The soundtrack for the Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis credits producers T. Bone Burnett and Marcus Mumford and actor Oscar Isaac for the arrangement and performance of most of the main character's songs. But in the context of the movie, the ownership of these tunes belongs to the fictional folk singer Llewyn Davis, whom Isaac plays.
It's common for us to better associate songs written specifically for movie characters and bands with those made-up musical acts, and so the hit novelty record "Please Mr. Kennedy," for instance, may forever be remembered as written by the nonexistent Jim Berkey (Justin Timberlake) and sung by Berkey, Davis and Al Cody (Adam Driver) just as we always think of "Stonehenge" and "Hell Hole" as being by Spinal Tap rather than the actors who play the heavy metal group's members.
Spinal Tap is an interesting example, however, because the band has sort of become something real outside of the movie. So has Otis Day and the Knights, from Animal House, and characters from Glee. Other fictional acts may find real-life chart placement, as in the cases of Eddie and the Cruisers (a song credited to actual band Jim Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band), the Archies and the Wonders (or One-ders), from That Thing You Do, but it's very unlikely they'll ever end up having live concerts.
That doesn't mean you can't be a fan, of course. We can grow up loving the Chipmunks, Hannah Montana and Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem and later enjoy the work of the Venus in Furs (Velvet Goldmine), Stillwater (Almost Famous), Billy Mack (Love Actualy) and the Soggy Bottom Boys (O Brother Where Art Thou, a previous Coen brothers movie with music produced by Burnett) as much as we do any existing recording artists.
And with this week's Criterion Collection release of Nashville, it's impossible to deny how great all its acts are, from the newly solo folk singer Tom Frank (Keith Carradine) to country superstars Haven Hamilton (Henry Gibson) and Barbara Jean (Ronee Blakley).
Earlier this week we polled Twitter users for their favorite fictional music act from a movie, and here are some of the responses we received:
@thefilmcynic The mega-band that Dewey Cox assembles in the late 60s in WALK HARD— kateyrich (@kateyrich) December 5, 2013
@thefilmcynic Dewey Cox— Larry Wright (@refocusedmedia) December 5, 2013
@thefilmcynic Brian Slade, but also everyone in every Christopher Guest movie.— Daniel Walber (@DSWalber) December 5, 2013
Spinal tap RT @thefilmcynic: POLL: What is your favorite fictional band or music act from a movie?— Ryan Da Mayne ™ (@TheChewDefense) December 5, 2013
@thefilmcynic SPINAL TAP is the only answer.— justin robinson (@TheJSRobinson) December 5, 2013
@thefilmcynic Spinal Tap, The Blues Brothers, Crucial Taunt— North/South Film (@NorthSouthFilm) December 5, 2013
@thefilmcynic oh probably Hedwig and the Angry Inch— Kyle Pinion (@kylepinion) December 5, 2013
@thefilmcynic Soggy Bottom Boys.— Samuel W. (@TheatrOfTheMind) December 5, 2013
@thefilmcynic Sex Bob-Omb from SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD.— Patryk Czekaj (@PatrykCzekaj) December 5, 2013
@thefilmcynic Sex Bob-omb!— Jon_Digital (@Jon_Digital) December 5, 2013
@thefilmcynic Aldous Snow from Forgetting Sarah Marshall— Boro Y Boi (@ayobobun) December 5, 2013
@thefilmcynic The One-ders. Or Wonders, if you must.— Sean O'Connell (@Sean_OConnell) December 5, 2013
@thefilmcynic whoops. Hard Core Logo from HARD CORE LOGO which 'featured' a musician named Billy Talent that a real band took as a name.— john lichman (@jlichman) December 5, 2013