Tuesday, 19 August 2014

10 Great Songs By Fictional Acts

Music can be inspired by any number of things: works of fiction, non-fiction, movies and even other songs. It can also be a helpful tool to tell a story, or sometimes a fictional story is about a musician or band. Those fantasy bands live in worlds where their songs have climbed the fictional charts...or maybe they've won Grammys in alternate universes. Whether it's a whole band or a solo artist here are 10 Great Songs By Fictional Acts

1. "Baby On Board" - The Be Sharps

Ahh, back when The Simpsons was filled with unstoppable jokes and genuine moments of heart and joy. So many of my generation owe their senses of humour and even portions of their personality to this animated juggernaut. To kick off the fifth season The Simpsons featured an episode parodying the career of The Beatles, with Homer at the helm of a Barbershop quartet. The actual quartet who penned the songs and provided the singing voices were Disneyland's own Dapper Dans. To this day the Dapper Dans still get the odd request for The Be Sharps hit "Baby On Board"....something something Burt Ward!

2. "Dharma Lady" - Geronimo Jackson

If you were a fan of ABC's hit show Lost, you know how packed full of mysteries and hidden gems each episode was. The producers and writers were all on board about keeping the secrets of the show safe and even got involved in some of the smoke screens. Geronimo Jackson were mentioned in one episode in Season 2 of Lost and were only mentioned a few more times throughout the series. The producers swore they were a real band that never really took off. One of their songs, "Dharma Lady" ,was even found on iTunes. It wasn't until after the show had ended that they admitted the band was made up for the show to add some mystique and Hippie-culture around the island-science fair that was the Dharma Initiative. California natives The Donkeys got the credit for performing the song.

3. "Pina Coladaburg" - Coconut Pete

Broken Lizard is a comedy troupe who have made the jump to the big screen with such cult favourites as The Slammin' Salmon, Beerfest and Super Troopers. Their foray into the slasher-flick mix was the ill-received Club Dread released in 2004. It's a shame really as it features Bill Paxton in a hilarious role: the tired, washed out, former gulf & western musician Coconut Pete. An obvious riff on Jimmy Buffett, Coconut Pete's biggest hit was "Pina Coladaburg" a song he claims to have written 7 years before Buffett release d "Margaritaville". In real life Jimmy Buffett was so amused by the homage he asked permission to perform several Coconut Pete tracks on tour.

4. "I Ejaculate Fire" - Dethklok

Dethklok are the fictional death metal group from the Adult Swim cartoon Metalocaplypse. Their style, background and even names are all plays on cliches from the metal world and obvious homages to such groups as Megadeth, Mayhem, and Mastodon. This track "I Ejaculate Fire" is an obvious nod to the Cannibal Corpse song "I Cum Blood". Dethklok have also come to life and have toured songs from the show with various players from the genre's history taking on performing duties.

5. "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight" - Spinal Tap

Perhaps the biggest fictional band of all time. This Is Spinal Tap was a 1984 mockumentary that was revolutionary in being one of the first of it's kind, and one of the first major tongue-in-cheek jabs at the rock scene. Spinal Tap was the made up aging, hard rock group looking back on their times as a band and taking a hard look at their current place in rock revelance.  If you've not seen it and consider yourself a fan of music, film and comedy or all three, make this one a priority. The songs aren't bad either.

6. "Soul Man" - The Blues Brothers

Though this song is not an original recording, Jake and Elwood Blues' version of  "Soul Man" peaked in the US at #14. The Blues Brothers first saw the light of the day on Saturday Night Live. Cast members John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd bonded over their shared love of the blues and would spend nights at a rented hall jamming on old blues tunes with the many musicians who would come and go in the SNL family. A few sketches on SNL and it became clear that the Blues Brothers were a hit. A movie was made in 1980 directed by John Landis as well as several albums. Belushi's death in 1982 put a damper on the Blues Brother's legacy, though Aykroyd continues to make appearances as Elwood Blues to this day.

7. "Mad About Me" - Figrin D'an & The Modal Nodes

George Lucas' classic 1977 film Star Wars was known for it's impressive effects, captivating story and universal appeal. The music in the film was also a notable point of interest. John Williams composed the score of the film though within the confines of the Star Wars universe one of the most memorable songs from one of the movies best scenes is the Catina Band's little ditty "Mad About Me". The song wasn't named until years later, but the alien band in the strange spaceport juke joint was known as Figrin D'an & The Modal Nodes. Next to the Darth Vader's "Imperial March", the Cantina Band's catchy little song, might be the best known song from the Star Wars galaxy.

8. "That Thing You Do" - The Oneders

The Wonders (who were sick of their name being pronounced "Oh-nee-ders", hence the change) were the subject of the 1996 film That Thing You Do! Written, directed and starring Tom Hanks it told the story of many young musical acts of the 50's, 60's and 70's through the fictional 4 piece pop act The Wonders. It dealt with the excitement of having a meteoric rise in the music industry and then the realization that you're only ever known for one song. In this case this film's title song "That Thing You Do" was written by Fountains Of Wayne frontman Adam Schlesinger and the single itself was only released on cassette tape and vinyl.

9. "U + Me = Us (Calculus)" - 2Gether

2Gether were a stab at the resurgence of Boy Bands such as N'Sync, BackStreet Boys and 98 Degrees of the late 90's early 00's. They had the all the archetypal members that every boy band needs to succeed from the "Bad Boy" to the "Cute One" to the "Older Brother Figure". Their television series 2Gether lasted 2 seasons, when Michael Cuccione (the Cute One) succumbed to cancer, the band and show disbanded.

10. "Who The Hell Do You Think You Are?" - Hard Core Logo

Canadians love their Mockumentaries. Fubar, Fubar II and Trailer Park Boys all come to mind as successful Canadian contributions to the genre. In 1996, though, before all those there was Hard Core Logo a fake documentary taking a look at the lives of those within the punk industry. It tells the story of Hard Core Logo a tempermental Canadian punk band's reunion and deconstruction and is actually the film were Toronto band Billy Talent took their name. Though a proper soundtrack was never released, in 1998 a tribute to the songs of Hard Core Logo came out featuring other acts performing the film's famous songs. Hard Core Logo is often viewed as one of the best films to come out of Canada and is highly recommended.

Thanks again for reading!!!

Remember life is a bed of roses...watch out for the pricks!

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