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POP EYE

December 13, 1987|PATRICK GOLDSTEIN

A WHAM FROM BAM: If you've always wondered why so many pop stars are willing to sell their songs to the highest TV commercial bidder, don't miss the new issue of Bam magazine, which has a terrific special section on "Rock and Advertising: The Selling of a Revolution." You can't miss the issue--its cover features a drawing of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road (with Michael Jackson--armed with a Pepsi bottle--in Paul McCartney's place), each wearing Nike sneakers.

The best stuff includes Dave Zimmer's in-depth lead story, which reveals that Nike's controversial "Revolution" ads have never run in England (as a publishing company spokeswoman explained, "That's where Paul lives, so we considered his feelings"); a list of rock stars and their ads--Randy Newman has sold four songs to TV, including "Short People" to Ford Trucks, and a great section where popsters sound off about ads. Here's a couple of highlights:

Jello Biafra: "The biggest impact of Bruce's 'Born in the U.S.A.' album wasn't on . . . the plight of Vietnam vets or the unemployed. It was on the music used in TV commercials."

Jerry Garcia: "The reason I did (a Levi's commercial) was because I had some friends that needed work."

Mojo Nixon: "I don't think anyone's had a chance to do a commercial for something they really like. Maybe Elvis should have done ads for jelly doughnuts or Percodan. (Imitating Elvis) 'Well, this is Elvis here and I personally recommend you do as much Percodan as possible.' "

Randy Newman: "You know what really bothered me? They (United Airlines) did a synthesized version of 'Rhapsody in Blue' where they changed the tempo, cut bars, cut beats. Bad! Really bad! They screwed up the music."

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