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 http://johncafferty.com/.