Sunday, October 18, 2009

Top 20 Songs from Fictional TV & Movie Bands

This is an odd list. Some fictional bands are put together for the purposes of a movie or a TV show and do not exist beyond their own universe. However, some fictional bands start off as fictitious, only to later become real due to their popularity. Here are my top 20 songs from Fictional TV & Movie Bands.

1. Spinal Tap - Stonehenge

This is the greatest fictional band that ever lived. We met them as the fictional subject of Rob Reiner’s "This is Spinal Tap", one of the best mockumentaries / rockumentaries ever. In fact, in the years since the 1984 film, the three actors who portrayed the band members (Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer) have played occasional concerts, made TV appearances, and even released music under the Spinal Tap name.

2. Daydream Believer – The Monkees

The Monkees were "assembled" for a live action TV series that would compete with The Beatles cartoons. At the start, the band members provided vocals, and were given some performing and production opportunities, but they eventually fought for and earned the right to collectively supervise all musical output under the band's name. The group undertook several concert tours, allowing an opportunity to perform as a live band as well as on the TV series. By 1970, they had achieved 6 top ten singles (including 4 Billboard Hot 100 number ones) and several gold and platinum records.

3. Eddie & The Cruisers - On the Dark Side

When the Eddie & the Cruisers film came out, “On the Dark Side” by Eddie & The Cruisers was released and flopped in the charts. A year later, after several successful screenings in HBO, the studio re-released the song under the name of the real Jersey band that had recorded the songs for the film, John Cafferty & The Beaver Brown Band. The song re-entered the charts and sky-rocketed to number one.

4. Ellen Aim and the Attackers - Tonight it’s What It Means to Be Young

In the 1984 film Streets of Fire, Ellen Aim and the Attackers performed "Tonight Is What It Means to Be Young" with members of new wave band Face to Face playing the part of the Attackers and actress Diane Lane lip-syncing to singer Laurie Sargent's vocals. When the Streets of Fire soundtrack came out, the song was attributed to Fire Inc., a Wagnerian rock ensemble composer Jim Steinman assembled to record two songs for the movie. A fictional band recording the music for another fictional band...

5. The Archies - Sugar, Sugar

The Archies is a fictional garage band founded by Archie Andrews and a group of fictional characters of the Archie universe for the animated TV series, The Archie Show. The fictional band's music was recorded by session musicians featuring Ron Dante on vocals and released as a series of singles and albums. Their most successful song, "Sugar, Sugar", became one of the biggest hits of the bubblegum pop genre that flourished from 1968 to 1972

6. The Blues Brothers - Rubber Biscuit

The Blues Brothers started out as a musical sketch in Saturday Night Live, where comedians John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd played Jake and Elwood Blues – The Blues Brothers. After several appearances in SNL, the band released an album and starred in a film, The Blues Brothers, created around its characters.

7. The Commitments - Try a Little Tenderness

The Commitments is a 1987 movie about a group of unemployed young people in Dublin, Ireland who start a soul band. The interesting thing here is that although the group in the film was entirely fictional, the cast later began touring as a real band known as "The Stars from The Commitments".

8. Josie & The Pussycats – Three Small Words

Josie & The Pussycats began as an Archie comic book that later developed into a Saturday morning cartoon series. In preparation for the 1970 cartoon series, Hanna-Barbera began working on putting together a real-life "Josie and the Pussycats" girl group, who would provide the singing voices of the girls in the cartoons and also cut an album as well. After interviewing 500 finalists, they cast Cathy Douglas, Cherie Moor and Patrice Holloway, who recorded an album and six singles. In 2001, Universal Pictures released a Josie & The Pussycats film starring Rachel Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson and Tara Reid. The songs in the film were actually performed with Kay Hanley, former singer for Letters to Cleo, as the singing voice of Josie while the three actresses sang backup vocals on many of the songs. Josie & The Pussycats live twice...

9. The Soggy Bottom Boys - Man of Constant Sorrow

The Soggy Bottom Boys are the fictitious Depression-era "old-timey music" trio and accompaniment from the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?" played in the film by George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson. The voices behind the Soggy Bottom Boys are well known bluegrass musicians and the song “Man of Constant Sorrow” won a Grammy for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.

10. The Partridge Family - I Think I Love You

The Partridge Family was a 1970 sit-com about a widowed mother and her five children who start a music career as a traveling band. The Partridge Family became an instant phenomenon, not only as a TV show but as a band that produced actual hit songs. David Cassidy, who starred in the show as Shirley Jones' eldest son and sang lead vocals, became an overnight teen idol. In response to his instant fame, producers quickly signed him as a solo act as well. Although the Partridge Family did not actually exist as a live band, Cassidy began touring with his own group of musicians, performing Partridge songs as well as hits from his own albums.

11. Hannah Montana - The Best of Both Worlds

Hannah Montana is a Disney Channel series that focuses on a girl who lives a double live as an average school girl named Miley Stewart (played by Miley Cirus, daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus) by day and a famous pop singer named Hannah Montana by night.

12. Dusty & Lefty - Bad Jokes

Played by Woody Harrelson & John C. Riley for the 2006 Robert Altman film A Prairie Home Companion, based on the public radio show of the same name created by Garrison Keillor.

13. The Banana Splits – The Tra La La La Song

The Banana Splits were Fleegle the Beagle, Bingo the Gorilla, Drooper the Lion, and Snorky the Elephant and hosted the Banana Splits Adventure Hour that featured both animated and live action segments. In 1968, The Banana Splits released an album titled We're the Banana Splits. The show’s theme song, titled "The Tra La La La Song", released as a single, peaked at number 97 on Billboard's Top 100 in February 1969.

14. The Folksmen –Old Joe’s Place

The three actors who made Spinal Tap famous (Michael McKean, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer) reunited as a folk trio for the 2003 mockumentary A Mighty Wind about a folk music reunion concert and the three groups that must come together to perform on national television for the first time in years.

15. Stillwater - Fever Dog

Stillwater is a fictional band fronted by actors Jason Lee and Billy Crudup for the 2000 film “Almost Famous”.

16. The Bandits – Catch Me

In the 1997 German movie, four female inmates form a band while in prision. When they are slated to perform at a police ball and take the opportunity to escape. While on the run, the heroines perform concerts and attain fame as a rock band. The soundtrack of the movie became a hit in Germany, selling almost 700.000 copies.

17. The Wonders – That Thing You Do

According to the 1996 film written and directed by Tom Hanks, The Wonders was a one-hit wonder band. In the movie, The Wonders rise to brief stardom on the strength of "That Thing You Do", a song written as a wistful ballad but which becomes an up-tempo rocker during the band's first performance at a talent show. Written and composed for the film by Adam Schlesinger, bassist for Fountains of Wayne, and released on the film's soundtrack, the song became a genuine hit for The Wonders in 1996 peaking at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100.

18. Strange Fruit – The Flame Still Burns

In the 1998 film Still Crazy, Strange Fruit is a fictional rock band from the 1970’s who, after being split up for several decades, are convinced to get back together to perform at a reunion of the same concert venue where they played their last gig.

19. Mitch & Mickey – A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow

This is another fictional band from the 2003 mockumentary “A Mighty Wind”. Mitch & Mickey are a folk duo played by seasoned actors Eugene Levy & Catherine O’Hara. The song "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow", was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song, and was performed at the 76th Oscar Ceremony by Levy and O'Hara (in character).

20. DriveShaft - You All (Everybody)

In the TV series Lost, Charlie Pace was a former member of a fictional one-hit wonder band named DriveShaft and “You All (Everybody)” was their claim to fame.

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