Song of the Week – Romeo’s Tune, Steve Forbert

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

Meet me in the middle of the day
Let me hear you say everything’s okay
Bring me southern kisses from your room

Back in 1979, singer-songwriter Steve Forbert had a Top 20 hit with “Romeo’s Tune” from Forbert’s second album, Jackrabbit Slim

The sweet love song is driven by a lively piano riff played by Bobby Ogdin who was the pianist in Elvis Presley’s TCB band.

But the final arrangement of the song didn’t come easy.  It was originally slated to be on his debut album, but he wasn’t satisfied with the recordings from those sessions and decided to hold it back.  Over the next year, he tried various arrangements before he came up with the final with help from the album’s producer, John Simon.

Simon was responsible for producing several of my favorite records – The Band’s Music from Big PinkThe Child is Father to the Man by Blood Sweat & Tears, and Bookends by Simon & Garfunkel.  He also produced the hit “Red Rubber Ball” by The Cyrkle (written by Paul Simon).

Forbert dedicated the song to Florence Ballard, of the Supremes, on the Jackrabbit Slim album cover, though it isn’t about her.  He has often said that the track is about girl he knew when he was a teen but has never identified her by name.

On a side note, Forbert played Cyndi Lauper’s boyfriend in the video for her song “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”

Meet me in the middle of the night
Let me hear you say everything’s alright
Let me smell the moon in your perfume

Enjoy… until next week.

4 thoughts on “Song of the Week – Romeo’s Tune, Steve Forbert

  1. Steve Forbert! For a moment, the next Boss, with maybe a little John Prine in the mix. Makes me think of Willie Nile. And though it was a few years later, Marshall Crenshaw who had a different sound, sensibility and a higher order of talent. But Forbert brings me back and brings back that smile to my face.

  2. I’m a big Forbert fan. I saw him many times at Kenny’s Castaways back when those first albums were coming out. My favorite was hearing him on the radio, probably WNEW, in an interview, playing an acoustic Tel*Star that was amazing.

    More amazing was sitting on a stoop on East 3rd St, maybe. Could have been 4th St. The important point is we were sitting on a stoop a block or two east of Broadway probably smoking and talking and passing time and we see a letter on the sidewalk (or actually an envelope) and I pick it up and it’s addressed (opened and empty) to Steve Forbert in Meridien Mississippi, which is where he came from. Not much to do but go home and play Jackrabbit Slim and Alive on Arrival, both of which I do from time to time, but how often do you find an envelope on the street addressed to someone whose album you have?

    Exactly.

    • Yeah, I have a memory of hearing Scott Muni interviewing or talking about Forbert on WNEW. Muni would have been pushing 50 back then but he still had interest in and enthusiasm for new stuff. WNEW wasn’t the stuff of Left of the Dial, college radio, not even a was a gateway to it. Those late ’70’s-‘ 80’s days of Forbert and Nile seemed like WNEW’s last days as the station that mattered in NYC. But it wasn’t as if either guy got heavy airplay and within a few years WLIR out on the Island took up the mantle of “new music” (at least the stuff coming out of the UK.

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