Big in Japan

So, today I blogged about Germany and cars. Seems appropriate that I should now combine both topics in a single post:

Tom Waits, the gravelly voiced, Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter, has filed suit against General Motors' Opel and the ad agency McCann Erickson in Frankfurt, Germany for producing and broadcasting a series of car commercials that used a perfect impersonation of Waits' singing voice.

Waits had been approached several times and refused to participate in the advertisements. After the defendants were told that Waits has a long-standing policy against doing commercials, their agents hired a soundalike singer to imitate Waits, according to the lawsuit.

Waits is apparently claiming that GM/Opel has violated his "personality rights" by hiring a soundalike for the commercials. I always knew Waits was a little off but personality rights? Do they even exist? If so, I want to file suit against all pale, dark-haired girls with crushes on Jim Jarmusch, because they've obviously been stealing my style.

Waits and the object of my affection

Seriously, though, you've got to applaud Waits's determination. It's like Bill Hicks said, you do a commercial, you're off the artistic roll call. Unlike other artists (ahemMobyahem) who soullessly sell off every song they've ever penned to the highest corporate bidder, Waits is making a statement that art never benefits from the corporate largesse. As always, Waits says it better than I ever could:

"Apparently,the highest compliment our culture grants artists nowadays is to be in an ad -- ideally naked and purring on the hood of a new car. I have adamantly and repeatedly refused this dubious honor. Currently accepting in my absence is my German doppelganger. While the court can't make me active in radio, I am asking it to make me radioactive to advertisers."

annamaria at 9:25 AM

1 spoke


at Tuesday, September 20, 2005 12:11:00 PM Anonymous Rich said...

Okay, the caption for that second picture should have been "Waits and Jarmusch edge out Kid 'n' Play in world's tallest hair competition."


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