I was in Stationed in Germany when I started to hear about "Eddie and the Cruisers". The way it was played I wasn't sure if "Eddie and the cruisers" were real or a made up band like the ""The Monkees"
I had a bit of doubts the way the movie was made, to me it made you wonder. I know that "Eddie and the Cruisers was done by "John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band" that made several popular sound tracks for movies like "Rocky III" among others. I still enjoyed the music, The album was a good "road trip" cassette for my travels in the Autobahns in my Mustang. THey later released an album "Eddie and the Cruisers II". It was a good album, not in my opinion quite as good as the first, but still a very good one. I took both cassettes with me to the Gulf when we deployed and I played the hell out of my cassette player. I still have that cassette player, one of the doors are missing and it was full of sand but it still is functional/ One day I will do a post on it.. and include some pictures of the player.
Vance asked Davidson to describe his fictitious band and their music. Initially, Davidson said that the Cruisers sounded like Dion and the Belmonts, but when they meet Frank, they have elements of Jim Morrison and The Doors. However, Davidson did not want to lose sight of the fact that the Cruisers were essentially a Jersey bar band and he thought of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. The filmmaker told Vance to find him someone that could produce music that contained elements of these three bands. Davidson was getting close to rehearsals when Vance called him and said that he had found the band - John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band from Providence, Rhode Island. Davidson met the band and realized that they closely resembled the band as described in the script, right down to a Cape Verdean saxophone player, whom he cast in the film. Initially, Cafferty was hired to write a few songs for the film, but he did such a good job of capturing the feeling of the 1960s and 1980s that Davidson asked him to score the film.
After successful screenings on HBO in 1984, the album suddenly climbed the charts, going quadruple platinum. The studio re-released the soundtrack in the fall of 1984. Nine months after the film was released in theaters, the main song in the film, "On the Dark Side" was the number one song in the country on Billboard's Mainstream, Rock, and Heatseeker charts; and #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Another single from the film, "Tender Years", peaked at #31 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Eddie and the Cruisers was originally intended to open during the summer but a scheduling error resulted in a September release when its target audience - teenagers - were back in school. The film had its world premiere at Deauville. Embassy Pictures threw a promotional party for the film at a West Hollywood dance club in September, 1983 where Cafferty and his band played.
The film was a box office flop, receiving many negative to mixed reviews from critics. The film was released into theaters on September 23, 1983 and grossed USD $1.4 million on its opening weekend. It would go on to make a paltry $4.7 million in North America. The film was pulled from theaters after three weeks and all of the promotional ads pulled after one week.
(In the fall of 1984, the single "On the Dark Side" from the soundtrack album suddenly climbed the charts, as the film was rediscovered on cable television and home video, prompting the studio to briefly re-release the album.)
Eddie and the Cruisers was not well received by critics. Roger Ebert gave the film two out of four stars and wrote, "the ending is so frustrating, so dumb, so unsatisfactory, that it gives a bad reputation to the whole movie". In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, "Some of the details ring uncannily true, like the slick oldies nightclub act that one of the Cruisers is still doing nearly 20 years after Eddie's supposed death. Other aspects of the film are inexplicably wrong. Eddie's music sounds good, but it also sounds a lot like Bruce Springsteen's, and it would not have been the rage in 1963". However, she did praise Pare's performance: "Mr. Pare makes a fine debut; he captures the manner of a hot-blooded young rocker with great conviction, and his lip-synching almost perfect". Gary Arnold, in the Washington Post, wrote, "At any rate, it seemed to me that what Eddie and the Cruisers aspired to do was certainly worth doing. The problem is that it finally lacks the storytelling resources to tell enough of an intriguing story about a musical mystery man"