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TV shows -- and commercials -- gave us some memorable lines, and a few turned into popular songs

With the fall TV season well under way, I thought I’d feature some popular songs that share a well-known line from a television show —as well as some others that grew in popularity from their use in commercials.

We’ll start with some song titles that share a famous line from a TV show.

Famous TV lines
The popular “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” free-for-all (1967-73) leads the way with two of them:

• Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels scored big in 1967 with “Sock It to Me-Baby!” — an enhanced version of the well-known tagline that actually became a hit before the show ever aired. The line — minus the word “baby” — was uttered weekly by assorted cast members and a whole bunch of celebrities, including, most famously, by a presidential candidate who proved quite successful —at least until Watergate did him in.

• And two 1968 hit versions of another catch phrase, “Here Comes the Judge,” illustrated here by Sammy Davis Jr. The more successful hit version was by Shorty Long, with Pigmeat Markham’s rendition also doing well.

• Then there’s the 1965 Jan and Dean song “You Really Know How to Hurt a Guy,” a rare ballad from the surf-and-car duo. And it just also happens to be one of many one-liners popularized by comedian Don Adams, best known from his “Get Smart” role. This one, featured on “The Perry Como Show,” pre-dates Adams’ spy comedy by a few years.  I’ve got no proof, though, that there was any connection between the song and the Adams tag line.

• Also, Jimmie Walker’s catch phrase “Dy-No-Mite,” from the comedy “Good Times," was popularized in song in 1975 by Bazuka.


DYNOMITE by Bazuka by Discolarry125

Famous music from commercials
More common, though, were songs that were featured — or got a boost — from TV ads.

Do you remember any of these commercials for common household products?

• The Maxwell House “singing coffee pot” ad — and later variations like this one. That music morphed into a 1962 one-hit wonder for Billy Joe and the Checkmates: “Percolator (Twist).”

• Or more liquids: Diet Pepsi’s ad music, which turned into a big 1967 hit, “Music to Watch Girls By” — the instrumental version by the Bob Crewe Generation and the vocal version by Andy Williams.

• Or Pepsi’s chief competitor: the famous Coca-Cola ad, which morphed into the Hillside Singers’ 1971-72 hit “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony).”  (There’s a special Christmas commercial, too.)

• “Grooming” products were — and still are — big business, too. Vitalis hair products made it big in the early '60s with its derision of a competitor’s “greasy kid stuff” with ads featuring the athletic likes of the Twins’ Bob Allison and the Packers’ Bart Starr.    Janie Grant, meanwhile, turned the phrase into a 1962 minor hit record.

• Another athlete, Broadway Joe Namath, raised the profile of Noxzema products with this ad, but this is the one I remember, featuring “The Stripper,” which earlier was a No.1 hit in 1962 for David Rose and his orchestra.

Remedies for headaches and stomach aches were featured often, too.

• Alka-Seltzer scored big with ads featuring hummable music that turned into a Top 5 instrumental hit for the T-Bones in 1966, “No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach’s In).”

• And another pain reliever, Anacin, featured a famed mother-daughter conflict fueled by a headache in its ad campaign. Jo Ann Campbell turned the two unforgettable words “Mother, Please!” into a minor hit in 1963.

We’ll end with an upper commercial that’s likely to make you smile — the clever Clark’s Teaberry Gum ad featuring Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass’ “Mexican Shuffle.”

Got more nominees? Bring 'em on. You can post your additions in the Comment section below.

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Comments (1)

Thanks, Don. Fun stuff! Will soon be playing "Welcome Back" at an upcoming HS reunion.