Monday, April 1, 2013

Steve Forbert--Romeo's Tune (1979)

      If you were to define Steve Forbert today, it would probably be listed under the all-encompassing tent that is Americana music. He has been called a folk singer, or even earlier just categorized as a singer-songwriter. No matter what genre you put him in, Steve has had a long and successful career, even if this song defines him to most listeners.
     He has been nominated for a Grammy in 2004 for a tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, and has written music in support of the Occupy Wall St. movement, as well as a song ("Sandy") to raise awareness of the devastating hurricane and it's aftermath. Many of his albums since going in a pop rock/folk/country vein in 1985, has been very influential to other singers and songwriters, if not the general public.
     But it's always been that way with Steve as his strong poetic lyrics were evident from his first album release, "Alive on Arrival" in 1978. It was the second disc though that put him on the map. "Jackrabbit Slim" (1979) and the single from that album was a distinctive sound on the charts as opposed to the disco/punk/new wave that was being heard at that time. It was one of those moments that I've written about before where an artist's song crosses paths for just a moment with public tastes, before they continue on their paths, never to cross again.
     The song reached #11 on the charts, and a follow up barely cracked the top 100. Other than a role (as her boyfriend) in Cindi Lauper's video for  "Girls Just Want To Have Fun", most top 40 listeners never heard of him again. However, 14 years later, Forbert continues to craft strong albums and influence a generation of songwriters and performers.
     You can read more about him and his latest album here:


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