Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cialis & All That Jazz

I was in Daedalus Books the other day I heard the familiar strains of laid-back jazz known to any man who watches a sporting event on TV. I'm talking about the Cialis "You'll know when the moment is right" commercial...the one that plays in between the car and beer ads whenever I'm watching Fox Soccer Channel or American football games. It's as iconic a riff as Seinfeld's slapped bass segues.

So I went up to the cashier and asked what was playing. Turns out it was a riff by jazz guitarist Herb Ellis, buried in the middle of his version of "Sweet Georgia Brown" taken from his 1998 Concord Jazz Heritage CD. When I explained to the cashier that it was the Cialis theme, she and another employee started laughing and nodding in agreement. I mean, I'm sure the TV commercial has some contempo studio hotshots playing the riff and not Herb Ellis, but there it was playing in Daedalus Books, plain as the rather rather large nose on my face.

I don't know why this interests me, but it does. At least it's jazz - Cialus' manufacturer Eli Lilly originally planned to use the Supremes' Motown hit "You Can't Hurry Love" before deciding people would get sick of hearing a familiar tune (which I guess also ruled out Foreigner's "Love Isn't Always On Time").

I guess Herb Ellis' name will forever be linked with the the unexpected. Before the Cialis riff, Ellis was best known as being the lone white dude in the Oscar Peterson Trio at a time (1953-1958) when racism was still rampant in America. Anyway, I don't know if you can copyright a riff, but if not Herb should at least get Lilly to provide him with some pills; given their shape, he could even use 'em for guitar picks!

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