That episode of Married With Children where Al Bundy pretends his name is Axl, plays a pastrami sandwich, and records a charity single with some real-life rock stars

Old Aid singing We Are The Old
(Image credit: Fox)

On November 15, 1992, the comedy series Married... With Children aired its 140th episode. Like many of the previous 139, it was a tale of familial woe and unlikely triumph, but this one was different: its cast featured a number of genuine rock stars. 

The plot is typically ludicrous. The show's protagonist, Al Bundy, enters a shoe-selling contest in order to stave off financial ruin. Against all the odds, he triumphs, and wins a first-class ticket to Honolulu, but his hopes of a trip away from home are dashed when wife Peggy trades the prize for four standby tickets so that the entire family may travel.

Denied access to the first class lounge, Al sees that Lovin' Spoonful founder John Sebastian is able to get in by dint of his fame, and unveils an unexpected, be-wigged alter ego, "Axl Bundy," an aging rock star from the group Shoes N' Socks.

This audacious move propels the Bundys into the first-class lounge, where they rub shoulders with Sebastian, Richie Havens, Spencer Davis, The Doors' Robby Krieger, Herman's Hermits' singer Peter Noone, and Paul Revere & the Raiders frontman Mark Lindsay. 

Peggy Bundy flirts with the musicians ("You are who I think of when I have sex with my husband!") while Al demonstrates his musical prowess by playing a pastrami sandwich like a harmonica. Unlikely as it may seem, this quirk captivates Al/Axl's new friends, and they invite him to join them on a trip to Arizona, where all sorts of rock'n'roll shenanigans will almost certainly follow. Right?

Wrong. Instead, the musicians organise a benefit concert for senior citizens, and record a charity single under the name Old Aid, We Are The Old (a parody of USA for Africa's 1985 single We Are The World), which opens with the lines, "We are the old / We've got arthritis / Our gums are weak / From gingivitis."

And there it ends. Against all odds, Al has learned a valuable lesson in not judging books by their covers, and, at the same time, discovers the heartwarming generosity of his newfound rockstar companions.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.