Songs Of The Day 2/15/2015: Coyote McCloud featuring Clara Peller - "Where's the Beef?" + Jason Alexander - "The McDLT"

Back in the ’80s we fought our wars with food. Not literally, of course, but psychologically, and the combatants were food manufacturers. You young ones wouldn’t understand just how much of a toll these wars had, how much physical exertion we had to spend changing the channels. Some people didn’t even have remotes yet. There were the Cola Wars, which set a megapop star’s hair on fire and traumatized Billy Joel. Not to be forgotten, however, were the just as costly Burger Wars. Nervi belli pecunia infinita.

The Burger Wars were a trilateral conflict involving McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s. At the time McDonald’s was still the monolith, the lone general, the bloodied Ash Williams standing atop the pedestal whilst the defeated burger hordes angled towards the throne, but in the end could only offer supplication. But perhaps Wendy’s and Burger King chinked just enough of the armor to make McDonald’s the vulnerable arches they are today. Well, who are we kidding: It was Subway and that Jared guy. But at the time, the three corporations lobbed television campaigns at each other in attempts to win the hearts and minds of the docile international public, which meant employing advertising firms searching to create the memes of their time.

Wendy’s handily won the battle of catchphrases. “Where’s the beef?” as uttered by character actress Clare Peller took on the diminished effects of a mass production economy in regards to beef-to-bread ratio. The resultant argument being, of course, that Wendy’s provided more actual beef content, and that Clara Peller was adorable. Nashville DJ and original shock-jock Coyote McCloud, who despite the sound of his name looked nothing like Dennis Weaver, seized on the opportunity to create a nouveau rap record on the subject, memorializing Peller’s poignant struggle with musical instruments that were officially deemed illegal at the onset of the ’90s.

McDonald’s, king of the mountain but looking a little uninspired on the innovation front, countered with the McDLT. Executives had deduced that years of old-hat hamburger technology had failed to produce a delectable that respected the natural state of the individual ingredients – mainly, that in the indirect heating process of touching sizzling meat, the lettuce and tomatoes and their bracing coolness were being compromised. Despite nobody in the history of the world ever complaining about this, McDonald’s invented a disassembled burger with twice the styrofoam packaging, boxes with two wells each. On one side, the burger was kept infernally hot, while on the other side the vegetables were kept frigid, distant and cold. Wrap your cranium around that dichotomy, Ray Kroc.

To popularize this concept, McDonald’s asked looming Seinfeld star and future Yankee employee Jason Alexander to led a chorus of recently liberated climate activists through a bludgeoning of perky extremes to convince people this was, indeed, what they had secretly longed for the whole time.

Let’s just not talk about what Burger King did – it involved a mysterious creature named “Herb,” who fomented a lot of resentment and created many corporate layoffs. Have it your way.

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