Thursday, April 12, 2012

When in Rome - "The Promise"

The Promise - When in Rome

(Debuted September 3, 1988, Peaked #11, 24 Weeks on the Chart)

When in Rome was a three-man synth-pop group from Manchester, England. Since 1988 was a very good time to be a syth-pop act, their sound was welcome on hit radio. Their debut single was "The Promise," a song that just missed the pop Top 10 but got more exposure than its peak position showed. Although the synthesizer was pretty much de riguer, it came off as both familiar and multi-layered. For instance, it was a #1 dance hit even while it had a slower beat than what most people want to hear when they hit the clubs.

However, the band failed to get another single to sustain the momentum; the follow-up single "Heaven Knows" only reached #95. The band eventually had the dreaded internal strife and broke up in 1990 without recording a second LP. Years later, two reformed line-ups of When In Rome appeared that were fronted by former members of the original trio. In the U.S., the group featured Michael Floreale (who held the trademark). When his former bandmates Clive Farrington and Andrew Mann formed their own version of the reformed group in the U.K., the lawyers got involved. 

"The Promise" was also used at the end of the 2004 film Napoleon Dynamite, bringing it to another generation of listeners.

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