Bobby Orlando

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Bobby Orlando
Also known asBobby O
OriginNew York City
GenresHi-NRG,[1][2] post-disco,[1]
Occupation(s)Record producer, artist, multi-instrumentalist, composer
Labels"O" Records, Bobcat Records, Memo Records, MenoVision,
Associated actsThe Flirts, Oh Romeo, Hotline, Waterfront Home, Divine, Pet Shop Boys

Robert Philip Orlando (born 1958)[citation needed], also known as Bobby Orlando or just Bobby O, is an American record producer,[2] indie record label owner,[2] 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.[2]

Early life[edit]

The son of a suburban New York schoolteacher, Orlando declined a classical music scholarship to pursue his then current musical interest, glam rock.[3][4] In the late 1970s, his professional interests turned to disco and shortly thereafter, he established his own record label, "O" Records.

Music career[edit]

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,[citation needed] he stopped being active as a producer.

Orlando is credited[5] 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.[2] 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.[2]

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] 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.[6]

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.[citation needed] 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.[7][8] He has been cited by music historians for his contribution to dance music.[9][10][11]

Activity in the 2010s[edit]

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



Year Title
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
2012 Self-Evident Truth
2013 Idols of the Mind
2014 Twilight of the Masses
2015 Paragon of Energy
2016 Perception of One


Year Title
1982 "She Has a Way"
1982 "I'm So Hot for You"
1985 "Whisper to a Scream"
1983 "Reputation"
1985 "Man Like Me"
1988 "Suspicious Minds"
2010 #1: Angel
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 #10: Revolutionary
2011 #11: 15 Minutes
2011 #12: What's Wrong with Us?
2011 #13: Attraction
2011 #14: The Girl from Berlin
2011 #15: Primitive Primal Scream
2011 #16: Trouble Trouble
2011 #17: All I Want for Christmas
2011 #18: Delirious
2011 #19: Obsession
2011 #20: The Search for Faith
2012 #1: Brother
2012 #2: Happy Energy
2012 #3: Adrenaline
2012 #4: Roleplay
2012 #5: Last Night
2012 #6: A-ok
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 #1: Compromised
2013 #2: Respect to You
2013 #3: Frankenstein
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

Production discography[edit]

Bobby Orlando productions:

Year Title Artist(s) Note
1981 "Desire" Roni Griffith
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 "Danger" The Flirts
1983 "Shake It Up" Divine
1983 "Take a Chance on Me" Waterfront Home
1983 "Love Reaction" Divine
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[edit]

Oh Romeo, was a concept group created by Bobby Orlando. Each release featured different session singers.

Year Song title Label
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"


  1. ^ a b "Artist/Group: Bobby Orlando". Allmusic. Retrieved July 26, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Arena, James (2017). Europe's Stars of '80s Dance Pop. McFarland. p. 159. ISBN 9781476630144. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  3. ^ Stone, Doug. Bobby Orlando Biography, Allmusic. Retrieved December 12, 2006
  4. ^ Leston, Kimberly. 1987. The Story of O. The Face.
  5. ^ Retrieved on October 5, 2012
  6. ^
  7. ^ Liner notes, "First Album" by Miss Kittin & The Hacker.
  8. ^ Liner notes, Total Destruction by Ural 13 Diktators.
  9. ^ "Dance-Power : Bobby O: Primitive Primal Scream".
  10. ^ Retrieved on October 5, 2012
  11. ^ Retrieved on January 9. 2013
  12. ^ [1]. Discogs. Retrieved on July 26, 2009
  13. ^ [2]. Allmusic. Retrieved on July 26, 2009

External links[edit]