Last week, U2 frontman Bono defended his band’s $100-million deal with Apple, saying that having the company put the album “Songs of Innocence” onto half a billion iTunes accounts was very “punk rock.” How does this partnership fit in with other famous “punk rock” deals with the establishment?
1960: Chuck Berry is paid to spend six rockin’ weeks on the Richard Nixon campaign trail, performing “Go, Ritchie Go” at fundraisers as part of a drive to improve the presidential candidate’s reputation as being out-of-touch with youth.
1967: Jim Morrison and the Doors record “Break on Through” to support keyboardist Ray Manzarek’s investment in a fledgling sledgehammer company.
1975: Patti Smith signs a one-year contract with Maybelline to end every set by mentioning how a little base and eyeliner can really make a girl shine.
1978: Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and girlfriend Nancy Spungen briefly appear on ads for Hallmark greeting cards, but the deal is cancelled when Spungen is stabbed to death, presumably by Vicious.
1984: The Ramones team up with Totino’s to include a free cassette of the album “Too Tough to Die” hidden inside every frozen pepperoni pizza box.
1988: Eazy-E of NWA becomes the face of Hoover vacuum cleaners when the manufacturer hires him to write and record a jingle with the line “Suck Me Good.”
1992: Weeks after creating a scandal when on national television she tore up a photo of Pope John-Paul II, Sinead O’Connor is hired by 3M to become the company’s new spokesperson for its line of Scotch Tape.
1994: Green Day is paid an undisclosed sum by Pfizer to add the lines “I’m not cracking up, because Zoloft brings me up” to the end of every live performance of the song “Basketcase.”
2004: David Bowie reprises his Ziggy Stardust persona after being paid by Wal-mart to lip-sync his own music at the company’s annual shareholder picnic in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
2009: Kanye West interrupts Taylor Swift during her acceptance of a VMA award, saying, “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, and I’m going to let you finish, but I got to say the Samsung Galaxy S is best smartphone of all time.” West later admits he made a mistake, as he was supposed to praise Nokia, not Samsung.