When in Rome is a synthpop group. It was initially made up of Clive Farrington (vocals), Andrew Mann (vocals), and Michael Floreale (synthesizers). They are best known for the single "The Promise", which reached #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart in June of 1988 and also peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 later that year. Despite widely successful touring, the trio split in 1990 over their musical direction, having only released their self-titled debut album. Since the mid-00s, two groups under the When in Rome name-- one featuring Floreale and another with Farrington/Mann-- have toured.
Initially Farrington and Mann were in the locally active, Manchester, England-based group Beau Leisure. Farrington and Mann then went on to form When in Rome at the same time that Mann re-located to London from his Manchester home. Mann tirelessly traded the group's demo of "The Promise", an emotional love song mixing smooth pop with electronic music, along with other tracks around the entire A&R Departments of all the major labels. Eventually, A&R man Simon Potts of Electra signed them to an undisclosed deal. Simply Red were signed to Electra at around the same time, oddly enough. However, internal corporate politics caused Electra to close their London offices. Unable to deal with the time difference between the U.K. and the U.S. when dealing with Electra then, When in Rome decided to change labels, and the group were signed almost instantly to Virgin U.K. subsidiary 10 Records by A&R guru Mick Clark.
Producer Ben Rogan (who had worked with Sade) and Richard Burgess (associated with Five Star and Living In a Box) took special interest in the trio's "The Promise," issued first as a 12" dance disk. When the song became popular hitting the top of Billboard's Dance Club Play chart, Virgin ordered an album. "The Promise," remixed, was the first single from their self-titled debut album. It was an instant success, barely missing the Top Ten in the United States and peaking at #11. Months later, the trio reached Billboard's pop chart's lower reaches with "Heaven Knows", a 1990 single that hit #95 and garnered some underground fame.
Finding themselves dogged with the 'one-hit-wonder' tag (although the success of their eponymous debut as a whole made them more of a 'one-album-wonder'), the group faced internal tension and soon broke up. Michael Floreale in particular tried his hand at making material such as commercial jingles. Floreale, taking in musicians Rob Juarez and John Ceravolo, has written and performed as When in Rome since 2005; his outfit has performed alongside artists such as Devo and The Psychedelic Furs in the U.S. Although having spent much time out of the music business, Clive Farrington and Andrew Mann went back to writing and performing as When In Rome since 2008. A reunion of the original line-up has been ruled out by Floreale, and the division between the two outfits has caused legal issues, with them sometimes labeled as 'When In Rome US' versus 'When In Rome UK'.
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