What I Like About You – The Romantics | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#49); 1980

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

What I Like About You is a perfect example of how a song’s original chart performance sometimes fails to reflect its subsequent popularity. The four former Detroit factory workers, who immortalized What I Like on vinyl, came together as the Romantics on Valentine’s Day, 1977. Although their first two singles failed in the marketplace, they succeeded in generating interest at Nemporer Records. The Romantics ripped through the sessions for their debut album in just three weeks. With a power pop sound similar to offerings by the Knack and the Raspberries, What I Like About You peaked at a so-so #49 in 1980, yet refused to die in the one-hit wonder graveyard. New cable channel MTV picked up on the band giving regular exposure to What I Like About You, turning it into a must-play party song. Use in several TV commercials contributed to What I Like‘s popularity and helped insure its status as a rock classic.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Pete Solley

Lyrics Written by:

  • Wally Palmar
  • Mike Skill
  • Jimmy Marinos