Book of Love released “Boy” in 1985. It was the debut single, released on 7″ and 12″ vinyl, and later included on their their first album, Book of Love, which also included “I Touch Roses,” “You Make Me Feel So Good,” and “Modigliani (Lost in Your Eyes).” “Boy” peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.
The band began when Ted Ottaviano and Susan Ottaviano, who share the same last name but are not related, began writing songs together in high school.
After they graduated, Ted moved to New York City to study at the School of Visual Arts, and Susan moved to Philadelphia to study at the Philadelphia College of Art, where she met Jade Lee and formed the band Head Cheese. Ted participated in the band, commuting back and forth between New York and Philadelphia.
Upon graduation, Susan and Jade moved to New York to join Ted and Lauren Roselli, a fellow student at the School of Visual Arts. They took their name from The Monotones’ song, “The Book of Love,” because they were influeced by romanticism.
Book of love was inspired by various genres of music: oldies from the ‘50s & ‘60s, punk, and new wave. Ted was particularly inspired by Altered Images, who incorporated bells and chimes into their songs, which explains the distinctive tubular bells in “Boy.”
Ted wrote “Boy,” based upon Lauren’s experiences of continuing to fall in love with young gay men while in art school. The band recorded a demo of the song, and Lauren slipped a copy to DJ Ivan Ivan, who passed it on to Seymour Stein, President of Sire Records, who signed the band in August 1984.
The band received more exposure after meeting Depeche Mode at a promotional party, they were asked to open for Depeche Mode on the North American leg of their Some Great Reward Tour, even though they hadn’t recorded an album. (Book of Love also opened for Depeche Mode again on their Black Celebration Tour in 1986.)
Boy [Extended Mix] 4’28
I can’t determine if a music video filmed for “Boy” by Sire Records. It’s possible they might not have, since it was the first single by an unknown band. However, here is a music video for “Boy,” which was filmed for Australian television in 1985. It’s basically a performance of the band, filmed in a studio, and quite nicely done.
My first memory of Book of Love is when they were mentioned in the question and answer section of an issue of Star Hits (the U.S. version of the U.K.‘s Smash Hits), where a girl had heard “Boy” on the radio and asked for more information about the band. A year later, I heard a fellow student’s synth-pop band cover “I Touch Roses.” I mentioned the song to my friend Terri McQueary, and she mentioned she had the cassette and let me borrow it. I’d always loved synth-pop, but there was something about the way Book of Love incorporated sounds not ordinarily used, intriguing lyrics, the art school imagery used on their record sleeves that captivated me. The next day, I drove to Sound Warehouse and bought the 12″ singles for “Boy,” “I Touch Roses,” “You Make Me Feel So Good,” and “Modigliani (Lost in Your Eyes).” The Summer of ’87 was the Summer of Book of Love. I played that cassette over and over until it was released on CD in November of 1988. One of my favorite memories, is Terri, our friend Duane Musiol, and I listening to the tape as we drove to Club Sparx in Dallas when Duane came back from basic training. Book of Love would definitely be included on my list of Dssert Island Discs.
What are your memories “Boy” by Book of Love?