Have You Heard? THE MONROES "What Do All The People Know?" [1982]

HERC has exactly three vinyl records here in the Audio Archives on the Alfa Records label.  Two of them are by Billy & the Beaters from 1981 and the third one (pictured below) is the self-titled The Monroes EP from 1982, the greatest year in pop music history.  That EP conatins the song featured on today's post, the insanely catchy "What Do All The People Know".

Produced by Bruce Botnick, who had produced the The Doors and Paul Collins & The Beat, the EP contained five songs and the first and only single was "What Do All The People Know?"  (The Japanese version of the EP - pictured at top of post - contains a sixth song, an instrumental titled "Yamarock", that was released in the US as the B-side of the single.)

The single was released in May 1982, preceding the EP by about a month.  "What Do All The People Know?" debuted on the Hot 100 on May 29, 1982 at #80.  Other singles making their debut that week: 

The single peaked at #59 on July 3, 1982, and then two weeks later it was off the chart - the record label, based in Japan, had pulled the plug on its American presence and the band received no further promotion.  (The single peaked at #50 on the Cashbox chart.)  Despite a banner ad on the cover of the May 8, 1982 issue of Billboard, the self-titled EP debuted on the Bubbling Under chart at #205 on June 12, 1982, breaking into the Top 200 the following week at #190 and peaking at #109 in a nine week chart run before the plug was pulled.  Though they were in negotiations with their label to film a video for the fledgling MTV, the label folded before one was shot.  The appearance below on The Merv Griffin Show is said to be the only existing footage of the band performing.  (Note: they are singing live to a taped backing track.)

The EP has never been made available on CD but the single version of "What Do All The People Know?" has appeared on exactly three compilation discs (which appear in reverse chronological order below with the newest release first), which HERC has scanned from The Audio Archives:

In his review of the Just Can't Get Enough disc, Mark from The CD Project said this about the song, echoing the sentiments of most people who hear the song for the first time:
This hook-filled song should have reached higher than #59 on the charts and I should have heard of this San Diego band before now. Alas, neither happened.
Martin from Martin's View reviewed The Monroes EP around it's 30th Anniversary in 2012 had this to say about it:
It is a real shame that the band was not able to record a full length album. If the five tracks on this EP are any indication, the Monroes had a lot of musical potential that could have gone far in the right studio hands. The songs are well-crafted and solidly executed. They definitely deserved more than just being an early 80’s one-hit-wonder.
In 2013, a digital EP (below) containing the original full-length version of "What Do All The People Know?" and six songs NOT on the original 1982 EP was released on th eusual online outlets with on demand CD-Rs available from Amazon.




television interview from 2011

Ron Gerber's Crap From The Past show from Nov. 4, 2011, devoted to The Monroes and singer Jesus "Tony" Ortiz

Thanks to Ron "Boogiemonster" Gerber and his Crap From The Past archive for the radio show.  The scans, unless noted, are from Discogs or 45cat.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting the Merv clip. I used to watch him all the time but I don't remember ever seeing this performance.