Originally created 12/04/01

Commercials spark interest in singers



Have you seen the Gap's latest TV commercials? A diverse mix of 11 musicians perform solos on a bare stage.

Each of the six women and five men sing a line or a verse of the Supertramp standard Give a Little Bit. Their interpretations range from reggae to rock to rhythm and blues. Some perform a capella. Others with guitars. The theme of the ads is Give Your Gift, and the Gap made a donation to each artist's charity of choice.

The commercials are designed to sell sweaters, and all the singers wear woolies. But the singers are unidentified.

In addition to showcasing cardigans and turtlenecks, the Gap ads offer viewers a musical pop-culture quiz.

How many of the 11 artists can you identify?

DWIGHT YOAKAM

Never one to play by the rules, Mr. Yoakam has built a career turning his back on the high-gloss sounds of Nashville and playing country music his own way. A combination of rockabilly and the classic Bakersfield school of country, Mr. Yoakam's music owes more Buck Owens and the Los Angeles punk band X than to contemporary country crooners such as Randy Travis and Garth Brooks. Among Mr. Yoakam's hits are Guitars, Cadillacs and Pocket of a Clown.

JOHN RZEZNIK

Mr. Rzeznik is the lead singer for the Buffalo rock band Goo Goo Dolls. The once spiky-haired punk rockers have reinvented the band's sound and become purveyors of the sort of soulful power ballad that has made them a movie soundtrack favorite. The band is best known for the acoustic guitar-driven Name and Iris.

ROBBIE ROBERTSON

The guiding force behind the classic 1960s rock ensemble The Band, Mr. Robertson's no-frills approach to music flew in the face of the production-heavy work of bands such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jefferson Airplane. Best known for the album Music From Big Pink (1968) and its swan song, The Last Waltz (1976), the band enjoyed a brief resurgence when its song The Weight appeared on the soundtrack for The Big Chill. Since the demise of The Band, Mr. Robertson has sporadically released solo projects and become a spokesman for American Indian issues.

SHAGGY

Born in Jamaica and raised in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, Shaggy first found musical success in Great Britain with his rendition of the reggae classic Oh Carolina in 1993. He followed the single with a series of mildly successful albums before hitting gold again last year with Hotshot, which featured the singles Wasn't Me and Angel. He has dubbed his distinctive style, which incorporates ragamuffin and dancehall reggae, dog-a-muffin.

SEAL

Seal first found favor in England's house-music scene, providing vocals for techno-producer Adamski's studio-manufactured beeps and buzzes. In 1991, he released his first eponymous album. Seal has gradually refined his style, dropping the house-inspired rhythms for a smoother, soul-inspired sound. Among his hits are Crazy, Prayer for the Dying and Kiss From a Rose.

ALANIS MORISSETTE

In what has become the most famous makeover in music history, Ms. Morissette transformed herself from the queen of the Canadian preteen pop scene into a rock artist with attitude to spare. Jagged Little Pill (1995), released when she was just 21, was a vitriolic statement of self. The album immediately won critical praise and popular success. She followed Pill with the more introspective Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie in 1998.

MACY GRAY

Possessed of one of music's more unique voices, Ms. Gray has capitalized on her Betty Boop squeak and the smooth, sultry sound of her retro brand of R&B. Her first release, On How Life Is, produced the hit I Try. She followed with the critically acclaimed album Id this year.