With the return of The CW's humdrum spin-off soap 90210 this week (March 9), we guilty-pleasure seekers are likely to be treated to a season of catfights, trysts, and--most importantly--new music cameos.
Like its contemporaries Gossip Girl and The OC, the new 90210 has made an obvious effort to include of-the-moment soundtracks sprinkled with the occasional live band performance. Lest we forget the nighttime soap that started the trend, we give you an ode to the best live performances from the original nighttime teenage soap, Beverly Hills 90210.
Though the list mainly comprises so-bad-they're-good episodes from the first series, simply omitting the new version's musical contributions would do the franchise an injustice. So they'll receive a few shout outs here as well.
1. The Flaming Lips: Performed at The After Dark during "Love Hurts" (Beverly Hills 90210 Season 5, 1995). This intense episode (attempted rape, friend betrayals) was made much more pleasant with a Transmissions from the Satellite Heart-era performance by the Flaming Lips of perennial hit "She Don't Use Jelly." The appearance marks a peculiar moment in the Lips' road to stardom, nestled in between the group's early days as psychedelic acid-dropping troublemakers and its current gig as universally-respected rock megastars. Best line of the night (uttered by blonde frat boy Steve Sanders, natch: "You know, I've never been a big fan of alternative music, but these guys rocked the house!"). Last year singer Wayne Coyne reminisced about that fateful performance on another Web site, stating: "It was absurd, it was kind of humiliating, it was kind of fun, it was kind of ridiculous."
2. Color Me Badd: Sang a cappella while sitting on backwards-facing chairs in the Peach Pit during "Things to Do On A Rainy Day" (Beverly Hills 90210 Season 2, 1992). The '90s R&B group was chock full of rainbow colored sports coats, gelled hair, and god awful lyrics-- but who can resist pop hits such as "I Wanna Sex You Up" or "I Adore Mi Amor?" The latter was performed for Donna Martin after her crestfallen discovery of an affair between her mother and another man. Kelly Taylor saves the day by sneaking into the Badd hotel room and somehow convincing the group to serenade her BFF at their favorite local diner.
3. The Cardigans: Play Kelly's 1920s style grad party during "Graduation Day" (Beverly Hills 90210 Season 7, 1997). After Baz Luhrmann's angsty Romeo + Juliet hit the big screen in 1996, it seemed like every teenage girl had The Cardigan's sweet refrain "Lovefool" on repeat all summer long. What better to way capitalize on this trend than with angsty teen lexicon, Beverly Hills 90210. The Cardigans, an adorable Swedish outfit fronted by cherub-cheeked pixie Nina Persson, played its memorable hit for a crowd of suicidal (Valerie Malone attempt to off herself before the performance) fornicators (Donna loses her virginity in this key episode).
4. Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds: Performed at a carnival during "Mr. Walsh Goes to Washington"(Beverly Hills 90210 Season 4, 1994). Edmonds performs his hit "When Can I See You Again" in this explosive two-part episode during which David Silver experiences some pretty exceptional highs and lows in a 24-hour period. Silver's asked to play backup keyboards for Babyface, then gets caught cheating on his girlfriend with a groupie/record exec. Random fact - Babyface has two sons, one named Brandon and one named Dylan (also the names of two main characters on the show). Is it an eerie coincidence or an attempt at forever commemorating his appearance?
5. The Cramps: Played the After Dark during "Gypsies, Cramps and Fleas" (Beverly Hills 90210, Season 5, 1995). The goth-punk band performed, fittingly, during a Halloween episode. Though the New York rockers, fronted by Lux Interior, reached legendary status in the underground music world, the Cramps were merely a freaky blip in the lives of these Beverly Hills co-eds -- their set is largely overshadowed by a brawl amongst Donna's boyfriends. Interior does, however, get a choice line in before the group's performances of songs "Mean Machine" and "Strange Love." With a black-lipsticked smirk he asks, "Hey boys and ghouls, are you ready to raise the dead?"