1 January

Pick a Day

Music History Events: Commercials

April 17, 2006 A big-budget Coke commercial with a new song by Jack White called "Love Is The Truth" hits YouTube, then quickly goes away.More

March 2, 1989 "Like A Prayer" becomes the first hit song to debut in a commercial when it is used in a 2-minute Pepsi ad starring Madonna.More

March 26, 1987 Nike begins airing a commercial using the Beatles song "Revolution," marking the first time an original version of a Beatles song is used in an ad.More

March 1, 1985 Ford licenses The Beatles "Help!" for a commercial, marking the first time one of their songs is used in a TV ad.

December 30, 2004 Levon Helm of The Band sues the ad agency BBDO for using the song "The Weight" in a commercial without his permission.More

November 9, 1996 For the first time, Bob Dylan licenses one of his songs for commercial use, in this case, "The Times They Are A Changin'" to the Bank of Montreal.

June 29, 1995 Ringo Starr's first-ever TV commercial, for Pizza Hut, debuts in the US, as does a similar spot by the newly re-formed Monkees.

September 30, 1989 Bette Midler is awarded $400,000 in her lawsuit against the Ford Motor Company, which had her former backing singer Ula Hedwig sing Midler's hit "Do You Want To Dance" in a 1985 commercial for the Mercury Sable. The verdict means that companies can't purposely imitate the vocals of a famous singer in advertisements without consent.

February 27, 1984 The Jacksons' Pepsi commercial premieres on MTV.

April 4, 2017 Pepsi posts a commercial featuring the Skip Marley protest song "Lions" that is pulled the next day amid controversy that it makes light of actual protests.More

February 5, 2012 The Cult's "She Sells Sanctuary" is mashed with Flo Rida's "Good Feeling" for a special Budweiser commercial that airs during Super Bowl XLVI.

November 21, 1987 Nina Simone, who hasn't charted in the UK since 1969, hits #5 with the re-release of her 1958 song "My Baby Just Cares For Me" thanks to its use in TV commercials for Chanel No. 5 perfume.

January 18, 1971 The McCann-Erickson advertising agency takes a meeting with British songwriters Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway to record a Coca-Cola commercial with the group the New Seekers. That will eventually become "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing." While it initially attracts little attention on its radio release, it becomes a smash hit as a TV ad filmed with a globally diverse cast performing on a hillside outside Rome. The commercial, titled simply "Hillside" and costing a whopping $250,000 to film, is first aired in July 1971, and becomes a smash hit with many sequels, including a Christmas version filmed at night with a choir holding candles on a hillside in a tree formation. The commercials become some of the most successful and iconic ever filmed, and in a way herald in the dawn of the globalization era. They also make chart-topping stars of the New Seekers.

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