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What I Like About The Romantics (Read 1393 times)
Ken_Cheng
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What I Like About The Romantics
Feb 24th, 2005 at 1:41am
 
I can't believe nobody else has started a thread with that title.  Smiley

I was born in 1972.  That would make me a child of the 1970s and an adolescent of the 1980s.  My musical tastes, however, generally run one generation behind the one I belong to.  My first musical love was the rock 'n roll of the 1950s and the 1960s, especially the Beatles and the other British Invasion bands (from the Rolling Stones to Herman's Hermits and everything in between).

I was not a big fan of 1980s pop music when I was a teenager during the 1980s (although as I've grown older, I've developed a retrospective fondness and appreciation for it):  I thought most of it was kind of fluffy compared to the older rock 'n roll of the 1950s-1970s.

I was too young for the first Romantics bandwagon of 1980.  In any case, although "What I Like About You" became the Romantics' signature song, it wasn't a big national hit that year.  Indeed, I didn't hear "What I Like About You" until it was featured in a promotional TV spot for the L.A. Dodgers (I live and have always lived in Southern California) in *1989*, and I didn't associate the song with the same band that had recorded "Talking In Your Sleep" (the first Romantics song I'd ever heard) back when I was in the fifth grade in 1983.

I first heard "Talking In Your Sleep" on the radio sometime during the summer of 1983, and I also saw the music video on MTV at around that same time.  Visually, I thought the Romantics looked pretty cool, although fairly typical for MTV bands at the time:  they looked alot like Duran Duran, Kagajoojoo, A-Ha, and those other MTV New Wave bands that were popular back then.  There was one thing that was very different about the Romantics, though:  they were a full-fledged guitars/drums rock 'n roll band in the classic mold, not synth pop merchants.  That already set them apart from MTV's New Wave set. 

I bought my first Romantics' record in 1993 (WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU AND OTHER ROMANTIC HITS).  This was when I realized that the band that had recorded "Talking In Your Sleep" was also the same band that was responsible for "What I Like About You".  For years, however, those were the only two Romantics songs I played.

About a year or two ago, I played the entire WILAYAORH album from end to end for the first time after reading positive reviews about the Romantics' early records in the ALL MUSIC GUIDE TO ROCK.  I was intrigued by the praise the Romantics' records drew from the record critics because typically, commercially-oriented 80s rock bands that were not U2 or R.E.M. got *savaged* by the critics (who generally hate mainstream bands and love only indie bands).  That, combined with the Beatlesesque sound that I'd always heard in the Romantics, convinced me to explore their catalogue in greater depth.  Something extraordinary then happened:  the Romantics surpassed all my expectations, which had been high to begin with.

I think the special appeal of the Romantics for me is that more than any other performer, they successfully married the sound of early 1960s rock 'n roll with the sheen and polish of 1980s rock, without losing their authenticity in the process (at least not on the early records).  The Romantics played old school rock 'n roll, but did not seem parodically retro (like the Stray Cats) in the 1980s.  They were able to seem hip in the 1980s while updating the classic British Invasion sound.  That's a difficult balance to strike, and I have yet to see another act do it as effectively as the Romantics did.

It's unfortunate that the Romantics did not enjoy greater acclaim over the years than they did (largely due to that management lawsuit business, although the fickle tastes of music fans also played a big role in that).  Based on the merits of their work, the Romantics should have been one of the most successful rock acts of the past two decades.

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« Last Edit: Feb 24th, 2005 at 1:08pm by Ken_Cheng »  
 
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Kevin1
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Re: What I Like About The Romantics
Reply #1 - Feb 24th, 2005 at 1:47am
 
I'm SO glad Ken is here. He is bringing so much fun discussion to the board. Cool ...
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Ken_Cheng
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Re: What I Like About The Romantics
Reply #2 - Feb 24th, 2005 at 1:56am
 
Quote:
I'm SO glad Ken is here. He is bringing so much fun discussion to the board. Cool ...


Thanks, Kevin.  It's cool to be here.  Until I discovered this forum, I thought I was the only raving Romantics fan on Earth.   It's good to discover otherwise.  Smiley

I'm still a novice when it comes to in-depth Romantics knowledge, however, so I'll have plenty of questions for you guys.


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bookiesoriginal
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Re: What I Like About The Romantics
Reply #3 - Feb 24th, 2005 at 2:07am
 
Quote:
Based on the merits of their work, the Romantics should have been one of the most successful rock acts of the past two decades.


well said.
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pinkbubelz
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Re: What I Like About The Romantics
Reply #4 - Feb 24th, 2005 at 2:13am
 
Ken...

What's there not to like?! Smiley

Actually, I think we've had threads like this in the past, but unfortnately, each time YaBB crashed, they were erased... ;-(

The Romantics has been my favorite band since I first heard "WILAY" at 14, when one of the punk/rock bands in my high school first played it... It's been my favorite ever since!

I love it so much that at every dance or wedding I've gone to, I've requested it.... Smiley  (and since I've been to over 40 weddings over the past 12 years, I have had the occasion of having about 35 of them play the song at the reception... Smiley  )

Sure wish we could turn back time 18 years and not have them go through that legal battle-- who knows how many more hits they would have released in that time?

BUT... the great thing is that their newest album, 61/49 is so much more rich in their sound, that I'm almost glad that they didn't have any other records in that intervening period....

And, on a selfish note, I'm really glad that they aren't as big as they could have been, because that means that we die-hard fans still are able to visit and talk to them on a more personal basis at their meet & greets, etc...  :-D
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pinkbubelz
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Re: What I Like About The Romantics
Reply #5 - Feb 24th, 2005 at 2:14am
 
LOL...
Ken, until you started posting, I thought I was the only Asian American Romantics fan... LOL
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Ken_Cheng
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Re: What I Like About The Romantics
Reply #6 - Feb 24th, 2005 at 2:19am
 
Quote:

And, on a selfish note, I'm really glad that they aren't as big as they could have been, because that means that we die-hard fans still are able to visit and talk to them on a more personal basis at their meet & greets, etc...  :-D


I know what you mean.  The Romantics aren't exactly some obscure indie band ("What I Like About You" has ensured that), but at the same time, they're not Nirvana or Metallica.  When people say they're Romantics fans, you know they're not poseurs because (for better or for worse) there's no hip quotient in claiming to be a Romantics fan.  People generally don't namedrop the Romantics (although maybe they should) when they want to set themselves up as musical hipsters.  Romantics fans are genuinely fans of the band and their music.  Being a Romantics fan has all the benefits of being a fan of an obscure indie group...without any of the drawbacks. 

I maintain, however, that if more people actually *listened* to the Romantics' records than wrote them off as a has-been act from the 80s, there'd be far more Romantics fans in the world.  Smiley


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pinkbubelz
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Re: What I Like About The Romantics
Reply #7 - Feb 24th, 2005 at 2:36am
 
Quote:
I know what you mean.  The Romantics aren't exactly some obscure indie band ("What I Like About You" has ensured that), but at the same time, they're not Nirvana or Metallica.  When people say they're Romantics fans, you know they're not poseurs because (for better or for worse), there's no hip quotient in claiming to be a Romantics fan.  People generally don't namedrop the Romantics (although maybe they should) when they want to set themselves up as musical hipsters.  Romantics fans are genuinely fans of the band and their music.  Being a Romantics fan has all the benefits of being a fan of an obscure indie group...without any of the drawbacks.  

I maintain, however, that if more people actually *listened* to the Romantics' records than wrote them off as a has-been act from the 80s, there'd be far more Romantics fans in the world.  Smiley


Well, I definitely "name drop" The Romantics every chance I get!   Grin  Grin  Grin

Usually I'm telling the people that they need to hear 61/49. (In Heat and Rhythm Romance weren't the same as their older albums, which is what most people remember....)  What I like to tell them is that their new stuff goes back to their "roots" in their music.

To me, they have never been a "has-been" act... When I stumbled upon their concert in Pontiac in 1999, I immediately started searching the internet for anything "recent" about them... Lucky for me, I found a message board and discovered that there were other big fans like myself who were patiently waiting for their "second coming"....

It's too bad that marketing of CDs tend to go towards teeny boppers these days and that groups of substance vs. flash tend to get swept up under the rug.  Not really fair to the quality groups, but I'm thinking that eventually, people will get tired of the dancers pretending to be a band and will go back to listening to bands that actually sound good....

Anyone who's ever been to see The Romantics play live can see the love the guys have for their music and that they aren't "just going throught the motions", but that they they truly enjoy what they are doing.  I can see it also in the way that they treat their fans as well... Smiley

Cheesy

My 2 cents... (biased as it may be... but heck, that's what makes me a "Romantics Fanatic"!)
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Ken_Cheng
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Re: What I Like About The Romantics
Reply #8 - Feb 24th, 2005 at 3:15am
 
Quote:
LOL...
Ken, until you started posting, I thought I was the only Asian American Romantics fan... LOL


Ditto.  I'm Chinese-American, and so are most of my friends in my own age group.  Most of my friends tend not to be hardcore music fans like I am (at last count, I owned about 900 CDs spanning just about every musical style you can imagine, but heavily focused on guitar-based rock 'n roll).  Most of them listen to whatever's on the radio (which varies between adult contemporary stuff and hip hop, I suppose).  I work as an English teacher at a private institute and most of my students are from the Far East, so their musical tastes run towards Asian pop music (from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea.  Among the people I know, I'm the only old school rock 'n roller).  I wear the distinction with pride.  Smiley

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pinkbubelz
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Re: What I Like About The Romantics
Reply #9 - Feb 24th, 2005 at 3:50am
 
Quote:
Ditto.  I'm Chinese-American, and so are most of my friends in my own age group.  Most of my friends tend not to be hardcore music fans like I am (at last count, I owned about 900 CDs spanning just about every musical style you can imagine, but heavily focused on guitar-based rock 'n roll).  Most of them listen to whatever's on the radio (which varies between adult contemporary stuff and hip hop, I suppose).  I work as an English teacher at a private institute and most of my students are from the Far East, so their musical tastes run towards Asian pop music (from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea.  Among the people I know, I'm the only old school rock 'n roller.  I wear the distinction with pride.  Smiley



Yay!!! A rebel after my own heart! Smiley

I think I was probably the only Asian American student in college who didn't listen to "New Order" and Techno... (Bleh!)

Grin

I did, however listen to GORR (Good Old Rock & Roll), and (yes, I must confess) some "House Music/Rap" back in the younger softer days of rap music.... LOL  

My musical tastes run the gamut--
from Mozart and Beethoven and other Classical Music,
The Rolling Stones, the Kinks, Elvis, Lou Reed, Foreigner, AC/DC, The Beatles, Billy Joel, Madonna (80s), OLD David Bowie--(didn't like the stuff he put out in the 80s).... Led Zepplin....
Sugar Cubes, Laurie Anderson, King Crimson, Tangerine Dream....

Swing music of all types (mostly the older stuff like Duke Ellington.... and newer groups, like Indigo Swing (now defunct), Squirrel Nut Zippers, Lavay Smith and the Red Hot Skillet Lickers....(Was really into swing dancing for a few years-- and you can actually do that to The Romantics music, too, as some of it is almost like "rock-a-billy" music... Wink )

And, I like country (new country) Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, Tim McGraw, Mary Chapin Carpenter...
Talking Heads, Bare Naked Ladies, Matchbox 20,
Some Christian Rock...DC Talk, Newsboys

About the only thing I really don't like is the REALLY hard heavy metal, not much into Goth or some of the extreme Rap these days, although, depending on the group, I don't always mind hip-hop.... Smiley

But, they all pale in comparison to my love of The Romantics... Wink
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pinkbubelz
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Re: What I Like About The Romantics
Reply #10 - Feb 24th, 2005 at 3:52am
 
Of course, that's only a partial list...
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pinkbubelz
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Re: What I Like About The Romantics
Reply #11 - Feb 24th, 2005 at 3:53am
 
And a new-found appreciation of Ray Charles after seeing the movie "Ray"... I never realized how many of his songs were familiar to me! 

(oh, and I totally forgot that I like Motown...)
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Ken_Cheng
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Re: What I Like About The Romantics
Reply #12 - Feb 24th, 2005 at 4:09am
 
A  list of my favorite music artists (in addition to the Romantics would consist of the following):

Bill Haley & The Comets
Chuck Berry
Bo Diddley
Elvis Presley
Buddy Holly & The Crickets
Richie Valens
Carl Perkins
Gene Vincent & The Blue Caps
Eddie Cochran
Jerry Lee Lewis
Little Richard
Ricky Nelson
The Everly Brothers
The Ventures
The Beach Boys
The Shirelles
The Ronettes
The Marvelettes
Martha & The Vandellas
The Supremes
Chubby Checker
The Isley Brothers
James Brown
Ben E. King
The Righteous Brothers
Roy Orbison
The Kingsmen
Bob Dylan
THE BEATLES (with all due respect to the Romantics, my favorite musicians OF ALL TIME)
John Lennon (solo)
Paul McCartney (solo and with Wings)
George Harrison (solo)
Ringo Starr (solo)
Gerry & The Pacemakers
Peter & Gordon
Herman's Hermits
The Hollies
Manfred Mann
The Dave Clark Five
The Kinks
The Animals
The Rolling Stones
The Who
The Yardbirds
John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
Cream
The Byrds
Simon & Garfunkel
The Doors
The Grateful Dead
Buffalo Springfield
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Jefferson Airplane
Steppenwolf
Iron Butterfly
Deep Purple
Led Zeppelin
Black Sabbath
Grand Funk Railroad
Thin Lizzy
Queen
Pink Floyd
Kiss
The Band
Neil Young
The Eagles
The Allman Brothers
America
Badfinger
Peter Frampton
Boston
Fleetwood Mac
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Cheap Trick
Don McLean
John Denver
Jim Croce
Paul Simon (solo)
Carole King
The Carpenters
Elton John
Rod Stewart
The Bee Gees
Blondie
David Bowie
T. Rex
The New York Dolls
The Sex Pistols
The Ramones
The Clash
Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Bob Marley & The Wailers
THE ROMANTICS (of course).  Wink
The Pretenders
The Police
Toto
Michael Jackson
Cyndi Lauper
Billy Joel
Culture Club
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
Duran Duran
Prince & The Revolution
Madonna
Wham!
Robert Palmer
Tears For Fears
Van Halen
AC/DC
Quiet Riot
Twisted Sister
Whitesnake
Def Leppard
Bon Jovi
Guns 'N Roses
Metallica
Aerosmith
Depeche Mode
U2
R.E.M.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Nirvana
Pearl Jam
The Smashing Pumpkins
The Cranberries
Beck
Jewel
The Barenaked Ladies
Sugar Ray
Smash Mouth
Sheryl Crow
Mary J. Blige
Moby
No Doubt
Pink
The Vines
The Hives
John Mayer

...and hundreds more.  Smiley

Talk about name-dropping, eh?

The Beatles are my all-time favorite performers, but the Band of the Moment for me has been the Romantics.  They're such a great band that has been underdogs for so long I almost feel it incumbent upon me to champion their music.  Cheesy


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« Last Edit: Feb 24th, 2005 at 1:23pm by Ken_Cheng »  
 
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pinkbubelz
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Re: What I Like About The Romantics
Reply #13 - Feb 24th, 2005 at 4:23am
 
OK, OK,  I won't even TRY to match that list!

I have lots more on mine, but I have never stopped to catalogue my CDs and vinyl and tapes... LOL

It took me forever to catalogue all of my Karaoke discs (probably about 800+ songs) and I'm not sure I'm than ambitious to catalogue everything else I have... Smiley
Including 1 awful version of WILAY and 1 awesome version of it (on an MTV Karaoke Disc), plus a so-so version of Talking in Your SLeep (on that same MTV Disc--the words aren't quite right).  I bring that disc with me when we go out Karaoking and guess what song I sing?! (WILAY, of course!.... but I have to fake the harmonica!)

I pretty much have all of the music the Romantics have ever released, (but not stuff like imports or anything like that)

Unfortunately, I don't own a (working) record player at the moment... *grumble grumble* but Luckily, I taped the original albums on tapes...  Now I wish I had tried to buy them on CD when they first came out... but I was stubborn and like the "pop and fizzle" of the vinyl... LOL

I can't wait to listen to 61/49 on vinyl. I'm sure it will enhance my appreciation for the record... Smiley
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