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The best (and worst) fake bands of the '80s



Wyld-stallyns Give Eric Idle of Monty Python's Flying Circus the credit for dreaming up the idea of fictional bands and making them popular. (Cough, cough. There was the Monkees too, but let's continue.)

His invention, The Rutles, debuted in the 1978 film All You Need Is Cash. A few short years later, the big screen would be full of fab -- and drab -- fakes, including our beloved Spinal Tap.

Tap releases their new album Back from the Dead today. It's a must-buy for all '80s fans, if only for the action-figures of Derek, David and Nigel that pop out of the liner notes. But while you're busy contemplating how to sneak off to the record store today, here's the list that Stuck in the '80s fans and writers dreamed up for the occasion.


5. PEZ PEOPLE (The Big Picture, 1989): Kevin Bacon and Michael McKean direct the video for Pez People in this flick about aspiring filmmakers. And yes, The Whites of Their Eyes -- which sounds exactly like a Spinal Tap tune  -- was written by McKean and Christopher Guest. [Watch it]

4. THE SWANKY MODES (Tapeheads, 1988): Another obscure pick, but the finale of this John Cusack and Tom Robbins cult flick wouldn't be the same without their performance of Ordinary Man. [Watch it]

3. THE SORELS/ELLEN AIM AND THE ATTACKERS (Streets of Fire, 1984): Give the Sorels the slight nod in this tie because they perform I Can Dream About You (by the very white and now late Dan Hartman). But Diane Lane's Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young is an anthem.  [Watch the Sorels | Watch Ellen Aim]

2. EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS (Eddie and the Cruisers, 1983; Eddie Lives, 1989): Michael Pare channels Bruce during On The Dark Side, but you gotta love Tom "Sgt. Barnes" Berenger on keyboards. Hat tip, of course, to John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. [Watch it]

1. SPINAL TAP (This is Spinal Tap, 1984): From Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight to Stonehenge to even the lovely Cups and Cakes, you can't stop "England's loudest band." [Watch it]


5. THE MYSTERY (Satisfaction, 1988): The only satisfaction we got from this Justine Bateman would-be star vehicle is adding to this list of frauds perpetuated on music fans.

4. THE PINHEADS (Back to the Future, 1985): Huey Lewis was right. Michael J. Fox and his band are just too darn loud.

3. SEXUAL CHOCOLATE (Coming to America, 1988): Seeing Eddie Murphy perform her song Greatest Love of All is probably what started Whitney Houston's substance-abuse problem in the first place. [Watch it]

2. HONG KONG CAVALIERS (The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension, 1984): Peter Weller stops a concert because he suddenly hears Ellen Barkin crying? Take the Cavaliers to the pit, Big-Booty ... and use more honey! [Watch it]

1. WYLD STALLYNS (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, 1989): The music of Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter may provide the model for life for San Dimas, Calif., in the year 2688. But in 1989, it just sucked. [Clip]

Also on the bad list: The Barbusters (Light of Day), Cube-Squared (Tapeheads).

Check out my list of the best fake bands of all time on

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:47pm]


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