30 Years Ago: How Tom Cruise Helped the Beach Boys Score One of Their Biggest Hits

Off the Florida Keys, there’s a cover band playing this song from ‘Cocktail’ right now

Buena Vista Pictures

Soundtracks have changed the course of musicians’ careers and created anthems from little-known tracks.

And the 1988 companion album to Tom Cruise’s bartender epic Cocktail is a big one. (Bigger even than Top Gun, maybe?)

Would you even remember Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” without its prominent feature in The Breakfast Club? Phantom Planet’s “California” without The O.C.?

The Beach Boys have a soundtrack to thank for one of their biggest hits. You know the hook (🎶Aruba, Jamaica 🎶). You’re already singing along in your head. But the song “Kokomo” might have been a total flop without the helpful hand of Tom Cruise’s critically panned cult classic Cocktail.

Here’s the story, illustrated in gifs.

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