Question: My roommate and I have a dinner riding on this bet. I believe that one of the singers in the "Give a Little Bit" Gap commercial is Lou Reed. She disagrees. Do you know who the artists are? I realize that this isn't quite up your alley you know all things broadcast television-wise but do you know about the commercials? NYC Fan
Televisionary: Y'know, Fan, normally I'd be my cranky self and take you to task for doubting my knowledge of all things television, then move onto mocking you for implying that commercials somehow exist apart from broadcast TV and for missing all the ad-related questions I've answered in this space in the past. But I only recently moved from Manhattan and I'm missing my former home something fierce these days, so I'll go easy on a fellow New Yorker.
Do you really think my hero Lou Reed, the gritty, Velvet Underground-founding poster child for rebellion, would go all corporate toadie on me and shill for The Gap? For shame! (Well, there was that Honda "Walk on the Wild Side" scooter spot in the '80s, I guess... and that American Express ad.)
Regardless, it ain't the Rock and Roll Animal in those spots. My guess is you're thinking of another favorite of mine, former The Band front man Robbie Robertson, who appears in a series of spots featuring artists like Seal, Alanis Morissette, Macy Gray, Sheryl Crow, Liz Phair, Shaggy, Goo Goo Dolls singer John Rzeznik, Dwight Yoakim, India.Arie and Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes singing bits of Supertramp's "Give a Little Bit." It's an easy enough mistake to make, I suppose, since a lot of people were left guessing who some of the musicians in those spots were. And I'll tack on my unsolicited opinion here: I thought the ads were pretty cool, despite the thumbs-down from my colleagues at TV Guide's print edition.
Now that it's time for you to pay up, tell your roommate I said to go easy on the wallet. Slices from Two Boots or burritos from Benny's are in order, I think.