General Motors Bans Chevy, and Elton John?

By Eleanor Barkhorn and Aylin Zafar

General Motors released a memo to its employees this week, asking them to refrain from using the popular nickname "Chevy" when referring to Chevrolet cars. The troubled company is so committed to this rebranding that it's planning to fine employees—yes, just a quarter, but still—for uttering the now-verboten nickname:

A postscript to the memo says a sort of cuss jar—a plastic "Chevy" can—has been placed in the hallway. "Every time someone uses 'Chevy' rather than Chevrolet," the note said, the employee is expected to put a quarter in the can.

Hopefully GM employees don't blast music too loudly, because they might get in trouble for playing these songs, which all feature "Chevy"—not Chrevrolet—prominently:

Don McLean, "American Pie"

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So bye-bye, Miss American Pie.
Drove my Chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
And them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
Singin', "This'll be the day that I die.
"This'll be the day that I die."
Elton John, "Crocodile Rock"

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Had an old gold Chevy and a place of my own
But the biggest kick I ever got
was doing a thing called the Crocodile Rock

Bob Seger, "Night Moves"

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Out past the cornfields where the woods got heavy
Out in the back seat of my '60 Chevy
Workin' on mysteries without any clues
Workin' on our night moves

Sammy Johns, "Chevy Van"

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Like a picture she was layin' there
Moonlight dancin' off her hair
She woke up and took me by the hand
She's gonna love me in my Chevy van
And that's all right with me

Snoop Dogg, "Ridin' In My Chevy"

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Ridin' in my Chevy and I'm sittin at the light (at the light)
I got cooch in my blood, sippin' Remy keep it pimpin' with my pinky off the cut,
And all the people when they see me like "Snoop turn it up!"

Beastie Boys, "So What Cha Want"

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You scream and you holler about my Chevy Impala
But the sweat is getting wet around the ring
Around your collar

Chevrolet's own advertisements would be banned under the new rule. This commercial from the 2007 Superbowl includes snippets of "Crocodile Rock" and the Muffs' "Brand New Chevy":

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Fortunately, not all songs that refer to Chevrolets call them Chevys: ZZ Top's "Chevrolet", "The Jet Set" by George Jones and Tammy Wynette, and "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" by Big & Rich are all safe.

Update: Looks like GM wants only its employees to ditch the Chevy nickname—not its customers. From a company press release:

In no way are we discouraging customers or fans from using the name. We deeply appreciate the emotional connections that millions of people have for Chevrolet and its products.

In global markets, we are establishing a significant presence for Chevrolet, and need to move toward a consistent brand name for advertising and marketing purposes. The memo in question was one step in that process.

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