MENTAL AS ANYTHING
Just Like Romeo And Juliet
(Freddie Gorman - Bob Hamilton)
Australia 1980
#22 Sydney #23 Melbourne #9 Brisbane #44 Perth

In a search for the quintessential Australian band, Mental As Anything have to be considered one of the prime candidates - Ed Nimmervol's Howlspace.com [archived page]

Single on Regular Records, not an album track at the time.

The Mentals were first heard in Sydney pubs in 1977, and throughout the 80s their good-humoured, freshly original pop-rock was frequently heard on Australian radio and on albums that included Get Wet (1979, the debut), Cats & Dogs (1981), Creatures of Leisure (1983) and Fundamental (1985).

Among The Mentals' numerous charting singles were The Nips Are Getting Bigger (1979), If You Leave Me Can I Come Too (1981), Too Many Times (1981) and Live It Up (1985).

The band's line-up on its debut and over the next twenty years: Martin Plaza (Martin Murphy), Reg Mombassa (Chris O'Doherty), Andrew "Greedy" Smith, Peter O'Doherty and Wayne "Bird" De Lisle (David Twohill).

A popular urban myth concerns a group of art students who passed themselves off as a band in order to con the local publican into giving them a gig in exchange for free beer. The deception worked better than intended, and the group came to be known as Mental as Anything. Nearly two decades later, they are still irritating the public with their highly listenable, idiosyncratic brand of garage pop.- Biography page at Mentals.com.au

Further reading: 1. Official site at Mentals.com.au 2. Mental As Anything history from Howlspace [archived]. 3. Wikipedia entry for Mental As Anything.

Thanks to Shane Johns and Terry Stacey for suggestion.

SHA NA NA
Just Like Romeo And Juliet
(Freddie Gorman - Bob Hamilton)
USA 1975

Sha Na Na had a self-titled TV series from 1977 to 1981 (the source of this YouTube clip of Romeo And Juliet), and the fictional band Johnny Casino & The Gamblers in the 1978 film Grease was played by Sha Na Na.

FALLEN ANGELS
Just Like Romeo And Juliet
(Freddie Gorman - Bob Hamilton)
USA 1975

Single on Arista.
MICHAEL & THE MESSENGERS
Romeo And Juliet
(Freddie Gorman - Bob Hamilton)
USA 1967

Single on USA Records YouTube, anthologised on Nuggets I. It charted regionally in the US, for example in Chicago and Milwaukee.

The Messengers (none of its members was a Michael) were from Wisconsin. The band was re-formed by their bassist when he went to college in Milwaukee, but the full story of their line-up changes is complicated All Music Guide which draws on Do You Hear That Beat?, the history of Wisconsin pop by Gary Myers.

 
THE RACKET SQUAD
Just Like Romeo And Juliet
(Freddie Gorman - Bob Hamilton)
USA 1967

Single on Jubilee, also on the album The Racket Squad (1968). The album's CD release includes the band's 1969 album Corners Of Your Mind (1969). The band name may be inspired by the early 50s TV series Racket Squad.

WEST FIVE
Just Like Romeo And Juliet
(Freddie Gorman - Bob Hamilton)
UK 1965

B-side of Someone Ain't Right, the second single of three on HMV by London quintet formerly known as West Four. Their first single was Congratulations, the Jagger-Richard song from the Stones' 12X5

Reference: Vernon Joynston, Tapestry of Delights (1998).

PETER'S FACES
Just Like Romeo And Juliet
(Freddie Gorman - Bob Hamilton)
UK 1964

Single on Pye subsidiary Piccadilly by band formerly known as Peter Nelson & the Travellers. Peter Nelson* was later in studio hitmakers The Flowerpot Men and White Plains.

Reference: Bruce Eder's bio of Peter's Faces at All Music Guide.

*Not to confused with New Zealander Peter Nelson, real name Peter Trebilcock, leader of Peter Nelson & The Castaways (see Skye Boat Song).

THE ROAMERS
Just Like Romeo And Juliet
(Freddie Gorman - Bob Hamilton)
USA 1964

Single on Hit (#118), Bill Beasley's budget label that issued soundalike versions of current hits. The B-side was Bits And Pieces. There were several Hit releases credited to The Roamers 1963-1966. 

Further reading: Ancient archived page on Hit Records. Scroll down when you get there.

THE REFLECTIONS
Just Like Romeo And Juliet
(Freddie Gorman - Bob Hamilton)
USA 1964
Original version
#6 USA #13 Sydney #26 Melbourne #6 Brisbane #11 Perth

This was the first single and only hit by Detroit vocal quintet The Reflections, although they continued to release singles into the 70s.   

The Reflections also recorded the original version of Poor Man's Son (1965, #55 USA), also co-written by Bob Hamilton, covered by British group The Rockin' Berries (1965, #5 UK).

Bob Hamilton (?-1969) was a prolific writer and producer for Golden World, the Detroit pop-soul label that was taken over by Motown in 1968.

Co-writer Freddie Gorman (1939-2006), Detroit singer and songwriter and a member of Motown group The Originals, had co-written Please Mr Postman (1961), The Marvelettes record that was Motown's first #1 hit, later recorded by both The Beatles and The Carpenters.

References: 1. Reflections entries at All Music Guide and Wikipedia. 2. The Bob Hamilton page at SoulfulDetroit.com is possibly the best source you'll find online, part of that site's Golden World Story. 3. Golden World Records at Wikipedia (includes discography). 4Freddie Gorman obituary, The Independent, 22 June 2006,

DIRE STRAITS
Romeo And Juliet
(Mark Knopfler)
UK 1981
Red herring

SIMILAR TITLE BUT NOT THE SAME SONG AS
'JUST LIKE ROMEO AND JULIET'
BY MENTAL AS ANYTHING.

Single on Vertigo, also on the album Making Movies.

Corrections or comments? Contact the writer.