“Debbie Gibson versus Tiffany” had nothing on the other big music rivalry of the mid-1980s.
In 1987, Hasbro had a toyline based on a cartoon about a young woman, her sister, and foster sisters in a band that is all a holographic illusion. Mattel, not content to just sit back and watch Hasbro hit paydirt with their musical dolls based on a very musical cartoon, decided their big moneymaker of a doll needed her 300th career change.
That doll was Barbie, and her band…Barbie and the Rockers.
Now with Ken!
If Air Supply had a doll…
These girls can hardly take it. They’re practicing for the kinds of concerts where chicks fawn and throw their panties at lead singers.
Don’t believe me? Hit the play button!
Bendable waists? Ken in the band? That theme song?!
OMG! No wonder I liked these Barbies better than the rest – this was a glorified Jem knockoff!
It was! Barbie and the Rockers were created to directly compete with Hasbro’s Jem and the Holograms. And while these dolls succeeded, Jem and the Holograms did not. Those dolls went away by the end of 1987. But they did succeed where Barbie didn’t…they had their own series.
And it was HUGELY successful.
Barbie and the Rockers did have their own cartoon, but instead of an actual series, they had a mini-series. While Marvel-Sunbow successfully had Jem on the air for three years, DiC Entertainment (stop laughing) and Saban Productions could not reach an agreement with Mattel on a syndicated series. The miniseries aired in September 1987 in two parts (“Out of This World” and “Barbie and the Sensations”), and was released on home video by the company that released everything childhood was made of in the 1980s, Hi-Tops Video.
It’s on You Tube.
I’m not shocked. Are you?
After the success of crushing Jem and the Holograms, Barbie left the music industry for her 301st career, but not before becoming a sensational 1980s rock singer.
What will she do next?
Dance Magic…with a fan?
Thirty years later, Barbie and the Rockers is a relic of its time, a direct competitor to another Not Really A Band, and has a song that will probably get stuck in your head the way that the Jem theme did.
But, hopefully not like the flute solo in “Colour My World.”
Who do you think wins the Battle of the Doll Bands 1987?
Jem/Jem and the Holograms
(Not pictured: The Holograms)
Barbie and the Rockers
My heart will always want Jem in it. Because truly outrageous!
Eh, they were both AWESOME!
Anyway, have a great Friday!