This was the theme song to 1987's iconic film The Lost Boys. G. Tom Mac, going professionally by the name Gerard McMann at the time the movie was released, wrote the song after being given a script by Gary LeMel, President of Music at the Warner Bros. film studio. The musician usually looked at a cut of films before writing music for them, but The Lost Boys script immediately connected with him on a personal level. At the time he was living in New York City, a place he described as a "Gotham-like vampire place in very dark times," and connected that influence with the story he read in the screenplay.
"Cry Little Sister" started coming together in the artist's head within half an hour. Mike Maineri provided a "hypnotic beat" to tie the tune together. McMann wrote the lyrics in a couple hours and recorded the demo. Two days later he received a call from director Joel Schumacher saying he'd "nailed" it.
G. Tom Mac wanted to make sure the song resonated with the film, but also didn't want it to be "about" vampires. So, he wrote the song about a rejected youth's longing for family, something he felt nearly everyone can relate to on some level.
Eminem sampled the song on his 2010 track "You're Never Over."
DJ Lee and G. Tom Mac produced a video for the song and included it on the DVD for Lost Boys: The Tribe.