The Song Neil Young Targeted Eric Clapton
Neil Young is a singer-songwriter, musician, philanthropist, and activist who embarked on a music career in the 1960s. When he started making music, Young moved to LA to join Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills, with whom he, later on, played in Crosby, Stills & Nash. Young has released a great number of important and well-received albums throughout his music career, such as his ‘Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere,’ ‘After The Gold Rush,’ ‘Rust Never Sleeps,’ and ‘Harvest.’
In the late 1980s, many famous stars collaborated with brands for television commercials. For instance, David Bowie and Tina Turner appeared in a commercial for Pepsi, Michael Jackson filmed his own soft drink commercial, Madonna gave her ‘Like A Prayer’ to Pepsi for commercial uses, Whitney Houston sang a jingle for Diet Coke, and Eric Clapton appeared in a Michelob beer commercial. At that time, Neil Young wrote a song targeting Clapton and other artists who appeared in commercials, and he parodied this trend with the song’s music video.
Neil Young Parodied Eric Clapton’s Michelob Ad In His ‘This Note’s For You’ Music Video
On April 11, 1988, Neil Young released his 16th studio album ‘This Note’s For You.’ The album’s concept focused on commercialism in the rock and roll scene, and its title derived from Budweiser’s ad campaign ‘This Bud’s for you.’ With the title track’s music video, Neil Young parodied the artists who used their music in advertising, such as Eric Clapton.
As the song mentioned the brand names of some of their sponsors and Michael Jackson’s attorneys threatened them, MTV unofficially banned the music video. However, they named the video Best Video of the Year in 1989 and put it into heavy rotation after it became a hit.
After MTV’s ban, Neil Young’s manager said that all the video did was poking fun, but it isn’t funny if MTV is that afraid of their sponsors’ power. On the other hand, Young harshly criticized MTV by questioning whether the letter ‘M’ in MTV stands for music or money.
As reported by Rolling Stone, Neil Young’s manager Elliott Roberts said:
“All this clip does is poke fun. But it’s not funny anymore if MTV is so afraid of sponsors’ power that they won’t air an ingenious satire.“
Neil Young, on the other hand, also stated the following:
“MTV, you spineless twerps. You refuse to play ‘This Note’s for You’ because you’re afraid to offend your sponsors. What does the ‘M’ in MTV stand for: music or money? Long live rock and roll.”
In the music video of ‘This Note’s For You,’ which featured Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Spuds McKenzie’s lookalikes, Neil Young parodied the advertisements of the ’80s, including a series of Michelob ads that featured Eric Clapton, Genesis, and Steve Winwood.
You can check out the music video of ‘This Note’s For You.’