Billy Vera and the Beaters

Here’s another chapter from my upcoming book, Hit Records That Needed To Be Released Twice.

A lot of really good music goes undiscovered and simply disappears.  Such was the fate of a record recorded by Billy Vera in 1981.

Billy Vera spent decades working in the music industry.  He wrote a song that was recorded by Ricky Nelson in 1965, reached the Hot 100 with his own solo record in 1967 and with a duet with Judy Clay in 1968, and wrote a song that Dolly Parton covered and took to #1 on the Country charts in 1979.

His biggest success resulted from a song he recorded with the group the Beaters in 1981.  The group he put together recorded an entire album during several days of performances at the Roxy in Hollywood.  Alfa Records, a small record label based in Japan, released the album and promoted it by releasing the single I Can Take Care of Myself.  The single made it up to number 39 on the Billboard charts, which was enough of a success for the label to release their second single, At This Moment.

This second live recording climbed all the way up to #79 and then sadly vanished without a trace.  The record label collapsed shortly after that, leaving the band playing in clubs but not touring.  Billy also successfully started an acting career, appearing in numerous television shows beginning in 1984 as well as The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai.

A telephone call in 1985 brought his musical career back to life.  The television show Family Ties wanted to use At This Moment in an episode that featured the relationship between Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) and Ellen Reed (Tracy Pollan).  The episode aired in 1986, and television fan reaction to the song was immediate.  Radio stations were inundated with request for the song, and that quickly led to a reissue of the single in November 1986, this time on Rhino Records.  Within a few weeks, the record hit number 1, easily selling over a million copies.

Getting back on the charts was not in the cards.  About a year later the record Between Like and Love made the top ten on the Adult Contemporary charts, but it didn’t even make the Hot 100 at all.  Billy has continued to make a living in the music business, but not by recording hit records himself.

Billy’s biography can be found on his official website at

John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band

Here’s another chapter from Hit Records That Had To Be Released Twice, my next book:

It isn’t just records that sometimes need more than one swing at success, sometimes films do as well.

Eddie and the Cruisers was released to movie theaters in September 1983 but left theaters after only three weeks.  The film was about a rock band in the early 1960s that produced music ahead of their time and fell apart after the apparent death of their lead singer.  The original idea was to create a band similar to Dion and the Belmonts, and a member of Jay and the Americans helped by supplying pictures and stories about his band’s early days.  The lead singer played by Michael Pare changed the band so that it began to resemble the Doors, and the music that was produced for the movie sounded more like Bruce Springsteen than anything on the radio in the early sixties.

John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band had released several almost successful records before being signed up to produce music for the movie.  In conjunction with the release of the film, the single On the Dark Side was released and credited to Eddie and the Cruisers.  Before the film left theaters, the single did well enough to reach #64 on the charts, but after the movie was gone the momentum for the record faded as well.

The next year the movie moved to cable and was a surprise hit on HBO as well as home video.  Viewer interest in the music led to the rerelease of the single, this time credited to the actual band, John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band.  Thanks to the success of the film, the record did much better the second time around, reaching #7 in the Fall of 1984.  We’re lucky enough to be left with two videos for the single: the clip from the movie as well as a video by the actual band.  If the saxophone player looks similar, it’s because he was cast in the film after they met him!

A sequel to the film was made, but few people seem to have anything nice to say about it.

The band’s homepage is at