I spent a lot of my teenage summers inside. Oh sure, there were family vacations, Saturday afternoons playing hockey, and Tuesday evenings playing softball, but there were also entire weeks where I barely left the house, so much so that I knew that the same Craftmatic Adjustable Bed commercial came on every day at 1:00 p.m. on WPIX.
I think it was then that my father would force me out of the house by cranking the dehumidifiers in both the basement and den, therefore making it impossible to watch television. That, or he’d find some sort of back-breaking manual labor for me to do.
Anyway, among the many types of commercials I watched were commercials for compilation albums. Put out by companies such as Time-Life Music, these were collections of famous songs that fit a particular theme. In Time-Life’s case, there were collections for different decades such as the 1960s or 1980s (I personally own all of Sounds of the Eighties), but there were also compilations such as AM Gold and Love Songs.
The commercials were always pretty much the same. There was some sort of intro, and then several song titles would scroll up the screen while either a clip or photo of the artist or stock footage of people from a Mt. Airy Lodge commercial was shown. The song playing would change every once in a while and then you’d get some message about how you could order the albums, which usually came on record, cassette or CD (and later on cassette or CD).
But a select few took this commercial concept to another level. There, of course was Hey Soul Classics and its “No my brother, you’re gonna have to go buy your own!” and the classic exchange at the beginning of the Freedom Rock commercial:
“Hey, man, is that freedom rock?”
“Well, turn it up, man!”
And as awesome as those are, nothing trumps what has to be the most insanely bizarre yet spectacularly awesome compilation commercial of all time. Dear readers (both of you), I give you Feel Good Rock.
The commercial starts out kind of silly, using old 1950s sci-fi footage in a way that is a pretty common commercial trope, but then takes a turn that just about nobody is expecting when instead of the simple footage of bands performing their hits or the classic stock footage of people being romantic and/or having a good time, we get two minutes–yes, two minutes–of people ridiculously lip-synching the hits contained on the album. In some cases, there are people who have clearly been waiting their whole lives for this moment (the woman in the waitress uniform clearly is enjoying her moment in the spotlight), and in other cases, the people barely know the words (one of the guys singing “Crocodile Rock” doesn’t fully commit).
Now, until I scraped this off of the floor of YouTube, I hadn’t seen it in a good twenty years and while I remember it being an odd commercial, I can honestly tell you that I had forgotten how flat-out insane it was. And much like the Coke Is It! commercial and Juicy Fruit commercials from the 1980s, I felt the need to take a look at some of the people in the commercial who are just feeling so good.
“I Feel Good” is the first song mentioned in the commercial and that’s definitely appropriate because the album is called Feel Good Rock. Here we have two people who are either at a bakery or are getting ready to tape tomorrow’s episode of Supermarket Sweep and they are just really into it. Either that, or the woman is having a stroke. Either way, I’m pretty sure that this commercial became famous in the house to the point where every time it was on, Dad would call the kids into the den, yelling, “Hey, the commercial’s on again!”
To which their teenage daughter, who has hanging with her friends in the other room, would storm into the den and scream, “GOD, STOP! YOU ARE SO EMBARRASSING!” and storm out.
Now, one of the biggest songs on the compilation is Bobby McFerrin’s hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” which was huge right around the time that this album came out and while that song had a pretty short shelf life, I can see why the advertisers said it was the “ultimate” feel good song. After all, so many people can sing it, like her:
I wonder if the person in this portion of the commercial remembers being in the commercial and posts about it on Facebook. It’s not anything to be truly embarrassed about, considering that she has the type of face that is refreshing, especially after seeing this guy:
Now, either this is Kevin from The Office (and it’s not–Brian Baumgardner, the actor who played Kevin, would have been about eighteen when they shot this commercial) or a someone who has recently escaped a maximum security facility. No, really. Look at that smile. Look at those eyes. Now look back at that smile. Now look at this picture:
I know EXACTLY what he’s thinking …
Oh, well, someone went in and filmed the local high school English department on an in-service day. I bet that singing “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys (and by the way, why is it spelled wrong in this commercial? Is this commercial that cheaply produced that the idiot typing in the song titles couldn’t check a label?) beats the heck out of disaggregating benchmark test data. What, am I the only person who hates to do that?
Anyway, they’re pretty happy to be singing about wanting to go to the tropics and lay out on a beach. Or maybe they’re thinking of Cocktail and how HOTT Tom Cruise looked in that movie. Either way, this is clearly a moment that they’ll talk about at happy hour for years to come.
Now let’s go back to Supermarket Sweep.
I’m pretty sure that this is the couple that lost to the other couple on that day’s episode and they are just pissed that couple #1 gets to sing James Brown. You know that after the commercial was done shooting, the wife went back to yelling at her husband about how he was supposed to run down the diaper aisle and instead wasted his time grabbing cereal boxes and jars of garlic powder.
Finally, we have a couple feeling good on the most feel good day of the year, their wedding …
Now, I realize that these people are paid actors and probably were not actually filmed singing Captain and Tennille (or is it The Captain and Tennille? I can never remember) on their wedding day, but man, if I had made my wife do that on the day of our wedding, love would have never been able to keep us together because our love would have been in jeopardy before we’d only just begun.
I don’t know who these people are. I don’t know what they’re doing now. But I can tell you that if they’re anything like they were back in the day, they still feel good.