The Promise (When in Rome song)

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"The Promise"
Single by When in Rome
from the album When in Rome
Released 1987 / 1988
Recorded 1987
Length 3:40
Label Virgin
  • Clive Farrington
  • Michael Floreale
  • Andrew Mann
  • Michael Brauer
  • Ben Rogan
When in Rome singles chronology
- "The Promise"
"Heaven Knows"

"The Promise" is a song by British band When in Rome. First released in 1988 on 10 Records, the song is the lead single from their self-titled debut album. It was written by all three band members: Clive Farrington, Andrew Mann and Michael Floreale. The song made the top 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and is the band's biggest commercial hit.

Critical reception[edit]

William Cooper of AllMusic spoke of the song in a review of the When in Rome album, writing, "The 1988 hit "The Promise" was essentially a carbon copy of New Order's radio-friendly dance-rock. Dark yet catchy, boasting a throbbing dance rhythm, a singalong chorus, and a hypnotic melody, 'The Promise' certainly deserved the success."[1] Cooper also highlighted "The Promise" as a standout on the album by labeling it an AMG Pick Track.[1]

On January 22, 1989, a review of the album was published in the daily issue of the Junction City, Kansas newspaper Daily Union. The review mentioned the song, saying, "'The Promise', a hit in Great Britain, is typical. Starting with a piano that picks out the melody, the song throbs along electronically with clear harmonies of Mann and Farrington piercing through the catchy melody."[2]

Chart performance[edit]

"The Promise" was initially released as a 12" record and reached the top of the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart. After the release of the group's self-titled debut album, the song was re-released and peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, the single was less successful in the band's native Britain, reaching number 58.

Chart (1988–1989) Peak
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[3] 58
US Billboard Hot 100[4] 11
US Billboard Dance/Club Play Songs Chart[4] 1
US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales Chart[4] 19
Preceded by
"Divine Emotions" by Narada
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
June 11, 1988
Succeeded by
"Just Got Paid" by Johnny Kemp

Cover versions[edit]

  • The band Blue October has covered the song on several occasions.
  • The band Hey Mercedes covered the song as a hidden track on their 2002 EP The Weekend EP.
  • Rock band Eightyonedays covered the song on their 2003 EP The Theory of Negativity.
  • The Eyeliners released a more punk oriented version on their 2005 album No Apologies.
  • Anberlin released a cover of the song on a special edition of their 2007 album Cities, as well as on their b-sides album, Lost Songs.
  • New Found Glory covered the song on their album From the Screen to Your Stereo Part II, with backing vocals provided by Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional.
  • The female electro duo Marsheaux covered it on their 2007 album Peekaboo.
  • Holly Miranda covered the song on her EP Choose to See, which was included with the purchase of her 2010 album The Magician's Private Library.[5]
  • Reel Big Fish covered the song on their 2012 album Candy Coated Fury.
  • William Control covered the song as a B-side addition to the April 2014 released album, The Neuromancer.
  • American bluegrass and country artist Sturgill Simpson covers the song on his 2014 album Metamodern Sounds in Country Music.
  • Indie singer-songwriter, Alexz Johnson, and singer-songwriter and producer, William McAuley III (stagename "Bleu"), covered and released the song on their 2016 duet collaboration album titled "Johnson & McAuley" as the first single.
  • Mikee Plastik did an official remix of the song in 2012, which was done along the lines of a cover. The only files provided by When In Rome were the vocal leads by Farrington, as well as some harmony vocals. Plastik tracked the piano intro, programmed foundation beats, placed in the vocal tracks, then tracked the secondary vocal around that. He then brought in Christian Menses (Psychotica) to track synth bass and thicken the percussions. Finally, he sent the track over to Pete Jones (Public Image Limited / Department S), who added more synth textures and finalized the track. The final result, "The Promise (Mikee Plastik - Retro/Necro mix)", got some club play in the US, but was never released for distribution.

Song in popular culture[edit]