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11 October 2014

Things Go Better With Coca Cola (Jingles; Also With Aretha Franklin)

With Leroy Cooper.
Between 1965 and 1968 Ray Charles made an interesting series of style variations on Coke's campaign theme "Things Go Better With Coca Cola". Each commercial was produced as luscious as a new album track. He used the best talent that Ray Charles Enterprises had to offer, and used the facilities of RPM International in Los Angeles to record it all. The arrangements were done by Sid Feller and Rene Hall. Hall conducted the Ray Charles band, Feller took care of the strings. Ray also invited The Raelettes. (Read my full story here).

One of the commercials - "When I Come Home To You In The Evening" (55 seconds, from '65 or '66) was released as a hidden track on Genius & Soul: The 50th Anniversary Collection (16 September 1997; Rhino/WEA, ASIN: B00000343O), right after America The Beautiful, on the 4th disk.
Over the years, commercials from the campaign were (re-)released on 45 RPMs, and on several albums. In 1996 and 1998 Ray's and Aretha's radio commercials were part of a series of 2 compilation CDs on the Vox label (UK):


For the 1967 campaign the writers "selected by Coca Cola were Roger Cook and Roger Greenway, from England, Neil Diamond and Rosemary McCoy," the Los Angeles Sentinel reported (Diamond may have written the Ray + Aretha commercials).
There may well have been even more (and earlier!) versions of Ray's solo radio commercials. The time line below isn't certain, but to me it seems to be the most logical chronology (cf. this article by a Coke advertising-historian).

The regular durations of the commercials probably were (15" and?) 30" and 90", but in '67 Coca Cola also released a compilation with 90 second-edits:

"What A Day..." (1:30):

"I'm So Tired (It's Been A Long Journey" (1:30):

"When I Come Home To You In The Evening" - 55 seconds, from '65 or '66 (ignore picture;-):

"I'm So Tired (It's Been A Long Journey)" - 60 seconds:

"When You Find Your Worried Mind Is Easin'" (with Aretha Franklin) - 90 seconds:

"You Bring On The Good Times Darling (with Aretha Franklin)" - to my regret I can only present this one in an unfunny lipsync spoof:

In 1968 Coca Cola also produced a glamorous TV commercial with Charles, shot in and around his airplane. The sound track uses the Roger Cook & Roger Greenaway song In between The Heartaches And The Crying, written specially for Ray Charles. Listen to the track in the second clip, below.

In 1970 Cook and Greenaway were awarded for the 'Radio Jingle Of The Year' in the States (which may imply that the TV commercial was also from 1969).
"In Between The Heartaches And The Crying" - 90 seconds:

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