In the recent movie Tropic Thunder, Robert Downey Jr. said "I'm a dude pretending to be a dude pretending to be another dude." While I sat and watched Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! (he does dammit!) I was reminded of this quote as I watched Michael Pare' lip sync mightily to the Springsteenish growl of John Cafferty. And it made me wonder who is John Cafferty? I've bought his records, I've even seen him live, but I know almost nothing about him. And what's more, I've never bothered to find out anything regarding Cafferty. That's actually part of what I liked about him, Cafferty served up fist pumping heartland rock in an uncomplicated way. You felt grounded and blue collar listening to John Cafferty, but you didn't have to think as hard as when you heard Springsteen. Instead of being The Boss, John Cafferty was the Assistant Manager. But a good one who would slash prices and throw in an extra item to make the sale.
So let's take a look at the man behind the music (please wait one moment while I process your request...) John Cafferty comes from Narragansett, Rhode Island. He had local success in New England before his "big break". That's it, that's all the info I could find. Well, that definitely filled in the blanks. John Cafferty led an E Street style unit, they were known as John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band. That may sound like an X rated movie from the 70's but it really was their name. Despite the catchy moniker they were never able to truly stand on their own. Johnny had to rely on others to get his music out to the public. So it goes, John Cafferty - man in the shadows!
Between this and Streets of Fire, Michael Pare' had a serious jones for rock and roll musicals. But to me, he'll always be that kid from The Greatest American Hero. Which reminds me, Streets of Fire was a Bruce Springsteen song. The plot thickens!
You take that Flavor Flav joke back or you'll get this gun rammed down your throat! Yo!
While Sly never pretended to sing like John Cafferty, he used Cafferty almost as much as his signature band Survivor (must be a Scotti Brothers thing). For his craptacular classic Cobra (1986), Stallone used the group's patriotic anthem Voice of America's Son as the theme song. But if the thought of Stallone throwin' down with baddies in his big sunglasses, hanging toothpick and silver handled guns to get some Bridgette Nielsen isn't enough to evoke John Cafferty fever, the Beaver Browner did one better. For the awe inspiring Rocky IV ("I must break you") Cafferty voiced the ultimate in 80's training montage music - "Hearts On Fire". Now do some sit ups and go climb a hill.
Say what you will (or what I will), the man is into his fourth decade of rockin'. He's doing something right.
John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band "C-I-T-Y"
Eddie and the Cruisers clip includes "Wild Summer Nights"