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Meet the Romantics [PHOTOS, VIDEOS]


romantics-in heat
The Romantics biggest album, 1983. (

This Detroit-based new wave band formed on February 14, 1977…Valentine’s Day…hence the name Romantics!

The Romantics’ original lineup consisted of lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and harmonica player Wally Palmar, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Mike Skill, bassist and backing vocalist Rich Cole, and drummer and lead vocalist Jimmy Marinos.

All four members wrote the Romantics’ music, but Palmar and Skill were considered the band’s primary writers.

After playing local and regional shows in Detroit and throughout the Midwest for a few years, the Romantics recorded the band’s self-titled debut album for Nemperor Records in 1980. The band’s (literal) record debut was the 1978 single on Spider Records, “Little White Lies” / “I Can’t Tell You Anything”, followed by the single “Tell It to Carrie” / “First in Line” (on Bomp Records). All of these were re-recorded for the first album.

The album brought us one of “Jersey’s Favorite Hits: “What I Like About You” (#49/1980). Interestingly, the song went to #12 in the Holland and #2 in Australia!

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Now, the lineup changes would begin…Mike Skill left the band after the release of the 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. Then, Rich Cole left, and was replaced by a returning Skill, who then became the bassist for the Romantics.

The Romantics had their greatest commercial success in 1983 and 1984,  with the release of the album “In Heat.”

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“Talking In Your Sleep” went to #3 in late 1983!

It also spent two weeks at #1 on the Dance chart!

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It was also a big international hit (#2 in Canada,  #14 in Australia,  #18 in Germany,  #20 in Holland,  #15 in South Africa,  #5 in Sweden,  and  #20 in Switzerland).

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“One In A Million” the second single, peaked at #37 in 1984.

“One In A Million” Extended Single. (Craig Allen photo)

Thanks to these songs, the Romantics music videos were in hot rotation on MTV (remember when MTV actually played videos?). The band also backed up the album “In Heat” with an international concert tour…and appearances on “American Bandstand,” Solid Gold” and “Soul Train.”

1984 also brought a new drummer, David Petratos (who would stay til 1990).

The album “Rhythm Romance” was released in 1985.

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“Test Of Time” stalled out at #71 (1985).

Late in “The Big Decade,” the Romantics discovered that their managers had been misappropriating the band’s profits (from hit records and live performances).

And if that wasn’t enough, “What I Like About You” had been licensed for use in television commercials without the band’s knowledge or approval! Oops!!

As a result, 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!

Due to the legal issues,  for much of the 1990’s, the Romantics played obscure performances in small venues. They found themselves largely forgotten, far from the public spotlight.

The Romantics fortunes began to turn around a bit, with the resolution of the legal issues in the mid 1990’s. This meant that the guys could record new music, and make money from licensing the use of their 80’s hits.

Romantics, 1990 Best Of compilation. (Craig Allen photo)

Several Romantics “Greatest Hits” CDs were released late in the 1990’s…taking advantage of a first wave of 1980’s nostalgia, and corresponding new interest in the band!


In 2003, twenty years after the release of their most commercially successful album, “In Heat,” the Romantics released “61/49.”  The new album was a more roots of rock and blues-oriented record than the band’s previous albums. While “61/49″ was not a great commercial success, it won the Romantics a critical respect that they had not enjoyed during their pop, commercial heyday in the early 1980’s.

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And while drummers have continued to come and go over the years, the Romantics remain active, and continue to play live concerts to this day!


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