Sexy 80s Party: Faux Rock Band

The following article is for entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as scholarly research or as a final authority on the subject. 

It’s Wild-Card Wednesday, the day that anything can happen.  With all that is going on, we need to have a Sexy 80s Party.   This will be our last one before my Sexy 80s Party: Halloween Edition.

Welcome to Sexy 80s Party: Faux Rock Band edition.  So what do I mean by Faux Rock Band edition?  There was a whole genre of 80s movies based on fake rock bands.  I’m going to share my favorite three.

Put on your LA Gear sneakers and spray your ‘do with Aqua Net.  It’s time to party.

Eddie and the Cruisers (1983)

Eddie and the Cruisers stars a young, gorgeous Michael Paré as Eddie Wilson. Eddie was the tortured, perfectionist leader of the fictional 1960s rock-n-roll band, Eddie and the Cruisers. One night in 1963, Eddie drove his car off a bridge. Though his body was never recovered, Eddie was believed dead.

Twenty years later, a reporter–Ellen Barkin–interviews band members about the mystery behind Eddie Wilson and his tragic death. Band members had a love-hate relationship with Eddie. All seem aware that they could have gone to the “bigs” with Eddie Wilson. Without him, their lives faded back to normal.

Watch the trailer:

The only two real musicians in the film were Helen Schneider (Eddie’s girlfriend) and Michael Antunes (the Cruiser’s sax player). However, Michael Paré is believable as Eddie Wilson. Even his speaking voice sounds right.

The soundtrack was performed by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. I still listen to this music almost thirty years later. It’s a great sound. Here’s my favorite song from the movie: Season in Hell: Fire Suite.

Michael Paré in Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives

A sequel–Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives–was made in 1989. Click here to watch the trailer. The music was again fantastic, but the sequel didn’t have quite the charm of the original.

Fun Factoid: The original Eddie and the Cruisers was based on a novel by P. F. Kluge. It is out of print, but used copies are available at Amazon.com. Click here for a look-see. For differences between the novel and the film click here.

Streets of Fire (1984)

So Michael Paré was in this one, too.  Maybe I thought he was sort of hot?  Diane Lane, Rick Moranis, Amy Madigan, and Willem Dafoe also had big roles in this film.

The short story is that Ellen Aim (Lane), a fictional rock star, is kidnapped by her biggest fan (Dafoe).  Ellen’s current boyfriend (Moranis) hires her thuggy ex-boyfriend (Paré) to go get her. It all takes place in an excellently lawless urban landscape.

Watch the trailer:

Ellen Aim’s band, The Attackers, were members of the new wave band Face-to-Face. The voices of Laurie Sargent–of Face-to-Face–and Holly Sherwood were combined to create Ellen Aim’s voice. The soundtrack featured artists like The Blasters, Ry Cooder, and Maria McKee. To listen to my favorite song from the movie click here.

Fun Factoid: The director of Streets of Fire planned a trilogy of action movies starring Michael Paré in his role as Tom Cody. However, Streets of Fire was so unsuccessful at the box office, the idea fizzled. Streets of Fire became a b-movie and so did Michael Paré’s career.

Light of Day (1987)

Light of Day starred Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett.  Gena Rowlands–who is a fabulous actress–also had a big role.  Michael McKean had a small role in the film.  Trent Reznor also had a cameo.

This film almost didn’t make my list because Joan Jett is a real rock star.  However, the band from the film–The Barbusters–is a faux rock band.

Watch the trailer:

The Barbusters are a Cleveland, Ohio based bar band, featuring brother and sister Joe and Patti Rasnick.  Patti (Jett) is a single mother who is at odds with her extremly religious parents.

Joe (Fox) lives with Patti but is on good terms with the parents.  He also seems to support Patti and her son financially.  As Patti’s life spins out of control, Joe tries to provide a stable environment for his nephew.  A family crisis forces Patti to reevaluate the choices she’s made in her life.

Fun factoid:  Bruce Springsteen wrote the title song “Light of Day.” Click here to hear the song as it appeared in the movie.  In the 1990s, Springsteen began the habit of closing his concerts to “Light of Day.”  Click to hear The Boss rock it.