Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"What Do All the People Know" by The Monroes

Spotlight Alert!
Song#:  1050
Date:  05/29/1982
Debut:  80
Peak:  59
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Pop, New Wave

Pop Bits:  You can add The Monroes to the list of "could have been" bands whose unfortunate luck derailed their potential success. This San Diego group got picked up by the Japanese-based label Alfa. Alfa had opened a US subsidiary in 1980 and was able to get a few singles on the chart including the original release of Billy Vera's "At This Moment" (#79). The Monroes recorded a self-titled EP for the label that featured this first single. The track was off to a good start and was expected to do very well. Unfortunately, as the track began to climb the chart, Alfa decided to close their US office. The closing took away all promotion and everything the group needed to secure a hit. Without the label's support, the single took an immediate dive and it left The Monroes in the lurch. The band did get picked up by CBS (Alfa's distributor), but lack of support from them kept their recordings on the shelf. They soldiered on for most of the decade, but by 1988 they finally called it quits.

ReduxReview:  Was it bad luck or just fated to be? That question gets asked when this happens to a promising artist. I think this group had potential and this song should have really kicked it off for them. It's a little bit of Elvis Costello mixed with a tidge of Squeeze. I love the dual lead vocals. It's a shame this didn't get further. It's a cool lost 80s track that could use a revival. Therefore, a Spotlight was in order.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Although called The Monroes, there wasn't anyone in the band with the real name of Monroe. The closest was Bob Davis who maintained a stage name of Bob Monroe. Before joining the band, he was in another group called Rick Elias and the Monroes. When Elias decided to be a solo act, he allowed Davis to retain The Monroes moniker and Davis then used it for the new group. Davis continued to use the name Bob Monroe and lead vocalist Jesus Oritz adopted the name Tony Monroe. A few years later, the band was successfully sued for using the name by another band called The Monroes. Forced into a name change, they came up with Man to Man.


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