The Romantics

The Romantics
The Romantics

The Romantics in Florida, 2003
Background information
Origin Detroit, Michigan, United States
Genres Rock, new wave, Pop punk
Years active 1977–present
Labels Nemperor, Web
Wally Palmar
Mike Skill
Coz Canler
Brad Elvis
Past members
Rich Cole
Jimmy Marinos
David Petratos
Clem Burke

The Romantics is an American New Wave 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 popularity in the United Kingdom, The U.S. 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 songs and music videos.

Influenced by 1960s British Invasion rock (most notably the music of The Kinks, The Who, J. Geils Band, The Beatles, The Hollies, and The Rolling Stones.)

The Romantic's were considered the second wave of Punk Rock from Detroit, following in the footsteps of such bands as The MC5 and The Stooges. The Romantics play a more power pop/pop rock-oriented variation of punk rock known as pop punk. The band is also commonly classified into the category of "New Wave" by pop music historians.[citation needed]



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.

Mike Skill left the band after the release of its second album, National Breakout, in 1981. He was replaced by lead guitarist Coz Canler. This lineup of the band recorded the album Strictly Personal in 1982, before Rich Cole left the band that year and was replaced by a returning Skill, who then became the band's bassist.

The Romantics achieved their greatest commercial success in 1983/84 with the release of the album In Heat. The first single taken from In Heat, "Talking In Your Sleep", rose to #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and spent two weeks at #1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. It was also a big international hit (#2 Canada, #14 Australia, #18 Germany, #20 Netherlands, #15 South Africa, #5 Sweden, #20 Switzerland, etc.). A second single, "One In A Million", peaked at #37 during the following year. The Romantics' music videos were frequently shown on the cable television network MTV during this period, solidifying the band's popularity. Also during 1983, the Romantics played well received U.S. and international concert tours in support of In Heat, and appeared on such pop music-themed television shows as Solid Gold, American Bandstand, and Soul Train.

In 1984, drummer Jimmy Marinos left the Romantics, and he was replaced by David Petratos, who would serve as the band's drummer until 1990. This lineup recorded one album, Rhythm Romance, in 1985.

In the late 1980s, the Romantics discovered that their managers had been misappropriating the profits earned by the band from its hit records and live performances. Additionally, the Romantics' best known song (the aforementioned "What I Like About You") had been licensed for use in television commercials without the band's knowledge or approval. Consequently, the Romantics filed a lawsuit against their management in 1987, and the legalities involved prevented the band from recording new music until the mid-1990s.

Former Blondie drummer Clem Burke replaced David Petratos as the Romantics' drummer in 1990. For much of the 1990s, the Romantics played obscure performances in small venues, largely forgotten and out of the public spotlight.

The Romantics' fortunes began to rise again in the middle of the 1990s, as the band's success in its lawsuit against its former management freed the band to record again (and ensured that future earnings from the licensing of Romantics songs would go to the band). The first fruit of the band's new recording activity was the 1993 EP Made In Detroit. Several Romantics greatest hits packages were issued during the 1990s, as was the live album The King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents: The Romantics Live In Concert, a 1996 release of an October, 1983 recording of a Romantics concert in San Antonio, Texas at the height of the band's popularity.

Jimmy Marinos, the Romantics' original drummer, temporarily returned to the band for a series of performances in 1996-1997 (with Clem Burke returning to the Romantics' drumstool after Marinos departed again), and late 1990s nostalgia for 1980s pop culture caused a minor resurgence of interest in the band. In 2003, twenty years after the release of their most commercially successful album, In Heat, the Romantics released 61/49 – a more roots rock and blues-oriented record than the band's previous efforts. The album was not a great commercial success, but won the Romantics a newfound critical respect that they had not enjoyed during their popular and commercial heyday in the early 1980s. 61/49 also offered proof that despite the band's years out of the public spotlight, the Romantics remain a potent musical unit.

A fourth drummer, Brad Elvis, replaced Clem Burke as the Romantics' regular drummer in 2004 after Burke returned full time to a reactivated Blondie. Clem Burke continues to perform with The Romantics when Brad Elvis is not available. Most recently, Burke played with The Romantics on March 6, 2010 at the Frisco Art Festival. During the encore, The Romantics were joined by students from The Paul Green School of Rock Music, which was the basis for School of Rock, the 2003 American comedy film from Paramount Pictures, starring Jack Black.

The Romantics continue to play live concerts today (with occasional guest performances by previous members Jimmy Marinos, Rich Cole, Clem Burke and David Petratos). The band is said to currently be working on a follow up to 61/49.

Sony was rumored to have had plans for the release of a special twelve-song CD/DVD during February, 2006 that would feature the Romantics' best songs, with the flip side of the CD/DVD featuring videos, recent interviews, and other clips. To date[when?], this CD/DVD has not been issued and additional information about its release has not been publicized.


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,[1] 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.[2]

Recent events

On March 12, 2010 a spokesperson for Ringo Starr confirmed that Wally Palmar would be touring with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band during their summer 2010 tour. During April 2010, Palmar entered the studio to record harmonica tracks for a new release by The Beat.

Band members

Current members

Former members

  • Clem Burke – drums, percussion (1990–1996, 1997–2004)
  • Jimmy Marinos – drums, percussion, vocals (1977–early 1985, 1996–1997)
  • David Petratos – drums, percussion, vocals (1985–1990)
  • Rich Cole – bass guitar (1977–1982)

Note: since departing The Romantics, each former member has occasionally returned to make guest performances with the band.


Studio albums

Year Album Peak positions
1980 The Romantics 61
National Breakout 176
1981 Strictly Personal 182
1983 In Heat 14 33
1985 Rhythm Romance 77
2003 61/49
"—" denotes releases that failed to chart


Year Album
1979 Tell it to Carrie/Runnin' Away//First in Line/Let's Swing
1993 Made in Detroit

Live albums

Year Album
1996 The King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents: The Romantics Live in Concert


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US US Main Rock US Dance SWE
1977 "Little White Lies" Single Only
1978 "Tell It to Carrie"
1980 "What I Like About You" 49 The Romantics
"When I Look in Your Eyes"
"Tell It to Carrie" (re-release)
"Forever Yours" National Breakout
1981 "A Night Like This"
"No One Like You" Strictly Personal
1983 "Talking in Your Sleep" 3 2 1 5 In Heat
"Rock You Up" 49
1984 "One in a Million" 37 22
1985 'Test of Time" 71 44 Rhythm Romance
"Mystified" 42
"—" denotes releases that failed to chart

Audio samples


External links

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