Dylan's Other Sellouts

Written for Prodigy's Bob Dylan area sometime in early 1994

After Bob Dylan's Sale of "The Times They Are A'Changin'" to Cooper's and Lybrand, it may be just a matter of time before an Associated Press story like this appears over the wire:


MALIBU -- Folksinger Bob Dylan, depleted for funds after an extended world tour and continued lackluster sales, today caught both the music and advertising industries by surprise by announcing that, effective immediately, his entire back catalog would be available for commercial advertising purposes. This announcement set off a veritable feeding frenzy on Madison Avenue as agencies scrambled to gather raights for their various clients. As one agent said, "This is even better than what Michael Jackson did to The Beatles."

Mr. Dylan himself dismissed any criticism of his action by his fans by saying "They have their memories of the songs, you can't tell me those memories are going to go away just because my song is trying to sell them a Buick. Besides, you can't tell me that Willie McTell or one of them guys wouldn'ta done the same thing given the chance." Iconoclastic rocker Neil Young, a long-time friend and associate of Mr. Dylan and an outspoken critic of the commercialization of rock music commented, "Hey, Bob's trip is Bob's trip, man. He can go his way and I'll go mine."

For the record, here are some of the products and songs being bandied about:

"Absolutely Sweet Marie" -- Marie Callendars Restaurant
"Pledging My Time" -- Rolex
"It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" -- Curad
"Visions of Johanna" -- Radial Keratomy Surgical Group
"Goin to Acapulco" -- Mexican Tourist Board
"Meet Me in the Morning" -- IHOP
"Shelter From The Storm" -- Howard Johnsons
"Every Grain of Sand" -- Hawaiian Tourist Advisory
"Solid Rock" -- The Prudential
"Series of Dreams" -- American Psychiatric Assn.
"Forever Young" -- The Hair Club For Men

Madison Avenue insiders estimate this move could net Mr. Dylan tens of millions of dollars. "It's open season at the apocalypse bazaar, " Dylan said with a grin, "c'mon up to the trough."


Luckily, I guess, this never came to pass. Dylan hasn't sold too much of his music, though, of course, now it's become so commonplace that a car company uses The Who's "Bargain," an exquisite love song, to try and sell their latest brand, and nobody really cares. That really includes me, though for a second I though "et tu, Mr. Townshend," just before I went back to try and figure out whether or not that was the Destiny's Child commercial or the Destiny's Child video that was on and hoping for the Britney Spears Pepsi ad just one more time.

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This document was created on 13 August, 2001

I was listening to New Order -- Get Ready