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The Romantics' Wally Palmar reflects on 40th anniversary of band's debut album & "What I Like About You"

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Nemperor Records

Romantics frontman Wally Palmar has been busy lately promoting the just-released second album from his supergroup side project, The Empty Hearts, but he took time recently to reflect on the 40th anniversary of his main band’s self-titled debut record.

Released in January 1980, The Romantics features the enduring power-pop classic “What I Like About You,” as well as the gem “When I Look in Your Eyes” and a memorable cover of The Kinks’ “She’s Got Everything.”

Palmar recalls that leading up to recording the album, The Romantics had been working hard playing gigs, writing songs and making demos, and by the time they hit the studio in late 1979, they had about 15 to 20 tunes to choose from, including “What I Like About You.”

Wally says “What I Like About You” stood out as soon as the band recorded it.

“When we heard the playback, we said, ‘Don’t even touch [it], don’t even f*** with it…’cause it sounds good right now,'” he recalls. “It just sounded good right out of the…cannon. It really did.”

Like most of the songs on The Romantics, “What I Like About You” was co-written by Palmar, guitarist Mike Skill and drummer Jimmy Marinos. Unlike most songs on the album, Wally didn’t sing lead on “What I Like About You,” Jimmy did. Marinos left the group in 1984.

Palmar tells ABC Audio that any plans The Romantics had to mark their debut album’s 40th anniversary were put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“So, we’ll have to make up for it at some point,” he says, “put our heads together.”

Wally also reports that The Romantics were hoping to “put some type of [reissue] package together, which is still not out of the question at this point.”

By Matt Friedlander
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