Neil Young's new release ""World Record" w/ Crazy Horse is now available for pre-order. Order here
(Please shop locally & independently. But if you can't, we appreciate your supporting Thrasher's Wheat by clicking this link or YOUR COUNTRY's FLAG. Thank you!!!)
<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Beck Covers Neil Young’s ‘Old Man’ in NFL TV Commercial - UPDATED


Beck has covered Neil Young’s song ‘Old Man’ for a NFL TV commercial.


Beck Covering Neil Young’s ‘Old Man’ for NFL Commercial


Why this song was specifically chosen to promote football is not well understood at this time and makes little sense from a marketing perspective. Because old men are target market and watch lots of tee-vee, perhaps?

This has sparked a bit of a flare up on the long running controversies involving artists selling out for commercial purposes.


Sponsored by Nobody?!
Neil Young's 1988 "This Note's for You"

On Instagram, Young posted a photo showing him holding a beer bottle with a label that reads, "SPONSORED BY NOBODY" without a caption.  hmmmm...

Neil Young| Instagram

The photo posted on IG is from the video for the 1988 Bluenotes song "This Note's for You" in which the musician parodied fellow artists (like Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, etc.) who used themselves and their songs for product and company advertising.

As we reported in January 2021, Neil Young sold his copyrights for 1,180 songs to Hipgnosis Songs Fund for $150,000,000.

"There will never be a ‘Burger of Gold’":
 Merck Mercuriadis - Founder, Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited


Merck Mercuriadis, founder of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited, stated at the time:

"Hipgnosis and Young have a common integrity, ethos and passion born out of a belief in music and these important songs. There will never be a ‘Burger of Gold’ but we will work together to make sure everyone gets to hear them on Neil's terms.”

"There will never be a ‘Burger of Gold’".   Seems clear enough.  No worries, right?

So does the promise made above hold for Young’s classic song ‘Old Man’? Is this very poor taste usage not akin to ‘Burger of Gold’"?  Apparently not.

The question is why?

How can these statements above reconcile with the travesty of this "spectacularly bad idea and in poor taste"?

So why would Neil Young authorize and agree to this usage? Or maybe he didn't authorize this because the decision is now handled by the new ownership stake in his catalog? 
Clearly, this is a sacrilegious abuse of an artist's life work and a breach of contract by Hipgnosis' Merck Mercuriadis that MUST be atoned.

As we editorialized at the time of the 2021 announcement, be careful what you wish for ... because you reap what you sow ...

Our earlier cautions about "risking the "family jewels"  was actually addressed directly by Neil Young himself on NYA. (Also, please note some of our clarifications on this subject after the giant hullabaloo/kerfuffle in 2021.)

"gotta watch out for the greedy hand
the greedy hand" 

The Greedy Hand | Neil Young Store | WBR

Also, see this 2007 piece The Price of Neil: When Art and Commerce Collide.  More on "Cough Up the Buck$": Neil Young's Song of the Day | NYA.

Cough Up The Buck$ Crew
HarryO w/ Volume Drinkers: Brand New Guy & Paul D.
Madison Square Garden, NYC, NY - 12/15/2008 
photo by TW

Labels: , , ,


At 9/27/2022 11:02:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

As an "old man" ourselves, we are deeply offended by this exploitation and seek to cancel the NFL, Beck and bad marketing of "boomer covers".

stated w/ tongue firmly planted in cheek...

At 9/27/2022 01:51:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I remember when I was a kid they played Muzak overhead at the grocery store, but as time went on you started hearing fifties rock music. Now they play everything from The Beatles to ZZ Top in the grocery stores. I guess it’s just a sign of the times that the music I grew up with is now selling toilet paper and football. Ten years from now they’ll be playing gangster rap in Walmart, so this is just another example of corporate America claiming ownership of our music. “Follow the money” was what deep throat said during Watergate. He also said “these are just people; they’re really not all that smart”. We’re simply being treated to the decline of western civilization as we know it. Nothing serious…… it been going on for decades.

Peace 🙏

At 9/27/2022 03:05:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

ha ha ha Dan, I love your last line.

Some idiot on one of the networks said something like, "wow, this changes the meaning of Young's lyrics." Yes, I guess it does in some middle school level of thinking. This kind of stuff really grinds on me. I was thinking, by analogy, I could use Faulkner's great line from As I Lay Dying "all any man has is time" for a rolex add! I have magically transformed the meaning of his words!! How incredibly imaginative of me. Perhaps in some other form of life, this sort of taking apart might be clever or even fun but not in this culture.

At 9/27/2022 04:13:00 PM, Blogger Jim said...

...and then it got darker. Blackstone is not real friendly with anything other than the quarterly report every three months.

At 9/27/2022 09:09:00 PM, Blogger Shakeydave said...

ya u kno i hate when they take something that i thought was sacred, and they turn it into something cheap

sponsored by nobody


At 9/27/2022 10:31:00 PM, Blogger rolandthompsongunner said...

The fact that it's Beck makes me feel like they're all in on the same joke and makes totally okay with it. I can envision how that phone call went down, ""Hey Neil, they're offering this much money, and I'll just cover your song... We'll both get made fun of, but our grandkids will be set, you don't even have to do anything. Great.. we'll make some new and fun obscure music later and piss everyone off again, sounds like a plan."

Sometimes we all turn into the Grandpa of Granola Rock and the world will forget ab d move on..

At 9/28/2022 03:28:00 AM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9/28/2022 03:43:00 AM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

Robin Williams comes out gets into the crowd right near me. Hes ripping on whatever he sees. Spontaneous thing. Im keeping my head down. A very rainy night this is under the big tent. A guy like 17 in back of me goes Its her Birthday! Points at his girlfriend. Williams runs over stands on the seat next to her trusts his hips in her face. At that point whatever he said broke up 23k ppl.

At 9/28/2022 04:09:00 AM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9/28/2022 03:39:00 PM, Blogger Marmooskapaul said...

IDK as far as commercial use of songs go..I was ok with it. We have to remember most people don't know the story of "Old Man".
My dad loved the song and thought he wrote it to his dad, I told him the story and he said didn't matter, that was how he thought of the lyrics.
Once a song is out there in the universe..interpretation is unique to each listener.
Also, one could be in worse company than the greatest quarter back and one of the best new quarter

At 9/28/2022 05:04:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Marmooskapaul - thanks for perspective. and we get how many folks find this no big deal.

but ...

this is how is starts. one little promo, then another, etc. death by a thousand cuts.

but here's why we come down condemning this so strongly.

as you see above, Merck Mercuriadis,Founder/CEO of Hipgnosis (the company which purchased 50% of Neil's catalog rights) explicitly, emphatically and categorically stated:

"There will never be a ‘Burger of Gold’"

So the guy is either a complete liar, an idiot or possibly both.

The promise was to respect the artist and his body of work and not sell it out for trivial, irrelevant commercial exploitation. And talk about poor taste?! Offending your target market of old men at that.

A deal is a deal. If someone broke their side of the contract, then the deal is no longer valid.

Neil - take your songs back and break the deal. Whatever you got, it isn't worth it to tarnish the "family jewels".


At 9/29/2022 07:27:00 AM, Blogger GordonHobs said...

'As an "old man" ourselves, we are deeply offended...' - an "old man": singular -> you are talking about yourself in the third person (like kings and queens) or who is "we"?

At 9/29/2022 09:48:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ GordonHobs - ok, good catch and fair question.

as regular readers know, we have been using the phrase "we" here on this blog for many decades now.

generally, the "we" encompasses "us", i.e. the thrashers. t & t-ette

now we're not in 100% alignment on all things neil or much else really. like any long running couple, we have our differences. and we have our common grounds.

so, if thrashette penned this post, then "she" as an "old woman" married to an "old man" and it is "we" who are offended by this distasteful commercial exploitation.

but make no mistake, this is not the royal "we" usage. again, regular readers know how much we disdain royalty, titles, supreme signifiers, etc.

we are the ordinary people. we be rusties.

peace & love

At 9/29/2022 10:19:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Neil's playing a game with this trying to gain a bit of publicity (very sad).

In my opinion the commercial was fine and simply showed a fellow respected artist (Beck) strumming out the song hyping a young man (Mahomes) looking up to and chasing an old man (Brady). The song made perfect sense in that context, and Neil's response to it just seems like a pathetic cry for attention.

This is much ado about nothing and I suspect Neil gave his approval prior.

He's still Shakey, but sadly less innaresting and relevant day by day. I'm still on the ride with him and buy everything he releases, but that magic feeling is waning. Hopefully it's just me, but I don't think so...

"Take my advice
Don't listen to me"

At 9/30/2022 10:21:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ TD - well, in the grand scheme of things, yes, this is much ado about nothing.

but in our little TW world, this is HUGE.

because it strikes at the heart of artistic integrity. Either neil has it or he doesn't.

granted, neil has veered all over the map on the subject over the decades. but he always seems to return to the starting point that artistic integrity is paramount and all else flows from.

Once it's gone, it can't come back.

we warned about trifling w/ "the family jewels" when this all was announced.

and we were pounded mercilessly for that opinion that you don't hand over rights at any price.

these rights are precious and inalienable. clearly this Merck cat has no integrity or scruples and a liar who has defrauded neil.

neil should tear up agreement and walk.

it's just not worth it to me at the mercy of these mercenaries.

Merck "The Mercenary" Mercuriadis
3M, eh?! cough up the f'n bucks, dude.

At 9/30/2022 04:44:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

Right now, it's just a fellow artist covering a Neil classic to promote a football game, okay I guess that's fine? Of course, in 5 years if we're hearing Mr Soul in a commercial for Axe body spray, we may be singing a different tune. And I guarantee that's the path we are heading down.

Oh well, Neil got his $150 million, not sure what he's complaining about. The guy can't seriously be so naive to expect his music won't be used to sell some kind of "piece of crap" product. He let the deal go down, he shouldn't be surprised that this would be done with his music.

At 9/30/2022 04:50:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Richie - well, that is the point here.

Is Neil being totally hypocritical here?

Or he did he get shafted by 3M?

or both?

2022 has been a great year for NY music, for sure.

But from the get go in 22 w/ the Rogan/Spotify fiasco, the no tours until eco-bus, to bailing on Farm Aid & Willie, and now this, not so good a year.

and that has us conCERNed.

because if Neil's integrity bona fides collapse, then, well ...

At 9/30/2022 05:47:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

Thrasher, I'm just hoping that Neil is still making the decisions concerning his art. Truthfully, the last few years has me wonderin who's really in charge.

At 10/10/2022 04:42:00 PM, Blogger Soids said...

So, I still listen to Neil mainly alone and now alone with the headphones blaring. No ad or radio station or neo-hipster cover can taint the meaning of a song for me. Even the background story about how the song was written and what about rarely pushes the needle off what the words say to me. In other words, stuff like this never "ruins" a song for me.

The selling of the 50% stake and then subsequent things like this one-off songs usage usually only gets me thinking "I hope Neil, family and NYA are more secure now." I'd like to think Neil in attempting to secure a future for even more people now, but who could be sure of something like that.

Sorry for the delayed comment, I've been traveling. Also, read this great post again:


Post a Comment

<< Home

<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Willie for a Nobel!

Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize
for Farm Aid and his work on
alternative fuels, and world peace initiatives.

Farm Aid

Go Farmers Markets!

"In the >field< of opportunity
It's plowin' time again."

Silverline Communications

(Home of the FarmAidians)
Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
(519) 737-7979

This blog supports free speech!

Demand justice for Aaron:
Support "Aaron's Law" and inquiry into his prosecution

(... he didn't kill himself either...) #AaronDidntKillHimself

Induct Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Please Help Support Independent Media &
Non-Corporate Advertising
This Blog's For You!

The Hypocrisy of the Mainstream Media

It's Been Called The
"Missing Link" in the Ditch Trilogy


Sign the Release "Time Fades Away" Petition
Join The 10,000+ Who Have Already Signed


Neil Young Appreciation Society

Sugar Mountain

Neil Young Setlists
Rust Radio


Bands Covering Neil Young songs


Official Neil Young News Site

The Bridge School

The Bridge School Concerts
25th Anniversary Edition

**100% of Proceeds to Benefit Bridge School***

The Essential Neil Young

Fans Favorite Neil Albums

Top 50 MP3
Neil Young Song Downloads

Top 10 Best Selling Neil Albums Today
Support Thrasher's Wheat
via Purchases from:
United States - us.gif
Canada - canada.gif
United Kingdom - gb.gif
Germany - de.gif

Neil Young Songbook Project

In the fields of wheat

"Children of Destiny" will NOT be harvested
However, the chaff will be burned by unquenchable fire

Neil Young + Promise of the Real

Europe 2016 Tour Dates

2015 Rebel Content Tour

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Alchemy Concert Tour Reviews

Fall 2012 N. America Tour
Spring 2013 Australia/New Zealand Tour
Summer 2013 Europe Tour

Europe Summer 2014 Concert Tour
Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Thrasher's Wheat Radio Supporters Go To Europe

Neil Young Films

2010 MusiCares Honors Neil Young

Features Elvis Costello, Crosby Stills & Nash, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, Ben Harper, Elton John, Norah Jones, Lady Antebellum, Dave Matthews, James Taylor, Keith Urban, and others.
Proceeds from sales go to MusiCares,
which helps musicians in need of
financial and medical assistance.


"There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye"



Neil Young FAQ:
Everything Left to Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker
"an indispensable reference"

Paul McCartney and Neil Young


"You can make a difference
If you really a try"

John Lennon and Neil Young

"hailed by fans as a wonderful read"

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
The Supergroup of the 20th Century

Director Jonathan Demme's Exquisite film "Heart of Gold"

eddie & neil
Eddie Vedder and Neil Young

Revisiting The Significance of
The Buffalo Springfield

"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
tweeted, shared and liked
The Embarrassment of Mainstream Media

Turn Off Your TV & Have A Life

"Everything Is Bullshit" +
"Turn Off The News"
Turn Off the News (Build a Garden)

Neil Young 2016 Year in Review:
The Year of The Wheat

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain and Neil Young

Neil Young's Feedback:
An Acquired Taste?

Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years
by Rustie Sharry "Keepin' Jive Alive in T.O." Wilson

"the definitive source of Neil Young's formative childhood years in Canada"

neil & joni
Joni Mitchell & Neil Young

europe 1987.jpg

Bob and Neil

So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?

Four Dead in Ohio
kent state
So What Really Happened at Kent State?

The Four Dead in Ohio

May The FOUR Be With You #MayThe4thBeWithYou


dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

Rockin' In The Free World

Sing Truth to Power!
When Neil Young Speaks Truth To Power,
The World Listens

Emmylou Harris and Neil Young

Wilco and Neil Young


Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young


Elton John and Neil Young

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young


The Meaning of "Sweet Home Alabama" Lyrics

Neil Young Nation -
"The definitive Neil Young fan book"

What does the song mean?

Random Neil Young Link of the Moment

Bonnie Raitt and Neil Young

I'm Proud to Be A Union Man


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up

Class War:
They Started It and We'll Finish It...

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"
Full Disclousre Now

"I've Got The Revolution Blues"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize

John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel



Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what a friend had said,
I was hoping it was a lie"

We're All On
A Journey Through the Past

Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH
(we can handle it... try us)

Does Anything Else Really Matter?

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

Here Comes "The Big Shift"

Maybe everything you think you know is wrong? NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
... and symbolism will be their downfall...

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists

"Children of Destiny" - THE Part of THE Solution

(Frame from Official Music Video)

war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

"greed is NOT good"
Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”
~~ Bob Marley

The Essence of "The Doubters"

Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Even Though The Music Died 50+ Years Ago
Open Up the "Tired Eyes" & Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?


Show Me A Sign

"Who is John Galt?"
To ask the question is to know the answer

"Whosoever shall give up his liberty for a temporary security
deserves neither liberty nor safety."

~~ Benjamin Franklin


(Between the lines of age)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

~~ John & Paul

the zen of neil
the power of rust
the karma of the wheat