Fame is fleeting, as the saying goes, and many talented musicians struggle to stay in the spotlight. That said, most struggle to build a fanbase and stand out from their contemporaries. A great way to gain notoriety, of course, is to include a song in a hit movie, although that’s easier said than done.
However, these groups managed to make themselves known after contact with Hollywood. From small bands that exploded onto the national scene to once-famous bands that grew their influence through film, these artists have proven how lucrative film can be for musicians.
Survivor (Rocky 3)
In 1982, the Rocky the formula had become a bit stale, and while Sylvester Stallone was more compelling than ever, the third film received mixed reviews upon release. That said, it became one of the show’s most influential episodes, thanks in part to a soundtrack featuring rock band Survivor’s hit “Eye of the Tiger.”
“Eye of the Tiger” would go on to go double platinum and launch Survivor into the pop culture stratosphere, and, to this day, it’s still closely associated with sports editing. Interestingly enough, the filmmakers originally wanted to use Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” but were denied permission by the band.
Bee Gees (Saturday Night Fever)
Formed in 1958, Bee Gees had already established themselves as a well-respected disco band by the mid-1970s, but the band established themselves as a musical icon thanks to their 1977 track “Stayin’ Alive” which was written for the film. Saturday night fever. The John Travolta vehicle would be irrevocably linked to the disco scene, but while that fad has faded, the Bee Gees legend has not.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, the Bee Gees are today celebrated as one of the most commercially successful musical groups of all time, and much of this can be attributed to Saturday night fever.
Simon & Garfunkel (The Graduate)
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel formed Simon & Garfunkle in 1953 while still in elementary school. the influence would grow exponentially in 1967 when their song “Mrs. Robinson” appeared in the romantic drama directed by Mike Nichols The graduation.
The group would go on to be recognized as one of the most culturally relevant musical acts of the century, and by 2010 Simon and Garfunkel were fortieth on rolling stone‘s list of the greatest artists of all time.
Simple Minds (the breakfast club)
One of the most beloved coming-of-age films of all time, The breakfast club explores a day in the life of five very different high school students. Tasked with writing a thousand-word essay on who they think they are, the group examines their character flaws, bond, and turn the mission into a memorable reprimand from the school’s vice principal.
What made the film truly memorable, however, was the inclusion of the hit single “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds. A track that defined that decade and made a nation’s teenage angst tangible, “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” brought international acclaim to a band that was already fairly well known in their home turf.
Steppenwolf (Easy Rider)
Formed in 1965 as The Sparrows, Steppenwolf would achieve worldwide fame after the release of the 1969 counterculture film. Easy Rider which used their song “Born To Be Wild”, the third single from their 1968 self-titled album.
Although Steppenwolf broke up and reformed several times throughout the band’s long career, “Born to Be Wild” will remain an enduring counterculture anthem that is still widely played today. No other song is more closely associated with motorcycle culture, and it has everything to do with Easy Rider.
Cannibal Corpse (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective)
Some think Steppenwolf coined the term “heavy metal”, but in the early 90s the term “heavy” had a whole new meaning. Formed in 1988, Cannibal Corpse would quickly become the biggest name in death metal, but much of their popularity can be attributed to an appearance in Jim Carrey’s comedy film. Ace Ventura: animal detective.
Seen performing their bestial hit “Hammer Smashed Face”, Carey’s character is seen prancing around the mosh pit and joining the band on stage to perform his throaty vocal style. Strange to think that such an extreme group would appear in an otherwise family film.
The Beach Boys (Cocktail)
Formed in the early 1960s, The Beach Boys became surf rock staples and claimed the Billboard Hot 100 with hits like “Surfin’ Safari” and “Sufrin’ USA.” However, by the end of the 1970s, the band would once again fall into insignificance.
However, The Beach Boys achieved an unexpected number one spot at the top of the charts in 1988 with “Kokomo”, a track that received a lot of attention thanks to its inclusion in the film. Cocktail. It was the band’s first number one hit in 22 years, and “Still Crusin”https://screenrant.com/famous-bands-musicians-songs-movies/”, the album it appeared on, would eventually become platinum.
Public enemy (do the right thing)
Influential hip-hop group Public Enemy rose to fame early in their career, with their debut album “Yo! Bum Rush The Show” gaining some notoriety in 1987. However, their fame would rise significantly in 1989 with the release of Spike Lee. do the right thingan elegant but weighty exploration of racial tensions in the United States which featured the track “Fight the Power” prominently.
Public Enemy may have ended up earning so much acclaim on their own, but their involvement in do the right thing accelerated the group’s already growing popularity, and Public Enemy would later become one of the most important hip hop groups of all time.
Judy Garland (The Wizard of Oz)
Judy Garland had already gained enough fame during her teenage years to catch the eye of MGM, but she wouldn’t become a national icon until she donned the famous ruby red slippers in her starring role as Dorothy. in the 1939 film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz.
Today, she is best remembered as an actress, but the song “Over The Rainbow” brought her a healthy dose of success as a singer as well. Later in her career, she would perform on television and at high-profile venues such as Carnegie Hall, and in 1997 she was posthumously awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Smash Mouth (Shrek)
One of the bands that came to characterize turn-of-the-century alternative rock, Smash Mouth had established quite a profile in 2000, with hits like “Walkin’ on the Sun” garnering quite a bit of attention.
However, the band would never have gained the enduring fame they enjoy today without the 2001 DreamWorks animated film. Shrek. A satirical critique of Disney’s penchant for fantasy, ShrekThe opening credits of were juxtaposed with the upbeat but slightly sardonic track “All Star”. It would become Smash Mouth’s de facto hit, and it’s celebrated today as a staple of early 2000s pop culture.
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