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One of the top animated bands of all time is Gorillaz. The group, which is composed of two actual people - Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, with the help of a number of rotating music contributors - is known for having four animated individuals who play songs, make amazing music videos, and even go on tour via projection screens.
When they first got their smash hit, many people assumed that Gorillaz was the first animated band ever. Even today, the band's known as one of the top animated bands of all time. But, many people forget that there are plenty of other toons ranked as the top animated bands, music groups, and entertainers of all time.
Gorillaz aside, here are some of the top bands featuring cartoon characters.
You might know Archie as a comic book series, but they also were pretty popular in the 60s through a number of different venues. The Archie Show was a top cartoon all over TV Networks. In one of the Archie-filled exploits the gang took on, they became one of the top animated bands of the 60s.
Yes, the kids from Riverdale high were in a real cartoon band, and yes, they actually scored a major hit in the 1960s. The Archies included all the big names in the legendary comic strip as band members: Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Jughead Jones, Veronica Lodge, and Reggie Mantle.
The band also had a mascot - a white furry dog by name of Hot Dog. He was the conductor of the group, and featured pretty heavily in the animated videos of the band.
Though the song initially debuted on a cartoon episode, the band's one major hit, "Sugar, Sugar," became the most well-known bubblegum pop song in the late 60s and early 70s. It's funny that their top single deals with sugar, since the initial records of the single were distributed via cereal boxes!
Interestingly enough, the Archies had a string of other hits during their times.
Over the years, The Chipmunks have been known by a number of different names, including Alvin and the Chipmunks, David Seville and the Chipmunks. No matter what you call them, you can't deny that they are one top animated bands of all time - as well as one of the very first to have cartoon bandmates.
The three anthropomorphic chipmunk singers go by the names Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. Their first single, which was a novelty record produced by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr., took place in 1958. The single, "Witch Doctor," is still sung and recognized by kids today.
The 1958 hit means that they are not only one of the top animated bands of the 50s, but also one of the first animated bands to remain part of pop culture for as long as they have. Another major hit, "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)," is still regularly enjoyed during the holiday season.
The Chipmunks' success had turned them into a household name. The Chipmunks ended up getting a series of cartoons – the most recent series starting airing in 2015. As of right now, more than a dozen different movies have also been released under The Chipmunks' name.
Their success also proved that cartoon bands can be as successful as human bands. The Neptunes, The Archies, and almost every other cartoon crew owe a little bit to The Chipmunks' influence as a result.
Say what you will about cartoon bands, but it's hard to deny that The Chipmunks have had a longer musical career than most rock stars have. Moreover, they also have way fewer wrinkles than the guys in the Rolling Stones.
A relatively newbie compared to others on this list, animated metal band Dethklok is the brainchild of Brendon Small. Unlike some other animated bands on this list, Dethklok first became known to the masses as the stars of a popular cartoon series.
That series, of course, is Metalocalypse. The show, which first aired in 2006, introduced us to singer Nathan Explosion, guitarist Skwisgaar Skwigelf, fellow guitarist Toki Wartooth, bass player William Murderface, and drummer, Pickles.
Within a year, the band's insanely violent and wild songs ended up becoming a hit with fans. Dethklok began to release CDs, including the 2007 hit, "The Dethalbum." The actual band behind the band also started doing tours as Dethklok soon enough, too.
Among adults who love rock and metal, it's clear that Dethklok ranks among the top animated bands of all time. They do rock, and even though they are a band from a cartoon, they still got fans all the same.
The California Raisins
Earlier 80s babies may remember these wrinkled up claymation raisins belting out renditions of classic songs like Aretha Franklin's "Respect" on television as part of commercials. They may have also remembered raisin-themed toys with sunglasses as part of the shtick, too.
This animated band, which was actually created by the California Raisin Advisory Board, was an attempt to make raisins more popular with consumers. Surprisingly, it succeeded - just maybe not in the way that the advisory board expected.
Legend has it that the entire concept of The California Raisins came when a writer, exhausted from every commercial attempt being rebuffed, said, "We have tried everything but dancing raisins singing 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine'."
After the first raisin-themed commercial aired, The California Raisins became wildly popular. The R&B raisin singers ended up getting a series of commercials, a movie, a line of toys, and a series of album releases that extended until 1994.
Oh, they also had a fan club - something many human bands don't have!
Their top song, "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," was a Marvin Gaye cover that ended up reaching the Billboard Top 100. So, that goes to show you that the top animated bands can come in any shape - including a bunch of raisins made for commercial releases.
Josie And The Pussycats
One of the other top animated bands of the 60s and 70s was Josie And The Pussycats. Much like The Archies, Josie and her crew of cat ear-wearing ladies got their start from a comedy comic book series.
Since 1963, Josie and the Pussycats was a favorite comic among teens and younger girls. This in turn inspired a series of Pussycat-themed things to happen.
By 1970, they had their own television show, which involved them playing music, going to outer space, and just doing classic 70s hijinks. Kids ate it up, and with every video watch session they'd have, they'd end up singing along to the song.
The animated band also ended up getting a manga series, multiple movie deals, a toy line, as well as a single album release in 1970 called "Josie and the Pussycats: From the Hanna-Barbera TV Show," or more commonly, just "Josie and the Pussycats."
That being said, the 2001 movie about the band also had a soundtrack that was supposed to be the music by the band. Technically, this wasn't an album release; it was a movie soundtrack instead.
Even though Josie and the Pussycats never actually had a hit, they are so recognizable and successful as a band brand that it doesn't seem to be fair to disregard them on a list of the top animated bands of all time.
Studio Killers, as some might know, is an animated band that has become a favorite among YouTube music video watchers, simply because their electronic music is catchy, their visuals are insanely colorful, and they also tend to be very positive in terms of lyrics.
But, who are they really? No one really seems to know for sure who the originators of the band really are. People know who the animators are, but no one knows the identities of the musicians. This is the closest the creators of the trio have come to explaining the cartoon band's origins:
“One day, they were just here staring back at us through our high definition flat screens.”
The band currently consists of a British blue haired vixen called Cherry, a bear called Bipolar Bear, a fox called Goldie Foxx, and a white mink called Dyna Mink. The band's smash hit, "Ode to the Bouncer," ended up getting to the top of Finland's charts in 2011.
Their live performances are known for being incredibly action-packed, with two furry band members appearing on stage with masks while Cherry herself is projected via screen. Even if they are new and camera-shy at times, we want to rank Studio Killers as one of the top animated bands in the elctronic genre.
Hatsune Miku isn't a cartoon band, per se, but she is animated. She's a Vocaloid musical performing teen idol program from Japan.
Technically, Vocaloids aren't really animated bands, but it's still worth adding them to any respectable list of the top animated bands out there. What Vocaloids are is hard to explain without a little example.
In Japan, VOCALOID is a singing synth program. Vocaloids are animated singers who have their music come from VOCALOID. However, it's become more than just a song synthesizer program; it's become a genre of music.
Hatsune Miku's voice, therefore, is synthetically produced through VOCALOID. Though she doesn't exist, she does have concerts which feature her live thanks to hologram technology and animation programs.
She can dance, sing, and also just do anything you'd expect a pop star to do. She's kind of like an animated band, but she goes beyond that.
Hatsune Miku has toys, fan clubs, and a number of top hits. She's gone on tour in a number of countries around the world, and cosplayers often dress as her at anime conventions. She's successful.
Many Vocaloids have become really popular in Japan among both girls and guys thanks to their beauty, their "bubblegum pop" style of music, and the dance acts. As a result, we have to name Hatsune Miku and other VOCALOID-created idols as some of the top animated bands to come from Japan.