It’s love
It’s love
It’s love
It’s la la la la la la love


How many of you know who Chris Knox is?

(waits for a while . . . goes off to do laundry and watch a movie . . . wanders back)

Well, to most of you, he’s the guy who sings the catchy/annoying song in the latest Heineken commercial (click the above lyrics to hear the song and watch the commercial).

To me, he’s one of New Zealand’s musical pioneers, crafter of exquisite pop songs, an incredible performer, and a truly inspiring lyricist. Plus he once made out with my husband.

You’ve probably never heard of Chris Knox because it’s tough for Kiwis to tour in the States, and even those bands that make it here don’t get much radio play.

Dave and I were lucky enough to meet Chris Knox at the Flying Nun offices in Auckland when we visited New Zealand in 1994. We also saw him play at Lounge Axe in Chicago. At one point, he wandered out into the audience and “interacted” with people. Unfortunately for Dave, this meant climbing in his lap and kissing him. With tongue. I never laughed so hard, and Dave never puked so hard.

I’m always torn when I hear one of my favorite artist’s songs in a commercial. On one hand, when it comes to little-known artists, I’m glad they’re getting some cash. On the other hand, are they selling out? For someone like Chris Knox, this type of exposure could be huge, so I was thrilled when Dave told me about the commercial. Of course, I had to watch it on YouTube, because apparently advertisers have now become savvy enough to know whether a man or a woman is watching TV. When men watch TV, they see commercials for beer and Axe deodorant spray. Women get stuck with tampons and Yoplait. Unfortunately, we all have to watch the toe fungus ones.

This is a song that you either love or hate or have no opinion about whatsoever. But for the haters, here are some facts about Chris Knox that may change your mind:

  • He played with one of the world’s first punk bands, The Enemy, in 1977.
  • He often performs solo with only a Casiotone.
  • He is so respected in his native New Zealand that the word “Knoxian” was coined to describe anything done in his style.

There are so many great, underexposed bands out there, I wish advertisers would discover them and put them in commercials. Even tampon commercials!


Top 10 Cool Songs You Might Never Have Heard of if Not for the Commercials:
  1. Do You Realize” by the Flaming Lips (Land Rover)
  2. Suzie” by Boy Kill Boy (Juno trailer)
  3. Jerk It Out” by the Caesars (iPod)
  4. Flathead” by the Fratellis (iPod)
  5. Never the Same” by Supreme Beings of Leisure (Johnnie Walker)
  6. Pink Moon” by Nick Drake (Volkswagen)
  7. So Here We Are” by Bloc Party (Saturn)
  8. 1234” by Feist (Apple)
  9. Music Box” by Regina Spektor (JC Penney)
  10. Happy All the Time” by the Flatmates (Payless)

If you want to learn more about Chris Knox:

What are some of your favorite songs from commercials? Have you discovered any new bands or music from watching way too much TV?


They’ll be humming this song all day at humor blogs.

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34 Responses to “I Listen to Commercials”

  1. 1 Susan

    I always leaned toward the commercials = sell-out. But one of my favorite bands, Wilco, defends their VW commercials as a way to get their music out there and heard by more people.

    Susan’s last blog post..Right Brain vs. Left Brain

  2. 2 Jay

    I’m assuming these are US commercials, so I haven’t heard any of them! But I know exactly what you mean – my Other Half would not now own a Simone White CD if it hadn’t been for the Beep Beep song being used in an Audi commercial.

    And thanks for the list. I’m checking them all out. :)

    Jay’s last blog post..Mind the bell!

  3. 3 Lori

    Man, I love the Flaming Lips – I caught their show at Bonnaroo last year – AWESOME!

    Hey, that’s an idea of something to do – Bonnaroo. It’s a 4-day music festival in middle-of-nowhere, Tennessee. It has been called one of the world’s best festivals by Rolling Stone and Spin! And, boy, is it an adventure!!!

  4. 4 Alice

    Thanks for the heads-up. And I actually really liked the commercial too. Will definitely be checking him out.

    Alice’s last blog post..Birthday Prep and a Fish Called Blinky

  5. 5 JT

    I take the hubby didn’t enjoy a little tongue from a guy? ROFL! My b/f didn’t have it go quit that far, but he had a very interesting experience with having a male stripper (who was staying at his hotel) give him an unexpected (and very solid!) feel up! He called me at home having a complete meltdown which of course triggered hysterical laughter on my part. I still bring it up every so often to see that look of horror in his eyes and watch him shudder. Cracks me up every time!
    BTW, I have my babbleblog up and running, you can click the link on my blog :)

    JT’s last blog post..I’m going to strangle her!

  6. 6 Regan

    I actually have a song from a commercial on my iPod. And I knew this song before I knew it was on the commercial. It’s called “Medicine Man” It’s by a not so known band called The Hush Sound. It was on a commercial for ‘House’.

  7. 7 JD

    Susan: Yeah, I think when it’s a lesser-known band, it’s OK. They work hard, they need money and exposure. When I hear the Stones or Bob Seger or U2, tho, I kind of cringe.

    Jay: Yeah, these are US commercials. But the music is universal! Now I have to go check out Simone White…

    Lori: Oh, YES! Flaming Lips! We saw them in Chicago on NYE a few years ago. AWESOME! I’ll bet Bonnaroo was amazing. I’d love to do it so you don’t have to, except apparently you already did. Well, I’d love to do it anyway.

    Alice: Clearly you have excellent taste. I think it’s a cute commercial. It’s not one of Chris Knox’s best songs, but it’s catchy, all right.

    JT: Yeah…you could say that! But he was a good sport. These poor delicate men of ours. I don’t know what Dave would do if he got felt up by a stripper. Probably faint. Oooh! I’m off to check BabbleBlog!

    Regan: I’ve probably heard that song (I love “House”) but I can’t recall it. (runs off to iTunes to check it out…)

  8. 8 ann of the shampoo bag

    I surf the web while watching tv. I have been intrigued by songs that I hear during commercials. I’ll google the lyrics, find out the title and artist, and then switch over to itunes and download it to my ipod! All without getting up from the couch! I love multimedia. I plan on investigating the songs and artists that you listed. Maybe some will end up on my ipod, as well. Thanks!

  9. 9 Jeff

    Sometimes commercials can be a double-edged sword. The first time I remember a commercial ruining a song for me was when Sunkist used “Good Vibrations.” Then Chevy totally screwed up “Like A Rock” for me so I could never listen to it again.

  10. 10 Gizmo

    I discovered David Gray watching something on TV…I forget one tho’. I went to the computer and looked him up after I heard the song. You gotta love the internet

  11. 11 Kathy

    As one who almost never watches commercials, all but the first song you listed were new to me. How very cool you got to meet one of your favorite musicians. Sorry about Dave’s tongue ambush. Is he over it yet?

    Kathy’s last blog post..The Other Junk Drawer in My Life

  12. 12 Kelly

    Ah. I guess they show a different breed of commercial on the SciFi and History channels (those being the only channels I watch with any regularity). So thanks for listening to these commercials so I don’t have to watch shows that would put me to sleep in search of the “right” commercials. :)

    Kelly’s last blog post..Starbuck, Apollo, Athena

  13. 13 JD

    ann of the shampoo bag: I do that too! That is, when I actually watch TV with commercials. Usually I tape stuff and FF thru the commercials. But there is some great music out there in advertising land. Hope you find some good tunes!

    Jeff: Oh, yeah, I agree. I’m trying to think of songs that commercials ruined for me, and none are coming to mind right now—tho that Kraft salad dressing commercial is on the verge of wrecking the Flaming Lips’ “Yeah Yeah Yeah Song.”

    Gizmo: TV, Internet, iTunes . . . is there anything else we need? Cats, donuts, comfy beds. That’ll do me.

    Kathy: I usually skip the commercials, too, but sometimes Dave and I actually flip around together and catch a commercial or two. And, no, he’s not over it. He’ll never be over it. When I told him I was writing about Chris Knox’s song, he asked, “Did you tell them all about him kissing me?” As if he had to ask.

    Kelly: HA! Yeah, I’m starting to wonder about these sports channels. Dave is always telling me about the great commercials. You’ll have to fill us in on what commercials you get to watch.

  14. 14 Best Video Collection

    He kind a have some beautiful meaningful music or something, but really have poetically song there.

    It is a first time I know him.

    Thanks for let me know.

    Feel My Tube

    Best Video Collection’s last blog post..151. Ken Lee Bulgarian Idol Video or Without You Mariah Carey

  15. 15 jennypenny

    My favorite commercial right now is the one on the Jaguar commercial: “Hush” by Deep Purple! I don’t know from that song or that band but I love that commercial because the song is so perfect!

    Please, nobody say “Viva Viagra” …

    jennypenny’s last blog post..It’s A Love Thing

  16. 16 jennypenny

    I meant, my favorite SONG right now is the one on the Jaguar commercial! Sorry …

    jennypenny’s last blog post..It’s A Love Thing

  17. 17 The Chick

    I love “Suzie”! I never knew it was on the Juno trailer. Geez. I need to watch more tele!

    The Chick’s last blog post..The Kind of Goin’ Green I Can EASILY Do!

  18. 18 Chris C

    What about ‘shivas R and R Dub’, the song used in the Beck’s commercials? That’s a good one too. And one of them shares the same name as me, Cameron so they have to be cool hehe. Link to their MySpace page:

    Chris C’s last blog post..Licking Windows #19: Monster Mistake

  19. 19 JD

    Best Video Collection: The more people who discover and love Chris Knox—and his Kiwi brethren—the better. Rock on, sir.

    jennypenny: We sometimes sing that song to our cat, Gus: “Gus, Gus, I thought you heard me calling your name now, GUS, GUS!” It’s a great song. And you’re absolutely right: well used in the commercial.

    The Chick: SUZIE! Yeah, I love that song. The band has some other good ones, too. Confession: I only included on that list songs I like. It’s my blog, after all!

    Chris C: I’ve never noticed those ads or that song, but I did check out the MySpace page, and I really like it! Very cool. Thanks for introducing me to new music.

  20. 20 Kelly

    What??!?!? You want me to actually PAY ATTENTION to the commercials? Ew.

    Kelly’s last blog post..The Last of Them

  21. 21 JD

    Kelly, Kelly, Kelly: I’ll watch them so you don’t have to!

  22. 22 Lyndon

    How sad, I actually knew about all of the artists that you mentioned; before their commercials came out ;-)

    Lyndon’s last blog post..Unwritten Rules

  23. 23 JD

    Lyndon: I don’t think it’s sad at all! I think you rule.

  24. 24 Calophi

    I totally picked up the Fratellis album because of that commercial, and I also have that nice Feist song too (but I ended up not liking the full album).

    Also of note from Apple commercials:

    “Shut Up and Let Me Go” by The Ting Tings
    “Mi Swing Es Tropical” by Quantic and Nickodemus

  25. 25 JD

    Calophi: Hello, and welcome!

    YES! I totally picked up the Fratellis CD based on that commercial. It’s great.

    And I’ll definitely check out the other two titles you mention, as it seems we have similar tastes. I downloaded a free iTunes song by the Ting Tings that I quite liked.


  26. 26 Gavin Smith

    As one who almost never watches commercials, all but the first song you listed were new to me. How very cool you got to meet one of your favorite musicians. Sorry about Dave’s tongue ambush. Is he over it yet?

    Gavin Smith’s last blog post..Finnan welcomes the opposition

  27. 27 JD

    Gavin Smith: I don’t know if Dave will ever fully recover. It was a great experience, however (for me). Check out the songs—I bet you’ll like some of them!

  28. 28 TV Commercials

    The video link is gone, YouTube says that it’s been removed by the user.

    Do you have another link to it?

    TV Commercials’s last blog post..John Cleese doesn’t need the new Compaq Portable 286, he has Bruno

  29. 29 JD

    TV Commercials: Thanks for letting me know. Apparently the commercial has been snatched up off of YouTube, but I found this one.

  30. 30 TV Commercials

    Thanks, JD.

    It’s really hard to keep track of embedded YouTube videos. One minute they’re up, a few weeks later they’re taken down and you have to search around for another identical one.

    TV Commercials’s last blog post..Do You Want To Get Frosty With Wendy’s Frosty Posse?

  31. 31 JD

    TV Commercials: Thank YOU for bringing it to my attention. I should really go thru all my links and clean ‘em up.

  32. 32 badger

    The majority of commercials make me want to cut my head off as well as going on a psychotic rampage throughout various advertising and media companies.
    .-= badger´s last blog ..Pimp My VW =-.

  33. 33 The Foot Doctor

    This Comment is for “Lori”… I have never been to Bonneroo, but I live nearby in Nashville, Tennessee. I have heard that it is a crazy event… The “Flaming Lips” have some great tunes.. (Reminds me of the Beatles or Oasis), but would you do it again… I mean, was it worth the huge crowd, heat, craziness and $150 bucks to see them?
    .-= The Foot Doctor´s last blog ..Hello world! =-.

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