|Also known as||Bobby O|
|Origin||New York City|
|Occupation(s)||Record producer, artist, multi-instrumentalist, composer|
|Labels||"O" Records, Bobcat Records, Memo Records, MenoVision,|
|Associated acts||The Flirts, Oh Romeo, Hotline, Waterfront Home, Divine, Pet Shop Boys|
Robert Philip Orlando (born 1958), also known as Bobby Orlando or just Bobby O, is an American record producer, indie record label owner, songwriter, musician. He is regarded as an innovator in the hi-NRG genre for developing his signature sound; utilizing a "powerful beat" and "new wave-style" vocals with the help of a "heavy [synthesizer] bass," synthesizers, piano, guitars, cowbells.
The son of a suburban New York schoolteacher, Orlando declined a classical music scholarship to pursue his then current musical interest, glam rock. In the late 1970s, his professional interests turned to disco and shortly thereafter, he established his own record label, "O" Records.
Bobby Orlando has been active as prolific music producer, songwriter, musician, and record label impresario. During the 1980s he produced, composed and performed on hundreds of music productions that he released under various 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 1980s, at the peak of his success, he stopped being active as a producer.
Orlando is credited as one of the founding fathers of Hi-NRG dance music. His productions are easily identifiable by their dense synthesizers, rolling bass lines, and resounding percussion. He has played multiple instruments on his tracks including electronic keyboards, guitars, bass, synthesizers, drums, piano, assorted percussion, trumpet and saxophone. The ringing cowbell percussion lines and robotic sequencers heard in "She Has A Way," "The Best Part of Breakin' Up," and "Native Love (Step By Step)" have been described as defining his trademark sound.
As a solo artist, Orlando scored hits with tracks "She Has a Way," "How To Pick Up Girls" and "I'm So Hot for You." He created his project concept, The Flirts, to further front his performances as an artist, musician and songwriter. With an ever revolving roster of female session singers and models, Orlando churned out hits "Passion", "Danger", and "Helpless". His association with underground film star Divine resulted in classic club anthems "Native Love (Step By Step)," (featuring Orlando's voice in the chorus), "Love Reaction," and "Shoot Your Shot." Orlando also produced The Fast, later to be known as Man 2 Man.
When Neil Tennant, then an assistant editor at Smash Hits, and later 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 obsessed with Orlando's sound and productions – "Passion", by The Flirts, being a particular favorite. Orlando decided to produce a Pet Shop Boys album and released their earliest 12"s including the original "West End Girls" and "One More Chance". Orlando and the Pet Shop Boys recorded twelve tracks together, including the original "It's A Sin", "Opportunities (Let's Make Lots of Money)", and "I Get Excited".
Orlando wrote and produced music in multiple genres in mostly self-created groups and aliases, often just consisting of Orlando himself. He sang lead vocals in many of his groups including One, Two, Three ("Another Knife in My Back", "Runaway"), The Now, The Bigalows, Hippies with Haircuts, Kinski Music, Barbie & the Kens ("Just a Gigolo"), and Waterfront Home ("Play That Jukebox"). His productions were released under the names: Ian Darby, The Beat Box Boys, Spooge Boy, Something/Anything, New Breed, Jonny Bankcheck, Hotline, Waterfront Home, Banana Republic, Oh Romeo, Teenrock, The New York Models, Hippies With Haircuts, 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, The Now, "One, Two, Three", Darlene Down, The Fem-Spies, Gangsters of House, Girls Have Fun, Zwei Maenner, Gomez Presley, Gringo Lopez, Patty Phillipe, Malibu, Lilly & the Pink, Miss Tammi Dee, Mc Fritz and the P-Rockers, 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, The Look, Contact, Lola, Lifestyle, I Spies, Latin 1, Kinski Music, Gina Desire, Beachfront, Vision 1, and others. Other aliases of Bobby Orlando include John "Gumball" Gonzales, C. Shore, Cha Cha Garcia, Klaus Vogel, Mein, B. Banora, Yuki, and Gato Perro. Bobby Orlando also produced recording artists Franki Avalon, Claudja Barry, Lyn Todd, Tod Foster, Tony Caso, Leah, and Nadia Cassini. In 1996 Orlando founded the short lived Eurodance label Reputation Records, involving himself in the production of much of the labels releases as well.
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 (see Disco 3). 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 selling for hundreds of dollars.
His music appears in numerous motion pictures, including: A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, Wigstock: The Movie, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Valley Girl, Dark Mirror, Flying, High Risk, Rappin, Underground and others. French electroclash duo Miss Kittin & The Hacker mention Orlando in their song "Walking in the Sunshine" from their 2001 release, First Album ("I love men like Bobby Orlando / The Flirts composer a long time ago / It makes me laugh a lot, you know / But I don't want to show"). In 2005, Dance-punk band Shitdisco from Glasgow, Scotland, paid tribute to Bobby Orlando and The Flirts in their first single titled "Disco Blood".
Orlando has influenced various Eurodisco, Tropical House, Techno, Italo-disco, Electronic ("EDM"), and Hi-NRG releases. He has been cited by music historians for his contribution to dance music.
Activity in the 2010s
Orlando's most recent releases as of 2016 were:
- December 2016 CD Perception of One
- December 2015 CD Paragon of Energy
- November 2014 CD Twilight Of The Masses
- 2013 CD Idols of the Mind
- 2012 CD Self-Evident Truth
- 2012 CD Primitive Primal Scream
- 2011 CD Social Contract Theory
- 2010 CD Bright Nothing World
|1983||Freedom in an Unfree World|
|1985||Bobby O & His Banana Republic|
|2005||Outside the Inside|
|2010||Bright Nothing World|
|2011||Social Contract Theory|
|2012||Primitive Primal Scream|
|2013||Idols of the Mind|
|2014||Twilight of the Masses|
|2015||Paragon of Energy|
|2016||Perception of One|
|1982||"She Has a Way"|
|1982||"I'm So Hot for You"|
|1985||"Whisper to a Scream"|
|1985||"Man Like Me"|
|2010||#2: I'm Alone This Christmas|
|2010||#3: Identity Energy|
|2010||#4: Girls in Video|
|2010||#5: Dress Up Girls|
|2010||#6: Forever Is Not Long Enough|
|2010||#7: Broken World|
|2010||#8: Remember Me in Paradise|
|2011||#1: A Time to Live|
|2011||#2: I Need You More Right Now|
|2011||#3: When a Man Cries|
|2011||#4: Temporary Lives|
|2011||#5: When the Right One Comes Along|
|2011||#6: At the Beach|
|2011||#7: Freedom Is Only a Word|
|2011||#8: Lost Cause|
|2011||#9: When Lies Become Truth|
|2011||#11: 15 Minutes|
|2011||#12: What's Wrong with Us?|
|2011||#14: The Girl from Berlin|
|2011||#15: Primitive Primal Scream|
|2011||#16: Trouble Trouble|
|2011||#17: All I Want for Christmas|
|2011||#20: The Search for Faith|
|2012||#2: Happy Energy|
|2012||#5: Last Night|
|2012 summer series||#1: Jet Black Hair|
|2012 summer series||#2: Primitive|
|2012 summer series||#3: Desperate Delusions|
|2012 summer series||#4: Eternity|
|2012 summer series||#5: Dangerous Game|
|2012 summer series||#6: What's the Meaning of Life?|
|2012 summer series||#7: Memories|
|2012 summer series||#8: Loaded Gun|
|2012 summer series||#9: Shakedown|
|2013||#2: Respect to You|
|2013||#4: I Still Think of You|
|2013||#5: It's Insane Out Here|
|2013||#6: Oh Destiny|
|2013 summer series||#1: Deception|
|2013 summer series||#2: Sleight of Hand|
|2013 summer series||#3: Why Waste These Tears?|
|2013 summer series||#4: Ignorance or Understanding?|
|2013 summer series||#5: Destructive|
|2013 summer series||#6: Hope|
|2013 summer series||#7: Heart Cry|
|2013 summer series||#8: Defenseless|
|2013 summer series||#9: Christmas Means (You Gotta Believe)|
|2014||#1: Attracted to You|
|2014||#2: Get Away|
Bobby Orlando productions:
|1982||"Passion"||The Flirts||covered by multiple artists including Steve Murano|
|1982||"Bring on the Men"||Wow|
|1982||"Native Love (Step by Step)"||Divine|
|1982||"Who's Your Boyfriend?"||Eric|
|1982||"Calling All Boys"||The Flirts|
|1982||"(The Best Part of) Breakin' Up"||Roni Griffith|
|1982||"Shoot Your Shot"||Divine|
|1983||"Shake It Up"||Divine|
|1983||"Take a Chance on Me"||Waterfront Home|
|1984||"Einstein"||The Beat Box Boys|
|1984||"Helpless (You Took My Love)"||The Flirts|
|1984||"West End Girls"||Pet Shop Boys|
|1985||"You & Me"||The Flirts|
Oh Romeo discography
Oh Romeo, was a concept group created by Bobby Orlando. Each release featured different session singers.
|1983||Try It (I'm in Love with a Married Man) / Lookin' Out||Bobcat Records|
|1983||These Memories||Bobcat Records|
|1984||Once Is Not Enough / Light of Love||Oh My! Records|
|1985||One More Shot||Memo Records|
"Living Out A Fantasy"
- The song "One More Shot" was also featured on the 1994 Avex Trax album Super Eurobeat Presents Hi-NRG '80s.
- In 1991 the Hot Productions label released their greatest hits album, These Memories: The Best of Oh Romeo.
- "Artist/Group: Bobby Orlando". Allmusic. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
- Arena, James (2017). Europe's Stars of '80s Dance Pop. McFarland. p. 159. ISBN 9781476630144. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
- Stone, Doug. Bobby Orlando Biography, Allmusic. Retrieved December 12, 2006
- Leston, Kimberly. 1987. The Story of O. The Face.
- disco-disco.com/artists/bobby-o.shtml. Retrieved on October 5, 2012
- Liner notes, "First Album" by Miss Kittin & The Hacker.
- Liner notes, Total Destruction by Ural 13 Diktators.
- "Dance-Power : Bobby O: Primitive Primal Scream".
- dancemusic.about.com/od/reviews/fr/BobbyOOutside.htm. Retrieved on October 5, 2012
- http://80seurohi-nrg.blogspot.com/2012/09/godfathers-of-hi-nrg-part-2-bobby.html Retrieved on January 9. 2013
- . Discogs. Retrieved on July 26, 2009
- . Allmusic. Retrieved on July 26, 2009