Can You Spell "Sell-Out"?

Published:  September 14, 2003

One feels disdain toward the rock band Journey for allowing their hit "Any Way You Want It" to be used as a musical sales pitch to hawk Ford automobiles. Likewise, jeers to every musician that has similarly prostituted their music to sell products. Even the historic mega-rock band Led Zeppelin has traveled this troubled road; rest assured, mates, that whenever I hear the classic "Been A Long Time," I no longer think of a talented and historic group of four hard rock/blues musicians and the unique musical craft they cultivated and produced so prodigiously--instead, I am now cogently and immediately reminded of Cadillac automobiles.  Is this to be the legacy of this historic supergroup?

This inappropriate and misdirected commercialism may have been embodied most pointedly in a remark I heard recently from Gene Simmons, notorious bassist of the rock band Kiss, during a radio interview. He actually stated:  "Why be a band, when you can be a brand?" I guess Gene means it, because one of my most depressing moments was the day, about a year ago, that I saw Kiss hawking Pepsi-Cola in a television commercial.

The youth and countercultures in America (and elsewhere) have historically criticized, or even rejected, what they viewed as the uptight, money-centric attitudes of the "older generation," specifically their parents and other authority figures, and this nonconformity and rebellion has always comprised part of the impetus and driving force for rock-n-roll.

Has everyone forgotten?


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