Faux Fighters

The world’s hipsters and rock writers will endlessly debate who the greatest rock bands of all time are. Some bands like The Beatles or Led Zeppelin will always be included in the discussion but others are sadly ignored. Some are overlooked for the simple reason that they do not actually exist. So, to give these sorely under-appreciated bands some recognition, here are some of the Top Fictional Bands of all time.


-The Archies

The fictional cartoon band that started it all.  They had the BIGGEST SELLING SINGLE OF 1969 with ‘Sugar Sugar’  (This is the same year as “Get Back”, “Come together”, “Honky Tonk Women” and MANY others.  Not a bad year).  Jughead’s addiction problems finally broke them up, as did the fact no one could ever tell if Reggie was playing guitar or bass…


-Stillwater

Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous tracks a teen-aged reporter as he follows Stillwater, a pitch-perfect composite of ’70s rock bands from The Eagles to the Allman Brothers to Led Zeppelin as they embark on an ill-starred nationwide tour. Crowe based the screenplay on his experiences as a young music writer for Rolling Stone. Stillwater’s saga comes complete with groupies, drug binges and a rickety tour bus to ferry them around the country. And by the way,  their tunes weren’t bad, either.


Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem

Come on!  How can you not love a Muppet rock band? Although Animal was the only member to reach success as a solo artist, I feel that each musician stands on their own merit.


– The Monkees

Now they are about as real as a fake band can get. After the success of the Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night, Hollywood decided to create a television series about a fictional mop-topped foursome whose similarities would have given a later generation of lawyers night sweats. They hired four actors/musicians — Davy Jones, Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork — with varying degrees of musical skill and experience. Instruments on the television set were unplugged and the songs re-recorded later in a music studio. But by the band’s third album the musicians were actually playing and singing much of their own music (with the frequent aid of session musicians).


-The Partridge Family

They were Screen Gems’ answer to the Monkees: all five Partridge kids and their supermom Shirley set out in 1970, completing four seasons of musical touring and family hijinks spawning songs like “I Woke Up in Love This Morning” and “I Think I Love You.” The problem was, the show itself didn’t attract huge audiences, even though younger viewers ate it up. What really kept the kids going (aside from tween crushes on David Cassidy) was a massive marketing campaign that made Partridge Family lunch boxes, pencil cases and even comic books into cash machines.


-The Rutles

They’re not the Beatles, but they’re also not not the Beatles. The 1978 Monty Python side-project All You Need is Cash was a mockumentary film (predating This Is Spinal Tap by six years) about a mop-topped band from Liverpool as it skyrocketed to stardom and then broke apart. Produced by Eric Idle and Saturday Night Live impresario Lorne Michaels, the made-for-TV movie brought together the best comedians Britain and America had to offer — Michael Palin, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Neil Innes — and even featured a cameo by an actual Beatle, George Harrison. Although the film was a ratings flop, it has since become a cult classic and the subsequent album release sold very well and even won a Grammy. It should have.  The songs are like Beatles outtakes.  Some have even ended up on Beatle bootlegs because somebody thought they actually were!


THE BANANA SPLITS

Sid and Marty Krofft gave us some of the trippiest shows of the late ’60s and ’70s, including “Land of the Lost,” “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters” and “H.R. Pufnstuf.” Their greatest fake musical contribution, however, is the Banana Splits. The “musicians” were a beagle, a gorilla, a lion, and an elephant, and never have a group of talking animals played such perfect bubblegum rock. To their credit, they had a killer songwriting team: legends Al Kooper, Barry White (yes, “Can’t Get Enough of You, Babe” Barry White), and Gene Pitney. There aren’t a lot of real bands with have that kind of songwriting power.


-The Evolution Revolution

From ‘Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp’.  This all-chimp band, dressed in colorful hippie-style wigs and wardrobe, featured Lancelot Link on guitar and Mata Hairi on tambourine (I think she was even better than Veronica of ‘The Archies’), with Bananas Marmoset on the drums. “SweetWater Gibbons” (in fringed vest and granny glasses) was credited for playing Farfisa organ.  Rumor is that it was actually The Grass Roots performing the songs.  Hmmm.


-Spinal Tap

The greatest.

“Well, this piece is called “Lick My Love Pump”.

“It’s such a fine line between stupid, and clever.”

“Dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It’s just not really widely reported.”

“It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black”.

“These go to eleven.”

No real reason to say anything else…


Have a fake band you remember?



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5 responses

  1. The Wonders, from the movie “That Thing You Do”. Written and produced by Tom Hanks, the Wonders were made up of James Sacchi, Thomas Everett Scott, Steve Zahn (at his best) and Ethan Embry (the kid from “Dutch”). They perform a handful of tunes in the movie, (including “That Thing You Do” over and over and over again) and the songs recorded for the film are surprisingly good! “Little Wild One” “All My Lonely Dreams” “There’s A Party Goin’ On”, plus stuff by other fictional bands like “Mr. Downtown” and “Your Life Goes On” and “When You Hold My Hand, You Hold My Heart” (a pitch-perfect Supremes knock-off) could have all been hits in the 1960’s!
    Next time you watch it, note that they didn’t even give Ethan Embry’s character a name. All through the film he’s referred to as “The bass player”, and at the end of the film when they flash the cards about “where are they now”, his moniker is T.B. Player. WTF?

    April 9, 2011 at 3:38 pm

  2. Shawn Ryan

    As I’m sure you know, Stillwater was a real band, just not the one in the movie. They were a band out of Macon on Capricorn Records and had a minor hit with “Mindbender.” That name won’t ring any bells, so just say, “the one about the talking guitar,” “My mama was a Gibson, my daddy was a Fender,” all played through a talk box.

    Steam — Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye, was also a complete studio creation. They had to throw a real band together to tour when the single hit.

    Tony Burrows was a British singer who sang on a ton of one-hit wonder, fake bands. He sang lead on Edison Lighthouse’s “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)”; White Plains’ “My Baby Loves Lovin'”; The Pipkins’ “Gimme Dat Ding” (April 1970); The First Class’ “Beach Baby” and The Brotherhood of Man’s “United We Stand”

    April 9, 2011 at 3:45 pm

  3. Shawn Ryan

    Oh, and don’t forget Lancelot Link and the Evolution Revolution.

    April 9, 2011 at 3:47 pm

  4. JOHN MANN

    Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem: “each musician stands on their own merit.” even if they don’t stand on their own feet, er, hands, um, nevermind….

    April 9, 2011 at 6:48 pm

  5. Tim

    Riverbottom Nightmare Band Had a snake that played drums and beat out Emmet Otter and his jugband at the annual Chistmas talent show.They had heavy influence between Kiss and Jimi Hendrix.

    April 10, 2011 at 12:19 am

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