Eddie and the Cruisers: A 60's Philly Rock Band Makes it Big Before Their Lead Singer Disappears

Eddie and the Cruisers is a movie starring Michael Pare and Tom Berringer, based on a novel by P. F. Kluge about the experiences of a Philly band in the 60's.

For fans of movies that feature catchy tunes, this one is a sure hit.

The story starts as reporter, Maggie Foley, sets out to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance and purported death of the band's singer, Eddie Wilson. Eddie's disappearance coincides with the removal of the master tapes of the band's second album from Satin records, giving rise to speculation that Eddie did not die when his car went off the bridge.

Eddie and the Cruisers play gigs at Tony Marts in New Jersey, where Eddie meets Frank Ridgeway, whom he calls Wordman. Ridgeway plays keyboards and provides lyrics for the Cruisers and, with his talents, the band goes on to produce its first record containing original songs.

This first album, Tender Years, becomes a hit and includes On The Dark Side (which in real life became the number one song in the country on Billboard's Mainstream, Rock, and Heatseeker charts and reached #7 on the billboard Hot 100 chart.)

As the story progresses, a number of songs are performed by Eddie and the Cruisers (in actuality performed by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band). The Cruisers spend a year working on their next album, A Season in Hell.

This second album is rejected by Satin Records and in the early morning hours, Eddie's car crashes through the railing and plunges off bridge . . . but . . . is Eddie really dead?

For lovers of rock music, Eddie and the Cruisers is a classic movie, not only fun to watch but with toe-tapping tunes, it's well worth listening to.

Actors Were so Convincing, Crowds Thought They Were Seeing a Real Band

Michael Pare does a fabulous job of depicting the musically-driven and charismatic Eddie, and his lip syncing is so good that fans believed he was actually singing and that the Cruisers were a real band.

Perhaps, what contributed to this was that the actors who played in Eddie's band had to actually rehearse as if they were getting ready for a real performance. When they played together, as a real band would, at a college concert, the audience went wild, with fans making a dash for the stage and for Pare.

While initially slow to catch on, in the fall of 1984, Eddie and the Cruisers gained a following, once this story was released on cable television and via home video. The soundtrack album climbed the charts.

Eddie and the Cruisers Cast

  • Eddie Wilson (Michael Pare)
  • Frank Ridgeway (Tom Berenger)
  • Wendell Newton (Michael Antunes)
  • Sal Amato (Matthew Laurance)
  • Doc Robbins (Joe Pantoliano)
  • Joann Carlino (Helen Schneider)
  • Maggie Foley (Ellen Barkin)

Tony Marts, Philly

A markerTony Marts -
Philadelphia, PA, USA
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© 2011 Athlyn Green

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Comments 2 comments

Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green 5 years ago from West Kootenays Author

Hi Denise,

Yes, Eddie and the Cruisers is one of those movies you can watch again and again. Believable characters and great, classic rock music by Cafferty and Beaver Brown Band.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Loved the movie back then and even recently. Enjoyed the music as well. Thanks for the memories.

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    Athlyn Green profile image

    Athlyn Green885 Followers
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    Athlyn Green enjoys good movies and discusses these with readers who may be looking to add to their home libraries.



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