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About The Rembrandts
The Rembrandts were often thought of as a one-hit wonder, due to the enduring popularity of "I'll Be There for You," their theme to the 1990s sitcom phenomenon Friends. With its jangling guitar riff and exuberant hooks, "I'll Be There for You" defined the duo of Danny Wilde and Phil Solem for millions of listeners, but the group didn't have this pure pop foisted upon them. They had deep roots in power pop, with both men playing in the new wave band Great Buildings back in the '80s. Once the pair formed the Rembrandts in the early '90s, they walked the line between mainstream and college rock, playing accessible and hooky music that built upon classic notions of guitar-pop, a combination that was evident on their 1990 Top 20 hit "Just the Way It Is, Baby." Such adherence to traditional pop/rock values meant that the group could disband and reunite without missing a step, which is what happened. After the duo failed to have another hit along the lines of "I'll Be There for You," they parted ways for a while, only to resurface many years later with 2019's Via Satellite.
Danny Wilde is a cornerstone of the Rembrandts. He originally played in the '70s power pop outfit the Quick, but he formed Great Buildings in 1981, a new wave group that also featured guitarist Phil Solem. Once Great Buildings fell apart, Wilde headed out on his own, but once his 1989 solo album for Geffen failed to sell, he reunited with his old bandmate Phil Solem to form the Rembrandts. The pair quickly recorded their eponymous debut album, which came out on Atco in September of 1990. Its first single "Just the Way It Is, Baby," climbed to 14 on Billboard's Hot 100, helping the album reach number 88.
A second album, Untitled, arrived in 1992, but it underperformed commercially: the first single, "Johnny Have You Seen Her," didn't crack the Top 40 but made it to 24 on the Mainstream Rock chart, with "Maybe Tomorrow" reaching 59 on the same chart.
The Rembrandts had their unexpected breakthrough in 1995, thanks to "I'll Be There for You." Co-written with Friends producers David Crane and Marta Kauffman along with Michael Skloff and Allee Willis, "I'll Be There for You" became a chart hit thanks to the runaway success of the sitcom. It racked up eight weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart, but it was never available as a commercial single in the U.S., so it wound up peaking at 17 on the Hot 100, a chart placement that didn't quite reflect its popularity. On the back of the success of "I'll Be There for You," the Rembrandts released their third album, LP. The record went to 23 on Billboard's Top 200, eventually earning a Platinum certification from the RIAA, with its second single, "This House Is Not a Home," matching "I'll Be There for You" by reaching 17 on the charts.
Solem left in the wake of this success, forming his own band, Thrush. Wilde continued with the Rembrandts' name, crediting 1998's Spin This to Danny Wilde + The Rembrandts. Solem quickly returned to the fold, and the pair released Lost Together in 2001.
The band began the 21st century humming along at a lower gear. In 2005, they re-recorded highlights from their catalog as Choice Picks, then had a Greatest Hits album appear the following year. After that, the Rembrandts never split up, but they weren't active. Eventually, the duo ramped up their activity in 2016, starting the work on the album that became 2019's Via Satellite, the duo's first album of original material in 18 years. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
- Los Angeles, CA
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