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The Romantics are ready to rock the Riverfront

@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

Posted: Thursday, July 11, 2013

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Detroit's Romantics are best-known for their 1980 hit "What I LIke About You," but it was 30 years ago that the band enjoyed its hottest commercial breakthrough.

"In Heat," the quartet's fourth album, reached a career-high No. 13 on the Billboard 200, with the single "Talking In Your Sleep" peaking at No. 3 on the Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart -- which landed the group an unexpected appearance on "Soul Train."

"I'm not gonna say it was a do-or-die album for us," but we'd had a couple of albums out that didn't fare as well as our first one, so there was some concern," recalls frontman Wally Palmar, 60, the only constant member in the Romantics' 36-year history. "But we got on track again and we wrote whatever we had in our heads at the time and came up with stuff that sounded different -- but that a lot of people liked, too."

The atypical "Talking in Your Sleep," Palmar says, was the last track recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, crafted from an instrumental that co-producer Pete Solley said "sounds too good for us not to finish up." So, Palmar says, we buckled down and came up with a melody and a chorus and lyrics and finished it up." And the group received some quick encouragement from a studio janitor.

"One of the guys that was cleaning up the (control) room and had been there for years, seen the Bee Gees and all that, he hard ('Talking in Your Sleep') playing and said, 'That's your hit right there' and just walked away," Palmar remembers with a laugh. "And sure enough, a few months later that was the lead (single) and was a really big hit for us, so he knew what he was talking about."

The Romantics and Amy Gore & Her Valentines kick off the 2013 Chevrolet Rockin' on the Riverfront series at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 12, behind the GM Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. Admission is free. Visit www.facebook.com/RockinontheRiverfront.

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