Monday, August 20, 2018

"Tarzan Boy" by Baltimora

One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  2502
Date:  10/19/1985
Debut:  80
Peak:  13
Weeks:  26
Genre:  Dance-Pop, Europop

Pop Bits:  Jimmy McShane was a failed West End (theater) wannabe who ended up moving back to his hometown in Ireland where he became an EMT. Then a friend from London got in contact with McShane and offered him a gig doing background vocals for Dee D. Jackson, an English singer who grabbed a couple of Italio-disco hits in the late 70s/early 80s. McShane accepted and on a tour stop in Italy he met producer Maurizio Bassi. Bassi was putting together a music project that he called Baltimora and wanted McShane to front the group. McShane took a chance on Bassi's project and the two began working together. In the spring of '85, this first single was issued out in Europe. It quickly became a hit reaching the Top 10's of many countries including #3 in the UK. With a hit on their hands, a deal was struck to get the tune released in the US. Following it's mid-October debut, the single would very slowly climb the chart for over four months before finally peaking just outside the Pop Top 10. It would also be a #6 Dance hit. With the song being so identifiable and it being their only significant hit, Baltimora would be tagged as a one-hit wonder.

ReduxReview:  This is one of those songs that is like a time warp. When I hear it, I'm immediately transported back to when this single came out. It makes me chuckle. As nostalgia, the song is fun. The Tarzan-yell chorus is ultra hooky and the goofy 80s production is spot-on. I bought into it back in the day, but the novelty of it certainly wore off quick. It's fun to hear as a lark now, but once I do, it can slip back into the time capsule for another decade.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) There was always speculation as to whether McShane did the lead vocals on this track and others from Baltimora's debut album Living in the Background. Many folks thought that Bassi had already recorded most of the project and was just looking for a face to sell it and the handsome McShane fit the bill. Indeed the lead vocals on this track don't sound like a young Irish lad and that seems to point to Bassi doing the voice work. Years later, another prominent Italio-disco producer, Tom Hooker, confirmed that Bassi did the vocals while McShane served as the public front for the "band."  2) This song got a second life in 1993. That year, the chorus of the song was used in a commercial for Listerine Cool Mint mouthwash. It was an animated ad that was done by Pixar. Then, the song appeared in the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. With interest in the old hit growing, a remix of the song was done and issued out as a single. It ended up peaking at #51 on the Pop chart.


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