“What I Like About You” by The Romantics

“What I Like About You” is a love song in which the singer is tasked with delineating, to his significant other, ‘what he likes about her’. He takes a very-simple approach in doing so, and we’ll just go down the list of highlighting why he’s attached to his boo-boo.

First off, as indicated in the initial verse, would be the way she ‘holds him tight’. To the narrator, such is more or less indicative of his lady being faithful to him.

In the second verse he is admiring her dancing skills. And kinda similar to the way she holds him, her dance moves also make him “think about” their relationship – or “true romance” as he puts it.

Then the third verse alludes to her lovemaking abilities or even more specifically how she put it on the singer. This was the early-1980s, so he doesn’t mention sex outright. Rather as Marinos puts it, he likes how she ‘keeps him warm at night’. And hey, for all we know maybe they aren’t actually getting it on. The bottom line is rather that he finds some type of comfort from spending his evenings with her.

Meanwhile the hook/chorus features him appreciating how his sweetheart tends to whisper sweet nothings in his ear. So again, this is about as straightforward of a love song you’re going to come across. The vocalist does not rely on metaphors or poetry to make his point. 

Simply put, he just really likes his lady. And in the lyrics he is letting her know exactly what it is he likes about her and why he appreciates those specific actions so much.

Lyrics of "What I Like About You"

Music Video

This song came complete with a music video, which received regular airplay on the early days of MTV. In fact it was one of the few videos by an American band to be regularly featured on MTV at the time, since clips by European acts tended to be of superior quality.

Facts about “What I Like About You”

The song is from The Romantics’ self-titled debut album. It was written by the group’s frontman Wally Palmer along with his bandmates Jimmy Marinos (drummer) and Mike Skill (guitarist). 

And it is also Marinos who serves as the lead singer on this particular tune, as both he and Wally Palmer were capable vocalists.

This track was officially released on 1 February 1979, coming out via Epic Records and the since-defunct Nemperor Records. 

“What I Like About You”, as well as the entire The Romantics album, was laid down in Miami Beach at a facility known as Coconuts Recording Studio.

This track appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box Top 100, in addition to charting in Belgium and the Netherlands.  Where it fared most impressively was in Australia, peaking at number two on the Kent Music Report.

Legal Issues

In 2007 The Romantics got into a legal issue over this song. They sued Activision, the videogame company and makers of Guitar Hero Encore: Rock the 80s (2007) for featuring a track on said game which was a cover of this one. But The Romantics ultimately lost the case, as Activision had dotted their I’s and crossed their T’s.

And even prior to that, this song caused some legal difficulties for The Romantics’. For in the late 1980s they sued their own management for using it in commercials (i.e. generating income from it) without the band’s knowledge. 

Said beef resulted in The Romantics being forced to take a few years off from coming out with new songs. However, they ultimately emerged victorious from said lawsuit and were able to get on the roll once again.

And perhaps said management did the band a favor. For even though “What I Like About You” wasn’t one of The Romantics biggest hits per se, it did become their signature tune due to its usage on commercials. This later led to the song catching on at sporting events, nightclubs and other venues, even personal parties.

Notable Covers of “What I Like About You”

This song had a couple of notable covers in the decades since its release. American musician Michael Morales came out with a rendition in 1989 which broke the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100, faring better than the original in that regard. 

And 5 Seconds of Summer also came out with a version in 2014 which made it onto the UK Singles Chart and also Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40.

There is another cover by a girl band called Lillix which served as the theme song for a WB sitcom actually entitled “What I Like About You” (starring Amanda Bynes and Jennie Garth), which aired from 2002 to 2006.

Was Rich Cole a member of The Romantics when they released “What I Like About You”?

Yes. In addition to the aforementioned band members, at the time of this track’s release The Romantics’ lineup also consisted of bassist Rich Cole.

The Romantics is a rock band from Detroit. And even though they performed their first gig on Valentine’s Day 1977, such is not where they derived their name from, as many believe. And even from the late 1970s into the 2020s, the band is still active.

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