Stand by Me by Ben E. King was number one in the UK thirty years ago. It would be a heart-hearted person who doesn’t like this song, but it was part of something a little shitty about the pop charts in the late eighties and nineties: Levi’s.
I have nothing against Levi’s. Indeed, for most of my life I’ve bought them instead of other brands (so I guess these commercials worked). It’s just easier, innit? Need a new pair of jeans, go to the shop, find the 501s, find my size, no need to try them on, pay, leave. (Having said that, I did have a pair of the twisty Levi’s back in the early 2000s, and I loved them. Wish they still did ’em.
I had a quick google, and found this site, with its handy list of songs off the adverts. Back then, it really was a route to the higher end of the hit parade to be on a jeans advert.
Wonderful World by Sam Cooke got to No. 2 in 1986.
Dude gets in the bath with his jeans on, like a crazy person.
I Heard It Through the Grapevine by Marvin Gaye got to No. 8 in 1986.
Nick Kamen in the launderette.
Stand by Me by Ben E. King got to, as we have already noted, No. 1 in 1987.
Aaah, black Levi’s. The staple of every middle-aged man who likes real music. Tommy Saxondale types.
When a Man Loves A Woman by Percy Sledge got to No. 2 in 1987.
I remember quite fancying the girl in this one. Also of note: all songs by black artists so far, with white actors in everything. Yeah, Craig, we know says every person of colour.
C’mon Everybody by Eddie Cochran got to No. 14 in 1988.
I’ve got absolutely no memory of this advert. Eddie Cochran, though. Ooof, what a man.
Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash got to No. 1 in 1991.
The world’s most overrated band.
20th Century Boy by T-Rex got to No. 13 in 1991.
Mad About the Boy by Dinah Washington got to No. 41 in 1992.
It’s weird that this song didn’t get higher in the charts. This ad was on telly all the time. And it’s a cracking song, innit?
Piece of My Heart by Erma Franklin got to No. 9 in 1992.
Inside by Stiltskin got to No. 1 in 1994.
Turn On, Tune In, Cop Out by Freak Power got to No. 3 in 1995.
This is one of those songs that does nothing, I think. It’s trying to be something, it’s just dull. Lifeless.
Boombastic by Shaggy got to No. 1 in 1995.
Plasticine. Seems a weird step for this series of ads to take. I can see that they must’ve felt like a change was necessary, but plasticine!?
Spaceman by Babylon Zoo got to No. 1 in 1996.
I worked in a record shop when this song came out. Never during my time there was a record so anticipated by the record-buying public of Lincoln. It’s a big old turd of a song, which is a shame, cos I really loved Jas Mann’s previous band, the Sandkings.
Underwater Love by Smoke City got to No. 4 in 1997.
Must’ve been watching less telly at this point in my life. Doesn’t ring any bells.
A Nanny in Manhattan by Lilys got to No. 16 in 1998.
I already loved the Lilys, and while I was a bit indie snob about a band I liked suddenly being liked for just one song, it was good that they got a bit of money. Saw them live a couple of times. Good band. Great song.
Whine and Grine by Prince Buster got to No. 21 in 1998.
Another one I have no memory of.
Flat Beat by Mr Ozio got to No. 1 in 1999.
Yeeeaaaah! Wonderful stuff. I think that’s about enough. Flat Eric seems like a good place to stop.
A wee bit of artwork
Three drawings I did with the Paper app on my iPad in bed last night.
The song in my head when I woke up this morning
Les Yper-Sound by Stereolab
On this day
Play a silly game, 15 February 2009
Here’s an interesting Wikipedia article