Musicians have to pay the bills, too, and before rock stardom arrives, many have made a quick buck writing TV or radio commercial jingles.
The soft rock superstar got his start backing up Bette Midler in the 1970s, but before that, he wrote dozens of commercial jingles that have gotten stuck in your head. Among his most memorable: Band-Aid’s “I am stuck on Band-Aid / ’cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me.” One he wrote in the ’70s is still used today: “Like a good neighbor / State Farm is there.”
After a successful career of satirical, darkly funny songs like “Short People” and “I Love L.A.,” singer-songwriter Randy Newman is now an Academy Award-winning writer of songs and scores for movies. But in the mid-1970s, just before commercial success, Newman found commercial success: literally. He wrote (with Manilow) Dr Pepper’s “I’m a Pepper / He’s a Pepper / She’s a Pepper / Wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper, too?” jingle.
Alternative rock band Foster the People (who had a huge hit in 2011 with “Pumped Up Kicks”) is fronted by songwriter Mark Foster, who spent his early 20s writing commercial music. Among his clients: Muscle Milk, Verizon, and Honey Bunches of Oats.
Pianist Brickman is a superstar in the genre of easy listening. He’s sold millions of albums and placed more songs (28) on the adult contemporary chart than any other male solo artist. But before he hit it big in the 1990s, he wrote jingles. Among his ad compositions: “Just for the taste of it, Diet Coke,” “G.E.: We bring good things to life,” and this long-running one for Flintstones Vitamins.