When I was a child, I used to wonder about Tony Romeo. I’m guessing you don’t know who Tony Romeo was.
He was the guy who wrote the monster hit for the Partridge Family I Think I Love You. He also wrote lots of hits for many other recording artists, as well as an impressively large number of TV commercial jingles.
I was the sort of little kid who wondered about the people nobody else was paying attention to. So when I saw the cover of the Partridge Family album, and decided that I Think I Love You was my favorite song on it, I began to wonder about the songwriter.
Also, “Tony Romeo” is a very cool name. To my twelve year old mind, a name like that conjured up glamour, intrigue and maybe even international spy stuff.
This morning, prompted by the recent sad demise of David Cassidy, I started looking on the Web for more info about Tony Romeo. I found discovered that he had tried to start his own singing career, but that it never gotten anywhere, and that he died in relative obscurity in 1995.
Curiously, searching on Google for “Tony Romeo” and “I Think I Love You” didn’t produce any photos of him. Although, not surprisingly, there were lots and lots of images of the young David Cassidy’s eerily pretty face.
I finally had some luck when I abandoned the ersatz Partridge Family and started looking for songs Romeo had written for The Cowsills, the real musical performing family that the fictional Partridge Family was based on.
That’s when I hit pay dirt: A single photo of Mr. Romeo proudly holding up his first ever golden record, for “Indian Lake”, a hit for The Cowsills in 1968.
It’s strange, isn’t it? Tony Romeo created a sound that was widely imitated, and his work is fondly remembered by millions. Yet he was never in the limelight.
And now the man himself has largely been forgotten. I wonder how many people like that there are in our culture — just around the corner from famous.