Every once in a while, I dig through old files here at the blog looking for semi-worthwhile odds and ends that were, for some reason, never published, then I patch them together to make a post. Today is the kind of day on which it happens.
About clients who want to record their own radio ads:
Wherever I was in charge of commercial production, I encouraged clients voicing their own ads to use their names in their ads. For example: “Hi, this is Ted from Ted’s House of Stuff.” This had a dual purpose: it massaged the client’s ego by making them even more the star of their ad, and it took the curse off of an obviously non-professional delivery.
And I used to make the clients work, too—if they fluffed a line or gave me a poor read, I’d make ’em do it again, always kindly and in the spirit of “let’s make this sound good for your money,” but never giving them a choice in the matter. Not every client took this well, but most did—and why everybody producing radio spots doesn’t do it, I don’t know. One local business up here has been running a nearly indecipherable ad for months (not on my stations) with a girl slurring words in an accent that’s one part suburban teenager and one part lifelong Wisconsinite. If it’s the first take, my question is “why?” If it’s the best of multiple takes, my question is still “why”?
About a strange, early moment in the history of the Electric Light Orchestra:
Their 1971 debut album, No Answer, got its American title when a record-label executive was unable to reach the band by telephone to find out what they wanted to call it. His note about the call—“no answer”—was somehow misconstrued as the title the band wanted. The album was released in the UK as The Electric Light Orchestra, and although it’s listed at Amazon.com as No Answer, I don’t believe you’ll find the words “no answer” on it anywhere.
About Starbuck’s “Moonlight Feels Right”:
It’s the one record to play if you want to know what the summer of 1976 sounded like. It’s hazy sunshine and humid nighttime, it’s down the road with the windows open on the hunt for adventure, it’s the promise of romance for a couple of hours, or a lifetime. (The girl with the “class of seven-four gold ring” would be in her 50s now, and I’ll bet she’s still hot.) And it’s got a
xylophone marimba solo.
A forgotten 45 from the spring of 1970:
As for “Viva Tirado,” it’s a cool Latin groove that barely scraped into the Billboard Top 40 despite going to the top in LA and scoring big in San Francisco and Detroit. Here’s a TV performance, with vintage headache-inducing TV effects:
There’s a thin line between eclectic and random . . . and now you know what it is.