imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Led Zeppelin: the greatest TV commercial ever made

by NOT BORED! Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2004 at 7:26 AM

use of Led Zep song in Cadillac SUV TV advertisement triggers yet another rant from NOT BORED!

the greatest TV commercial ever made

I hate it when rock 'n' roll songs are used as sound-bites or soundtracks in TV commercials. And you know why? I hate TV commercials, all of them, even the "good ones," the funny ones. I hate all commercials, whether they're on TV, radio, the Internet, the "Silver Screen," roadside billboards or clothes. In a capitalist economic system such as "ours," there's only affirmation, and no possibility of negation, in all commercial discourse. Think of MTV, source of the pernicious trend of using "classic" rock music in TV commercials: for almost 25 years it has broadcast nothing but commercials. In the November 1983 issue of Artforum, Greil Marcus maintained that,

Within a commodity economy, negation can be packaged and sold as a commodity glamorizing commodities that aggressively affirm. There can be no negation on MTV, not even that of terrorism (if terrorism can be a negation, which is dubious). Were terrorists to take over the MTV transmitter, line the video jockeys up against the studio wall, and shoot them, viewers would rightly wonder what new group was being promoted.

And so, on three recent occasions, I, good Greil Marcusian that I am, have vehemently denounced the use of the music of Pete Townshend, Lou Reed and the Cure in various TV commercials, most of which have been for cars. I also hate cars, especially Sports Utility Vehicles.

But don't get me wrong, Gentle Reader. I do have a sense of humor and I can't/don't get worked up into a rant -- indeed, I'm far more likely to burst out laughing -- when I see such stunners as Devo's "Whip It" used to sell "Swiffer" cleaning-spray to strangely energetic housewifes or placed in the mouth of a singing cow in an ad for Gateway computers; or the Turtles' "Happy Together" used to promote the new steak-and-shrimp combo at the local chainstore restaurant; or etc etc. There's been dozens of comical monstrosities like these over the years. I know, I know: "They are so stupid that you just can't take them seriously; and, if you do take them seriously, it will be you who looks like a fool." Besides which, who knows? Maybe Devo really has been putting subliminal messages of rebellion into their you've-got-to-be-kidding appearances in TV commercials!

With all that in mind, and to keep things "fair and balanced," I now give you an example of a TV commercial with a "classic" rock song as its sound-bite/soundtrack that I happen to think is good, great, even THE GREATEST TV COMMERCIAL EVER MADE. And why's that? Because this particular TV spot, which is a rousing exhortation to buy a Cadillac SUV, is 1) a commercial for Cadillac, which as every American knows is THE GREATEST CAR COMPANY IN THE WORLD, 2) a commercial for an SUV, which is of course THE GREATEST AMERICAN CAR EVER MADE, and 3) a commercial that has as its gimmick/schtick a song by Led Zeppelin, THE GREATEST ROCK 'N' ROLL BAND EVER.

Now it's true that the Led Zeppelin song used in this all-time great TV commercial -- "Rock and Roll," on Led Zeppelin IV, released in 1971 -- isn't THE GREATEST SONG THEY EVER RECORDED, which as every true Led Zep fan knows is "Stairway to Heaven." But nothing's perfect, right? -- well, nothing except for the new Cadillac SUV, that is!

Led Zeppelin were THE GREATEST BAND EVER because they set the mold by reversing everybody's expectations: instead of getting better over the years, their music got worse. Their first album, boldly entitled Led Zeppelin I (1969) was their best, and their last, In Through the Out Door (1979) was their worst. Their decline took place during or immediately after the 1969-1971 period, during which they released three albums in a row -- Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin III and Untitled (commonly called Led Zeppelin IV) -- the very titles of which suggest that a formula or "brand" was being perfected and capitalized upon ("milked dry") as fast as possible.

Ironically, this branding wasn't good for the band's musical development. Singer Robert Plant and bassist John Paul Jones stopped trying, did competent but uninspiring work, coasted through, and let the band be driven/dominated by the cranked-up playing of guitarist Jimmy Page and drummer John Bonham. But Page quickly concentrated on his growing expertise as a producer of recordings at the expense of his guitar-playing, and Bonham was, after all, only the drummer (but let it be remembered that he, too, could give the concert-goers "Moby Dick," a 30-minute-long solo of his own!). And so Led Zeppelin became a lazy dinosaur, a Sloth Behemoth. Perhaps it was the cold expertise of their radio-friendly sound production that kept its rotten core (sexist "cockrock" posturing and racist rip-offs, cliches and put-downs) from stinking the place up.

"Rock and Roll," which is credited to Bonham/Jones/Page/Plant, is a perfect example of why Led Zeppelin was a big fat disappointment. It opens with a sizzling, up-tempo rip-off of the drummer's intro to Little Richard's "You Keep A-Knocking (But You Can't Come In)," and then, powered by two interlocking guitar parts, drives right into an up-tempo, 12-bar blues. Though Plant's vocals are typically lazy and noncommittal, Page's smoldering guitar-playing picks up the slack (there's an extended guitar solo, of course), which keeps the driving momentum going, but does nothing to increase it. The typically self-absorbed lyrics are full of evasions, begged questions, and cynical comparisons to the rock 'n' roll of the 1950s.

It's been a long time since I rock and rolled,
It's been a long time since I did The Stroll.
Ooh, let me get it back, let me get it back,
Let me get it back, baby, where I come from.
It's been a long time, been a long time,
Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time. (Yes it has.)

It's been a long time since the Book of Love,
I can't count the tears of a life with no love.
Carry me back, carry me back,
Carry me back, baby, where I come from.
It's been a long time, been a long time,
Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time.

Seems so long since we walked in the moonlight,
Making vows that just can't work right.
Open your arms, opens your arms,
Open your arms, baby, let my love come running in.
It's been a long time, been a long time,
Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time.

Yeah, hey! (repeat)
O yeah, o yeah.
It's been a long been a long time,
Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time.

And then . . . the song just ends or, rather, Bonham begins the short, triplet-heavy, momentum-killing and utterly pointless drum solo that prematurely signals the end of the song. When the song finally does clatter to an end, the sound is metallic and the tone detached and cold. It's all been nothing but a con, an empty affirmation of nothing.

But if you take this bullshit con-job (it's already a car commercial), edit it properly (just the "exciting part," the song's beginning), and then put what remains in a slick TV commercial for an SUV, the song becomes "perfect." It now has something to affirm: power. Power steering and power rock: the perfect combination! Dude! Can't you just see yourself driving one of those monsters, listening to 'Rock and roll' as you drive rough-shod over the face of the whole planet? You'd (still) be lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, but at least you'd have yer SUV, right?

-- Bill Not Bored, 12 April 2004.

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
art is already a commodity more rational Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2004 at 10:27 AM

Local News


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

Amy Goodman interview on cell phone safety A08 10:29PM

Mesa, Arizona police officer kills unarmed white man A08 9:50PM

Israeli leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes A08 9:48PM

Paraphysique de l'autorité A08 12:11AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy