By the time the mid-1990s rolled around, Grand Funk Railroad had long since solidified their legacy thanks to such classic-rock staples as “The Loco-Motion,” “Shinin’ On” and, of course, “We’re an American Band.” Indeed, it’s not hyperbole to say Grand Funk Railroad laid the tracks on which many subsequent American rock acts traveled. That said, to remain truly relevant after a quarter century in the music business, a band needs an outside force to come along and introduce them to a new audience. And for Grand Funk Railroad, that outside force was … Homer Simpson.

In a 1996 Simpsons episode titled “Homerpalooza,” carpool driver Homer is seen rocking out to “Shinin’ On” when one of the kids in the backseat begs him to change the station. “But this is Grand Funk Railroad,” Homer says excitedly. “You kids know Grand Funk, right?” And just like that, Grand Funk received not only their pop culture wings but a much-appreciated second shot of life, which they’ve made the most of: Since 2000, the five-piece band has entertained fans from coast to coast with annual 40-city tours. This, of course, would come as a complete surprise to Bart Simpson, who in “Homerpalooza” wisecracked, “Dad, no one cares about your stupid dinosaur bands!” Au contraire, Bart!

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