"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
So you want to be the “Best Ever Celebrity Viral Ad.” You could be Kobe Bryant jumping over a car. Or Nicole Kidman pushing perfume. Oh, who are we kidding? Be a fox writhing around on furniture wearing high-end underpants.
When the media distributor Go Viral named the greatest spot of all time this week, the winner was an 8-year-old commercial for Agent Provocateur lingerie featuring singer Kylie Minogue, a soundtrack by the Hives and a plush, velvet-covered mechanical bull. (Just curious: Where can you get one of those?) In it, the singer sets out to prove the lingerie is “the most erotic” in the world, and by golly, it’s convincing. Last winter, the clip was also named the greatest cinema ad in a poll by Digital Cinema Media.
The ad, which was shown only in theaters, beat out Sarah Silverman’s ode to doing it with Matt Damon, Ellen Feiss’ trippy Apple ad, and even the iconic Obama campaign’s “Yes We Can.” It’s clocked in at 350 million views on YouTube and counting. Take THAT, will.i.am!
Is it the greatest ad ever? Debatable. But it’s proof that if you want 350 million hits on YouTube it helps to be nothing less than scorching hot.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)