Daily News Calls Anjani’s CD “Blue Light” – Typo or Clue?
When I first noticed the reference to Anjani’s album in the antepenultimate paragraph of Magnifying Their Talent, an article by Michael Giltz in yesterday’s New York Daily News, I assumed the name given for her CD was simply an error:
It’s a good moment for Cohen, who’s recovering from financial mismanagement that reportedly left him nearly bankrupt, despite a world-renowned music catalogue. His protégé and partner Anjani Thomas released her collaboration with Cohen, “Blue Light,”1 last year. And on Aug. 7, Jennifer Warnes will issue a 20th-anniversary edition of Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat.”
I figured somehow the correct name, “Blue Alert” had been transformed into “Blue Light” by Mr. Giltz or someone else at the Daily News and the fact checker had likewise missed the mistake. Still, it seemed worth a follow-up.
The crack Heck of a Guy investigative staff indeed found a mistake but not one made by the editorial staff. Instead, the error was committed by a clerk in the Marketing division at Sony, the record label for both Anjani Thomas and Leonard Cohen, who had responded to the routine request from the Daily News for promotional information by accidentally sending documentation, meant for internal use only, of alternative image and sales campaigns for the CD that currently known as “Blue Alert.”
The Anti-Alert Movement
Pondering the re-release of “Blue Alert, the Marketing mavens remained enthusiastic about “blue,” which had been and continued to be a hot, desirable color.
They concluded, however, that “alert” was a counterproductive term to use in the title of an album of romantic, jazz-flavored songs. The national and global hypervigilance following multiple terrorist activities and threats, the color-coded warnings issued by the American government, and official alarms of all sorts, it was said, loaded “alert” with connotations that hindered sales.2
Based on this argument, Sony management gave their imprimatur for work to begin on alternative campaigns but warned those charged with this task that expenditures were to be kept to a minimum, dictating specifically that the current “Blue Alert” artwork could be adapted but no new professional fees for graphics and photography would be approved.
A short time later, several possible programs were presented to management.
The Blue Light Special
Sony and Kmart developed a joint promotion calling for special discount pricing for CDs sold at Kmart in return for heavy advertising and the re-institution of Kmart’s infamous Blue Light Specials. In an unusual clause on the final page, Sony also reserved the right to assign Anjani and Leonard Cohen to night shift duties on the cash registers at a Kmart in Joplin, Missouri if CD sales goals are not met.
The Blue Lite Diet CD
Noting the perpetually strong sales of diet books, Marketing recommended a shift in genre from Jazz to Weight Loss, including a booklet of low-cal diets, and adding two tracks of left-over Jane Fonda exercise tracks, to promote the All Blue Diet, promising weight reduction while allowing dieters to eat as much as they wished – of any naturally occurring blue foods. In conjunction with this proposed change in focus, Sony’s research arm developed an edible polymer that can be used in the manufacture of CDs. According to the literature, the CD itself, initially available in orange and licorice flavors, contains 100% of daily nutritional requirements and could be marketed as rations to survivalists should the dieters fail to bite.
Blue Lite & Brite – Get Happy With Anjani
Several marketers felt the original content of “Blue Alert” was too emotionally evocative. “Lighten up” was, indeed, the consensus. In addition to the changes in the CD art seen above, recommendations were forthcoming to attenuate some of the more intense songs.
“Crazy To Love You,” for example, is to be rewritten as “Mildly Neurotic To Care For You Somewhat,” “Half The Perfect World” would become “An Eighth Of A Not All That Bad A World,” and “No One After You” is to be listed as “Only A Few Others After You and Hardly Anyone Else At All As Long As We’re Still Together.” The most significant transformation involves revising “Thanks For The Dance” into “Thanks For The Pants,” a song of appreciation for the gift of a nice pair of slacks.
Other proposals included this campaign for Blue Lytes, Anjani’s own electrolyte fortified sports drink,
… and the somewhat troubling “Anjani Goes Blue,” a tribute to the humor of Red Foxx.
It is impossible to determine from the memos, PowerPoint presentations, and other documents if any of these changes will be made or, if so, which one has been chosen.
But, if Anjani starts her next performance with a dirty joke, …
Anjani and Anjani Thomas: An Aside On Names
Anjani and Anjani Thomas are, for the purposes of the Heck of a Guy blog, synonymous names, both of which refer to the exotically lovely, dulcet-voiced singer best known for her Blue Alert CD and her long-term relationship with Leonard Cohen. I include this clarification on posts about Anjani-Anjani Thomas in part for the purpose of what the folks at Wikipedia call disambiguation (i.e., to positively identify for the reader and remove any doubts the reader might have about which Anjani of all the possible Anjanis is being discussed) and in part to aid and abet the search engines. While a rose is, famously, a rose is a rose, a “tea rose,” for example, is not exactly the same as a “rose” – especially to a search engine. Searches that include “Anjani” as part of the search terms may not produce the same results as the same search terms other with “Anjani Thomas” substituted for “Anjani.” Should any other Anjani, say one who has not produced a CD called “Blue Alert” or one who has not been associated with Leonard Cohen for the decade, I promise to do my best to make that identification clear as well.
- Emphasis mine [↩]
- There is also reference to an official complaint from a Star Trek Cooperative operating near Modesto, California that had purchased “Blue Alert” in the expectation that it would contain the sounds involved in the type of Blue Alert used on Star Trek, according to Wikipedia, “to indicate a situation on a starship or outpost such as docking maneuvers, separation maneuvers, landing, or an environmental issue.” The extent to which the disappointment of the Star Trek fans influenced Sony is not clear [↩]