John Cafferty

John Cafferty’s music has always been best experienced in a car with your sweetheart close by (or as close as bucket seats and center console will allow) on a summer night down by the beach. Now if this sounds like an Asbury Park kind of thing, just remember that Cafferty is from Narragansett, Rhode Island, which means that the fleeting warmth of a brief New England season makes the window of opportunity quite a bit smaller than down south in New Jersey. Maybe it’s for this reason that John Cafferty and his band Beaver Brown created music often compared to Bruce Springsteen’s, but which was more strident, earnest and maybe even a bit desperate. Forming around 1972, Beaver Brown covered the clubs as the members slowly built their talents. Eight years later, a 7″ single “Tender Years” b/w “Wild Summer Night” found local success, not only on the radio in the band’s home state, but in Boston as well. However, even with all the attention, a major label deal just didn’t happen for Beaver Brown. So, in 1983, John Cafferty and his band had nothing to lose by writing and performing the music of a fictional group named Eddie and the Cruisers in the movie by the same name. The film went on to become a smash, its soundtrack going double platinum and the single “On the Dark Side” bulleting all the way up to #7 on the American charts. In a matter of months the band had hit the big time, quickly obtaining the coveted major label contract and recording an album on the Scotti Brothers imprint (distributed by CBS) in 1985. A couple of Top 40 hits sent the album Tough All Over to #22 and one song, “Voice of America,” became the theme of Sylvester Stallone’s movie Cobra in ’86. Stallone used another Cafferty performance of “Hearts on Fire” for Rocky IV, but alas, the hit making ended at that point. An attempt at an Eddie and the Cruisers sequel in 1989 did not ignite, but Cafferty and the band played on. Years later, the singer was still quite active performing shows and pulling in crowds, even though a lot of those people pestering him for autographs still asked him to sign “Eddie.”
(by Carter Alan)

Published on December 28, 2012

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