Friday, August 13, 2010

misuse Johnny Cash lyrics at your peril

My brother David reminded me over dinner last night that some people once asked the Johnny Cash estate for usage rights to the lyrics of his song "Ring of Fire." The reason: they were trying to score a commercial for a hemorrhoid relief product.

The estate said no.

I fell into a burning ring of fire
I went down, down, down
and the flames went higher

And it burns, burns, burns
the ring of fire
the ring of fire

UPDATE: Story here (February 19, 2004; Cash died in 2003):

It may be an obvious match-up, but Johnny Cash's classic "Ring of Fire" won't be used to sell hemorrhoid-relief cream anytime soon.

The Tennessean of Nashville first reported late last month that a Florida TV production company wanted to pitch the idea of using the classic song in a commercial for Preparation H or similar products.

Merle Kilgore, who wrote the 1964 hit with Cash's wife, June Carter Cash, told the newspaper he was mightily amused by the idea when the production company called him. After all, he used to mock-dedicate the song "to the makers of Preparation H" whenever he played the song live.

But Cash's daughter Rosanne said she and her siblings were less fired up.

"There is no way we will ever let that happen," Rosanne Cash told the newspaper. "We would never allow the song to be demeaned like that."

The script for the commercial would have featured Kilgore's own rendition of the song, not Cash's, but the Cash children still hold veto power through June Carter Cash's songwriting credit.

"He [Kilgore] started talking about this moronic tie-in without talking to any of us," Rosanne Cash added. "The song is about the transformative power of love and that's what it has always meant to me and that's what it will always mean to the Cash children."

June Carter Cash died a few months before her husband last year.

"I certainly didn't want to upset the Cash family because I love them," said Kilgore, who now manages Hank Williams Jr. "I just thought it was kind of funny."

"Ring of Fire" may not be associated with hemorrhoids, but the Out There editors definitely remember it being used in a British TV ad for very spicy foods a few years ago.



Elisson said...

I associate that song with kimchi, for some strange reason...

Kevin Kim said...

Oh, for heaven's sake, kimchi's not that spicy. Then again, kimchi farts can be flammable. "Ring of fire," indeed.

John from Daejeon said...

As a someone raised on truly hot peppers, my Korean friends' attempts to get me to sweat usually ends up backfiring big time. So far, not a single one of them has been able to take down the hottest pepper on Earth in a dual contest. And Soju only makes the pain much more intense, while milk (and a lot of years of eating them) makes them tolerable, but I don't tell them that beforehand. The sad truth of the matter is that the ones I grow here in South Korea are nowhere near as hot as they can be because of the climate(it's not a hot enough/long enough growing season).

Kevin Kim said...

A few years back, Koreans created bul-dak, or "fire chicken." That stuff was ass-blastingly hot. Aside from fire chicken, though, I wouldn't rate Korean dishes as very high on the spicy spectrum. In my own admittedly limited experience with world cuisine, the prize goes to certain African dishes I've tried.

Strangely enough, a friend in Switzerland introduced me to a Swiss product called les larmes du diable (the tears of the Devil). Switzerland's food is probably the blandest in the universe if we judge it only according to a spiciness standard, but les larmes du diable were pretty damn hot. I was impressed. The stuff came in a tiny bottle and looked like some sort of balm or sunscreen-- very misleading.