Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Having Your Music In An Advert Isn't Always A Good Thing

Back in 1998 Hurricane #1 released what I thought was going to be their "make it big" single, Only The Strongest Will Survive. They'd already had quite some success with their first self-titled album and even a top twenty single but now they were going to hit the big time. So did their record label as Andy Bell, songwriter for the band, explains:

"Meanwhile, Creation's reaction to the success of the first single was to go into marketing overdrive, a bewildering and unsettling experience for any band, especially when you end up a year later owing the label so much money that they can force you to do an advert for The Sun just so they can get some back. The big budget videos and everything else just turned the presses noses up even more, and in the end, the whole experience did take it's toll on the band. I ended up leaving the country to try and get some peace, and to write the bands third album. I hit a huge writers' block, and ended up, to all intents and purposes, retired from music. After a few months of that, Oasis called me up." *

What Andy explains there is that they were offered a lot of money for their song to be used in an advert for the right wing paper The Sun. I seem to remember talk at the time put the sum in the region of £250,000. That's a lot of papers! The problem was that there was a back lash from the fans, well that's the way the media covered it. Maybe it was just a backlash by them, the NME wrote:

"They signed their own death warrants the minute they inked their names in Rupert Murdoch's Bumper Book Of Satan's Soldiers."

"they were exposed as the ultimate in cretinous sell-outs"

Harsh words indeed, I'm sure the writer for the NME at the time was just about to release their album knowing that they'd never make any money out of it.

I think to try and win back the fans and the media Hurricane #1 dropped the single version from the album and instead replaced it with a remix by U.N.K.L.E.. I think that was the final nail in the coffin, the fans gained from the advert were disappointed by the album and the original fans had already left. What a shame that was too, the first album is great and while you wouldn't describe the second one as great it's certainly a solid, quality album.

Below are the three versions I have of Only The Strongest Will Survive, in fact the U.N.K.L.E. remix inspired me and my wife to have it played by a string quartet as she walked down the aisle. It was to signify that long distance relationships do work, let's hope it's not as ironic for us as it was the band.

MP3: Only The Strongest Will Survive (U.N.K.L.E remix/album version) - hurricane #1 (2nd Link)
MP3: Only The Strongest Will Survive - hurricane #1 (2nd Link)
MP3: Only The Strongest Will Survive (Radio Edit) - hurricane #1 (2nd Link)

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