My agonizing pursuit of Molly Ringwald’s favorite band

Every day I am reminded of how goddam easy it is to find music nowadays, just by typing something into Google or bringing up the iTunes store … which always reminds me of how long and hard I searched to find The Rave-Ups after seeing them perform only two (partial) songs in my favorite John Hughes movie ever in the history of ever — Pretty in Pink.

The Rave-Ups are apparently the only band allowed to play at the alterna-club called CATS in PiP, which is home to all the freaks and geeks in Chicago — basically their version of an under-age Goth club that still has drinks (wait. what?) or maybe all the HS kids in Chicago just have fake IDs, but I digress.

They appear only twice: the first time when Andie (Ms. Molly Ringwald) is there talking to her friend Jena (along with a very young Dweezil Zappa) about whether or not it would be cool to date a rich guy. Jena, understandably, says NO. The Rave-Ups are playing “Shut Up” in the background — just a small snippet of the song is heard, but omfg. I loved it. Man, did I love it.

The second time is when Andie brings Blaine (“That’s a major appliance! That’s not a name!”) to CATS, and Duckie is there sulking with Iona. This time, the Rave-Ups are playing “Positively Lost Me.”

Unfortunately, neither song appears on the film’s soundtrack, as I found out once I had shelled out my hard-earned babysitting money for one. THOSE BASTARDS.

Another problem is that I had recorded Pretty in Pink from one of the new-fangled cable channels my parents had subscribed to with our upright VCR, and I had neglected to record all of the credits, so there was no way for me to know WHO that band was, since they never say it in the film.

Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles

You can't see all of it in this pic, but I swear that says "The Rave-Ups."

I must have studied those scenes about 100 times before it dawned on me that Molly has a band name written on her notebook in Sixteen Candles — and so I wondered if it was the same band. Once I was old enough to escape from the ’burbs via a friend’s car or a ride from someone who could drive, I hit up the Tower Records in Seattle to see if they had any Rave-Ups CDs. Sadly, the “Rave-Ups” card slot was always blank, and it never occurred to me to ask if I could order a disc (I mean, except for the Columbia Record Club, which I obviously  belonged to).

A few years later, the confirmation of a friend who was very knowledgeable about all things Depeche Mode and new wave in general told me that yes, the PiP band was The Rave-Ups, and the album was called Town and Country — so I headed back down to Seattle where I basically hit every single record store in town only to find out the WORST. The 1985 album Town and Country was out of print! WHAT. No matter how hard I looked, I could not find a used copy — and none of my friends had one, so I was out. of. luck.

After many more years of searching and only ever finding later albums, a record store employee convinced me to pick up Chance (1990), and it was okay. Just not quite like those two PiP-performed songs that promised me greatness.

BUT! Luckily. Some awesome nerds created computers, which then led to Apple. Which then led to iTunes. Which then EVENTUALLY led me to be able to download Town and Country in its entirety and satisfy my almost decade-long quest for these tunes! And, in fact, the physical CD was re-released at some point, because you can now buy it on Amazon.

So what the hell is my point? My point is thus: You should download a copy of Town and Country ASAP. And also: I love you Rave-ups. And you, Molly Ringwald. And you, John Hughes. And you, Steve Jobs. All of you are my favorites.

2 Comments to “My agonizing pursuit of Molly Ringwald’s favorite band”

  1. Hey Thanks for posting the video I uploaded on YT. I’m a Rave-Üp fan. Got all their albums, in fact, three copies in vinyl of Town And Country, A treasure indeed . Great entry . Rock on! Mike (loparto ) Spain

  2. Hey! My uncle’s in that band (and you can see him for just a second in PiP) So cool to read your story. :)


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