Top Ten Movie Bands

I’m back again as I said I would. I’m pleased to see the response I received via various messengers on the Atticus Finch post. As I said in my comment, I hope to keep this entertaining and interesting for you all. This is just a hobby of mine, but one I’ve been enjoying a great deal.

Turner Classic Movies has been rocking the past few days. They had a Ginger Rogers marathon on Tuesday. My favorite one that they played that day and night would be Lucky Partners, it had me laughing the entire time. This may be blasphemous to say, but I do think she looked a lot better as a brunette.

Racquel Welch (hubba hubba) hosted a block of four movies last night. I finally got to see Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and it was a blast seeing Jimmy Stewart during his filibuster. But the main event was Breakfast at Tiffany’s. What a great movie that is. As I told my friend Michelle (@brutalcupcake on twitter), I always knew Audrey Hepburn was beautiful, but seeing her in this movie is just awe inspiring. Her version of “Moon River” is really good, also.

Now to the business at hand. One of my other loves is music. If you see me around, I usually have my iTunes up and playing or if I’m out and about, I’ll have my iPod in hand. So, why not combined my love for movies and music for a top ten list. These are the bands that sprang immediately to mind.

I know there are two glaring omissions: The Blues Brothers and Spinal Tap. I think we all can agree that they would be be the top two on any list. I decided to let some other bands shine. Also, these are fictional bands. So, Aerosmith (just for example) showing up in Wayne’s World 2 wouldn’t count. Lastly, there are link to videos of the bands mentioned at the end of each part. Click the white link and it’ll open a new tab/window to it, depending on your browser settings.

10. Crucial Taunt

Wayne’s World (1992)

Wayne’s World is one of those movies that I can quote non-stop. We first see Crucial Taunt at The Gasworks performing Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire.” Wayne see’s Cassandra (the lead singer and bassist) and is immediately in love. It’s hard to blame him. While they perform “Fire” and “Why Do You Wanna Break My Heart,” for my money their best song is their cover of Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz.” It is the song that ultimately gets them a record deal (in the happy ending, that is) and it rocks! And just how hot was Tia Carrere? My goodness.

Official Music Video for Ballroom Blitz

9. The Soggy Bottom Boys

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

To me, the work of the Coen Brothers are grandslams (Fargo) or strikeouts (Burn After Reading), O Brother is one of the grandslams. Loosely based on Homer’s “Odyssey,” it follows three escaped convicts in search of treasure. Along the way, they meet Tommy Johnson (obviously based on the real life Robert Johnson), a young black guitarist who claims he sold his soul to the Devil. They record “Man of Constant Sorrow,” for some quick money, but it becomes a hit and ultimately serves them well in the end. This is also the best named band on the list.

Official Video for Man of Constant Sorrow

8. Otis Day and The Knights

Animal House (1978)

Animal House is one of the funniest movies of all time. We’re talking top three here. It is the father of all college comedies that have followed. It follows to freshmen looking to pledge for a fraternity and the school president trying to kick the Deltas (the campus party animals) out of the college. Not scared of the president’s threats, they throw the famous toga party (“Toga! Toga!”) where Otis Day and the Knights perform, including the big hit “Shout!” DeWayne Jessie, who played Otis, began to tour as Otis after the movie became a hit.

Otis Day and The Knights performing Shout in Animal House

7. The School of Rock

School of Rock (2003)

Say what you want about Jack Black, but the man does know how to rock as he’s proven with his band Tenacious D (no, seriously). I would consider this movie underrated. Jack Black does well, Joan Cusack is great as always, and the kids are extremely funny. Black’s old band in the movie, No Vacancy, also performs a nice power ballad, but it’s the kids that literally steal the show. While the song “School of Rock” is a pop-rock song, you can’t tell me that you wouldn’t go nuts if a bunch of kids got up there and kicked as much ass as they did.

The School of Rock performing at The Battle of the Bands

6. Stillwater

Almost Famous (2000)

Almost Famous is by far the best movie on the list. It is a semi-autobiographical story about Cameron Crowe (director and writer) as a teenage writer for Rolling Stone Magazine. Stillwater (and the events that take place in the movie) is based on bands like The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and Lynyrd Skynryd. The movie is about so much more than music. It’s really about the relationships between band leader Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup), the rest of the band, with “band-aide” Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), and William (the Crowe character, played by Patrick Fugit). It also has one of my favorite scenes ever (the “Tiny Dancer” scene) and any movie with Zooey Deschanel can’t be bad. It’s like the law or something.

Stillwater’s Feverdog (song only)

5. Wyld Stallyns

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

A list like this would not be complete without the band that would lead the world into a peaceful utopia with their motto: “Be excellent to each other. Party on, dudes!” While we see the beginnings of the band in Excellent Adventure (after two medieval princesses join up with Bill and Ted), it isn’t until 1991’s Bogus Journey that we see not only the band completed (The Grim Reaper on bass, martian(s) on percussion, robot back-up dancers), but them fulfill their destiny at the Battle of the Bands televised to the entire world. Jack Black said in School of Rock, “one great rock show can change the world.” In Bill and Ted’s universe, it actually does.

Wyld Stallyns performing at The Battle of the Bands

4. Steel Dragon

Rock Star (2001)

Now this band rocks. Based slightly on the real life journey of Tim Owens (he was a front man for a Judas Priest tribute band before joining the real band), Chris Cole (Mark Whalberg) idolizes the metal legends Steel Dragon. Like Owens, Chris is in a tribute band. The night he’s kicked out of the band, he’s asked to replace Steel Dragon’s lead singer. The band includes real life rockers: Jason Bonham (son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham), Jeff Pilson (Dokken), and  Zakk Wylde (formerly with Ozzy Osbourne, now with Black Label Society). Eventually Chris finds his own replacement and leaves the band to go in a different direction (a wonderful song called “Colorful” by The Verve Pipe). Of all the bands on this list, this is the one that can actually melt your face off.

Steel Dragon – Blood Pollution (Song Only)

3. The Wonders

That Thing You Do! (1996)

Originally called the Oneders (a play off of The Beatles, naturally), The Wonders were a small band out of Erie, Pennsylvania with a nice ballad called “That Thing You Do.” Unfortunately for them, their original drummer Chad (played by Giovanni Ribisi) breaks his arm right before the big talent show. They get Guy Patterson (Tom Everett Scott) to replace him for the show and he speeds up the tempo, making it the fun pop song it actually is. The movie shows their rise to the top of the charts and the toll it takes on them. Though they have a number of good songs, “That Thing You Do” is destined to be their only hit (as Tom Hanks’ Mr. White simple states, “One hit Wonders”).

The Wonders perform That Thing You Do

2. Eddie and The Cruisers

Eddie and The Cruisers (1983)

This is one of my parents’ favorite movies. The movie is told mostly through flashback stories. Eddie and the Cruisers were a popular band in the ’60s with their hit “On The Darkside” on their ablum The Tender Years. When their follow up, A Season in Hell, doesn’t live up to the record company’s standards, Eddie crashes his car and may or may not have faked his death (here’s a hint: there’s a sequel). While the story focuses on the missing Hell master tapes and the possibility of Eddie still being alive decades later, it is the music that takes center stage. All of the songs are great and have very old school garage rock type sound. “Darkside” is one of the better songs to be featured in a movie and has an awesome opening piano riff.

Official video for On the Darkside

1. The Commitments

The Commitments (1991)

What do you do when you tire of the music around you? You create your own band. This is what Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins) does. Jimmy wants to manage the greatest band in the world, but is tired of every band in Ireland wanting to sound like U2. He has a different style in mind: soul. He assembles a band and teaches them the mantra “I’m black and I’m proud (being that “the Irish are the blacks of Europe, Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland,” etc). Of course, they naturally fall apart right when they’re on the verge of a record deal. However, that cannot diminish the greatness of The Commitments: the best band to never make it. I’m including their high water point in the movie (“Try a Little Tenderness”) as well as what I believe is their best song (“The Dark End of the Street”).

The Commitments perform The Dark End of the Street

The Commitments perform Try a Little Tenderness

Well, those are my top ten. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Anyone I missed out on? Leaves comments and we can discuss it.

I will be in Oregon next week, so this blog will have a small hiatus. I’ll be back on here the following Monday with something new.

Until then…


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