Hey, you! Do you miss the 80s? Me, too! I miss Ronald Reagan. And the Cold War. I miss TDK 90s, Levi’s 501 Blues, and cartoons brought to you by Dolly Madison. I miss Jello Pudding Pops. I firmly believe any and all problems with the world today stem from the lack of Jello Pudding Pops. Whose bright idea was it to discontinue those? And one more thing . . .
Whatever happened to saxophone solos? That instrument was everywhere in the 80s. Are there just thousands of unemployed sax players running around with nothing to do? Does a little piece of them die inside when they hear “Careless Whisper”? Do they curl up on the couch with a box of Kleenex when they watch a love scene from any movie made in the 80s? Do they have dreams of Crockett and Tubbs moodily wandering the neon-filled, nighttime streets of Miami?
Eddie And The Cruisers—a 1983 movie told in flashbacks about a fictional band who climb to the top in 1963 only to fall apart when their lead singer apparently dies (or does he?) the following year—inadvertently tells the story of saxophone players in the rock era. In the beginning of the movie, the sax-man, Wendell Newton, plays a major role in the band. (At least, musically—otherwise, he doesn’t speak a single word.) 20 years later, when a documentary crew interviews The Cruisers about the good old days, who’s the only band member conspicuous by his absence? That’s right . . . Wendell! He’s killed off by a drug overdose. Probably for the best, really, since he wouldn’t have found any jobs after 1989 anyway. And how do I know this? Allow me to show my work . . .
John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band provided the soundtrack for this movie, giving Eddie and his fellow Cruisers a sound
exactly like not entirely unlike early 80s Bruce Springsteen with a bit of The J. Geils Band thrown in. The saxophonist for the Beaver Brown Band at the time, Michael “Tunes” Antunes—who also happened to play Wendell in the movie—still plays for the group today. Now, have you heard of John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band lately? Of course you haven’t. When was the last time one of their songs got any radio play? That would have occurred with the release of the soundtrack to Eddie and The Cruisers 2: Eddie Lives!
So next time you hear “Careless Whisper,” pour one out for the saxophone players, who now moisten their reeds not with saliva, but with tears.