Friday, August 05, 2022

Song of the Day: 'The Promise' by When in Rome

Day five of Songs That Peaked at No. 11: Today's pick comes as a recommendation from a reader who discovered my blog during the pandemic. He wrote me a lengthy and extremely kind email -- he's a tennis- and Blondie-loving gay of a certain age! -- which made my week. 

He says in part:
I've been meaning to write to you for the whole pandemic, because your blog is one of the things that got me through the pandemic, but more on that to follow. I was especially inspired today by the series of songs that topped out at #11 on the charts, a long-time obsession of mine as well. My personal favorite has always been "The Promise" by When In Rome, which hit #11 on the Billboard hot 100 in 1988 during my freshman year of college. I was a huge fan of the song, and actually the whole album is great synth pop. The video featured an unusually cool visual twist -- panning constantly to the right; the Wikipedia page doesn't even mention this, ye gads.. 

It's striking how this song didn't find an audience when released in 1987, yet has had such enduring appeal in the 35 years since. The video has been watched over 100 million times (!!) on YouTube since 2009. I still hear the song at least once a week on L.A. radio; it somehow became an outsider 80s anthem, to my ever-lasting delight, though not a hit in its original outing. Surely a candidate for your list!
Indeed! My only guess is that synth-new-wave was starting to go out of style by the time "The Promise" came out or surely it would have been at least a Top 5 hit. Does anyone really think "Safety Dance" is better? (Actually, don't answer that. I know way too many Men Without Hats absolutists!) 

1 comment:

martini421 said...

Classic 80s synth pop. An underappreciated gem IMO. I never tire of hearing this song.
BTW - nice series highlighting songs that peaked at #11. I, too, am a bit of a chart nerd of the late 70s through early 90s so I appreciate your insights.