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Trivia Q & A # 11 – 2020

Posted in: Entertainment History, News, Trivia Q & A | No Comments | Posted on by Mary Anne

Q. What was the first hit song written for a TV commercial?

A. I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing by The New Seekers for a Coca Cola commercial.

At first, The New Seekers balked at recording the full version of the song, so Billy Davis put together a group of studio singers to record it and called them “The Hillside Singers.” This version was released as a single and picked up steam, convincing The New Seekers to get in on the action. Their version was released a short time later – both renditions climbed the chart simultaneously, with The Hillside Singers version peaking at #13 the same week The New Seekers made it to #7.
By the time this was released as a full song, the melody was very much associated with Coke, so it amounted to free advertising. Most of the commercial is about honey bees, turtle doves and love anyway, so removing the Coke references didn’t disrupt the song. The lines:
I’d like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
Were altered to:
I’d like to hold it in my arms
And keep it company

The music was written by the British songwriters Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway, who around this time also co-wrote the Hollies hit “Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress).” The music they used for the commercial was based on something they had already written which they called “True Love And Apple Pie.”
They worked on the jingle with Backer and Billy Davis, who was the music director assigned to Coke’s account. Davis was also a successful songwriter, having co-written some songs for Jackie Wilson. The four of them stayed up all night writing the song, which Davis then produced with The New Seekers.

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