Sunday, September 7, 2008

Gimme a Break. I wrote it.

Chances are you don't know Michael Levine, but you've had his music stuck in your head.

Recently, we aired a Fresh Look on Levine, who writes the music for two hit CBS shows, "Cold Case" and "Close to Home." ("I score dead people.")

But in his previous life, he scored TV commercials.

You might have heard his Mitsubisi Eclipse campaign themes or his jazzy Metamucil Mr. Mucus score ("If it's colorful and disgusting, I'm probably involved in it.").

But there's little doubt you've heard his biggest contribution to popular culture.

The Kit Kat Bar jingle.

Give me a break.
Give me a break.
Break me off a piece of that Kit Kat Bar.

He wrote it (the music, not the words) 20 years ago, and it's still lodged in your brain.

A researcher at the University of Cincinnati compiled a list of those so-called "earworms," those tunes that keep playing over and over inside your head and just won't stop. "Gimme a Break" was ranked in the top ten, along with "YMCA" and "We Will Rock You."

So Levine and his son were walking in Venice Beach when they encountered a video crew filming a Kit Kat Bar commercial. They were asking people on the street to sing The Song.

So, without revealing his true identity, Levine obliged.

Afterwards he asked, "How did I do?"

"Well, it was pretty good," they said.

He was reminded of the time Charlie Chaplin entered a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest...and lost. Chaplin didn't even make the finals.

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