It's fairly common for a hit song to be later heard in a commercial. Less common is when a song written for a commercial becomes a huge hit. That's "Renegades" by X Ambassadors.
A partnership between Jeep and Interscope Records to market the Renegade model led to a request that Interscope have one of their acts write a song to promote the subcompact SUV. X Ambassadors got the call.
The acoustic Rock "Renegades" went to #1 on the Alt. Rock chart, where it stayed for weeks, and was featured in the Jeep commercial, making the song ubiquitous. It was X Ambassadors' biggest success to date and drove sales of the group's '15 full-length major label debut "VHS."
The album also included contributions from British musician Jamie N Commons ("Jungle" and "Low Life") and Imagine Dragons ("Fear"). As it turned out both Commons and the Dragons made significant contributions to X Ambassadors career.
From Ithaca, NY, X Ambassadors started simply as the Ambassadors releasing a self-titled EP.
Singer/guitarist Sam Harris, his keyboard playing brother, Casey, who was born blind, and guitarist Noah Feldshuh were childhood friends. Drummer Adam Levin came onboard in '10.
An acoustic version of "Unconsolable" caught the attention of Imagine Dragons who asked Interscope to sign the band.
X Ambassadors then released "Love Songs Drug Songs," containing the track "Stranger," co-written by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds. The '13 release led to opening tour slots with Imagine Dragons (no surprise there) and Jimmy Eat World.
A year later, another EP, "The Reason," rolled out.
X Ambassadors started working with Commons who came up with the song "Jungle," a chant-like track that marked the group's first appearance on the U.S. singles chart (#87). The song was also featured in the trailers for Season 2 of the Netflix series Orange Is The New Black, the video game Battlefield Hardline and the film Pitch Perfect 2. It was even added to the repackaged version of "The Reason" and included on "VHS."
As it turned out though, all that was a prelude to "Renegades." "We're just glad people like ['Renegades'] and that it's having a positive effect on them," said Sam Harris.
2013 Love Songs Drug Songs
2014 The Reason
Hook filled acoustic Alt. Rock.