By Mark Nobes

I remember many critics were dismissing "Tarzan Boy" by Baltimora as a novelty record back in the 80s (amongst other things!), but I know an awful lot of people who really like this song. Yes, the chorus certainly gives the song the novelty factor, but not all music has to take itself too seriously, and I've heard a lot worse - Anyone Can Fall in Love by Anita Dobson is one such example! 

Baltimora was an Italian dance act and their debut single "Tarzan Boy" entered the UK singles chart at No.85 on July 28 1985, in the same week that Elvis Presley entered at No.84 with "Always On My Mind (1985)". Baltimora peaked at No.3 in the UK for one week on 1st September, with UB40 and Chrissie Hynde at No.2 with "I Got You Babe" and David Bowie and Mick Jagger at No.1 with "Dancing in the Street". The song also managed to reach No.1 in France and the Netherlands, and No.13 in the U.S.

Baltimora on the front vinyl sleeve of Tarzan Boy. UK blue sleeve.

UK vinyl sleeve

The song is from the album "Living In The Background", and despite the success of the single, the album failed to chart in the UK. However, it did do well in Canada, and also charted in Sweden (#18), Italy (#26) and the U.S. (#49).

"Tarzan Boy" was the only successful single for Baltimora in the UK, making the group an 80s one hit wonder.

Baltimora attempted a comeback in 1987 with a second album, Survivor In Love, but the single "Key Key Karimba" was the only notable track that managed to enter the Top 100 charts in only a few countries.

Frontman Jimmy McShane died on 29 March 1995, of complications from Aids.

European green and yellow vinyl sleeve


The original version


The main chorus is very simple but effective, and contains repeated "Oh-oh's" which represent Tarzan's jungle call. The song is about escaping from the rat race/city life to live freely in the jungle. In verse 3, Baltimora sings "Leave everything behind you. Come and join me, you won't be sorry". 

Key Key Marimba (1987)

This was the comeback single which failed to chart in the UK, but reached #37 in Italy. The previous single "Juke Box Boy" which was the last release from the first album had reached #12 in Italy.

The photo is of Jimmy McShane from 1987.


Baltimora at In Your Ear!