Sunday, 26 October 2008

It Sounds so Good

Bad records turn up in the most unexpected places.


Over 20 years ago, actually probably closer to 25 years ago now, I worked as the assistant manager and singles buyer at the HMV shop in Gloucester. One of the guys who worked at the same store, Dave, was a keen Northern Soul collector, always on the search for obscure promos to play when he DJ'd at all nighters. He would buy boxes and boxes of obscure US releases from people in the hope that the stash would yield one or two gems and I, being keen even then on bad records, always looked forward to the days when he would toss a crumb my way - a tune useless for him but an essential addition to my bulging bad record collection.

This is one such item.

I know next to nothing about the US soul combo the Polyunsaturates; I've yet to discover if they made any other records - although with its out of tune, singalong kid's choir vocals and insipid lyrics it's highly unlikely that anyone connected with the disc ever made a career out of music (unless they holed themselves up in the Sesame Street band, that is). yet it's composer, Steve Karmen, is another matter altogether. Karmen is most famous for jingles including the New York State song, I Love New York (not the Larry London paen of the same name), the Exxon Song and the Wrigley's Spearmint Gum 'Carry The Big Fresh Flavour' tune. Apparently unique among jingle writers, he was the only one of his peers to receive royalties every time one of his jingles was performed on TV or radio, rather than a flat fee, leading to his informal industry title The King of Jingles.

Originally conceived as a jingle for Diet Rite Cola (a product that had one of its ingredients, cylamate, banned by the FDA), Everybody Likes It is just one of the hundreds of jingles that Karmen has written over the years, although thankfully not all have made the transition from 30 second commercial to full-blown pop pap.

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