I was one of those music freaks in high school that would scour the import section of my local record store looking for rare, cool, avant-garde music. I found music by the Scorpions, Iron Maiden, Motor Head, Dokken, AC/DC, and even Metallica before many of their most popular songs were sold on American labels like Columbia and Atlantic Records. And as soon as these bands got popular, I abandoned them; turned my back on them. They went “commercial”. You can’t imagine how I feel when I flip on the tube and watch Madison Avenue market a Cadillac with a Led Zeppelin riff. Many bands are selling out to sell cars.
The reason I loved rock-n-roll when I was a kid was MY DAD HATED IT. I loved to blast the Pink Floyd verse on the Wish You Were Here album that said, “You bought a guitar to punish your ma… and you didn’t like school… and you know, you’re nobody’s fool…” So why are they using this music to sell me stuff. Do I look like that much of a sucker?
Here’s a list the anti-establishment Pied Pipers of my teen years that now blow there pipes for corporate America: the Rolling Stones and “Start Me Up” to sell Windows 95 (I’m only providing links to the bands, not the products >:p), Iggy Pop's great "Lust for Life" peddling Royal Caribbean cruises, The Who's "Tommy" used to hawk Clarinex, Sweet's '70s glam-rock masterpiece "Ballroom Blitz" used to sell Mitsubishis. What has happened to the purity of rock-n-roll? Remember when rebellion was bad? I’m just warming up: Bowie's "Heroes" sells bouquets for FTD. Hendrix's "Purple Haze" makes you thirsty for Pepsi and James Brown's "Sex Machine" makes you want to drink Gatorade. The Cure's "Pictures of You" is all about HP digital photography. Styx's cheesy "Lady" moves cheese for California cheese company, "Happy Cows". Intel used Blur's "Song 2" to sell Pentiums. George Thoroughgood's "Bad to the Bone" was used to sell everything from Crispix cereal to aspirin. And of course, you’ve heard it a million times, Bob Seger unloads trucks for Chevy with "Like a Rock".
The list is truly endless. Sinatra (Visa) to Tom Petty (ESPN), The Clash (Pontiac, Jaguar) to Screamin' Jay Hawkins (Levi's), Queen (Coke) to Earth, Wind and Fire (the Gap), Paul Oakenfold (Volvo) to Celine Dion (Chrysler), Ted Nugent (Cingular), Stevie Wonder (Red Lobster), Lou Reed (Amex), Bob Dylan (Victoria's Secret), Andrew W.K. (Expedia, Coors Light) to the Shins (McDonald's). It goes on. And on. And on.
Hopefully we won't see commercials using Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" to sell Preparation H to relieve that burning itch.
I read the C.S. Lewis classic Chronicles of Narnia aloud to my kids when they were elementary aged and I was too poor to afford cable. We read the entire series together. The kids loved it. I treasure the memories. Reading these books may be the only thing I did right raising these two. The stories became a tool to help me explain Biblical truth to my youngsters: why Jesus had to die on the cross and why virtue and morality is important when serving Christ. I explained to my little ones that God has a plan for their lives. They learned that life isn’t easy or without purpose. I’m proud to say that now that my kids are 16 and 18, they read C.S. Lewis books on theology and faith. We bought my daughter a C.S. Lewis Sci-Fi series threaded with theological concepts for Christmas at her request.
Happy meals for my kids were a light diversion and a simple treat. Stupid stuff. The McDonald’s Happy Meal is definitely not where I thought anything created by C.S. Lewis would end up. The end must be near.