Over the weekend, I happened to hear Rosemary Clooney’s voice on TV, singing the first verse of “Too Marvelous For Words.” It almost brought me to tears.
Not because I love the Richard Whiting/Johnny Mercer song, though I do, or because I love to hear Rosemary Clooney, though I do. The song was being used as the soundtrack for a Liquid Plumr commercial in which a number of people, shown one-by-one from behind, wore low-hanging pants that revealed the part of the anatomy typically associated with plumbers squatting under the kitchen sink.
I was horrified. After consulting Webster’s Dictionary, I can say this commercial was odious, insidious, and that old standby, hideous.
I toiled in the commercial music business for years and have worked on many ad campaigns. When American Airlines appropriated Gershwin for a campaign, I was a bit dismayed at first but came to see the sweeping, glorious mood it set as a wonderful tribute. (If only airline travel could begin to live up to that image!) But this is something else. It’s not that the idea for the ad, apart from the use of the song, wasn’t clever –- that’s not the point. The reason for my despair boils down to one thought: This is where we are as a culture when it comes to the great music of another era. Words almost fail me here; the whole sad state of affairs is just too ludicrous for words.
No “buts” about it: I think I may be cracking up.
Laura Ainsworth is a fantastic retro jazz singer and comedy writer whose always-tasteful parody songs were heard on “The Mike Huckabee Show.” This summer, she’s releasing her third CD “New Vintage” and a best-of vinyl LP and making her NYC debut Aug. 24th at the Metropolitan Room. For tickets and more, visit https://www.facebook.com/lauraainsworthsings