You might not know his name, but Tobias “earworm” Worthington has been a musical mainstay in the local area and an integral reason why nearby car dealerships are known to area residents. Worthington isn’t a star athlete, nor has he held any local political office—and he normally wouldn’t be mentioned in any conversation about the music industry, but his work has been played on Texas radio stations from Tomball to Dallas, from Austin to El Paso. You see, those jingles that you hear throughout your day, each of which are catchy, annoying, and extolling the virtues of various local dealerships…that’s right: they’re all the creation of local resident, “earworm” Worthington.
When asked how he’s managed to write so many memorable jingles, Worthington gave us some insight into his creativity. “I tell you what, when Rick Dees came out of nowhere with Disco Duck back in ’76, it was like my life’s purpose was made clear…I felt the pain and suffering in Dee’s lyrics, about a dancer being transformed into an aquatic mammal against his will…That’s when I knew I had to carve out my own legacy.”
While several of Worthington’s ad jingles are known to many, such as, “Come get a car / drive real far / don’t get stuck in some tar-tar-tar,” and, “Prices so low, can’t be beat / just listen to my singing parakeet,” Worthington had a brief career as a country singer.
It was in 1978 when Worthington self-released his first and only single, “My Baby Left Last Night in My Pickup Truck.” The song received minimal airplay, and at first, didn’t make much of an impact. While there was little interest from the major record labels in Nashville, a salesman from a Tomball-area dealership called Flintlock Ford heard the tune and thought it could be successfully repurposed to help raise interest in the dealership’s inventory.
Instantly recognizable to any area resident, the popular jingle of, “When your baby leaves you in your pickup truck / come to Flintlock Ford, we’ve got enough,” was a start to a lucrative career in crafting addictive jingles.
“My songs are for the hardworking man,” Worthington continued. “I can get butts in car seats because as long as something rhymes, you remember it.”
While Worthington has been one of many who have tapped into the realm of radio jingles, it was the news of him being honored by the JWAM (Jingle Writers Association of America) that took him by surprise. “To finally be recognized for busting my hump all these years…It’s an honor.”
Worthington went on to state that he doesn’t want to brag about the recent accolades, and insists on being humble about the several compositions he’s made over the years.
We took to the streets of Worthington’s hometown of Tomball, Texas, to hear from his community. The news of the recent honors caused quite a surprise for a few area residents. “Really? There’s one person responsible for every one of those ads?” asked local police officer Billy “Bubba” Trailer. “If I knew that there was one and only one person writing those annoying commercials, I would have given him a citation for disturbing the peace.” Others, such as hopeful mayoral candidate “Honest” Jeb Harding, were nicer about Worthington’s impact on the community. “Dallas has the Cowboys; we’ve got the guy who makes radio ads. You’ve gotta take pride in the little things.”
The honors for Worthington will take place at the Tomball Auto Plaza this Friday at 6:00 PM. Worthington will receive a frozen turkey, plaque, and a signed petition from over 1,200 people who would like him to cease his musical ambitions forever.