" (1987)
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show (1989-1991) episode "Toad Warriors"
Opportunity Knocks (1990)
Problem Child (1990)
Rock n' Roll Racing, a Sega Mega Drive game from 1993.
Speechless (1994)
The NeverEnding Story III: Escape from Fantasia (1994) (parody)
Wild America (1997)
Van-Pires: The Next Generation (1997–1998) (theme song)
Barney's Great Adventure: The Movie (1998) (some TV spots only)
A Bug's Life (TV spots only) (1998)
Dudley Do-Right (1999)
Recess: School's Out (2001)
Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001)
Six Feet Under (2001–2005)
Stuart Little 2 (2002) (trailer and TV spots only)
Rugrats Go Wild (2003)
Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)
FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman (2006–2010)
Barnyard (2006) (some advertisements only)
Borat (2006)[15]
Mr Bean's Holiday (2007)
Commercial for the 2007 Hess Monster Truck
Alpha and Omega (2010) (trailer only)
Blue Cross/Blue Shield (2011 TV commercial)
Supernatural (2005–) (season 7 finale in 2011)
Rise of the Guardians (2012) (teaser trailer)
Skylanders: Swap Force (2013 video game) Character features catchphrase "Burn to Be Wild," a spinoff of "Born to Be Wild."
Home Improvement (TV Series) (1991-1999) Season 1 episode 2.

Ever since EASY RIDER it has been everywhere.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

That is kind of chilling, Jeff.

Gerard said...

Dramatic chorus:

I had another one in mind but forgot it when hunting for the above. Go to any high school football or basketball game and you'll hear Darth Vader's approach: My fifth grader has been learning that one.

pattinase (abbott) said...

"WE ARE THE CHAMPTIONS" gets dragged out a lot.

Deb said...

There's also the case of inappropriate (or just plain WTF?? use): A few years ago, a florist chain (I think it was FTD) used Iggy Pop's Wild One/Wild Child for one of their commercials. An odd juxtaposition to say the least. Iggy's Lust for Life was also used for a cruise line commercial; had they listened to the lyrics?

As for overuse, it may be my imagination but it seems that Martin Scorcese uses the Rolling Stones' Gimme Shelter in every movie he makes.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Seems like Woody Allen uses the same songs over and over too.

Kelly Robinson said...

I cringe every time Modern English's "Melt With You" is used to hawk another fast food product. It was a great '80s love song. Now it's a tribute to Wendy's and Taco Bell.

Rick Robinson said...

Re Jeff's list, I haven't heard that song in a decade, so I guess it's only "everywhere" in certain venues.

What annoys me is when a favorite song is used on a commercial and suddenly, as Kelly said, it's ruined with it's new association.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I recently heard the theme from MTM used somewhere else. TRAVESTY!

Cap'n Bob said...

Ode to Joy. It seems like they've been using that for centuries.

Unknown said...

I am going to be pilloried over this, but I am getting a bit weary of patriotic songs (other than the National Anthem) at sporting events; for example, do we really need to have "God Bless America" during the 7th-inning stretch at baseball games?

Okay, before people get carried away, looking to have me deported, I am as patriotic as anyone (and I spent 25 years in the Navy), but I really think the post-9/11 "flag waving" in the form of music is a bit cheesy.

Tell me where I am wrong.

George said...

Steve is right: WALKING ON SUNSHIRE by Katrina and the Waves. For years, U2 refused to allow their songs to be used in commercials, but partnered with APPLE on the introduction of the iPod in 2004. Apple created a U2-branded iPod, offered U2's single "Vertigo" exclusively through the iTunes store, produced an iPod commercial featuring U2, and created the first-ever digital box set featuring all of U2's albums.

Deb said...

I'm guessing that sometimes the money is just too good to turn down. For every multi-millionaire like Bruce, who can afford to turn down all offers, there are scores of one-hit wonders like Katrina and the Waves or Modern English whose main source of income is this one decades-old song.

Oh--and I thought of one more overused song: George Thoroughgood and the Destroyers' Bad to the Bone, particularly the opening riff.

Todd Mason said...

I certainly remember it was a Katrina and the Waves song, even when covered by bad children's choirs and the like for ads. Their Kimberly Rew also wrote "Going Down to Liverpool", which the Bangles covered on their first CBS album. Typically, CBS chose that rather than a Bangles original for single release.

For a while, the instrumental riff of "Vehicle" by the Ides of March was the adopted theme of ABC Sports and rather flowed from there.

Carnival's use of "Lust for Life" is one of the funniest juxtapositions.

Todd Mason said...

And, of course, "Also Sprach Zarathustra" after 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.

Todd Mason said...

"The LP was shopped around to various labels, but only Attic Records in Canada responded with an offer. Consequently, although they were based in England, Katrina and The Waves' first album Walking On Sunshine was released only in Canada."

--just in case you thought "expert judgment" was limited to the publishing industry's more famous idjits.

Anonymous said...

Cap'n Bob's mentioning Ode to Joy reminds me of another: Carmina Burana.

Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

One more, used in a number of commercials (Chips Ahoy and Swiffer, for two) and movies and television shows: Don't You Want Me by The Human League. Ever since the Chips Ahoy ad Jackie has referred to it as "the cookie song."

Jeff M.

J F Norris said...

Carmina Burana! Gerard is so right. Everyone thinks it's the theme from The Omen. It was never even used in the movie!

"And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" If I never hear that song again it will be too soon. Same goes for every Whitney Houston clone who sings "I Will Always Love You." Dolly Parton's original is still the best.

Eva Cassidy's beautiful version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" co-opted by every American Idol wannabe and cheapened each time it's sung.

For a while I couldn't escape hearing "Feeling Good", a very obscure song from an old musical called The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd." Nina Simone covered it back in the 60s, someone found that old recording and suddenly it was everywhere. I think it was because Michael Buble recorded it on one of his albums that it became so well known again.

pattinase (abbott) said...

In general, I don't hear "commercials" and I also don't hear much of the music in movies. So probably I grow tired of a piece of music much more slowly than most.

Anonymous said...

The worst ones are the ones used for a soundbite in their first line, and don't consider the context of the whole song. I can't quite remember the commercial, but it was a car ad, and the song was one in which the subject dies a violent death. Not exactly going to have me hankering for that car, is it?