I’m sorry, where were we? Oh, that’s right, we were talking about xylophones.
The Romantics were a power pop group that had a brief flirtation with the Top 50 in 1980 with a song called “What I Like About You”. Drummer/singer Jimmy Marinos handled the vocal duties, belting out a rave-up that had its finger on the pulse of guitar-based New Wave of the time. Unfortunately, the song stalled at #49 and was never heard again.
You wish. Unless you’re in a frat or a sorority.
So yeah, you know the deal – song flops upon initial release only to find new life years later via commercials and licensing blah blah.
However, The Romantics had another big (actual charted) hit with their fourth(!) album, “In Heat”. The vocal duties for the Top 3 hit “Talking In Your Sleep” were handled by guitarist/singer Wally Palmar, no big deal, right? I mean, a band with a drummer as a frontman never gets very far (shut up, Genesis fans. I’m looking at you, Jellyfish!). The problem is that dear Wally had a bit of a – how to put this politely? – faggy lisp (I’m allowed to say that). So, the chorus ended up sounding like:
I hear the thecreths that you keep
When you’re talkin’ in your thleep
Why not just let Jimmy sing everything? What’s that? You kicked him out of the band? Oh, dear.
That’s right, management squabbles led to Jimmy’s exit from the band shortly after “In Heat’s” breakthrough to the charts. Nothing ruins a band like success, no? Luckily, The Romanticths had already filmed the video for “Talking In Your Thleep’s” follow-up thingle, “One In A Million”. While not setting the charts on fire like the first single, “Million” is a great little pop tune, the kind you really don’t hear anymore. And what’s that in the instrumental break? A xylophone solo? Nah, steel drums. But close!
The band tholdiered on for a fifth album, 1985’s “Rhythm Romance”, and I’ll be darned if its first thingle wasn’t a complete rewrite of “One In A Million” with a bit of the ’60s classic “Black Is Black” thrown in for good measure. “Test of Time” had a saving grace, however…you guessed it, xylophone! Xylophone is the new cowbell, y’all. And yes, poor Wally ends up thinging “Tetht of Time”.
Look, it didn’t do well, okay? Lesson learned – your drummer may be a rooster-haired, skin-pounding meathead lacking any vocal subtlety, but geez, let the wookie sing.
(And not for nothing, but The Romantics Greatest Hits album has the WORST cover art imaginable. I’d sue.)
“One In A Million” peaked at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984.
“Test of Time” peaked at #71 on the same chart in 1985.
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