Monday, February 6, 2017

Brass Ring – "Dis-Advantages of You" (1967)

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We’re going to do things a little differently today – we’re going to listen to our featured song first, and then read about it.

Here’s “The Dis-Advantages of You”:

If you’re as old as I am, that song is very familiar to you.  But do you know why?

“The Dis-Advantages of You” was the theme music for a famous ad campaign for Benson & Hedges cigarettes, whose manufacturer attempted to distinguish it from the competition by emphasizing its length, which was 100 millimeters.  (Cigarettes were originally 70 mm long.  Then king-size cigarettes were introduced – they were 85 mm long, but most of the difference was attributable to the addition of a filter, not additional tobacco.)

Benson & Hedges commercials were all over network television in the late sixties.  But Congress passed a law banning cigarette advertising on TV that went into effect on January 2, 1971.  (Virginia Slims ran one final TV ad on The Tonight Show at 11:59 pm on January 1 of that year.)

Here’s an example of a Benson & Hedges “disadvantages” TV spot:

“The Dis-Advantages of You” was written by Mitch Leigh a famous radio/TV jingle composer who also wrote the score for Man of La Mancha (which included “The Impossible Dream”).  

The record sounds a little bit like it might have been done by the Tijuana Brass, but it was recorded by the Brass Ring, a group of New York City studio musicians led by saxophonist Phil Bodner.  The group recorded eight studio albums between 1966 and 1970.

“The Dis-Advantages of You” first appeared on the Billboard “Hot 100” chart on February 4.  It eventually peaked at #36.

Once again, here’s “The Dis-Advantages of You”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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