10. The Barbusters
Movie: Light of Day (1987)
Song: “Light of Day”
Synopsis: Michael J Fox tried to separate himself from his BTTF franchise playing Joe Rasnick, a man with a band that includes his wild, irresponsible, unwed mother of a sister, played by Joan Jett. Their religious mother and she clash like….well….. Joan Jett and someone who is very religious. He tries take care of his nephew, while she runs around. Eventually, she sees the “light of day” and the family is put back together through song (aren’t they always?).
Wanna Join the Band? If you’ve ever dreamed of being a badass rocker chick (or dude) with a heart of gold in a band with Joan Jett, then you want to be in this band. The Barbusters, including Fox and Jett (duh!) play the songs. They even practiced in a bar a few times to get the song down-the song-written by Bruce Springsteen. Fox has a poofy mullet and an earring. Nuff said.
9. Marvin Berry & the Starlighters
Movie: Back to the Future (1985)
Song: “Johnny B. Goode”
Synopsis: Does anyone REALLY need a synopsis here? Ok, fine……..Marty McFly, a teen with a loser family and a pretty girlfriend agrees to videotape his kooky friend Doc’s invention-a time machine in the shape of a DeLorean. Attacked by Libyans because he stole their plutonium, Doc gets shot and Marty dives into the time machine sending him to 1955.
Once there, he accidentally interferes with his mother and father’s romance and must rectify it or he and his siblings will cease to exist. With the help of 1955 Doc, he eludes the bully Biff Tannen and helps his mom and dad get back together in a way that alters his family’s future for the better.
Wanna Join the Band? Michael J Fox again! At The Enchantment Under the Sea dance, Lorraine and George are supposed to have their first kiss, but one of the musicians is injured rescuing Marty from the trunk of his car. Marty steps in with Marvin Berry & the Starlighters and performs “Johnny B. Goode”, an “oldie where I come from”.
Marty ends with a thrashing guitar solo complete with amp-kicking, but not before we see the fictional beginning of Chuck Berry’s career when he gets a call from his cousin Marvin to “listen to this!”. Michael J. Fox did not do the real singing or guitar playing for this song (though we know he could have-LOD), but learned how to guitar sync the exact chords to make it look more realistic.
8. The Wonders (Oneders)
Movie: That Thing You Do (1996)
Song: ”That Thing You Do”
Synopsis: Drummer Guy Patterson is asked to fill in for a local talent show when Jimmy and Lenny’s regular guy breaks his arm. They win the talent show due to Guy changing the tempo of “That Thing You Do”. Jimmy’s girl Faye suggest the Oneders as a name, they start selling the single. They garner interest from a local record company and are offered a contract by Mr. White (Tom Hanks) for Playtone records. They take off!
Screaming girls, tv appearances, hordes of money, and a song played so many times, Liv Tyler’s pout can’t assuage the annoyance. As with many one-hit “Wonders” and even others of 2 or more, the band cannot meet the demands of the record label without sacrificing their musical ideals, so they split.
Wanna Join the Band? So most likely no one wants to join a band who is a one hit wonder. But with the exception of Jimmy the jerk, Steve Zahn and Ethan Embry are funny and fun, and Tom Everett Scott is just cool. No wonder Liv Tyler fell for him! “That Thing You Do” was a cutesy little song, slightly reminiscent of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”.
Tom Hanks manages to show kindness and caring towards the band and Faye, while dishing the harsh realities of working for or rather being owned by a record label.
7. Citizen Dick
Movie: Singles (1992)
Song: “Touch Me, I’m Dick”
Synopsis: Singles is a movie about singles (really?). It is one of those group ensemble movies where navigating the dating and relationship world are the driving force in front of a Seattle-based music themed backdrop.
Centered around a coffeehouse (a coffeehouse in Seattle?) and an apartment building, Matt Dillon plays the frontman for Citizen Dick, Bridget Fonda is his ignored girlfriend, Campbell Scott’s Steve and Kyra Sedgwick’s Linda waver in and out of commitment, and Debbie resorts to video dating. Everyone lives happily ever after.
Wanna Join the Band? I want to join ALL the bands. This movie and soundtrack came out on the heels of the Seattle grunge scene explosion, although had been made before it did. Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins, and Mother Love Bone all contribute. Alice in Chains and Chris Cornell have cameos, and members of Pearl Jam (including Eddie Vedder) make brief appearances as the other members of Citizen Dick. Chris Cornell wrote a version of “Spoonman” for the fictitious band.
As for the signature song, he great Cliff Poncier once said, “Well, I think “Touch Me, I’m Dick,” in essence, speaks for itself, you know. I think that, you know, that’s basically what the song is, um… about… is about, you know… I think a lot of people might think it’s actually about, you know, ‘My name is Dick, and, you know, you can touch me,’ but, I think, you know, it can be seen either way.”
6. Wyld Stallyns
Movie: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Synopsis: If you were told the future rested in the hands of Bill S. Preston Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan, you would assume we’re screwed! Ted’s one failure away from military school and Bill is a loser with a (“step”) Oedipus Complex. They are alerted by Rufus, the time traveler (a sarcastic but PG George Carlin) that they MUST pass history class and graduate so their band Wyld Stallyns can save the future.
Using the phone booth time machine to “borrow” historical figures for their project, they return to San Dimas California ready to rock their final project. As Abraham Lincoln said, “PARTY ON DUDES!”
Wanna Join the Band? Look, they’re terrible. They needed babes from Medieval Times to help play their instruments. But let’s face it, only one of these bands is called upon by the future to SAVE MANKIND!!! And in the sequel they don ZZ Top beards and rock out to Kiss’s “God Gave Rock-n-Roll To You” with the Grim Reaper on bass. You want all of this.