5 Real Bands That Appeared In 1980s Movies - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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5 Real Bands That Appeared In 1980s Movies

We're not gonna take you riding through our music video on your pushbike!

Many bands and pop stars have sampled movie dialogue, including famous snippets from films in their hits, but occasionally the reverse is sort of true - with movies including real life bands as either part of their narrative or performing within a scene. And we're not talking of films that are based around a band (like The Beatles movies, or Prince & the Revolution in Purple Rain, or Ziggy Stardust - although David Bowie does feature below), rather productions that just so happen to include a largely unrelated band's performance within them.

Here are five examples of this from five 1980s movies...

Twisted Sister in Pee-wee's Big Adventure
Pee-wee Herman's (aka Paul Reubens) first foray into film came in 1985 with the Tim Burton directed Pee-wee's Big Adventure. After being reunited with his missing bike, Pee-wee rides through the middle of a Twisted Sister video shoot for their track Burn In Hell.

Twisted Sister were at the height of their commercial success at this time, thanks to hits like We’re Not Gonna Take It and I Wanna Rock. How they came to appear in this oddball movie came from a chance meeting between Paul Reubens and Twisted Sister frontman Dee Snider backstage at MTV';s 1984 New Year’s Eve party. Snider recalled,
“I was a fan because Pee-Wee was not a children’s performer initially, he was playing the college circuit like most comedians.
[Reuben] was filming Pee-wee’s Big Adventure [and] asked me if we would be interested in doing a cameo. We were doing six nights at the Long Beach Arena with Iron Maiden and so we were like, ‘hell yeah, it’d be fun, man.’
It was an incredible experience to see film making at that level.”

Fine Young Cannibals in Tin Men
Appearing as the house band in a nightclub during the very underrated 1987 Richard Dreyfuss & Danny DeVito comedy film Tin Men, Fine Young Cannibals performed a variety of songs in the background of certain scenes; including Social Security, Hard As It Is, Tell Me What and stand-out track Good Thing.

Written and directed by Barry Levinson, Tin Men was set in Baltimore in 1963, and Good Thing's retro soul style was consistent with that setting whilst also feeling very much of the day. Instantly catchy and memorable, surely it was destined for chart success?

Well, yes it was. But bizarrely it would be two years after Tin Men arrived in cinemas that the band finally released Good Thing as a single (with the Social Security as the b-side). A number one on the U.S. Billboard chart, one can't help but think that had Good Thing been released at the same time as Tin Men it could've propelled the film to much more success, perhaps?

Incidentally, that groovy piano featured in Good Thing was the work of Jools Holland, who noted in his autobiography that it was "one of the biggest selling records I've ever played on".

Bauhaus in The Hunger
Although originally released in August 1979, Gothic rock band Bauhaus' first single Bela Lugosi's Dead never charted. However, the track gained notoriety throughout the 1980s, primarily after being featured in the 1983 erotic horror film The Hunger, directed by Tony Scott and starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, and Susan Sarandon.

Bauhaus appear during the film's opening credits as a group performing at the nightclub. The song they play takes its name from the horror film star Bela Lugosi who is famously known for his role as the title character in the 1931 film Dracula.

I don't know if the news was just slow to reach the members of Bauhaus but Lugosi actually died in 1956; 23 years before the song was written and recorded!

Devo in Human Highway
Human Highway is a 1982 comedy film starring and co-directed by Neil Young under his pseudonym Bernard Shakey. Dean Stockwell co-directed the film with Young and acted along with Russ Tamblyn, Dennis Hopper, and the band Devo.

Devo, of course, are well known for their 1980 hit Whip It, and their music and stage shows which mingle kitsch science fiction themes, deadpan surrealist humor and mordantly satirical social commentary. Sort of a perfect fit for a film like Human Highway which is largely set in a gas-station diner during a nuclear holocaust!

At the nearby nuclear power plant, the members of Devo play nuclear garbage men, and sing a rendition of the classic folk song Worried Man Blues while loading waste barrels on to an old truck. The film also included is a collaborative performance of Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black) by Devo with Neil Young.

And is quite a weird affair to be honest.

Siouxsie & The Banshees in Out Of Bounds
A largely forgotten 1986 neo noir thriller starring Anthony Michael Hall who'd just enjoyed back to back successes with The Breakfast Club & Weird Science, Out of Bounds includes a small acting role for Meatloaf alongside a cameo from Siouxsie and the Banshees performing their 1985 single Cities In Dust.

The British rock band formed in London in 1976 enjoyed post-punk success. Lead by vocalist Siouxsie Sioux and bass guitarist Steven Severin, they have been widely influential, both over their contemporaries and later acts. How Siouxsie & The Banshees came to appear in the lackluster Out Of Bounds, after turning down other offers to feature in film, Siouxsie explained prior to the film's release,
"We all appear in this club scene they're busy shooting at the moment, but they flew us over especially to do it, which is nice...

We read the script and really liked it and then thought, 'Yeah, why not do it?' It's basically a cops 'n robbers type thriller, and quite upbeat --the good guy gets the bad guy, and we're featured in a club scene playing one of our songs, 'Cities in Dust.'

At least they're just letting us be ourselves, which makes quite a change from the usual offers." 
I wonder is Ms. Sioux still felt the same when she saw the finished movie?

Can you name any other films from the 1980s that feature real life band's performing? Let us know in the comments below...

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