Iconoclassic Records is headed to the "Dark Side" with the first-ever anthology from the real-life band behind Hollywood's Eddie and The Cruisers: John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band. On September 30, the label will release Greatest Hits, a freshly remastered 16-track collection from the rock-and-roll revivalists whose "On the Dark Side" reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984 and spent five weeks atop the Mainstream Rock chart and the MTV video charts.
Singer-guitarist Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band (including Gary Gramolini on lead guitar, Pat Lupo on bass, Kenny Jo Silva on drums, Bobby Cotoia on keyboards, and Michael Antunes on saxophone) had been playing up a storm in their native Rhode Island as well as up and down the Northeast Corridor - Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey - throughout the 1970s and early 1980s when producer Kenny Vance offered them an enticing proposition. Music biz veteran Vance was a founding member of Jay and the Americans and an instrumental figure in the discovery of Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, a.k.a. Steely Dan. He was looking for a band to craft the music for the eponymous fictional band in the movie Eddie and The Cruisers, and Cafferty's high-energy bar band fit the bill perfectly.
Though the film was met with mixed reviews, praise for the soundtrack was abundant. Roger Ebert called the music "terrific," and The New York Times' Janet Maslin noted that "Eddie's music sounds good" before adding "it also sounds a lot like Bruce Springsteen's." It's no surprise; Cafferty's rootsy, muscular, and R&B-tinged rock anthems were filled with the classic spirit that had long earned him comparisons on the Jersey Shore to Springsteen and their mutual friend Southside Johnny Lyon (who served as a technical adviser on the Eddie soundtrack). The soundtrack LP on Scotti Bros. made the top ten of the Billboard 200 and was eventually certified triple platinum.
The band followed up their Cruisers success with 1985's Tough All Over, the title track of which was another top 20 success on the Hot 100 and a Mainstream Rock chart-topper. Three more singles also charted on the Hot 100 ("C-I-T-Y," "Small Town Girl," and "Voice of America's Sons," the latter of which was featured in the film Cobra). Cafferty's solo track "Heart's on Fire" was another soundtrack favorite thanks to its inclusion in 1985's Rocky IV, earning him a double platinum certification. He was in good company; the album also featured music from Survivor, Kenny Loggins and Gladys Knight, and James Brown.
The 1988 studio album Roadhouse yielded one more Mainstream Rock chart entry ("Song and Dance") before Cafferty and co. were enlisted for Eddie and the Cruisers' sequel Eddie Lives! Though the soundtrack and film didn't have the same impact as the original, Cafferty more than delivered with another strong set of songs including the single "Pride and Passion."
Iconoclassic's compilation draws on every one of these releases, with all nine of the band's chart hits featured among its 16 all-killer, no-filler tracks. While the line-up has undergone changes since the 1990s, John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band are still on the road today. They're celebrating 50 years onstage - the original band formed in 1972 - and though they've concentrated on live performances rather than recording in recent years, this collection is the ultimate tribute to their electrifying decade of major-label activity. More than a dozen dates are currently scheduled through the end of 2022 at which fans can expect to hear these enduring melodies.
Greatest Hits has been remastered by Vic Anesini at Sony's Battery Studios and features a booklet designed by John Sellards with liner notes penned by Ultimate Classic Rock's Matt Wardlaw drawing on new interviews with John Cafferty and band members Michael Antunes and Gary Gramolini. It's due on September 30 from Iconoclassic Records. You'll find the track listing and pre-order links below.
- On the Dark Side
- Voice of America's Sons
- Runnin' Thru the Fire
- Wild Summer Nights
- Open Road
- Just a Matter of Time
- Tough All Over
- Tender Years
- Small Town Girl
- Heart's on Fire
- Victory Dance
- Boardwalk Angel (featuring Ben E. King)
- Some Like It Hot
- Song & Dance
- Pride & Passion
Tracks 1, 4, 8, & 13 from Eddie and the Cruisers: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Scotti Bros. FZ 38929, 1983
Tracks 2, 7, 9, & 10 from Tough All Over, Scotti Bros. FZ 39405, 1985
Track 3, 5, 6, 14, & 16 from Eddie and the Cruisers II - Eddie Lives: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Scotti Bros. SZ 45297, 1989
Track 11 from Rocky IV: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Scotti Bros. SZ 40203, 1985
Tracks 12, 15 from Roadhouse, Scotti Bros. FZ 40980, 1988