Rock & Roll will never die! That is unless it's trapped in a room by some homicidal Neo-Nazis. It's a shame that energetic indie-punks the Ain't Rights are unlikely to make it out of their latest gig alive. The fun, fictional band at the centre of the excellent thriller Green Room – out this week on Virgin Movies – are just the latest name to be added to moviedom’s alternative pop charts: here's the top 20 acts in front of them. So are you ready to rock? 1, 2, 3, 4…
Spinal Tap (This Is Spinal Tap, 1984)
Top tune: Stonehenge
Still going all the way to 11, Spinal Tap are the armadillo-packing, none-more-black, dwarf-bestriding movie-rock messiahs. The faded cock-rockers are actually more popular in real life - easily filling Wembley Arena on their last get together - than they are in the classic, ultra-quotable rockumentary (if you will) that made their name.
Stillwater (Almost Famous, 2000)
Top tune: Fever Dog
Led by frontman Jeff Bebe and guitarist-with-mystique Russell Hammond, the early-70s rawkers find themselves ‘struggling with their own limitations in the harsh face of stardom’. An amalgam of Led Zep, The Eagles, The Who and all the other beardy legends that teenage rock-hack Cameron Crowe embedded with, Stillwater are backed up by authentically hairy-chested tunes from Heart’s Nancy Wilson and Peter Frampton’s Peter Frampton.
The Wonders (That Thing You Do!, 1996)
Not every 60s pop act could be the Beatles. Most couldn’t even be Herman’s Hermits. The ‘Oneders’ - later changed the more radio play friendly Wonders - is Tom Hanks’ ode to those gawky garage bands who only had one cracking nugget in them and were briefly thrust into the spotlight. And what an absolute scorcher That Thing You Do is, written by the Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger and a bonafide hit.
That Thing You Do! is available to watch now on Netflix
The Blues Brothers (The Blues Brothers, 1980)
Top Tune: Everybody Needs Somebody To Love
From a small musical interlude on skit-show Saturday Night Live to the mega-flop cult movie and best-selling albums, the all-star Rhythm & Blues revue may be increasingly shorn of original members but is still on the road, having helped revived the careers of a number of R&B legends - Aretha, James, Ray, Cab - along the way. Maybe they were on a mission from god after all.
The Blues Brothers is available now on Virgin Movies
The Soronprfbs (Frank, 2014)
Top Tune: Secure the Galactic Perimeter
No, we can’t pronounce that band name either, but then neither can the band. As led by the papier-mâché headed Frank, these shambolic droning purists are brutally resistant - occasionally very brutally (“Chinchilla! Chinchilla!”) - to such crassly populist things as names or indeed catchy pop songs.
The Mos Eisley Band (Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, 1977)
Top Tune: The Cantina Jazz
How badass do you have to be to parp your jazzy stuff at Mos Eisley’s most wretched hive of scum and villainy? The unflappable Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes - to give them their proper name - may only have one tune, but its a legend.
Wyld Stallyns (Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, 1989)
Top tune: God gave Rock & Roll To You
Music will change the world. And that music will be by academically remiss San Dimas residents Ted “Theodore” Logan and Bill S Preston Esq, with the aid of having all of time and space at their disposal. Excellent! (Attempts air guitar solo twiddle. Embarrasses self.)
The Weird Sisters (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2005)
Top tune: Do The Hippogriff
Some bands seem like they're magic. The band who give Harry Potter and the Hormonal Hordes of Hogwarts something to shake their awkward things at are the real deal. Any similarities between the Sisters and Jarvis Cocker being backed up by half of Radiohead is purely a coincidence.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is available now on Virgin Movies
Sex Bob-Omb (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, 2010)
Top Tune: We Are Sex Bob-Omb
They are Sex Bob-Omb and, despite being hamstrung by their romance-ruined bass guitarist Scott Pilgrim and the seven-evil-exes that he must dual for the heart of Ramona Flowers, they will shambling indie-rock your socks off. With tunes by Beck and visuals by Edgar Wright, how could they fail?
The School of Rock (School of Rock, 2003)
Top tune: The School of Rock
If we had homework like this, we might have finished hihg skule. Led by teacher Mr Ned Schneebly - that may not be his real name - the class earn their grades with the ultimate (and not entirely official) extra-curricular project: entering the local battle of the bands. And judging by the recent reunion gigs, they can still stick it to the man too.
The John Glenn Singers (Inside Llewyn Davis, 2013)
Top Tune: Please, Mr Kennedy
You know what’s going to stop the President from launching the space program in the early 1960s? Three grifting Greenwich Village folk singers and their dollar-chasing novelty record, though it’s difficult to ignore the unconvinced guitarist watching his potential slip through his fingers like an inquisitive cat.
Wylde Ratttz (Velvet Goldmine, 1998)
Top Tune: TV Eye
Frontman Curt Wild more than lives up to his name as he releases his long-player on stage. David Bowie might not have approved of Todd Haynes’ kaleidoscopic biopic of Bowie’s colourful impact on the grey 1970s, but Iggy Pop must have gotten a giggle out of watching Ewan McGregor recreate the Iggster’s most-notorious bit of stagecraft. Obviously we're not showing you that video.
Steel Dragon (Rock Star, 2001)
Top Tune: Stand Up & Shout
In a time when men were men, metal was macho and hair was huge, it just wouldn’t do for 80's rockers Steel Dragon to admit that its frontman’s fondness for leather wasn’t just a stage gimmick. Ingloriously shoving him out the exit door, the band simply recruit an uberfan from a tribute band to breath some fresh fire into the beast. This story of course was in no way at all inspired by Judas Priest.
DJay (Hustle & Flow, 2005)
Top Tune: It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp
In hip hop, authenticity is everything, which explains why DJay’s hot new ode to the downside of his day job has loads of potential. One of the joys of the 2006 Oscars was watching the elderly Academy Award voters experience the eventual winning song live.
Drimble Wedge and the Vegetation (Bedazzled, 1967)
They do say the devil has the best tunes... Having become a teen idol as part of a Faustian pact, Stanley Moon's moment of pop-god glory is instantly undercut with a thunder-heisting non-performance from the suspiciously devilish Drimble Wedge & the Vegetations. Delivering the brutal kiss-off in an aloof monotone, the more the icy Wedge scorns his audience - "You fill me with inertia" - the more they clamour for him. Justin Bieber was taking notes.
Dewey Cox (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, 2007)
Top Tune: Walk Hard
This all-out assault on all the cliches of the rise/fall/redemption biopic hits most of its targets – Cash, Dylan, The Beach Boys – and all the right notes too. John C Reilly’s drug-addled, sink smashing legend Dewey stumbling bewildered through classic rock history and some darn’ catchy pastiches.
The Bang Bang (Brothers of the Head, 2005)
Top Tune: Two Way Romeo
The greatest bands rely on a shared-connection between its two creative talents, but The Bang Bang don’t just have a genetic leg-up, they’ve got whole body too. However, the exploited Siamese twins – actually the very much non-conjoined Treadaway Brothers – at the centre of this cult ‘documentary’ find that splitting up the band is hard to do.
Barry Jive and the Uptown Five (High Fidelity, 2000)
Top tune: Let’s Get It On
They were called Sonic Death Monkey, then briefly Kathleen Turner Overdrive but tonight, Barry - the record store snob who makes you grateful for online shopping - stuns his counter colleagues with this R&B crowd-pleaser. Sonic Death Monkey's still a better name.
DuJour (Josie & The Pussycats, 2001)
Top tune: Back Door Lover
The Josie & The Pussycats movie is filled with surprise bangers - written by members of The Fountains of Wayne and - but the powerpop pussycats have the movie stolen from them by DuJour, a note-perfect preening boyband that would waft Westlife right off their stools.
The Commitments (The Commitments, 1991)
Top Tune: Try a Little Tenderness
They're black and they’re proud. The movie Commitments may have spontaneously combusted on the verge of success, but the world took the plucky Dublin soul group to their hearts and hips. The spin-off tribute band The Stars of The Commitments genuinely did become a global success, with the 2011 full-cast reunion selling out Ireland's megabarn venues.
Randy Watson & Sexual Chocolate (Coming To America, 1988)
Top Tune: The Greatest Love Of All
Drop that mic! Looking like a gone-to-seed Prince, the pot-bellied local-zero Randy Watson flounces onto stage to grubbily rummage his way through MOR's most-sentimental dirge, to the enjoyment of (nearly) no one. Eddie Murphy played a lot of roles in Coming To America, but it looks like he's enjoying this one the best.
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