Albums of the ’80s – Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, released in 1989, was a fun movie. It starred Keanu Reeves as Ted “Theodore” Logan, Alex Winter as Bill S. Preston, Esquire. Bill and Ted, of San Dimas, California, are cut from the same mold as Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The dim-wits are in danger of failing their History class. Should they fail, Ted’s father will send Ted to military school in Alaska, thus ending the feldgling band Wyld Stallyns. The future is dependant on the Wyld Stallyns due to the inspiration of the band’s music and wisdom. In order to preserve society in the year 2688, leaders send Rufus (George Carlin) back in time to help Bill and Ted successfully pass their History class. Rufus leaves the boys the time machine so that they can travel back in time and learn about history in time for their final presentation the next day. Instead of a police box shaped Tardis (Holla fellow Whovians!), this time machine is in the form of a phone booth (Holla fellow people who were around before the ’90s!).
Bill and Ted go back in time and retrieve several historical figures – Napoleon, Billy the Kid, Socrates (or should I say So-Crates), Freud, Genghis Kahn, Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, and Joan of Arc (played by The Go-Go’s Jan Wiedlin). Bill and Ted use the historical figures in their presentation, and it was a rousing success. This helped preserve society in the future. Yay!! Oh crap!! This also opened the door for the appropriately named sequel Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey.

If you want to hear more about Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure movie, check out this episode from my good friends at The Awesome 80s Podcast.

While Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure was a lot of fun, the soundtrack was also a lot of fun. They did not even need any big name bands. Let’s hop in the phone booth, travel back to 1989, and go on a music listening adventure.

“Play with Me” by Extreme

The song that leads off the album is by the best known group on the album. However, Extreme was unkown at the time. Not only was “Play with Me” on this soundtrack, it was also the first single from Extreme’s self-titled debut album. The guitar solo by Nuno Bettencourt is just incredible.

“The Boys and Girls Are Doing It” by Vital Signs

This song is a great follow-up to “Play With Me”. It is another rockin’ song. Vital Signs, not to be confused with the awesome Survivor album, was a pop/rock band from Pakistan. Even though Vital Signs did not sell a lot of albums in the U.S., they were Pakistan’s first and most commercially successful as well as critically acclaimed act in the music history of the country.

“Not So Far Away” by Glen Burtnik

Hard core Styx fans may recognize Glen Burtnick’s name as he was in the band for their Edge of the Century album. But before that, he performed this song for the Bill and Ted soundtack.

“Dancing with a Gypsy” by Tora Tora

Tora Tora is a hard rock band out of Memphis, Tennessee. The singer sounds like a cross between Robert Plant and Axl Rose.

“Father Time” by Shark Island

Shark Island, in the tradition of Van Halen, Mötley Crüe and other Los Angeles bands, became the house band at the world-famous Gazzari’s on the Sunset Strip. The band scored a record deal, and in 1989 they released their first and only official album, Law of the Order. After suffering disappointing sales, the group disbanded. Here is the first of 2 songs that Shark Island performed on this soundtrack:

“I Can’t Break Away” by Big Pig

Big Pig were a seven-piece Australian pop/rock band that existed from 1985 to 1991.

This is my favorite song on the soundtrack. This was the song that introduced the movie.

“Dangerous” by Shark Island

And here’s the 2nd Shark Island song on the album. I like this one better than “Father Time”:

“Walk Away” by Bricklin

And this would be my 2nd favorite song of this album. Bricklin was a six-piece rock band was founded by the Bricklin brothers, Brian and Scott. They only released two albums, and they did not sell very well. I really like their sound though.

“In Time” by Robbi Robb

Another song from this soundtrack that I love.

“Two Heads Are Better Than One” by Power Tool

As you may have seen from a recent Return to the ’80s trivia question, most of us know Power Tool by the real band name – Nelson. During the 80s, Matthew and Gunnar played as Strange Agents and as The Nelsons, with which they played the Los Angeles club scene. The eventually landed a record deal with Geffen Records and began approaching A&R executive John Kalodner. According to Gunnar, they met with Kalodner “every month for a year”, during which he filtered the songs they brought him until they had enough for an album. During this time, they were also introduced to Marc Tanner, who helped them polish their songwriting skills.

During this time, Nelson was also approached to contribute a song to the film Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Matthew and Gunnar then co-wrote a song with Dweezil Zappa called “Two Heads are Better than One”. Since the band was in process of being signed up to Geffen, Kalodner recommended them not to use their names for the song, so they were billed as Power Tool instead.

Here is Nelson as Power Tool performing the last song of the album:

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