Saturday Night Music Byte
The Romantics are an American rock band from Detroit, Michigan, formed in 1977. The band adopted the name “The Romantics” because they formed on Valentine’s Day, 1977. The Romantics achieved moderate popularity in the United States, Canada, parts of Asia, Australia, Europe, and Latin America during the first half of the 1980s on the strength of the band’s catchy, energetic songs and stylish, memorable music videos. Influenced by 1960s British Invasion rock (most notably the music of the Kinks, the Who, the Beatles, the Hollies, and the Rolling Stones), 1970s Detroit garage rock and hard rock (as represented by such performers as Iggy Pop, the Stooges, the MC5, and the Rationals), and the punk rock of the Ramones, The Romantics play a more pop-oriented variation of punk rock known as power pop. The band is also commonly classified into the category of “New Wave” (probably due more to the band’s image and era than the sound of its music) by pop music historians.
The Romantics’ original lineup consisted of rhythm guitarist/harmonica player/singer Wally Palmar, lead guitarist Mike Skill, bassist Rich Cole, and drummer/singer Jimmy Marinos. All four band members made songwriting contributions to the group, but Palmar and Skill were considered the band’s primary tunesmiths. After a few years of playing local and regional gigs in Detroit and the Midwest, this lineup of the Romantics recorded the band’s self-titled debut album for Nemperor Records in 1980 with British producer Pete Solley. The group’s true debut was the single on Spider Records, “Little White Lies/”I Can’t Tell You Anything” (1978), followed that year by the Bomp single “Tell It To Carrie”/”First In Line” (on the Bomp label). All of these were re-recorded later for the LP.
The album yielded the hit “What I Like About You,” which reached #49 in the US, #12 in the Netherlands, and #2 in Australia, where the band was especially popular. “What I Like About You” would become much better known later in the 1980s, when its placement in television commercials and other high profile media made it an evergreen power pop anthem. The band became as well known (if not better known) for its flashy and audacious fashion sense as it did for its exciting music. The Romantics’ signature look featured bouffant hairdos and skin-tight red leather suits, as worn by the band members on the cover photo of their debut album.
On November 21, 2007, The Romantics filed a lawsuit against Activision, RedOctane, Harmonix, and Wavegroup Sound over the cover of the song “What I Like About You” used in Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s. While the game developers did secure appropriate rights to cover the song in the game, The Romantics claim that the cover is “virtually indistinguishable from the authentic version” and thus would “[confuse] consumers into believing that the band actually recorded the music and endorsed the product”. The lawsuit requested the cessation of sales of the game and monetary damage.
A summary judgment hearing was held on July 9, 2008, and the case was dismissed the next month, with U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds stating that Activision had obtained the proper licensing for the works and that the band itself no longer held the copyright on the work.
During my college years the song , What I Like About You seemed to be the one tune that could jump-start a frat party and get everybody dancing. I still think of those times whenever I hear it. Of course, that song is tonight’s music byte. Please enjoy.