Monday, May 17, 2021

The strange double life of the Barilla jingle in Lebanese pop culture

Credit: Lebanon Dikkene

That Barilla jingle! The one drilled into the collective memory of the Lebanese population. Yes, that one! One of the many many achievements of multi-hyphenate creative Elias Rahbani who left us at the beginning of this year. But you know how it happens, a musician produces a hit song, the song gets used in an ad - it happened gazillions of times.

But what if I told you the reverse happened in this instance. Case in point? Our legendary diva Sabah and her own hit single "wa3douni w nattarouni" - you will realize that it is the exact same beat as Barilla.

Usually this means that the hit was produced (by Elias Rahbani) and he was commissioned by Barilla to put new lyrics to it (side note - Rahbani who composed "Tafta hindi" for Raja Badr did exactly that for Niers luncheon meat in an ad starring Dalida Baroud when she was still at LBC in the 80s). Actually, in the case of Barilla, Sabah who had an ear for potential hits and a great sense of hype, heard the Barilla jingle and asked Rahbani to pen a song on the same music. Naturally, a mega hit was born. But as I said, it was born "the other way around" - with the advertising coming first.