Tag Archives: Mr. Big

Wherefore Chart Thou, Romeo? The Star-Crossed Singles

They'll fight for this "Love".

Shakin’ with Shakespeare.

The British band Lawson recently made it up to #6 in the United Kingdom with their single “Brokenhearted”, which features B.O.B. and is included on a forthcoming album. Now, the boys have a second single out, the power pop song that is “Juliet”. It’s out in the U.K. on October 13. Seems that the quartet had a little inspiration from ol’ William Shakespeare; Juliet, a main protagonist in the play Romeo And Juliet, is one of the most memorable characters in written history. So, as you might expect, she’s also been written into a handful of hit songs. Yet, her lover, Romeo, might be just a little bit jealous if she’s getting all the attention from the music makers of the world. So, who wins this single battle of the sweethearts? Drink down this look at the competition on both sides of the pond:

In the U.S., there’s been six top 40 hits since the Hot 100’s been around that mention either Romeo himself or the pair together. (Sorry, Juliet!) They come from three different decades, although many of them have become obscure over the years given some of these acts’ diminished careers. Remember any of these?

“Romeo’s Tune”, Steve Forbert (#11, 1980)
“Romeo”, Dino (#6, 1990)

“Tune” was Mississippi-born Forbert’s only top 40 hit; his followup made it to a lowly #85 later in 1980. Dino would continue to chart until 1993, when he scored with a cover of “Ooh Child”.

“(Just Like) Romeo & Juliet”, The Reflections (#6, 1964)
“Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet, Henry Mancini & His Orchestra (#1, 1969)
“Romeo & Juliet”, Stacy Earl featuring The Wild Pair (#27, 1992)
“Romeo And Juliet”, Sylk-E. Fyne featuring Chill (#6, 1998)

The Reflections never had a single as big as their first, but an additional two made the lower region of the Hot 100. Conductor and producer Mancini made the Hot 100 a handful of other times, most notably with a top 20 version of the theme from Love Story in 1971. Earl charted with one more non-top 40 single after this before her charting days were over thanks to a musical shift with more rock and rap. Both Sylk-E. Fyne and Chill remain one-hit wonders and that won’t change anytime soon.

In total, all six songs mention Romeo, while only four mention Juliet. Looks like the guy beats the gal in this race, although it is close.

In the U.K., we raise it up to nine songs to officially make the top 40 between 1957 and now on the Official Singles Chart. Interestingly enough, nothing from the U.S. crossed over to the U.K. and vice versa, although some of the same act names pop up again in different incarnations. Hopefully, there weren’t any legal troubles along the way. Let’s see how the English do when it comes to Mr. William’s words:

“You You Romeo”, Shirley Bassey (#29, 1957)
“Romeo”, Petula Clark (#3, 1961)
“Romeo”, Mr. Big (#4, 1977)
“Romeo Me”, Sleeper (#39, 1997)
“Romeo”, Basement Jaxx (#6, 2001)
“Romeo Dunn”, Romeo (#3, 2002)

Bassey was yet to see her biggest success in the U.K. at that point, including two number-one singles in 1959 and 1961, respectively. Clark continued to enjoy pretty consistent success until the end of that decade. Not to be confused with the U.S. band, the U.K. Mr. Big only had other one charting single after their “Romeo” which just dented the top 40. Sleeper‘s single was the last of seven top 40 hits in a row, all charted in the 90’s. Basement Jaxx had a string of moderate charters following their hit and last made the top ten in 2005 with “Oh My Gosh”. The U.K. Romeo had top ten singles in a row, including “Dunn”, before the label he was on filed for bankruptcy.

“Romeo And Juliet”, Dire Straits (#8, 1981)

Though this single never entered the Hot 100, the band would return and in a big way with the #1 “Money For Nothing” from 1985.

“Juliet”, The Four Pennies (#1, 1964)
“Juliet (Keep That In Mind)”, Thea Gilmore (#35, 2003)

The British quartet never made it to the top ten again, although they charted in the top 40 until 1966. They never made it to the Hot 100. Gilmore released a followup that charted at #50, and would never go as high on the charts since then.

Looks like Juliet didn’t fare any better over here. Seven for Romeo, a mere three for Juliet. Well, Lawson will probably bring that number up to four come October. The majority of their songs have gone top ten in that territory, so potentially expect the same with “Juliet”. The ending of the play may be depressing, but the charts don’t have to be… or do they?

What’s your favorite single about our dear Romeo and/or Juliet? Comment below, follow the blog below or click the “Get Social!” page to find PGTC on social media.

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