Biography: Baltimora


Jimmy McShane (vocals),

Maurizio Bassi (keyboards, vocals),

Giorgio Cocilovo (guitar),

Gaetano Leandro (Keyboards),

Dino D’Autorio (bass),

Gabriele Melotti (drums)

Baltimora were a new wave dance act from Milan, Italy who found success with their 1985 hit single “Tarzan Boy.” Italian musician and producer Maurizio Bassi formed the project in 1984 with singer and dancer Jimmy McShane, a native of Northern Ireland who had recently relocated to Italy. McShane was essentially the frontman and face of Baltimora, with Bassi and a handful of other Italian musicians writing and performing most of the band’s music.

With its buoyant synth-pop melody and signature Tarzan-call chorus, their debut single,Tarzan Boy became a major hit in the summer of 1985, peaking at No. 6 on the Italian single chart and entering the top 5 in numerous European countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, France, the Netherlands and Norway. The song eventually made it to the United Kingdom charts, where it reached no.3 in August 1985.

By the year’s end, their first full-length album, Living in the Background, had arrived in Europe, selling modestly in spite of its wildly successful lead track. A second album, Survivor in Love, was released in 1987, though it failed to capture the public’s imagination the way Tarzan Boy had and Baltimora disbanded not long afterward.

Bassi went on to work on various other projects and McShane, after being diagnosed with AIDS in 1994, passed away the following year. In the years after the band’s demise, some sources claimed that Bassi was, in fact, the lead singer on Tarzan Boy and most of the Baltimora‘s other tracks, with McShane lip-synching during all of their live performances and videos.

Whatever the case, the song’s legacy has endured to become one of the better-known dance-pop hits of the ’80s.

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