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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

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

August 17, 2004 The venerable "Like A Rock" ad campaign comes to an end, as Chevy stops using the song and ends their association with Bob Seger. The 1986 song wasn't written for Chevy, but was used in the ads since 1989. Two years later, John Mellencamp's "Our Country" becomes the Silverado theme.

January 11, 1998 Nike debuts its "I Can" commercial, introducing the British band The Verve to a wide American audience with the song "Bitter Sweet Symphony." The song becomes the band's only hit in the States, which is bittersweet because they had to sign away royalties to the song to get the publishing rights to the string sample.

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.

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.

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, which becomes "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing."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.

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

July 12, 1971 Radio stations start running a Coke commercial called "I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke," sung by The New Seekers. It is later used a TV commercial showing young people from around the world singing on a hillside. The New Seekers later record a full version of the song as "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing," which becomes a huge hit.

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

August 4, 2016 Nationwide insurance announces a new ad campaign with Brad Paisley and Rachel Platten.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.

August 28, 2005 To promote their new line of fall denim, the Gap recruits seven artists to cover their favorite songs on a commercial that airs during the MTV Video Music Awards. Joining Alanis Morissette, who sings Seal's "Crazy" in the clip, are Keith Urban, Joss Stone, Michelle Williams (of Destiny's Child), Jason Mraz, John Legend, and Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd.More

September 29, 2003 McDonald's launches the "I'm Lovin' It" ad campaign in America, with Justin Timberlake singing the "ba da ba ba bah" hook and releasing a full-length version of the jingle as a single. It becomes the company's longest-running ad campaign.More

May 26, 1988 Frank Sinatra appears in a commercial for Michelob singing "The Way You Look Tonight" as part of the brewery's "The Night Belongs to Michelob" ad campaign.

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.

August 6, 1987 Nike takes out a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times responding to the controversy over their use of The Beatles song "Revolution" in a commercial.More

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