Fans of 80s warblers The Smiths flew into a rage from the safety of their bedrooms this week when retail giant John Lewis – not a real giant – revealed its latest Christmas television ad campaign, writes Christoper Hoy.
The soundtrack to the ad is a cover of Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths, originally released as a B-side in 1984 and the 90 second clip depicts a desperately unhappy young boy waiting impatiently for Christmas.
Although The Smiths split in 1987, middle aged men across the country have taken to the internet to complain to The Guardian and voice their displeasure at what they see as an unforgiveable sell-out to something so representative of the middle class.
The News Grind spoke to music industry expert Terry Hands, firstly for a reminder of what a B-side was and then to explain why this is such a sensitive issue. He daid: “This song is sacred to The Smiths’ following.
“2011 marks 27 years since the song was shoved on the B-side of a slightly better song and the diehards are understandably keen that this is how the song is remembered.”
“That is why use of the song has been so strictly controlled. It has only featured on the soundtrack of five or six big Hollywood films and only about 16 bands have been graciously allowed to cover it since 1984.”
But there’s a storm brewing for John Lewis after the collective spitting out of thousands of lentil stews sparked by the use of the ditty in their festive advertisement.
One theory is simply that the subject and the song don’t fit together and this is what is most offending the people who have nothing better to do than whine on about a Christmas advert designed to create as much publicity as possible.
Barry Hughes, of advertising agency CC Hamilton said: “Christmas shopping is one of the most soul-destroying activities we undertake, so the soundtrack to that needs to be several degrees more miserable than The Smiths.
“Or they could kill a dog again like they did last year. That was hilarious!”