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When a music act (band or solo) gets big enough, sooner or later, someone will probably attempt to make a TV show featuring said musician(s). This show is often animated, and the band members may be Not Quite Starring.
The standard format for such shows usually goes like this: the band is Touring the World, often riding in a Cool Car or tour bus (or even better, a Cool Tour Bus!). They have an adventure in every city. They solve the issue in time to sing a song at the end of the show.
Alternately, it may be a flashback series, showing the band in their hometown as up-and-coming performers looking to make their big break. And getting in and out of adventures and singing a song at the end. Other series may go even further, casting the band as Superheroes, secret agents, or the like who just happen to be able to sing or play really well: a very literal Five-Man Band. If the group also recently had a movie released, the cartoon may be a continuation of that, usually (when necessary) changing the names of the movie's characters back to the performers' real or stage names. Expect a Gratuitous Animal Sidekick to be added to the crew. Often, They Fight Crime using The Power of Rock.
Inevitably, fame being what it is nowadays, most groups end up declining in popularity shortly after the airing of these shows. This might be because getting one's own cartoon usually happens at the height of one's popularity, and one can only go down from there. It could also be claimed, however, that getting your own cartoon is a sign of "selling out." (Though one could argue that many of the examples listed never bought in.) Whether this is true or not, you gotta admit: If someone offered the opportunity for you to have your own cartoon, wouldn't you take it?
- The Beatles - The Ur Example, and thus the Trope Maker.
- And later, Yellow Submarine, which almost didn't get made because the real Beatles hated the stinging criticism of their BBC special Magical Mystery Tour. Thwy akso wanted to get rid of their film contract with United Artists. The company told them Yellow Submarine didn't fulfill the conditions, so they made Let It Be instead.
- Alvin and The Chipmunks is an edge case - this "band" exists only on records and in animation, but the records came first.
- The Jackson 5ive
- The Osmonds - The show featured only the brothers; the omission of Marie was never explained.
- Marie had not yet made into the music scene when the Osmonds cartoon was made (1972--she would record her first song, "Paper Roses," in 1973).
- The Partridge Family in Outer Space
- Kidd Video - One example of a band being made specifically for the purpose of the series. Other examples include Josie and the Pussy Cats, The Archies, Fire Bomber (of Macross 7 fame) and The Monkees
- New Kids on the Block has The New Kids On The Block
- Kid 'n Play
- MC Hammer (Hammerman)
- Puffy Ami Yumi
- A bit of a subversion in that the show wasn't made in response to the band's popularity, but as an attempt to establish them as stars in the US. The group and the show were only moderately successful. In Japan, where Puffy are pop legends, the show is a more conventional example of this trope.
- The Brady Kids
- Inverted with the Gorillaz; the animated characters are the band.
- South Park parodied this in "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery". Korn drive around in a van. Solving mysteries.
- Homestar Runner parodied the trope with Limozeen: "but they're in space!", a cartoon featuring the fictional band Limozeen which was cancelled during its pilot episode.
- "I'm afraid I have some bad news, boys...our pilot episode has been cancelled."
- TV Funhouse parodied the trope with a cartoon based on Black Sabbath. (This was years before The Osbournes.)
- Family Guy also parodied this, with the show-within-a-show "KISS saves Christmas"
- Gorillabytez - another edge case, because the band in question doesn't exist outside of albums and animation.
- Metalocalypse, of course, is a parody of this trope painted pitch black with the brutal nature of its stars' extramusical activity, a nature reflected in the music itself (though not necessarily in the lyrics).
- Sons of Butcher, although the band and cartoon came out at roughly the same time.
- Pink Lady. Yep, their career was turned into an anime show. Though it lasted longer than the US-variety show (see below), it's about as obscure today.
- Not a "toon" per se, but Blood Red Dragon is a comic starring Yoshiki created by Stan Lee and Todd McFarlane.
- The Monkees
- Starland Vocal Band, whose show was so bad, that their announcer stated that he was glad that nobody would be watching the show. It was cancelled shortly after it began. Their announcer did slightly better. His name is David Letterman.
- "KISS Saves Christmas" may have been inspired by an actual Hanna-Barbera telefilm, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park, released at the band's height of popularity. In it, the band battles a Circus of Fear with? Guess. They were also rock-based superheroes in their short-lived comic book.
- Which in turn spawned a video game.
- S Club 7 had Miami 7, LA 7, "Hollywood 7", "Viva S Club" and The Movie "Seeing Double", about a British pop group trying to make it big in America (as well as the unrelated "S Club Go Wild", a safari show). It's debatable whether the band was made for this purpose or not.
- allStars* were probably made for their TV Show, STARStreet*, but again, it's debatable.
- Pink Lady and Jeff, which tried to make a J-pop girl duo into stars in America. It failed, and was canceled after only a couple weeks on the air.
- Avenged Sevenfold: The Cartoon. Need I say more?
- Who could forget The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour? OK, maybe a lot of people would want to forget that one.
- The Fresh Beat Band
- The Aquabats! Super Show!, a live action/animated Widget Series featuring aforementioned superhero rock band The Aquabats, from the fine people that brought you Yo Gabba Gabba. Subversion in that The Aquabats have been trying to get the show off the ground since 1997 (and it serves as the closest brush with fame they've had since that year as well).
- Inverted with Spinal Tap- a fictional band, but because of the parody/mockumentary, they actually do have a few albums out, and a hit called "Big Bottoms".
- Subverted and averted with Almost Famous. A very fictionalized movie account of the protagonist's start, using several real examples from real musicians/bands, such as the quote about beiong a golden god, and the use of the name Stillwater, which was a real band, for the titular band. Songs were written for the film, and are not similar in style to the actual band Stillwater, but became well-known. So for the ACTUAL band, it was averted, and subverted in other facets.