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 was Lou Reed. She disagrees. Do you know who the artists were? I realize that this isn't quite up your alley — you know all things broadcast television-wise — but do you know about the commercials?
Answer: 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 on to 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 lived in Manhattan for 13 years, 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 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 wasn't the Rock 'N' Roll Animal in those spots. My guess is you're thinking of another favorite of mine, former The Band front man Robbie Robertson, who appeared in a series of spots featuring artists like Seal, Alanis Morissette, Macy Gray, Sheryl Crow, Liz Phair, Shaggy, the Goo Goo Dolls singer John Rzeznik, Dwight Yoakam, India.Arie and the late 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.
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 a burrito from Benny's are in order, I think.