In the spring of 1963, the Cruisers play a successful engagement at Frank's old college. They start work on recording a new album for Satin Records, "Season In Hell", putting in a lot of time on it. (Of significance, this is the title of an anthology of poetry by Rimbaud, who disappeared after its publication and only resurfaced twenty years later.) In August 1963, Wendell Newton is found dead of a drug overdose which is covered up to look like a heart attack. Wendell's death has a strong effect on Eddie. On March 15, 1964, work on the second album is completed. However, Lew Eisen, the president of Satin Records, says that it is garbage and weird and refuses to release it. Eddie, who was proud of his work, becomes very upset and storms off, later running his car runs off the Raritan Bridge. His body was never recovered. The Cruisers disband and Doc Robbins, the band's manager, sells the rights to the first album back to Lew Eisen.
Eighteen years later, Satin Records decides to re-released the first album and it becomes a surprise hit. Soon the songs are climbing far higher in the charts than they ever did the first time around. Frank (Wordman), who had become a high school teacher, is visited by Maggie Foley, a reporter, who has discovered that the tapes of "Season in Hell" were checked out from Satin Records on March 16, 1964, and wants to know the story behind it. Frank refuses to talk to her. Frank goes home to discover that his trailer has been ransacked. While viewing the damage, he receives a telephone call from their old manager, Doc Robbins, who is now a DJ at a run-down radio station. Frank later meets Doc and gives him a ride home and discovers that Doc's home had also been burglarized. Doc then tells Frank that someone must be looking for the missing tapes. Frank denies knowledge of the whereabouts of the tapes. In talking with Doc, Frank hears that Sal Amato has carried on the Cruisers' name with a group of his own and goes to see Sal's show and to talk with him. There, he runs into Maggie Foley again and this time talks a bit with her. Frank discovers that Kenny Hopkins was now working at a casino in Atlantic City and later goes to see him. It was from Kenny that Frank learns the truth about Wendell's death. Frank, as with most people, had believed that Wendell died of a heart attack.
Frank then goes to see Joann Carlino who was now a choreographer working at a hotel in Wildwood. In telling her about the breakins reveals that she was the one who checked out the tapes and that she hid them at Palace Depression an auto junkyard which was an old haunt of Eddie's. They go there to retrieve the tapes and take them back to Joann's house, not seeing that they are being followed by someone in an old '57 Chevy (just like Eddie's). They arrive at Joann's home and there she tells Frank about some mysterious phone calls she has been getting, someone playing an old song they use to play, but not saying anything. Then the phone rings, again playing the music, then hangs up. It rings again, this time in a code that Eddie used to do meaning he was coming over. Joann answers it and thinks she is talking to Eddie. 'Eddie' wants the tapes and says he is coming right over. Soon, the '57 Chevy pulls up and the driver calls to Joann in Eddie's voice. Frank, suspicious of all this, sneaks up and pulls him out of the car only to find that it's really Doc who had concocted all this to get hold of the tapes. With the popularity of the Cruisers' old songs, Doc believes he could finally make it big with the second album. Frank and Joann give him the tapes and Doc drives off saying that he was going to make it big, not just for himself, but for all of them.
Next we see the credits running over scene with people standing outside a storefront with several TVs in the window. They are all showing Maggie Foley's documentary about Eddie Wilson. When it finishes, everybody leaves except one man. We see his reflection in the window, and although he has a beard, you see that it is Eddie Wilson, twenty years older.