The Best Fake Bands From ‘80s Movies
BY MICAELA PÉREZ VITALE
Many ’80s movies gave us some of the best musical moments in the film industry. There were songs we sang along to non-stop, and the coolest soundtracks. The greatest thing they left us, however, were fake bands, groups with charismatic members and aesthetics, that made us go crazy. That treated us to the best concerts and costumes and songs that we performed over and over again in front of the TV. That we all wished had existed so that we could have gone to their concerts. That inspired generations.
From The Spinal Tap to The Barbusters, via The Blues Brothers and Magic, the 80s gave us totally different fake bands that had one thing in common: they never existed off-screen. Even still, they were no less alive in the hearts of all viewers. Here’s a ranking of the best fake bands that movies from the ’80s had to offer.
Magic – Thunder Alley (1985)
In 1985, Thunder Alley, a drama directed by Joseph S. Cardone and starring Roger Wilson, Jill Schoelen and Scott McGinnis, was released. The film followed Richie, a young farmer from Tucson, Arizona whose biggest dream was to be part of a rock band in order to showcase his talent with the guitar. We saw Richie’s beginnings in the fascinating music world accompanied by his faithful friend Donnie. The two friends managed to join a group called Magic, composed of young people passionate about music, which gradually and thanks to the support of their manager, went from playing in dive bars to prestigious concert venues. However, as success began to grow, the band members had to go through different situations that tested Magic’s survival.
The Mystery – Satisfaction (1988)
Satisfaction starred Justine Bateman, Trini Alvarado, Britta Phillips, Liam Neeson and Julia Roberts. It told the story of The Mystery, a band of teenage girls whose goal was to go to Florida and audition to play in a nightclub all summer. However, their dreams were crushed when drummer Mooch insulted members of a local gang, who in revenge completely destroyed their van. With Billy’s help, Mooch stole the gang members’ van, and with it they began their journey. The public loved the band so much that the owner of the club offered them a job as well as accommodation. However, they soon discovered that life in Florida was not what they thought it would be, especially when Daryle, the band’s bassist, started dating a rich local teenager. In addition, the relationship between the band members was compromised when one of them was offered a music contract.
The Barbusters – Light of Day (1987)
Light of Day is a 1987 musical film directed by Paul Schrader and starring Michael Fox, Joan Jett and Gena Rowlands. In it we closely followed the story of Patti and Joe, two siblings from Cleveland, Ohio who had a rock band called The Barbusters. The sister, Patti Rasnick, was a single mother and had a very troubled relationship with her own deeply religious mother. Away from her parents and struggling every day to make ends meet, the young woman decided to adopt the carefree lifestyle she believed rock music brought with it. On the other hand, her brother Joe stepped away from music to provide some stability for his nephew. It took a family crisis for Patti to return home and be forced to confront her family conflicts with her mother.
Marvin Berry and the Starlighters – Back to the future (1985)
In 1985, the mythical movie Back to the Future was released, directed by Robert Zemeckis, produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover and Thomas F. Wilson. It followed the adventures of Marty McFly, a rebellious and impulsive teenager who lived with his parents and accidentally traveled back in time, more precisely to the time when his parents met. Eventually, he changed the facts of the original timeline, and because of this, Marty had to seek the help of Dr. Emmett Brown to reunite his parents and to ensure his own existence and his siblings’ existence. Back to the Future is still loved today.
During the film we got to see Marvin Berry and the Starlighters, a band that consisted of Marvin Berry on lead vocals and guitar, and the Starlighters on bass, drums and piano. This band played a pivotal role in bringing Marty’s parents together, and they appeared at the high school dance discovering a new sound that, years later, would revolutionize the music industry.
Spinal Tap – This is Spinal Tap (1984)
This is Spinal Tap is a 1984 American film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Christopher Guest (Nigel Tufnel, lead guitarist), Michael McKean (David St. Hubbins, vocalist and guitarist), Harry Shearer (Derek Smalls, bassist) and the director himself, Rob Reiner (Marty DiBergi, director of the documentary). It was recorded as a mockumentary about Spinal Tap, a heavy metal band that, up to that point, did not exist. During the film we followed the story of this musical group that was all over the place. The three young and fiery musicians of this noisy formation drove the audience crazy and filled the halls at every concert. Reporter Marty DiBergi, who discovered them and launched them to fame, took his camera to film their tour: one that would not be like the others…
The film was ranked 48th of the 500 best films of all time according to Empire Magazine. As a result of the resounding success achieved by the film, the group went on to release albums later, even touring to present them. What’s more, the band recently reunited for charity.
The Blues Brothers (1980)
The Blues Brothers is a 1980 comedy-musical film directed by John Landis, starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as Jake and Elwood Blues. These characters were developed from a musical sketch from the television show Saturday Night Live. The film was set in Chicago and featured the story of brothers Jake and Elwood Blues, who, upon their release from prison, decided to reassemble their old band to perform a benefit concert for the orphanage where they were raised. Thus began an adventure in which they recruited the original members of the group, an eventful return to the stage and the organization of that long-awaited concert, while a series of events complicated their path. The film also created the band The Blues Brothers, formed by prestigious musicians who were hired to accompany the protagonists and, after the film was released, continued to give concerts and record albums under that name. In fact, it was recently announced that a docuseries is in the works about The Blues Brothers.