Top Ten Jingle
The polar opposite of the Repurposed Pop Song
— sometimes an original jingle
can prove to be so popular that it gets rewritten as a full-length song, is released as a recording and becomes wildly successful completely on its own. Sometimes its origin as a jingle is completely lost or forgotten — but when it's not, the song becomes the Holy Grail of advertising: an ad that the customer pays to hear.
Not to be confused with a Top Ten List
- Paul Williams wrote the original version of "We've Only Just Begun" as a jingle for Crocker National Bank in California (which no longer exists; it was eaten by another bank, which was subsequently eaten by Wells Fargo), but it became a hit for the Carpenters. (Originally, Richard Carpenter asked Paul Williams if a full version of the song existed; Williams said it did, then promptly hung up the phone and wrote it.)
- "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" was originally a Coca-Cola jingle, but was released as a single recorded by "The Hillside Singers". In the 80s Coke repeated the trick with Robin Beck's "First Time".
- A version of "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing" by the New Seekers reached #1 in the UK singles chart on the back of the commercial; "First Time" also made the UK #1.
- Back in the mid-1960's, Coca-Cola arguably tried to invoke this trope by recording dozens of jingles based around their then-current "Everything Goes Better with Coke" slogan featuring many of the Top 40 stars of the day such as The Supremes, Jan and Dean, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and others. While none became a true hit, they're still fondly remembered today. Pepsi also did something similar as part of their "Pepsi Generation" campaign.
- The Dottie West-written and performed "Country Sunshine" was also originally a Coca-Cola jingle. It was released as a single on the popularity of the commercial and made it to #2 on the Country Charts in 1973.
- Counterexample: Contrary to popular belief, Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" was not written as an ad for the film, though Eastman Kodak did later use it in its advertising.
- More specifically, the song that was released as "Kodachrome" was developed as "Going Home"; Simon figured that the result was "too conventional", and came up with "Kodachrome", which sounded similar and was rather more unconventional.
- Eastman Kodak didn't want to allow Simon to release the song as written. Eventually they agreed, but only if it was accompanied by a disclaimer that "Kodachrome" was a registered trademark. As Simon explained, "They were afraid the term would become generic in the way Frigidaire became a generic term for refrigerator." Not to mention that in 1973, Simon's image was still tainted (in the eyes of the Silent Majority, anyway) by his association with the student counterculture of The '60s.
- Kodak did, however, have a real example with Paul Anka's "Times of Your Life".
- Smashmouth's "Come On" was written for a Gap commercial, but eventually extended and put on their second album. (Related, but not the same: the band attempted to sell the song "All-Star" from the same album for use in commercials, but were turned down. They made up for this by jamming the song into every other movie released between 1999 and
2002 the end of time)
- Parodied in the movie Demolition Man, where in the future the only songs that are wholesome enough to even be played on the radio are 1960's commercial jingles.
- This variant was previously used in "Emancipation", a 1974 scifi story by Thomas M. Disch.
- Kraftwerk created a jingle for the German fair Expo 2000. They later made a full-length version, most likely because of the embarrassment being paid $190,000 for a 4-second song brought them.
- If TV theme songs count as jingles, then "I'll be There For You", the Friends theme, certainly qualifies. When the show first came out, you couldn't escape that song on the radio.
- Johnny Rivers' "Secret Agent Man" was originally the Theme Tune for American broadcasts of the British series Danger Man, which aired in the U.S. under the alternate title Secret Agent. Originally, the song consisted of a single verse ("There's a man who leads a life of danger...") and chorus ("...they've given you a number/And taken away your name."); after the song proved surprisingly popular and fans began asking where they could buy the single, a longer version with two more verses was recorded and released.
- Also, the Mike Post-cowritten theme song to The Greatest American Hero, "Believe It or Not", was released as a single back in 1981, reaching #2 on the Billboard charts. It was only slightly modified from its TV version, adding a bridge and chorus to the length of the song.
- Post also wrote the themes for The Rockford Files and Hill Street Blues, both of which reached #10 on the Billboard charts (and earned him a Grammy each). He also wrote the themes for a few other series you may have heard of, a few of which were fairly popular but didn't crack the top ten.
- Maureen McGovern had two major hits, one of them being "Different Worlds", a song she recorded as the theme song for the short-lived 1970s Donna Pescow sitcom "Angie" (which also featured the late, future Everybody Loves Raymond costar Doris Roberts as the eponymous character's mother).
- Perhaps the best example of a TV theme tune eclipsing the show it was actually written and recorded for was David Naughton's "Makin' It", a song that was one of the biggest pop hits of 1980. At the same time, "Makin' It" the TV show (a show inspired heavily by Saturday Night Fever) didn't even last a season and is an obscure sitcom.
- In the mid 1970s, a group called Rhythm Heritage scored their one Top 40 hit with the theme to the short-lived cop drama "S.W.A.T."
- In 1966, Sid Ramin composed a catchy jingle for a Diet Pepsi ad. The tune was covered by the Bob Crewe Generation as "Music to Watch Girls By" and became a hit in 1967, reaching #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Easy Listening chart. A vocal version, with lyrics by Tony Velona, was recorded that same year by Andy Williams; his version went to #34 on the Hot 100. About 30 years later, the Williams version was repurposed for a British car advert, making it a hit again (and his biggest in the UK).
- Taken to its logical extreme with the song Dánarfregnir og Jarðarfarir (e. News of Death and Funerals), where the Icelandic national radio (RÚV)'s signature jingle before announcing the news of recently deceased people was covered by Sigur Rós into an epic prog rock song that retains the morbid message while becoming so much more. Linky The song had been played before the obituaries on RÚV for decades, but after Sigur Rós redid it, RÚV abandoned the tune.
- Happened in the 1940s with the Chiquita Banana song.
- Inverted by The Who on the album The Who Sell Out, which contains several original songs written as faux-jingles for Heinz Baked Beans, Jaguar automobiles, and other popular brands of the time.
- Come Together was originally the slogan for a politician's campaign. John Lennon liked it and tried to make it a jingle, but it was only after he let go of the political affiliation that he managed to write the song we all know and love. The politician in question was Timothy Leary, who was running for Governor of California against Ronald Reagan, with the slogan "Come together, join the party", hence the title of the song. Timothy Leary had to stop his campaign after he was arrested for possession of marijuana.
- Older Than Radio: "Funiculi, Funicula". Often mistaken for either an Italian folk song or a Verdi aria, it was originally written in 1880 as a jingle for a tourist railway up Mt. Vesuvius! (The title roughly translates as "Riding Down, Riding Up".)
- It has actually come full circle, often used in ads for Italian restaurants and the like.
- Not to mention being given new lyrics in an ad for the board game "Grape Escape".
- Australians would know a few examples. For example, the Mojo Jingle "C'mon Aussie C'mon" made it to #2 on the ARIA charts.
- The T-Bones had a #3 instrumental hit in 1966 with "No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In)", whose melody came from an Alka-Seltzer jingle. The album of the same name that followed also included a cover of the "Chiquita Banana" song (see above), an original based on a Granny Goose potato chips commercial ("What's in the Bag, Goose?") and "Sippin' 'n' Chippin'", a cover of the jingle for Nabisco's Sip 'n' Chip cheese snacks which was issued as the follow-up single to "Shape" and was recycled as the title tune of the next album.
- Scatman John's "Su Su Su Super Kirei" and "Pripri Scat" were originally written for Japanese hair care products and pudding respectively.
- The song "Forever Autumn" from Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds originally began life as a tune for a Lego commercial.
- The Discovery Channel's "The World Is Just Awesome" commercials. The songs haven't quite made it to the radio, but they're incredibly popular, especially as fuel for reworded versions and other fanwork.
- Washington, D.C. radio station WRC's "Have A Happy Day" jingle was so well-received that an extended version was made and released as a single in support of a local charity. This page explains the full story behind the song, and insists that "a good marketing tool should never be abandoned until everyone is completely saturated with it!"
- A number of songs recorded for Christmas adverts in the UK since 2008 have since made the charts there, such as Gabrielle Alpin's cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "The Power Of Love", and most notably Ellie Goulding's version of "Your Song" which went to #1. However, as of 2015, none have taken the coveted Christmas Number One spot, mainly due to competition with the latest winner of The X Factornote .
- Train's "Shake Up Christmastime" was recorded for a Coca-Cola commercial in 2010, and following on the examples of fellow Coke jingles "Teach The World To Sing" and "Country Sunshine", the full version made the charts and regularly receives radio airplay every Christmas to this day.
- The 1970's Jack in the Box jingle, "Take Life A Little Easier", became a minor hit on the radio.
- An early 1960's Maxwell House commercial featured the melodic bubbling of a percolator as a jingle. That sound effect inspired not one, but two singles: "Perky" by Al Hirt in 1961 (which didn't chart) and "Percolator (Twist)" by Billy Joe and the Checkmates in 1962 (which hit #10 and was later covered by the Ventures).