There have been several songs over the years that have been successful after being used in an advert for Levis. Indeed, several of them have been chart-toppers, but this doesn’t always guarantee any further success for the follow-up singles (Babylon Zoo are probably one of the best-known examples of this, and I have already looked back at their career). This is another example of one where this turned out to be the group’s only hit in the UK.
Lilys were an American group that formed in the late-80s, whose frontman was Kurt Heasley, who has been accompanied by an ever-changing line-up, it really does seen like dozens of people have been a part of this. Some of their songs could by classed as quirky indie rock, and this one had something of a 60s feel. In February 1998 “A Nanny In Manhattan” was released, and this reached no. 16.
Also notable about this one is that it is not even two minutes long, and was featured on their fourth album “Better Can’t Make Your Life Better” (released in 1996), although they never had any hit albums in the UK. I remember that the advert was shown rather frequently for a while, and the hit led to an appearance on Top Of The Pops (if they had made the song longer they would’ve got more BBC1 airtime, why didn’t they think of that).
But best of all, they also appeared on the show that every big group around at the time wanted to be seen on I imagine, I of course mean The Jack Docherty Show, where they caused chaos. Well Jack didn’t know where to look, honestly. That’s much more of an honour than Top Of The Pops I’m sure. Not much has been heard about Lilys since, although they have gone on to make eight albums.
I can’t recall the last time I heard “A Nanny In Manhattan” on the radio though, it would be good to hear it again as it would bring back memories of the late-90s for me. I suspect that the only stations that would be likely to play it now are maybe BBC 6Music (but only if they’re having a “90s day” or “quirky American indie rock with something of a 60s feel day”), or Absolute 90s. I imagine I’ll have to keep an ear out for that.