Some movies are propelled by a good story. Some rely on music to set the theme. And some manage to weave the two together. Back in the 80s, two movies relied on music to tell the story, to hell with a decent plotline. Both starred Michael Paré.
First up is “On Dark Side” from Eddie & The Cruisers, with the music provided by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. Any decent cover band for the past twenty-some-odd-years had to know this song. I believe it was required by law.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’d seen the movie enough times to know every line by heart. Almost. Hey, I worked in a video store and the music helped pass the time. Besides, my co-worker would have killed me if I’d played the Fleetwood Mac Tusk video again.
The second song is from Streets of Fire, a lamentable flick to be sure, but who could resist the beautiful Diane Lane and sexy, but oddly pornstar-moustachioed Michael Paré as former lovers in peril because nasty biker boy Raven Shaddock (played by Willem DaFoe) kidnaps the fair Ellen Aim (Lane). I don’t recall if there was ever any reason given for the kidnapping, but it’s not really important, is it? The soundtrack was what made the movie, thanks to Ry Cooder, Dan Hartman, and Jim Steinman, amongst others. If “Nowhere Fast” and “Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young” sound familiar it’s due to Steinman’s tried and true rock operatic approach that worked so well for Meatloaf.
I never claimed these were the best movies of the 80s, but damn if they didn’t have some great tunes. And damn if they don’t still make me sing along.