My first year at Baker Sound had gone extremely well. I had produced a number of jingles and radio themes for local advertisers and was discussing major equipment upgrades with (then Baker owner) Gary Moskowitz when producer Peter Tilden called to ask if I would be interested in working on a national radio campaign for women's clothing retailer Fashion Bug. Peter wanted to introduce the tagline "Styles to Fit Every You" with a new jingle featuring a female vocalist. I don't recall whether it was his idea or mine, but we agreed that I would produce versions of the jingle in various genres as a musical expression of the theme.
I was excited about the project for a number of reasons. This would be MONSTER TRACKS' first nationally broadcast work, the jingle would be central to the campaign, and it was an opportunity to show off the songwriting and arranging skills I had honed at Berklee. It was also a chance to create something that felt more like a pop song than some of the more traditional "retail" jingles I'd been producing for local advertisers.
The tune came together fairly quickly. The challenge was to craft a lyric that would would pay off with the tagline Peter had provided while translating the marketing strategy into words that would sing and feel like something written by a lyricist rather than an agency copywriter. After a couple of days of experimenting and tweaking, I had what I was after:
We got style
A little something extra
Something to fit your every mood
We're everything you wanna be
You can work with us
Or play with us
Relax and run away with us
You'll kid with us
'Cause we're everything you do
Fashion Bug: Styles to Fit Every You
Peter approved the lyric and gave the go ahead to start recording. I arranged the tune in a number of styles, including the rock version that would become the staple of Fashion Bug's advertising for the next few years. Collaborator Jeff Kay was on guitar as usual, Chet Brown and I handled backing vocals, and I turned once again to Gina Catinella for the lead vocal.
The brief appearance by saxophonist Ken Moskowitz at the beginning of this track reminds me of a funny story. When I mentioned to my then-partner/boss Gary Moskowitz that I was thinking of adding sax, he enthusiastically informed me that his cousin "is a great sax player." People tend to overestimate the talents of family members, so I was a bit skeptical. Fortunately, cousin Ken turned out to be a seasoned pro who went on to perform on many early MONSTER TRACKS productions. We became fast friends, and Ken recruited me to perform with the house band at (what was then) Trump Castle. That turned out to be an amazing stroke of good luck, because it gave me the opportunity to connect with many of the area's best musicians.
We went on to record the jingle in several other styles, including a softer "MOR" approach and a classical version that aired regularly at the outset of the campaign. Those masters have unfortunately been lost; the lone survivor is an a cappella rendition inspired by barbershop and doo-wop music. The production is relatively simple: after sampling my own finger snaps I recorded myself singing all of the background vocal parts; these were doubled by Chet, and then Gina added her lead vocal. Though this version saw only limited use, it was always my personal favorite.
Fashion Bug continued to use the rock version in all of their radio advertising until 1992 when Peter asked me to produce a new jingle using the tagline "Fashion Bug Fits Your Life." But the original will always have a special place in my heart, because it enabled me to purchase the engagement ring that I presented to my wife when I asked her to marry me. She still wears that ring today, and it always reminds me of the jingle, and Peter, and the excitement of those early days at Baker Sound.
Chuck Butler is celebrating his 30th anniversary as Baker Sound's in-house composer. For more information about Baker's music division, visit our dedicated MONSTER TRACKS website.