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“The Playlist” Asks Whether or Not These Artists Are Real

gorillaz
rsilverman13 / flickr

The passing within the last week of Davy Jones has brought a reminder of the influence that The Monkees did have on Pop music.  Their legacy will be firmly intrenched in Pop culture forever!  This edition of “The Playlist” will hopefully further expend upon this as we look at successful songs that came from artists that were real?

The 1966 classic comedy that featured Jones, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Mike Nesmith (thanks to ANTTV for running a marathon of their shows this past weekend) created a band out of 4 actors who had some musical chops.  Their imprint on Pop music was humongous over a 2-year period (4 #1 selling albums with a 5th that reached #3, over 17 Million albums sold, 5 #1 singles that include “I’m A Believer” and “Daydream Believer”), but when the show was gone so too was the success.  This pattern holds true years later with many other artist that were concocted by the world of television.

The movies have also had its moments since The Monkees departure.  Look at classic creations like Spinal Tap, Steel Dragon (featuring Mark Wahlberg), Robbie Hart (“The Wedding Singer”), The Cheetah Girls (soundtrack in 2003 sells over 3 Million), Stillwater (from the Oscar winning film “Almost Famous”), and my favorite name — Katherine Turner Overdrive (Jack Black’s group in “High Fidelity”).

This special edition of The Playlist brings to light the influence that the “Pre-Fab 4″ had over the last 40+ years – without The Monkees, would these songs or “artists” ever exited?  Decide for yourself and enjoy:

Gorillaz Feel Good Inc. (The cartoon imaged group from the UK that is pictured have sold over 10 million copies of their 3 releases in the last decade, with this song going Top-10 in 8 countries.  Their live shows have featured the images of the group on screen, while the musicians do their magic)

The BarbustersLight Of Day (The band featured Michael J. Fox, Michael McKeon (of Spinal Tap fame), and Joan Jett from the 1987 film.  The title song, written by Bruce Springsteen, peaked at #33 on the Billboard chart)

Big Time Rush Boyfriend (The modern day Monkees spun into a boy-pop fashion.  Kendall, James, Carlos and Logan are embarking on Season 3 for Nickelodeon, and this song was a Top-30 radio hit last year – proving being on TV every week works!)

The HeightsHow Do You Talk To An Angel (The 1992 FOX series produced only 13 episodes, but the fictional band went to #1 with this song which was sung by Jamie Walters – he went on to 90210, and is now a L.A. firefighter/paramedic)

The WondersThat Thing You Do (The Tom Hanks creation of 1996 saw this fictional band of the 60s become a “One-Hit Wonder”, but in reality Jersey guy Adam Schlessinger of Fountains Of Wayne and Mike Viola of The Candy Butchers were the voices and musicians to create this Top-40 hit)

Eddie and The CruisersOn The Dark Side (The Cult Classic flick from 1983 featuring this fictional band from the Jersey Shore became a phenomenon with constant play on cable TV, helping establish John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band as a great out-of-nowhere success in 1984 with this #1 Rock and Pop hit)

S Club 7 Never Had A Dream Come True (A group created for TV in 1998 by the guy who created The Spice Girls.  The show was huge in Europe, and eventually found an audience here in America.  After 5 Top-10 hits though Europe, the UK creation finally broke into the Top-10 here with this hit in 2000)

The Sorels I Can Dream About You (The on-screen band in Streets Of Fire featured future Oscar nominee Mykelti Williamson and comedian Robert Townsend, but the voice in reality was Dan Hartman.  His career seemingly nowhere in 1984 became resurrected by this Top-10 hit)

The CommitmentsTry A Little Tenderness (The 1991 flick about a Dublin soul band featured a relatively unknown cast, and this Cult Classic film scored at Top-25 hit with this classic cover.  The band’s singer was actor Andrew Strong who was 16 at the time of filming, went on to be nominated for a Grammy for his work, released 3 CDs in the UK that sold well, and is now in the states attempting a comeback at 38)

O-Town All Or Nothing (The reality show creation from MTV called Making The Band actually did well with ratings in 2000, then this Top-5 single here and 5 other countries.  Their show ended and so did the band – see a Monkees pattern here?)

The Blues BrothersSoul Man (The creation of Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi went from a Saturday Night Live skit, to a Top-20 Pop and Rock hit in 1979, then a movie 1980 that made over $115 Million, and to date one of the most memorable characters to come from SNL in its history)

Eden’s CrushGet Over Yourself (Another reality TV creation.  The WB created Popstars, which became the female counter to MTV’s O-Town.  The show found Nicole Scherzinger in this mulit-cultural creation of good looking, good sounding ladies who went to #8 on the Billboard chart in 2001 and was a #1 hit in Canada.  The show was gone by 2002, and so was the group)

Danity Kane Damaged (One more reality show creation, this time with help of Sean “Puffy” Combs who brought back Making The Band in 2005.  They peaked in 2008 with this hit, outlasting the series, but alas like the others eventually ran out of steam.  Aubrey O’Day from this creation has gone on to pose for Playboy and is currently on The Celebrity Apprentice)

The Partridge Family I Think I Love You (David Cassidy’s fictional family soared to the top in 1970 on TV, and in music as this signature song went to #1 in 5 countries.  Cassidy and Shirley Jones were the only voices from the show that made it on to their music)

Hannah MontanaHe Could Be The One (The alter-ego of Miley Cyrus has been a monster for Disney.  With over 22 Million copies sold of her 5 Montana projects, this single became Hanna’s 1st Top-10 hit in 2009.  Cyrus as herself has had 5 Top- hits)

Otis Day and The Knights Shout (Many sporting events seem to fire this 1978 song from Animal House up to get the crowd going.  The party anthem never got higher than #47 on the Billboard chart, but the song has been covered multiple times.  Otis Day was played by Dewayne Jessie, who was also in Car Wash, TGIF, and D.C. Cab.  One of his bandmates in the flick was blues legend Robert Cray)

Toad The Wet Sprocket All I Want (A fake band from the world of Monty Python, but a real band from Cali who took this name and scored a Top-15 hit in 1992)

Milli Vanilli Blame It On The Rain (Rob and Fab turned out to be the frauds fronting the tracks that were sung by a group of studio talent around 1988.  Five Top-5 singles with 3 #1′s should have made this duo huge, but their story became that of Pop Music tragedy.  A movie based on this story is due out in 2013)

2getherCalculus [U+Me=Us] (The 1st MTV feature film in 2000 was a spoof about the Boy-Band genre with this group that featured Chris Farley’s brother Kevin.  The movie produced a series, a CD release, and this video hit led to touring with Britney Spears, a Top-40 hit, and now a reunion movie done in doccumentary style for later this year for MTV)

Michael Damian Rock On (He was Danny Romalotti on The Young And The Restless in the 80s and 90s, and that helped his cover version of this song go to #1 in 1989)

 

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