This movie wasn't even on HERC's radar that weekend in February 1985. He took his best gal to see the other movie that premiered that weekend: The Breakfast Club. Two weeks later, when it was time to pick a movie, HERC's lady made it clear that they were going to see "the new Madonna movie", Vision Quest, even though HERC was campaigning hard to see John Cusack in The Sure Thing, which was opening that weekend. Madonna did appear briefly in the film as a singer, her first big screen appearance and she had two songs on the soundtrack album. The rest of the movie left a lasting impression on HERC. He bought the soundtrack album shortly thereafter.
Vision Quest is based on the 1979 YA novel of the same name by Terry Davis and marked the second of three team-ups between screenwriter Darryl Ponicsan and director Harold Becker. Boyish 26 year old Matthew Modine was cast as 18 year old high school wrestler Louden Swain. 27 year old Linda Fiorentino landed the female lead at her first audition after drama school. Michael Schoeffling, who played the dreamy hunk Jake Ryan in Sixteen Candles was cast as Louden's best friend, Kuch (rhymes with "smooch", above), a Mohawk-sporitng fellow wrestler. Future Academy Award winner Forrest Whitaker also stars a fellow wrestler and Daphne Zuniga, the female lead from The Sure Thing (who incidentally was not the title character), stars as Louden's platonic friend.
The plot is a simple one: Louden sets a goal, maintains self-discipline, makes all the necessary sacrifices and achieves his goal. It is an underdog story for sure - he has to lose 22 pounds and drop two weight classes to wrestle against three-time defending state champion Brian Shute (above). When California-bound Fiorentino is stranded at Louden's father's auto shop, Louden suggests she stay with the two of them. Hijinks ensue as Louden learns to respect women, a "traveling music tape" is played on the way to Grandpa's house and Madonna's "Crazy For You" soundtracks their inevitable hook-up before she moves on just before Louden is set to wrestle Shute in the final climatic scene.
In an effort to capitalize on Madonna's burgeoning international popularity, the film was released as Crazy For You in several countries. When it ended its run at the U.S. box office, it had only earned $13M. You don't have to be a wrestler or a horny teenage boy to appreciate this film though it is rated R for language and sexual situations. If you're interested, the book is well-written and differs from the film on several characters and plot points, most notably ending as Louden begins his match with Shute. But as usual, the main attraction of the film for HERC was the soundtrack.
For those of you who don't know, this is a CD long box. It is how CDs were first sold - the dimensions of the box allowed retailers to stock two rows of them in each bay where they used to stock vinyl so they did not have to retrofit their stores. After several years, the long box ceased to exist although Costco seemed to carry them at least a few years after all the others; they were generic blue or white long boxes used primarily as a theft deterrent.
Unlike just about every other soundtrack album from the 80s, the Vision Quest album is made up of mostly older tracks that were readily available elsewhere rather than written for the movie. As it was Madonna's film debut, two new and exclusive songs from her were shoehorned into an otherwise rock-oriented soundtrack. Tangerine Dream handled the score though none of their work appears on the soundtrack CD.
Originally recorded then pulled from 1983's Frontiers album, Journey's "Only The Young" was released in advance of the movie and soundtrack in January 1985 reaching #3 on the Rock chart and #9 on the Hot 100. The b-side of the single is Sammy Hagar's "I'll Fall In Love Again" which was also on the soundtrack album (see below). Prior to the single's release, the song was recorded and released by Scandal featuring Patty Smyth on their 1984 album The Warrior.
One of HERC's all-time favorite tunes is John Waite's "Change" from Ignition (1982), his debut album as a solo artist after the breakup of The Babys. The song made it to #16 on the Rock chart and #54 on the Hot 100. It was originally written by Holly Knight and recorded with her band Spider the year before on their self-titled album which also contained the original version of "Better Be Good To Me" which would be a hit for Tina Turner in 1984.
After dissolving The Jam, Paul Weller established The Style Council and continued releasing music at a prodigious rate. The group's 1984 single "Shout To The Top!" which peaked at #7 in their native UK failed to chart here in the States. The song was later used on the soundtrack to Billy Elliott.
"Gambler" is the first Madonna song heard in Vision Quest as she is shown performing it at a club. It's an upbeat, fast tempo song to contrast with the movie's love theme "Crazy For You". HERC doesn't recall if it was ever issued as a single in the US (it was released internationally and was a #5 hit in the UK) and it has never been featured on a Madonna album, not even her hits compilations.
Don Henley's "She's On The Zoom" is an outtake from his 1984 album, Building The Perfect Beast. It features backup vocals by Belinda Carlisle and Jane Weidlin of The Go-Go's. It is similar to the rockin' tracks "Man On A Mission" and "Drivin' With Your Eyes Closed" from Beast. This track does not show up on any of Henley's albums but it was released as a B-side on the UK 12" of his "Sunset Grill" single, which featured Patty Smyth on harmony vocals.
"Hungry For Heaven" first appeared on the Vision Quest soundtrack but was later included on Dio's Sacred Heart album, which was released in October 1985. As a single from Vision Quest, the single was a Top 30 hit on the Mainstream Rock chart. HERC saw Dio perform the song live in concert a few days after Christmas 1984.
When HERC moved to the desert in 1981, he almost immediately found two radio stations that played music he liked: KWFM and KLPX. Red Rider's "Lunatic Fringe" could be heard on both stations and managed to land just outside the Top 10 on the Rock chart. HERC soon bought the parent album, As Far As Siam and then followed the band until 1986. "Lunatic Fringe" can be heard throughout Vision Quest, like three or four times. Several songs from the soundtrack are played repeatedly in the film, a la The Last American Virgin.
Although it appeared as the B-side to Journey's "Only The Young" in 1985, Sammy Hagar's "I'll Fall In Love Again" was originally issued as a single in 1982 - it was #2 and #43 on the Rock and Hot 100 charts, respectively. That single's B-side "Satisfied" has yet to appear on any other Hagar record. Another movie soundtrack song, "Heavy Metal" from the movie of the same name appears in a different version alongside "I'll Fall In Love Again" on Hagar's 1981 album Standing Hampton.
Easily the oldest song on the album, "Hot Blooded" was a #3 song on the Hot 100 back in 1978. The song is from Foreigner's second album Double Vision, which peaked at #3 on the Top Albums chart. Like the Hagar song above, it was produced by Keith Olson.
Closing out the soundtrack album is Madonna's "Crazy For You", her second #1 single after 1984's "Like A Virgin". The song also hit #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #80 on the R&B chart. Madonna's first ballad single after a string of dance/pop tracks, "Crazy For You" is one of those songs that even non-Madonna fans seem to like, especially those of the feminine persuasion. The version on Vision Quest runs longer than both the single and hits version that appears on The Immaculate Collection, Songs To Remember and Celebration.