Jerome’s big music break came, ultimately, with his Soldier, Soldier co-star Robson Green. An episode of the show had involved their characters singing Unchained Melody – and their act had seemed so good that many fans of Soldier Soldier had bombarded the television studio asking if the song would be released as a single
The news reached the giant RCA (Recording Company of America) and their representative Simon Cowell was put in charge of seeking out the boys to put the record idea to them. He eventually tracked down Kate Feast, Robson and Jerome’s theatrical agent who told him that Robson nor Jerome were interested in making a record. Simon told Kate that the song could make Christmas Number one, but the message was clear – “you haven’t got a cat in hell’s chance of getting them to change their minds.”
Simon then decided to speak with Robson’s Mum, Anne, asking her to talk to her son. Eventually Simon’s persistence paid off and Robson rang the RCA office in Fulham and told the record producer firmly that he was an actor, not a singer and would rather not be put in a position where he would have to appear on Top of the Pops. Simon told Robson how much he was prepared to offer, Robson replied “That’s a lot of money.”
Robson and Simon spoke on the telephone and Robson explained that he would make the record only if Jerome agreed. Jerome, at this time was on a pilgrimage in the mountains and the only contact he had was a fax machine. Robson had his number. Robson and Jerome met Simon at the RCA offices. Robson was leaping around all over the place and Jerome was jet lagged. Simon suggested that they record Unchained Melody and follow it up with an album later in the year. They agreed to sign up.The record was released in the UK on the 8th May 1995 – where it reached No.1 in the charts and stayed there for 7 weeks. The sales topped 1.39 million and Robson & Jerome presented a cheque to Greenpeace for £18,000 worth of royalties from initial sales of Unchained Melody. In total, royalties amounting to £27,000 were finally donated to Greenpeace by the lads.The duo’s recording career continued with the following hit singles, albums and videos….1995 was certainly Robson & Jerome’s year, and, with the final frenzy of sales for the festive season, they continued to storm all milestones in sight! The latest in their string of astounding statistics came the week before Christmas when they overtook Oasis to claim the biggest-selling album of the year.The singles haven’t done too badly, either! Robson & Jerome have sold more singles in one year than any other artist (the previous record was held by Madonna in 1995).Simon Cowell, the person who signed the lads to record with RCA, dismisses the hostility that Robson & Jerome have received from elements of the music media. “I would say the criticism they have received for their music is based on ignorance and musical snobbery. Their knowledge of music is fantastic and they came up with some great choices of tracks. I would also say that they have surprised themselves on this as to how well they can sing!”
Not surprisingly Simon hopes to be working with Robson & Jerome for years to come. “They can be just as successful for as long as they want” he believes. But its not just the financial success that appeals – “They are the nicest people I’ve ever worked with”. Perhaps that statement alone explains the biggest pop phenomenon of 1995.RCA sales manager Steve Reeves who reported first week’s sales figures of 310,000 told the music press that the market had gone berserk. This was followed by 460,000 copies in the second week and 320,000 in the third which meant the single had already become a million seller and Robson and Jerome had won three platinum awards.
It was the 23rd July 1996 that a small audience of local fans were invited to their concert at the Live Theatre, Newcastle. This rare opportunity to see Robson & Jerome singing live was set up to generate exclusive material for the video “Robson & Jerome Joking Apart.”
Lights, Dancers, backing singers, musicians, excited fans…everything was in place for the concert. Space was strictly limited and the hand-picked audience of 95 was selected entirely from the Fan Club’s list of members in the Newcastle area, and what a night they had! After a warm-up from the all-girl group “The Shrinking Violets”, the fans were treated to preview performances of five songs, including their new single – the spectacular Motown number “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted”.
The concert opened with “The Price of Love” and also included the Gene Pitney classic “Something’s Gotton Hold of My Heart” in which Jerome & Robson captured the melting hearts of the audience. They playfully transformed the song “Eleanor” which had originally been a hit for “The Turtles” in the 60’s, and in doing so created a memorable moment for Lizzie Story, a fan from Hexham. In the absence of anyone called Eleanor in the crowd, Lizzie was selected to play the role and as well as being serenaded by Jerome & Robson, was showered with confetti and presented with bouquets.
Their closing number “Keep the Customer Satisfied” was offered as a tribute to the thousands of fans who really do appreciate what they do. Those who were lucky enough to be there that night were more than satisfied.
8/5/95: Unchained Melody
UK sales 1.39m – No1 for 7 weeks
30/10/95: I Believe / Up on the Roof
UK sales 887,000 – No1 for 4 weeks
13/11/95: Album Robson & Jerome
UK sales 1.84 million – No 1 for 7 weeks
15/5/2000: Album Robson & Jerome Love Songs
Robson & Jerome – music to buy