Today marks 45 years since the Monkees made their television debut, where they were tasked with foiling an evil plot that threatened the life of a princess. Davy Jones and company were merely among the first of the semi-fictional bands to grace the small screen, but nevertheless, served to inspire a host of semi-fictional television bands that have had real world success. Here are five other TV bands that we remember fondly and are forever indebted to a little ‘daydream believin’.
1. Jem And The Holograms
There’s at least a 50/50 chance that any given lady rocker born around 1980 would cite Jem as an inspiration, a cartoon that ran from 1985 – 1988. Jem is the alter-ego of mild-mannered label boss Jerrica Benton, who transformed into the pink-haired new-waver with the help of a hologram, and feuded with evil rival bands like the Stingers and the Misfits (which consisted of cartoon ladies, not Glenn Danzig and boys). Earlier this year, retro station The Hub resurrected Jem for today’s rock-curious youth.
2. Hot Sundae
While Saved By The Bell’s recurring band, the Zack Attack, might have seen more screen time, the most fondly remembered episode of the series featured the girl-group Hot Sundae, who planned to make a big splash at Bayside High by covering “I’m So Excited.” This led to a nasty caffeine pill addiction for the Sundae’s Jessie Spano, who probably would have turned to heroin if she’d had to face the pressure of being in California Dreams.
3. Geronimo Jackson
Drive Shaft, with the irrepressible “You All Everybody,” might have been the marquee Lost band, but the show’s obsessive fans – and did it really have any other kind? – know that the real action was with these fictional ’70s rockers. Geronimo Jackson popped up throughout the show’s run, appearing on posters, t-shirts, in passing mentions, and even on record (with the song “Dharma Lady” actually performed by the real San Diego-based garage rockers and Dead Oceans recording artist, the Donkeys).
4. The Heights
Looking to capitalize on Seattle, in Fall 1992, Fox rushed out a failed grunge-sploitation Aaron Spelling series no one will ever remember called The Heights. It focused on a gang of middle-class white kids determined to make their way in the world by singing crappy songs — but even though the show was canceled after 12 episodes, the theme song “How Do You Talk To An Angel” reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, the first to do so since 1985’s chart topping theme to Miami Vice.
5. Mouse Rat
Critically beloved cult shows have produced more than a few equally well-loved fictional bands – from Friday Night Lights’ Crucifictorious to Buffy’s Dingoes Ate My Baby – but Parks and Recreation’s Mouse Rat (formerly Scarecrow Boat) is the most lovable of all. The band’s spent plenty of time on screen, belting out songs like “Sex Hair,” a garage-y cover of “The Way You Look Tonight,” and, of course, the song five thousand times better than “Candle In The Wind,” “5,000 Candles In The Wind.” Mouse Rat forever!