Saturday, April 22, 2017

"On the Dark Side" by John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2019
Date:  08/18/1984
Debut:  86
Peak:  7
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  There are rare occasions when a film or a song gets a second chance after flopping on its initial release. In the case of Eddie and the Cruisers, both the film and its soundtrack experienced a rebirth. Eddie was a dud when first hit screens in the fall of '83 and was actually pulled from theaters after a three-week run. The soundtrack, performed by John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band, tanked as well when it's singles, "On the Dark Side" (credited to the fictional Eddie and the Cruisers) and "Tender Years," both failed to climb out of the basement of the Pop chart. That could have been it. The movie could have easily faded away into obscurity and Cafferty and his band could have returned to gigging in New England. However, later the following year the movie started airing on HBO and it slowly began to gain an audience. The film's new cult-like status generated interest in the soundtrack, which had become unavailable. Sensing that something could come from this Eddie revival, Scotti Bros. reissued the soundtrack along with this single. This time around the single was credited to John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band and it started to climb the chart. It wasn't long before the song got to #1 on the Rock chart while getting into the Pop Top 10. The album also made it into the Top 10 and quickly went Platinum. Eventually it would sell over 3 million copies.

ReduxReview:  There is not much I can add to my original assessment except I did read one review by a famous critic that made a good point. In the movie when Eddie and the band are at their peak, the year was 1963. How on earth does this song or some of the other originals sound like anything from that time period? Short answer is, they don't. But, that shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying this tasty track or rockin' out to the movie. It's certainly not the first film to have sounds, visuals, etc., wrong for its set time period. Who knows? Maybe this is what Bruce Springsteen would have sounded like in the 60's...

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Although John Cafferty wrote songs for the film and performed all the music with his band, it was actor Michael Paré that lip synced as Eddie. However, before Paré was cast, another singer/actor was gunning for the part. Apparently Rick Springfield tried very hard to acquire the part of Eddie. Springfield was already a music and TV soap star and had a built-in audience that might show up to see the film. Plus, Springfield could have recorded and performed the soundtrack. It seemed like a great match, but unfortunately the film's director, Martin Davidson, saw it differently. He thought that Springfield would basically just be playing Springfield and wanted someone that could fully play all aspects of the part. The director took a chance on Michael Paré, whose biggest gig up to that point was a co-starring role on the TV series The Greatest American Hero. Once filming began, it seems things were not all that rosy between director and actor, but in the end they created a cult hit that generated a best-selling soundtrack.


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