Sunday, May 27, 2018

"Fright Night" by J. Geils Band

Song#:  2416
Date:  08/10/1985
Debut:  93
Peak:  91
Weeks:  2
Genre:  Rock, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  The J. Geils Band was not doing well at all. After losing their co-lead singer/songwriter Peter Wolf, the regrouped band issued their album You're Gettin' Even While I'm Gettin' Odd featuring the lead single "Concealed Weapons." The single tanked (#63) and in turn the album became the lowest peaking of the band's career since their 1970 debut. During this time the band was approached to perform the title song to the upcoming horror flick Fright Night. They recorded the tune, which was composed by songwriter Joe Lamont, and it was issued out as a single. It was promptly ignored spending only two short weeks on the Pop chart and not even making the Rock chart. Despite the film doing quite well, this song and the associated soundtrack couldn't get anywhere. With their post-Wolf results virtually getting the band nowhere, they decided to close up shop and part ways. The band would reunite in 1999 with Wolf for a short tour. They would do it again a few years later and then remained together for a long stretch between 2009 and 2015. The band's namesake, J. Geils, would die of natural causes in 2017.

ReduxReview:  Why did they do this? Was it for the money? Was it to try and grab a "Ghostbusters" type of hit to re-establish the band? They were not above doing sly, comedic tunes, but this one was just plain goofy. It didn't fit the band at all and nothing about this would make you think this was the J. Geils Band. They sounded like any other no-name band that was trying to get their career started by doing a soundtrack song. The lyrics were certainly written with the film in mind and the music isn't too bad. However, J. Geils just wasn't the right artist for the track and it did them no favors.

ReduxRating:  4/10

TriviaFright Night was an unexpected success when it came out in '85. It was pet project by screenwriter Tom Holland who ended up being a first-time direction on the movie as well. Given a minor budget by Columbia Pictures, the film was completed in less than three months with little involvement from the studio. Apparently, Columbia pinned their hopes (and money) on the John Travolta flick Perfect and basically ignored Fright Night, which worked to the film's benefit. In the end, Perfect was a box office bomb while Fright Night ended up being a well-reviewed hit that made nearly four times its budget. Starring Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowall, the vampire horror film had a comedic side to it that audiences enjoyed and it has since become a popular cult film. It spawned a sequel, a 1989 Bollywood version, and a 2011 remake (and home video sequel), but none of them were remotely as popular as the original. The soundtrack was rock/new wave oriented with the J. Geils theme song plus ones by Autograph, April Wine, Devo, and Sparks.


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