I’ll be honest — I watched The Idolmaker (1980) because of Prince. I had read in a couple of biographies that the film partly inspired him to create some of his most famous side projects, like the Time and Vanity 6. As someone who wants to see and hear anything that might have influenced a favorite artist, I immediately added the film to my Netflix queue.
I have to say that I’m shocked I’d never seen The Idolmaker before since I’m a huge fan of movies about music and musicians, both real and fictional. But somehow I managed to not even know of its existence until last year. The film is loosely based on the life of Bob Marucci, the legendary rock promoter who discovered acts like Frankie Avalon and Fabian; Ray Sharkey plays a songwriter-turned-producer who makes stars out of two unknowns in the late 1950s, one of whom is played by Peter Gallagher in his feature-film debut (the other is played by Paul Land, with Jesse Frederick providing vocals). The Idolmaker also marks the feature debut of director Taylor Hackford, who went on to direct another, more famous music biopic, the Academy Award-winning Ray (2004).
Sadly, the soundtrack to the film never made it to CD and is out of print on vinyl and cassette. I’ve tried to find a vinyl copy in various record stores I’ve visited across the country this year, but came up empty. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have a record featuring the vocals of Peter Gallagher in their collection? Lucky for me, and you, someone somewhere ripped their vinyl into MP3s and unleashed them upon the Internets. I do believe that I managed to find all the songs, which doesn’t always happen. The question is, how many side projects will The Idolmaker inspire you to create?
Jesse Frederick – Here Is My Love
Darlene Love – Ooo-wee Baby
Nino Tempo – Come and Get It
Jesse Frederick – Sweet Little Lover
Colleen Fitzpatrick – I Can’t Tell
Peter Gallagher – However Dark the Night
Peter Gallagher – Baby
Nino Tempo – I Know Where You’re Going
The Sweet Inspirations and the London Fog – A Boy and a Girl
Ray Sharkey – I Believe It Can Be Done
Nino Tempo – I Believe It Can Be Done (Instrumental)