It’s kinda funny how some songs you strongly disliked in your youth eventually grew on you and you now love and appreciate as an adult. Steve Forbert’s “Romeo’s Tune” is one of those songs.
“Romeo’s Tune” is a simple, lovely, well-written song about a girl from Steve Forbert’s hometown of Meridian, Mississippi (but dedicated to Supremes singer Florence Ballard, who passed away in 1976, a few years before the song’s release). And, for some reason, when I was 12 going on 13, and for several years after, the song used to bug ever-living crap out of me. Aaah, youth.
Steve Forbert was just 24 going on 25 when his first big hit debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 at No. 84 on the first day of December in 1979. Within a month, “Romeo’s Tune” hummed its way into the Top 40, and took its time in reaching its peak position of No. 11 (this week in 1980), and spending two weeks there. It would go on to spend a total of 19 weeks on the Hot 100, pretty impressive for a song that just missed the Top 10. “Romeo’s Tune” did, however, reach No. 10 in Canada.
While “Romeo’s Tune” was Steve Forbert’s only big Top 40 hit, he did chart on the Hot 100 with one more song, “Say Goodbye To Little Jo,” which spent a week at No. 85 in mid-April 1980. Both songs appeared on his acclaimed second album, JACKRABBIT SLIM.
With five albums under his belt (released between 1978 and 1983), Steve moved to Nashville in 1985 and took a different direction with his music, moving from a Pop / Rock sound to a more Folk / Americana sound, which, of course, is a good sound to move to if you’re gonna live in a place like Nashville. And the move to both Nashville and Americana really worked for him.
Since 1988, Steve’s released 13 studio albums (including 2016’s FLYING AT NIGHT), three live albums, 14 exclusive releases on his website, SteveForbert.com, and five compilation albums. In 2004, his tribute album to Jimmie Rodgers, ANY OLD TIME, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album. A couple of years later, he was inducted into the Mississippi Music Hall Of Fame.
Steve’s songs have been recorded by a number of Country music stars, like Rosanne Cash, and fellow Mississippians Marty Stuart and Webb Wilder. Country superstar Keith Urban also covered “Romeo’s Tune” in 2007. That same year, Steve’s music (including “Romeo’s Tune”) was featured in MARGOT AT THE WEDDING, a film starring Keith Urban’s wife, Nicole Kidman.
NERDY FUN FACT: Steve Forbert had a cameo appearance in Cyndi Lauper’s video for “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” – as her boyfriend (her actual boyfriend at the time, David Wolff, was also in the video).
Steve Forbert, in his 60s now, still actively performs today (his current tour goes through June 2017), he just played dates in New Hampshire and Massachusetts earlier this month (February 2017), and I believe made an appearance in Portland, Maine not too long ago. And he still revels in singing that simple, lovely “Romeo’s Tune” about a girl from his hometown but dedicated to another girl, one forever Supreme.
“Meet me in the middle of the day / Let me hear you say everything’s okay / Come on out beneath the shining sun… Meet me in the middle of the night / Let me hear you say everything’s alright / Sneak on out beneath the stars and run… Oh yeah…”