Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day 10/05/2019

Baltimora was a duo made up of singer and dancer Jimmy McShane and writer and producer Maurizio Bassi.

Jimmy was born in Northern Ireland in 1957. He was driven away from his home when his family was unwilling to accept his homosexuality and initially relocated to London. Singer Dee D. Jackson had several hits in the UK beginning in 1976 and hired Jimmy as a backup singer and dancer for a tour of Europe. Jimmy fell in love with Milan while on that tour and moved there and learned Italian so he could be a part of the underground dance scene. He worked as an EMT to earn money while he pursued a career in dancing and singing.

Maurizio played keyboards and wrote and produced records. He hired Jimmy as the frontman for a group that they named Baltimora. The two of them hired Italian session men and recorded their first album. The lead single from the album was Tarzan Boy and it appears that Maurizio may have sung the lead vocals with Jimmy singing backup. The record swept through Europe in 1985, landing in the top five in numerous countries and eventually reaching #3 in the UK.

The record took longer to break in the US but spent six months in the Hot 100 in 1986. The single peaked at #17 in the Hot 100, thanks in part to the exposure of the video that featured Jimmy lip-syncing the lyrics. He was, after all, hired as the frontman for the group.

Several more singles followed, but none of them broke through like their first single did. Their only other charting record in the US was Living In The Background, which only got as high as #87. The group released a second album in 1987 and disbanded when Maurizio decided to move on to other projects.

In 1993, their hit was used in a Listerine commercial. A remix of Tarzan Boy reentered the charts and got as high as #51. The song’s remix was also used in the film  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III and perhaps that helped the record along as well.

Jimmy returned to Ireland in 1994 when he was diagnosed with AIDS; he died in 1995.


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