Mossy mystery solved, maybe

Who put that Mossy Nissan song in your noggin? This guy, Tim Hosman.
  • Who put that Mossy Nissan song in your noggin? This guy, Tim Hosman.

“I got a kick out of a story in the Reader about someone who claimed to have written our Mossy Nissan jingle,” Tim Hosman emails. “My partner, Scott Rummell, and I wrote that little ditty many moons ago, and an L.A. session singer named Rick Riso sang it.”

Not according to Larry Harmon. In “Jingle Hit,” published in May 2008, he wrote that a hometown vocalist named Leonard Tucker did the singing and Dove Linkhorn at Powerhouse Recording Studios wrote the song.

“Cheril Hendry, president of the Orange County advertising agency Brandtailers sent me the Reader article,” Hosman says by phone from his home in San Louis Obispo. “Cheril was on the original team that created the Mossy campaign while at the advertising firm U.S. Broadcast in the ’80s. She was confused to not see Scott or my name associated with the story. She wrote, ‘Am I nuts? Didn’t you guys do the original?’”

Hosman says he has the two-inch studio master in storage somewhere to prove it. But, no contracts or pay stubs for royalties. “It was a one-time buyout for a local market” and not worth much money. “We had a jingle company for years and did car commercials out of a studio in L.A. In fact, we just did a new campaign for Perry. Hosman sings the melody. “And they hired us because they liked the Mossy Nissan jingle so much.”

But Harmon’s version differs: “Jim Tindaro, co-owner of American Strategies Marketing, the agency that handles advertising for Mossy, said he was looking for something with a Latin beat back in 1988 to catch the ear of the young, urban car buyer.” A Google search turned up no American Strategies Marketing, but it did find Advanced Marketing Strategies and Tindaro, who did not return emails by deadline.

Dove Linkhorn is still around. He says he works with Tindaro and that he indeed did not create the Mossy Nissan jingle. “I don’t want anyone to think I wrote it,” he says. “I was surprised when I read the story and I saw that Leonard Tucker had said that. I do all the remakes of it, though. I’ve gotten to know the jingle well. Once, we did a blues version, even a ‘lights out’ jazz version.”

Linkhorn closed Powerhouse and a few years ago moved his studio to Ramona, where he continues to produce jingles, among other things. “I tried to make sure that everyone concerned knew that I didn’t write ‘Mossy Nissan,’ and I mentioned it many times, so I’m not sure how that mistake got in the article.”

Hosman still writes jingles, too, but he also scores films. “I’m sure most people could care less about an irritating little jingle. I just wanted to set the record straight.” The Perry Automotive Group commercial airs from San Diego all the way to San Luis Obispo, he says, “so I can hear it on the radio. But,” he laughs, “I’m sure I’ll read somewhere that someone else recorded it.”

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