6 Famous Musicians Who Wrote Jingles for TV Commercials


You might be surprised by who wrote those jingles that get stuck in your head.

1. Jack White for Coca-Cola

As a teenager, Jack White was obsessed with Coca-Cola—so obsessed that he wrote 100 short songs about the soda. When the company asked him to write a jingle in 2005, White jumped at the chance. "What Goes Around Comes Around" was attached to a short film commercial from director Nagi Noda called Love is the Truth. It was about a minute and 45 seconds long and only aired once on the British Channel 4.

“I’ve been offered the opportunity to write a song in a way which interests me as a songwriter,” Jack White told “I certainly wouldn’t want a song that I’d already written to be used on a commercial. That seems strange. But to be asked to write something particular along one theme of love in a worldwide form that I’m not really used to appealed to me."

2. Barry Manilow for State Farm

Barry wrote jingles for a number of companies during the '60s and '70s, including McDonald's, Stridex, Dodge, and Band-Aid (yup, Manilow wrote the music to "Stuck on Me"). He's also responsible for one of the catchiest commercial jingles of all time: State Farm's "Like a Good Neighbor," which he penned in the '70s. Although the insurance company still uses the jingle in their commercials today, Manilow doesn't receive any royalties for it. He sold off his rights as a songwriter to State Farm, who only paid him $500 for the jingle.

3. The Flaming Lips for Hyundai

The Flaming Lips wrote and performed "Sun Blows Up Today" for a 60-second Hyundai ad that aired during Super Bowl XLVII. Hyundai offered 100,000 free downloads of the song before and after the Big Game in 2013; the track was also featured as an iTunes bonus track on the band's record Terror.

VP of marketing at Hyundai Steve Shannon told Billboard, "The Flaming Lips are very much like Hyundai. They're a little offbeat. They've been around a long time and they continue to reinvent themselves."

4. Randy Newman for Dr. Pepper

Before he won numerous Emmys, Grammys, and Oscars, Randy Newman wrote commercial jingles. He co-wrote "The Most Original Soft Drink Ever" and "Be a Pepper" with Barry Manilow and Jake Holmes—a commercial composer who wrote "Be All That You Can Be" for the U.S. Army—for Dr. Pepper's marketing campaigns.

5. Mark Foster of Foster The People for Muscle Milk

Before founding indie pop band Foster The People, Mark Foster wrote catchy jingles for Cadillac, Bing, Bank of America, California Tourism and, most notably, Muscle Milk. "Spring Break It Down" was a Jersey Shore parody that promoted the protein drink. It became a viral video smash hit in 2010.

“Well, I think melodies are my real strength,” Foster told the San Francisco Examiner. “I know how to build and deliver a chorus, whether it’s instrumental or whatever. So I guess I have a good handle on dynamics, which is what commercials are all about."

6. The Rolling Stones for Rice Krispies

Before they were famous, The Rolling Stones wrote and performed a catchy jingle for Kellogg's Rice Krispies during the early '60s. Brian Jones co-wrote the jingle for the J. Walter Thompson ad agency and the commercial only aired in the United Kingdom.

BONUS: Ween for Pizza Hut

In 2002, Pizza Hut and advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy commissioned Ween to write a jingle for their new pizza, "The Insider." The fast food company was looking for an edgy ad campaign and W+K believed the Pennsylvania-based indie rock band would be a perfect fit. But Pizza Hut didn't think the six songs Ween wrote fit with their corporate culture, so they rejected them. Disappointed with the outcome, Gene and Dean Ween wrote an explicit version of "Where'd the Cheese Go?" for Pizza Hut as a final attempt, but it was also rejected.

"In keeping in line with their new cutting edge image, the agency hired Ween to do the music, and we delivered in a big way," Ween wrote in 2003. "Unfortunately, they didn't like a single piece of the 6 tunes we submitted and they had us rewriting the song every day for a couple of weeks before they hired someone else. In my opinion, it is one of the best tunes we wrote all last year."

Meanwhile, "Where'd the Cheese Go?" became a cult favorite from Ween.

Everything You Need to Know About Record Store Day

The unlikely resurgence of vinyl as an alternative to digital music formats is made up of more than just a small subculture of purists. Today, more than 1400 independent record stores deal in both vintage and current releases. Those store owners and community supporters created Record Store Day in 2007 as a way of celebrating the grassroots movement that’s allowed a once-dying medium to thrive.

To commemorate this year’s Record Store Day on Saturday, April 21, a number of stores (a searchable list can be found here) will be offering promotional items, live music, signings, and more. While events vary widely by store, a number of artists will be issuing exclusive LPs that will be distributed around the country.

For Grateful Dead fans, a live recording of a February 27, 1969 show at Fillmore West in San Francisco will be released and limited to 6700 copies; Arcade Fire’s 2003 EP album will see a vinyl release for the first time, limited to 3000 copies; "Roxanne," the Police single celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, will see a 7-inch single release with the original jacket art.

The day also promises to be a big one for David Bowie fans. A special white vinyl version of 1977’s Bowie Now will be on shelves, along with Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78), a previously-unreleased, three-record set. Jimmy Page, Frank Zappa, Neil Young, and dozens of other artists will also be contributing releases.

No store is likely to carry everything you might want, so before making the stop, it might be best to call ahead and then plan on getting there early. If you’re one of the unlucky vinyl supporters without a brick and mortar store nearby, you can check out, which will be selling the special releases online.

Henson Company
Pop Culture
Jim Henson's Labyrinth Is Being Adapted Into a Stage Musical
Henson Company
Henson Company

More than 30 years after its cinematic debut, Labyrinth could be hitting the stage. In an interview with Forbes, Jim Henson's son and Henson Company CEO Brian Henson shared plans to transform the cult classic into a live musical.

While the new musical would be missing David Bowie in his starring role as Jareth the Goblin King, it would hopefully feature the soundtrack Bowie helped write. Brian Henson says there isn't a set timeline for the project yet, but the stage adaptation of the original film is already in the works.

As for a location, Henson told Forbes he envisions it running, "Not necessarily [on] Broadway, it could be for London's West End, but it will be a stage show, a big theatrical version. It’s very exciting."

Labyrinth premiered in 1986 to measly box office earnings and tepid reviews, but Jim Henson's fairytale has since grown into a phenomenon beloved by nostalgic '80s kids and younger generations alike. In the same Forbes interview, Brian Henson also confirmed the 2017 news that a long-anticipated Labyrinth sequel is apparently in development. Though he couldn't give any specifics, Henson confirmed that, "we are still excited about it but the process moves very slowly and very carefully. We're still excited about the idea of a sequel, we are working on something, but nothing that's close enough to say it's about to be in pre-production or anything like that."

While fans eagerly await those projects to come out, they can get their fix when the film returns to theaters across the U.S. on April 29, May 1, and May 2. Don't forget to wear your best Labyrinth swag to the event.

[h/t Forbes]


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