How Ozempic Turned a 1974 Hit Into an Inescapable Jingle

In February 2023, David Paton, guitar case in hand, strode across the most famous pedestrian walkway in rock history and into London’s Abbey Road Studios.

Paton was no stranger to the rooms where the Beatles changed the course of popular music: His 1970s pop-rock band Pilot recorded two albums there. In his second life, as an in-demand studio and touring musician for the likes of Kate Bush and Elton John, he clocked numerous sessions with the prog-rock outfit the Alan Parsons Project, whose namesake produced Pilot’s signature hit, “Magic.” He even spent some time there with his boyhood hero, Paul McCartney, singing backup vocals on Wings’ “Mull of Kintyre.”

Paton had come to London to record a new version of “Magic.” “It was a great thrill to be back at Abbey Road, singing my song,” he said in a recent video interview from his home studio in Edinburgh, an array of guitars displayed behind him. The track’s stair-step chorus — “Oh, oh, oh/it’s MAAA-gic” — could test Paton’s vocal range even back in 1974, when the song became a worldwide hit, peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“It’s just about the enjoyment of life,” he said. “About waking up in the morning, you know? I was 22 when I wrote it.” Now he was 73, and unsure if he could still reach those high notes. But Paton took his place in front of the Abbey Road microphone and confidently sang that indelible hook, only with the word “magic” swapped out for something less ephemeral and more pharmaceutical: “Oh, oh, oh, Ozempic.”

As television viewers are all too aware, that altered chorus from “Magic” serves as the advertising jingle for the Type 2 diabetes medication Ozempic. Since the product arrived in 2018, the bowdlerized version of “Magic” — first rerecorded by work-for-hire musicians, and then re-rerecorded by Paton at Abbey Road — has taken its place alongside such classics of the form as Subway’s “Five Dollar Foot Long” and McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” as marvels of marketing ingenuity.

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