Thirteen long years ago, I was playing the phone-in qualifying game for the then megahit prime time game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”, which featured three questions with choices you had to put in some kind of order, when this question popped up:
Put these bands in order by the number of primary members they have, starting with the fewest:
- Guns N Roses
- The Stray Cats
- Tears For Fears
Let’s see… I know there are three Stray Cats, and a shitload of people in Madness. I think there’s four in Tears For Fears… maybe there’s a fifth guy in Guns N Roses. OK, 2-4-1-3.
OK, maybe the mysterious fifth guy was in Tears For Fears. As we all did on the WWTBAM message board back in the olden days, I posted my question and thoughts for all to critique, and was completely surprised when I was told where I went wrong.
“Ummmm, ES, you do know that Tears For Fears is only a duo, don’t you?”
Wait a minute!!! Then who were those two guys who played with Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith in all of the “Songs from the Big Chair” videos?
Were they just two random homeless guys wandering around the set asked to come in and pretend to play some instruments? Not according to the Wikipedia page for the band Tears For Fears. Keyboardist Ian Stanley and drummer Manny Elias were considered to be full band members for this album! So as my friend Buster would say….
Imagine my utter shock and surprise when I later learned that one of the other huge “bands” of the 80’s technically only had two members…
Seriously!?!? Every Wham music video from the 80’s was essentially the band pretending to jam to one of its songs, and there’s a shitload of guys on stage with them who are omnipresent in every one of their videos! Are you honestly trying to tell me only two of those guys were actually band members, and the rest of them were just there to make music for these two pretty boys?
Alright… it’s time to set the record straight here….
One’s a solo artist:
Two’s a duo:
Three or more is a band:
Simon and Garfunkel never went around pretending to be a band. Hall and Oates played with all the same guys as well, but they let it be known who the big shots were. Buckner and Garcia weren’t trying to fool anybody when they recorded Pac Man Fever. The Eurythmics, Roxette, and the Pet Shop Boys didn’t try to pull the wool over our eyes with phony band nonmembers, but they are still duos in my book, not bands.
And don’t get me started on Five For Fighting….
So in the interest of musical clarity, let’s stop referring to these one and two man acts who surround themselves with a lot of cheap musical labor as “bands”. There was no dispute over how many people were in the Beatles, and likewise there should be no confusion over the number of spazzes in Wang Chung.