The Promise (When in Rome song)

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"The Promise"
Single by When in Rome
from the album When in Rome
  • 1987 (UK)
  • 1988 (US)
  • 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 the British band When in Rome. First released in 1987 on 10 Records,[3] 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 was released in the U.S. in 1988 and made it to number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It 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."[4] Cooper also highlighted "The Promise" as a standout on the album by labeling it an AMG Pick Track.[4]

On 22 January 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 the United Kingdom, 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."[5]

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
Australia (ARIA)[6] 103
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[7] 58
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 11
US Billboard Dance/Club Play Songs Chart[8] 1
US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales Chart[8] 19

Usage in media[edit]

  • The song appeared in the 2004 film Napoleon Dynamite during the final scene in which Deb and Napoleon play tetherball together and continues into the credits. According to band members Clive Farrington and Andrew Mann, director Jared Hess chose the song for the film's soundtrack because it was his wife Jerusha's favorite song. In 2014, when the film was played in San Francisco for its 10th anniversary, Farrington performed the song live during the end credits.[9]


  1. ^ Cooper, Duncan (2014-06-18). "Watch Sturgill Simpson's Heartmelting Cover of "The Promise," That Old New Wave Hit". The Fader. Retrieved 2016-08-17.
  2. ^ "Song Premiere: Johnson & McAuley arrive with a blissful cover of '80s classic 'The Promise'". Vanyaland. 2016-02-18. Retrieved 2016-08-17.
  3. ^ "When In Rome - The Promise at Discogs". 2011-10-26. Retrieved 2016-08-17.
  4. ^ a b Cooper, William. "When in Rome - When in Rome : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-09-29.
  5. ^,1696850&dq=when+in+rome+virgin&hl=en
  6. ^ "Response from ARIA re: chart inquiry, received 12 September 2016". Retrieved 2016-09-12.
  7. ^ "The Official Charts Company - The Promise by When In Rome Search". The Official Charts Company. 6 May 2013.
  8. ^ a b c When in Rome. "When in Rome - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
  9. ^ "The Promise by When in Rome". Professor of Rock. Retrieved 2 June 2019.