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The Monroes…. and the story about “What Do All the People Know” « Cool Album of the Day

The Monroes…. and the story about “What Do All the People Know”

Posted 01 Dec 2011 in 80s, Albums of 1982, Albums of the 80s, New Wave


This is a little something different that I’m going to do today. No, this isn’t our Cool Album of the Day, in fact it wasn’t even an album, it was an EP.

This is about The Monroes. They were the band that I think may just have had the best, new wave, pop song of the 80s, and how, if you don’t know about it or them, then you need to.

The Song that I’m referring to is, “What Do All the People Know.”  A pure classic, a marvelous song, unfortunately, it also was a perfect example of what happens when you fall into bad label, bad contract hell.

The Monroes recorded for a label called Alfa.  Alfa was a Japanese based label. They had licensing agreements with bands like the Police, Depeche Mode, Erasure and Kylie Minogue.  They did quite well in marketing those acts in their native country, but they didn’t know what they were doing in marketing their own bands, at least their international acts.

The Monroes were an international act, they were based out of San Diego. This EP was their only “major” release.

Members were, at one time or another Jesus “Tony” Ortiz, Eric Denton, Bob “Monroe” Davis, Rusty Jones and Jonnie Gilstrap.

What actually happened was that as soon as this EP was released, the label decided to discontinue all of its US distribution. Nice timing.

The song did start getting some airplay in their native San Diego. They then got some nice opening gigs for the likes of Toto and Greg Kihn.  They also had a nice moment on “The Merv Griffin Show”

To make matters even worse, the band was then scooped up by CBS Records, who also did nothing with them. They never released a follow up. The band’s Ken Denton once told Che Underground.com: The group’s rep at the label had no incentive to push The Monroes since he hadn’t been the one to discover them. “He told us, ‘I’m assigned to you but I don’t like you.’  They cheated, we were cheated.

They stayed together for a bit, made a personnel change here and there. Almost had a few more deals that didn’t work out and even have talked about trying again. What they did do however was leave us with one of the best songs of the 80s.

— Larry Carta

UPDATE: Since this was originally published the band has re-released the EP and is available via all the usual places. Here’s the links to get your copy!

 Back to the Cool Album Home Page

Here’s The Monroes appearance on The Merv Griffin Show

Posted by Larry Carta


  1. twostepcub (02 Jul 2012, 17:33)

    Hey, just wanted to say great writeup and great site. I was about to post about the Monroes and came across this, which I couldn’t do any better, so I went with another song and linked to here and the main website. Keep on, cheers!

    • Larry Carta (02 Jul 2012, 22:04)

      Thanks for the kind words. Take a look around the site when you have a chance. We have over 700 plus albums to check out.

  2. twostepcub (07 Jul 2012, 13:10)

    trust me, your sites gonna keep me occupied all weekend overnight at work.

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