Bobby Orlando  

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Bobby Orlando (1958), also known as Bobby O, is a disco dance music artist and record producer who was most successful in the early-mid 1980s.


Early life

The son of a suburban New York schoolteacher, Bobby declined a classical music scholarship to pursue his then current musical interest, glitter rock. In the late 1970s, his professional interests turned to disco, as he worked on albums by Todd Foster, in 1977, and Lyn Todd, in 1980. Shortly thereafter, he established his own record label, "O" Records.

Music career

Bobby Orlando is a highly prolific music producer, songwriter, musician and record label impresario. During the 1980s he produced, composed and played on hundreds of music productions that he released under a myriad of record labels, including: “O” Records, Bobcat Records, Memo Records, Telefon Records, MenoVision Records, Beach Records, Plastic Records, Eurobeat Records, Obscure Records, Beat Box Records, Riovista Records, Intelligent Records, Basic Records, Knowledge Records and others. In the late ‘80s, at the peak of his success, the “one-man-band” suddenly and inexplicably halted his extensive production output.

Orlando is credited as one of the founding fathers of euro/pop dance music. His productions are easily identifiable by their dense synthesizers, rolling bass lines, and resounding percussion. Orlando tracks showcase him playing multiple instruments including keyboards, guitars, drums, percussion and saxophone. The ringing cowbell percussion lines and robotic sequencers heard in “She Has A Way”, “The Best Part Of Breakin’ Up,” “Desire,” and “Native Love (Step By Step)” define the electrifying sound he pioneered.

As a solo artist, Orlando scored hits with tracks “She Has a Way,” “A Man Like Me,” and “I’m So Hot for You.” He created his project concept, The Flirts, to further front his performances. With its ever revolving roster of female session singers and models, Orlando churned out international hits “Passion,” “JukeBox (Don’t put another Dime),” and “Helpless,” which featured Orlando as the sole musician. His legendary association with underground film star Divine resulted in classic club anthems “Native Love” (featuring Orlando’s voice in the chorus), “Love Reaction,” “Jungle Jezebel,” and “Shoot your Shot.” He also is famed for founding The Fast, later to be known as Man 2 Man. Miki and Paul Zone's backing vocals are on some of the earlier Bobby O tracks.

When Neil Tennant, then editor of Smash Hits, and also a member of Pet Shop Boys, was sent to interview The Police in 1983 in New York, he sought out Orlando. Both Tennant and fellow Pet Shop Boy Chris Lowe were impressed by Orlando’s sound and production, “Passion,” by The Flirts, being a particular favourite. Pet Shop Boys would later record and release records with Orlando producing, including the original 'West End Girls'.

His music was used in Felix da Housecat’s hit single “Silver Screen Shower Scene” in 2001 and “Da Hype” by Junior Jack in 2004. Orlando’s music appears in numerous motion pictures, including: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, Wigstock: The Movie, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Valley Girl.

Orlando produced and penned numerous hits that spanned multiple genres in mostly self-created “groups,” often just consisting of Orlando himself. His productions were released as: Teen Rock, The Beat Box Boys, Hotline, Banana Republic, Oh Romeo, The New York Models, Hippies With Haircuts, SpoogeBoy, Girly, Barbie & the Kens, Wow, 1 plus 1, The He Man Band, The Boyd Brothers, Nancy Dean, Ian Darby with Ya Ya, Cha Cha featuring Don Diego, Yukihoro Takanawa, This is House, Joy Toy, Dressed To Kill, Band Of South, Dynasty featuring Dexter D, Darlene Down, The Fem-Spies, Gangsters of House, Girls Have Fun, Zwei Maenner, Something Anything, Gomez Presley, Gringo Lopez, Patty Phillipe, Malibu, Lilly & the Pink, Miss Tammi Dee, New Breed, Mc Fritz and the P-Rockers (probably the rarest of all tracks released), Charlene Davis, Claus V, Ronnie Goes to Liverpool, The Bang Gang, Bubba and The Jack Attack, Fascination, Free Enterprise, Sandra Ford, Future Generation, Citrus, The College Boys, Condo, The Bigalows, Free Expression, Lola, Lifestyle, I Spies, Johny Bankcheck, Latin 1, Kinski Music, Gina Desire, and Beachfront, and others. He also produced numerous tracks under various group names with a jazz style departure to his sound.

Orlando’s songs frequently deal with philosophical themes such as “Try It (I’m in love with a married man),” which was given a contemporary twist when it was re-recorded by Pet Shop Boys in 2003. Many of Orlando’s lyrics describe unrequited love, private despair, personal angst and a truth-seeking perspective. Orlando frequently etched philosophical maxims into vinyl records featuring his songs; these adages being literally cut into the grooves near the “lead out” and “lock grooves” of the vinyl. Many of these are rare and are now collector items often fetching hundreds of dollars. The rarest is "MC Fritz and the P Rockers"; a limited white album. There were only about 100 copies pressed of the original release.

Orlando’s musical influence on many present day artists is vast and the sound he created routinely surfaces on Euro, techno, Italo-disco, electro and Hi-NRG releases throughout the world. He has a large international following and is often cited by music historians for his immeasurable contribution to dance music.

Recent Times

Although he was quiet for much the 1990s (Reputation Records) and 2000s, he still remains busy and is still active in the dance music world. Orlando’s most recent production is the 2005 release “Outside the Inside,” which contains the Billboard chart topping, internet radio hit Sorrow.

Selected Discography

Some Bobby Orlando recordings:

  • Freedom In An Unfree World (1983) (album, including the disco hit "Beat By Beat")
  • One Two Three (1983) (album, including the underground hits "Another Knife In My Back" and "Runaway") by 1-2-3
  • Bobby O & His Banana Republic (1985) (including : "A Man Like Me", "Whisper To A Scream")
  • Questions Of The Heart (1986) (album, including the hit "All You Ever Think About Is (Sex)!") by The Flirts
  • Outside the Inside (2005) (album)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Bobby Orlando" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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