Their ‘Son’ was Fogerty’s babyJohn Fogerty’s “Fortunate Son,” was sold to Wrangler for TV ad by the label.
..one of his most meaningful songs, the Vietnam War-era protest anthem “Fortunate Son,” has been used by Wrangler as a patriotic endorsement of its jeans.
So, this has happened to The Beatles, The Stones, ect. I know things aren’t as simplistic in the music business as I am about to make them. Why don’t you just retain the rights to your music??? I don’t know why artists sell off the rights to the music and quite frankly, I find it hard to find sympathy for anyone who sells the rights to things, then complains about what gets done with them. I call this the Ace Frehley syndrome.
Years ago, when Ace left Kiss, he sold the rights to just about everything except his royalties. In other words, he sold the rights for Kiss to rerecord all of his work without him, sold his vote for how to use the Kiss brand, etc. He even sold his rights to the “Space Ace” costume to them. The only thing he retained the rights to is the royalty checks on his publishing and the sales. Not long afterward, he started complaining about the rampant Kiss marketing (hell, as recently as a few months ago, he was complaining about the Kiss Koffin…). Recently, when he refused to play a gig Kiss was doing, they hired a guitarist to stand in for him and put him in the “Space Ace” costume. Ace was pissed and fired out in the press. In my book, Kiss had every right to do that, since he sold them the rights. He tried to make a quick buck when he could have held onto everything and both made more money in the long run and retained a right of refusal.
The real kicker in Fogerty’s case, though is the song content. The song is a Vietnam-era protest song. It’s being used in the Wrangler ad as a patriotic endorsement of jeans. They only really use the first two lines:
Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Ooh, they’re red white and blue
While the whole song goes like this:
by: J. Fogerty
performed by: Credence Clearwater Revival
From Willy And The Poorboys 1969
Some folks are born made to wave the flag,
Ooh, they’re red, white and blue.
And when the band plays “Hail to the chief”,
Ooh, they point the cannon at you, Lord,
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son, son.
It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, no,
Some folks are born silver spoon in hand,
Lord, don’t they help themselves, oh.
But when the taxman comes to the door,
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes,
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no.
It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, no.
Some folks inherit star spangled eyes,
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord,
And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Ooh, they only answer More! more! more! yoh,
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no military son, son.
It ain’t me, it ain’t me; I ain’t no fortunate one, one.
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no no no,
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate son, no no no,
That kind of does piss me off. The song is not patriotic, yet has two lines that can be used that way. How a song is used when the artist signs away the rights is too bad, but advertising that twists anything to their own devices is like lying.
Car ads do it all the time. Like that Jeep ad where the Jeep is under a river, the people walk over it and the Jeep pulls out. In little, itty-bitty writing across the bottom of the screen, it says “This vehicle is not intended for or will not run under water.” The other Jeep ad has the Jeep climbing Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary talking in the background. Again, a little, tiny disclaimer says that the vehicle won’t necessarily perform like that. Another one has a Ford Explorer under water, like a submarine. The disclaimer, again in tiny lettering says that the vehicle won’t run under water. This, to me, is not truthful advertising when an ad blatantly lies about a product or portrays it for different use. Not because I believe them, but because I’m not a dummy and wish these companies wouldn’t treat me like one.
This was originally posted on my site, JimSpot on November 1, 2002