Is it live or is it Memorex? Here’s a classic Memorex cassette tape commercial. This one aired in December of 1977 and stars Melissa Manchester and Ella Fitzgerald.
In 1977 Memorex produced a fresh commercial teaming Fitzgerald with Melissa Manchester, a rising 25-year-old singer-songwriter best known for the hit “Midnight Blue.” Manchester had sung backup for Bette Midler in the Harlettes and worked as a staff songwriter for Warner-Chappell. And she’d been a devoted Fitzgerald fan from the moment she heard the singer’s Gershwin songbook album as a little girl. “I had no idea what she was singing about, but I decided there and then that I wanted to live where she lived. She just was my guiding light through my whole life,” she says. “When I first got to meet her on the set of the Memorex commercial, she was so jolly and so dear and so huggy. I immediately felt confirmed of all I had hoped for: that she was just magnificent in every way.”
In the spot, Manchester was thrilled to flunk what she now recalls as a “kosher” “Ella or Memorex” listening test. “Nobody’s perfect!” quips Fitzgerald, embracing Manchester.
Source: Heard on All Things Considered NPR