Dylan Does Ads (2009 Edition)


Continuing our never-ending tour of Bob Dylan destroying the heart of the 1960s for filthy, filthy lucre, our man did not one but TWO television ads in 2009. And one of them is very high on the sell-out meter if you’re the type to have a sell-out meter (and who isn’t?)

First, at The Super Bowl, Dylan appeared in a Pepsi commercial with Will.i.am from the Black-Eyed Peas (who would later go on to do the half time show of a Super Bowl, something Dylan should really do – I would love to see him sing six songs from Tempest to a Super Bowl crowd). This is not the worst ever re-mix of “Forever Young”, but it was not exactly a necessary one either. The film clips chosen are pretty obvious and occasionally bizarre. Dylan doesn’t actually appear in this other than in old footage, but they need the old footage to make the argument that, I guess, the Black-Eyed Peas are this generation’s Bob Dylan. Not the most plausible argument, but there you have it:

The second ad was a UK-only one for the Co-operative group of supermarkets and such. I’d have expected this one to kick off an even greater internet hissy fit than the 2014 Chrysler ad, but since it wasn’t a Super Bowl, and since it wasn’t in the US, maybe the usual pundits all missed it. Perhaps British pundits decried the fact that he allowed his original version of “Blowin’ in the Wind” to sell food. If this is the type of thing that upsets you, this will upset you. What most upsets me is two and a half minutes of gauzy images of dandelion fluff. I fell asleep before I even saw what they were selling, which, I take it, is massively capitalized ethical food? Not quite sure. As I say, not the best ad ever.

So there you have it. More fuel for the outrage fire!

The People Speak



Let’s start off 2009 with a great one. In January, Bob Dylan appeared in Malibu alongside Ry Cooder (on guitar) and Van Dyke Parks (keyboards) to record two Woody Guthrie songs for the television special The People Speak, a film based loosely on the work of Howard Zinn that aired in December of the same year. The trio did “Vigilante Man” (which I haven’t heard – Bjorner indicates that it isn’t circulating) and “Do Re Mi”. Here’s the latter from the film:

Isn’t that just great? Yes, Dylan’s voice is on its way to gone, but his phrasing is superb here. I love this.

I was in California two weeks ago on a short vacation and I had this song (not this version) stuck in my head the entire time. It’s one of my favourite Guthrie songs.

There is just something pleasing about Dylan, fifty years later, still up there doing Woody Guthrie. That’s awesome, that’s what that is.