Meet Baltimora [PHOTOS, VIDEOS]
Baltimora was actually an Italian (!) New Wave band. It was formed in Milan in 1984.
Musician and music producer Maurizio Bassi was looking to take on a new project, when he met Jimmy McShane, an Emergency Medical Techician (EMT), working for the Red Cross in Ireland.
McShane, of Derry Northern Ireland, proposed the project, and would assume frontman status in the band’s videos, due to his appearance, and dance abilities. He was noted for his etravagant (and loose) clothing. All band members would wear red glasses.
McShane would record some of the Baltimora vocals, including backup vocals. Some sources state that Bassi was actually lead vocalist on most of the band’s songs…including their biggest hit.
Besides McShane on vocals, Baltimora also consisted of: Maurizio Bassi on keyboards and vocals, Giorgio Cocilovo on lead guitar, Claudio Bazzari on rhythm guitar, Pier Michelatti on bass guitar, and Gabriele Melotti on the drums.
The band’s biggest hit: Tarzan Boy.
Released in the summer of 1985, Tarzan Boy was an International hit!
Reaching #6 in Italy, and it landed in the top-5 in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, and Norway. It was a #5 hit in Canada by the end of 1985…but it took longer to climb the charts in America!
It took 6 months for “Tarzan Boy” to reach (only) #13 on the Hot 100 charts here in America. It is said that an appearance on the TV show “Solid Gold” helped.
Baltimora’s first album, “Living In The Background,” was released late in 1985. Despite the success of “Tarzan Boy,” the album was not much of a success (mid-20s on the European album charts, #49 U.S.). A followup single, “Woody Boogie” did not chart in America.
“Survivor In Love” was supposed to be Baltimora’s “comeback” album in 1987. No one cared. The single “Key Key Karimba” only charted in Italy (#37).
With the lack of album success, and no support from their label, Baltimora disbanded.
But wait…that’s not quite the end…
Tarzan Boy returned to the Hot 100 charts in 1993, after it was featured in a “Listerine” TV commercial!
A remix of the song went to #51 on the charts in 1993.
It was also featured in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movies in 1993, and 1997…
I was working at the new Top-40 station in Philadelphia in 1993 (Eric Johnson, the Program Director here at New Jersey 101.5 was my boss there, too). I enjoyed (and found it ironic to be) playing Tarzan Boy, a song I had loved so much in the 1980s, as a “current” in the early 90′s!
And, I would play Tarzan Boy in a nostalgic context, when I hosted an All-80′s radio show in Philadelphia in the late 1990′s…and play it NOW on New Jersey 101.5!
A few more Baltimora notes: Jimmy McShane would be “overwhelmed” by the original success of Tarzan Boy…and saddened by a lack of further music success. He would leave the music scene…and die of AIDS in 1995, at the age of 37.