Baltimora was an Italian New Wave dance outfit active in the mid to late 1980s. The group comprised Jimmy McShane (fronting), Maurizio Bassi (keyboards, lead vocals), Giorgio Cocilovo (guitar), Claudio Bazzari (guitar), Pier Michelatti (bass guitar) and Gabriele Melotti (drums). They are best known for their 1985 hit single "Tarzan Boy".
Jimmy McShane, from Derry in Northern Ireland, was the frontman of the group. Vocals were handled by Maurizio Bassi, who was also the group's keyboardist.. Both the music and the lyrics of Baltimora were written mostly by Bassi and Naimy Hackett, though McShane wrote the lyrics to some of their songs, such as the single "Survivor in Love."
Baltimora is often considered a one-hit wonder due to the success they experienced with "Tarzan Boy" compared to their other singles.
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In early 1984, Maurizio Bassi, a music producer and musician for a few acts in Italy, was in search of a new project. He came across Jimmy McShane (23 May 1957 - 29 March 1995), an EMT for the Red Cross in Ireland, known as "Ruby" in the gay community, and had him do some vocals and be the group's frontman, due to his appearance and talented dancing. McShane was noted for having multiple hair styles and his big red rimmed glasses.
He also recruited other musicians to record the tracks which would eventually appear on the albums Living in the Background and Survivor in Love.
Success with "Tarzan Boy"
"Tarzan Boy," released in the summer of 1985, was a huge success, debuting in the top five of the Italian single chart as well as in some other European countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, France, The Netherlands and Norway . Soon afterwards Baltimora found similar success in the United Kingdom with "Tarzan Boy," where it reached #3 in August 1985. However, it took a while for the single to enter the Hot 100 single chart in the United States (where it was released on EMI), it remained on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six months ultimately peaking at #13 in the early spring of 1986. Baltimora performed on the American TV show Solid Gold, which helped further their success in America. The second single "Woody Boogie," which also gained notable success, entered the Top 20 in Germany, Switzerland and Sweden.
Baltimora's first album, Living in the Background, was released in Europe at the end of 1985, and was released in United States in 1986. Despite the enormous success that Baltimora achieved with the single "Tarzan Boy," Living in the Background only charted moderately entering the Top 20 album charts in only a few countries in Europe..
Baltimora attempted a comeback in 1987 with a second album, Survivor in Love, but the single "Key Key Karimba" was the only notable track that managed to enter the Top 100 charts in only a few countries.
Break-up and aftermath
After the release of Survivor in Love, with no label support of a follow up album and due to its poor success, Bassi decided it was time to move onto other projects, and Baltimora disbanded.
The single "Tarzan Boy" bounced back into the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March 1993 as a remix, climbing to #51, at the time of its appearance in a Listerine commercial. The song was also featured in the films Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993) and Beverly Hills Ninja (1997).
Jimmy McShane died on 29 March 1995, of complications from AIDS.