At some point, I suppose that Hasbro figured it needed to break into the Barbie-dominated fashion doll business via a lucrative cartoon shill. So suddenly, us little girls were being marketed to on Saturday mornings. Wedged in between ten minute cartoon featuring gunslinging robots and dashing monster truck drivers, there was Jem.
Our protagonist, the record company heiress Jerrica, has to produce a hit record or lose the family business and the deed to Home for Adorable Orphans. Naturally, she discovers her father's secret lair of holographic projections, programmed to respond to her voice. Naturally, she uses these newfound powers to disguise herself as the glam-pop goddess Jem and muscle her way to the front of her kid sister's band. And, but naturally, the newly named Jem and the Holograms become the BIGGEST. BAND. EVER.
The Holograms, their world tours, their rivalry with bad girl band the Misfits, (Rich brat Pizzazz! Illiterate, tough Roxy! Secretly nice Stormer!), Jerrica's stormy relationship with her lame-even-by-my-third-grade-standards BF Rio, all made up three years of animated soap opera designed to sell amazonian, dayglo-haired, keytar-wielding action figures to girls just like me. And it worked, I had more of these dolls than I care to remember.
Much, much later on, I came to love the music of Britta Phillips, who was the singing voice of Jem:
Rhino made DVD's of Jem and the Holograms a few years ago, but they're no longer available. Britta Phillips collaborates with her musical/romantic partner, Dean Wareham, and Youtube abounds with both clips and fan mashups. However, there has not been any kind of all-star Jem tribute record. Yet.