We were fascinated to see yesterday afternoon that Dangerous Minds’ latest YouTube discovery was… a vintage radio ad for The Velvet Underground. Quite apart from the fact that the ad in question is weird as hell, we were amazed by the simple existence of such a promo for a Velvet Underground album, and the whole thing got us thinking: If Lou Reed et al were getting plugged on radio back in the day, surely there must have been other, similarly unexpected slots? Sure enough, looking for radio ads for ’60s and ’70s bands turns out to be one hell of an awesome YouTube rabbit hole. Record companies shelled out to promote bands you’d never, ever expect, and there’s a certain bizarre charm to the resultant commercials — especially when it’s clear that whoever wrote the ads didn’t know what on earth to make of the band in question. We’ve shared a selection of the best!
The Velvet Underground
So, first up, the ad we heard yesterday in all its weird glory. The announcer comes across like a sort of vaguely terrifying therapist, speaking in unctuous tones about “not knowing how you feel,” then proposing The Velvet Underground’s self-titled third album as the answer: “it will tell you how to feel.” He also proclaims the album to contain “expressions of a new dimension in honesty, purity and feeling” and to provide a place “where you can find your love, your hope… your reality.” We humbly submit that if Lou Reed’s lyrics are the answer, then you have serious, serious problems.