Diary: Tom Waits shows he's never really left the 60s

Diary feels bound to offer words of caution to advertisers who get into trouble for allegedly exploiting big-name stars whether still breathing or not. Don't do it in Germany.

The country's courts take a dim view of companies' "unjustified enrichment" at a VIP's expense. Recently, Marlene Dietrich's daughter successfully sued over the use of her mum's name and picture in ads. Now it's the turn of the singer-songwriter Tom Waits to make some lawyers even richer.

His target is General Motors' Opel subsidiary and McCann Erickson in Frankfurt, which, he claims, used a counterfeit version of his voice in a TV commercial that has been screened across Scandinavia.

GM denies the allegation. But Waits has never been laid back when it comes to protecting his rights. Indeed, he's already had similar skirmishes with Frito-Lay (from whom he won £2 million), Audi and Lancia.

What irks Waits, 54, is the use of celebs "naked and purring on the hood of a new car". Blimey, has the man described as "one of the last beatniks of contemporary music" seen any car ads since the 60s?


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