Saturday, April 4, 2015

Beware the Baltimora

Are you familiar with those Japanese horror Ring movies? The ones where you are given a certain tape or DVD and told that even if you just momentarily watch the tape you are forever doomed? I have not watched those films myself, but I have read the frantically scribbled notes left by some of several of their victims. Most of the writing is incomprehensible scrawls, the last remnants of a mind losing its last shred of sanity. But the one word I can keep making out over and over again is... "Baltimora".

Once you listen to the chorus your soul is forever doomed. Doomed to have one of the greatest forgotten hits of the 80s run through your head over and over again. There's something hypnotic about that chorus with its repeating "oh oh ah oh" (though like in Monty Python's Funniest Joke in the World I dare not type out the entirety of it lest I too go mad).

Baltimora, or as some call him "Shub-Niggurath" or "the Unspeakable One", was an Irish pop star based out of Italy (how does that that work again?) who had a brief hit of fame with 1985's "Tarzan Boy", where it hit #3 in the UK and #13 in the U.S. Just check out the video above and relish in its garishness.

Or check out Baltimora on American Bandstand. I love how the audience spontaneously gets up and starts dancing. Also check out the fashions, I love the guy just to the right sporting the black shirt, white jacket, and black gloves. Stay classy 1985.

At that same American Bandstand appearance Baltimora was interviewed by Dick Clark (known in some dark circles as "The Ageless One"). Dick Clark asks him about his ambitions and Baltimora confesses that Tarzan Boy is a bit of a novelty song but that he plans to work on a more serious effort soon. As far as I can tell, Baltimora never made that second album.

Baltimora sure racked up those frequent flyer miles in 1985. Here's Baltimora on some show I've never heard of called "Peter's Pop Show" whose Wikipedia entry looks to be in Czech but IMDB tells me was a West German program. Check out those backup dancers:

Finally, here's Baltimora performing in an unnamed location (the third layer of Hell?). I only included this clip because, as one of the commenters points out, it features David Koresh on drums:

Alas, after writing this piece I discovered that Baltimora's physical form passed away in 1995 due to AIDS. Strangely I found this out through this site I've never heard of before: You can view his tombstone here. I have to confess that I feel like a bit of a dick now for writing such a snarky post. Rest in peace Mighty Baltimora, rest in peace.


Little Earl said...

Well Zrbo, one never knows when an obsession with a random '80s hit will strike (a situation I understand all too well), but why "Tarzan Boy"? Why now? Was it featured in a TV show? Playing in the local deli? These things just don't appear out of nowhere.

Turns out I've heard it before, as it happens to be #73 on Billboard's Top 100 hits of 1986, sandwiched between John Cougar Mellencamp's "Small Town" and Mike & the Mechanic's "All I Need Is A Miracle," but it kind of passed through me until now. It sounds like the best song Wang Chung never made. Or are you suggesting that you slightly dislike it? What the hell is he saying in the bridge? "Nine tonight/Gimme the order, gimme the order"? What's the order, and why do I need to give it? Most importantly, what does any of this have to do with a city in Maryland?

Herr Zrbo said...

Strangely enough I've had this song on an 80s mix for years because Mrs. Zrbo is a fan of it, though I have no idea how she's familiar with it. I'd never seen the video for it before and once I did it's sinister claws got a hold of me and now I too serve as it's dark thrall.

As for the name... I have no clue. Perhaps Pittsburgha was already taken?