Jimmy McShane

Jimmy McShane
McShane, 1987
Background information
Also known as "Ruby", "Baltimora", "Jimmy"
Born (1957-05-23)May 23, 1957
Derry, Northern Ireland
Died March 29, 1995(1995-03-29) (aged 37)
Derry, Northern Ireland
Genres New wave, synthpop, dance, Italo disco
Years active 1982—1988
Labels EMI, Manhattan records, Columbia records (Latter two for Tarzan boy only).
Associated acts Baltimora

James Harry McShane (23 May 1957 – 29 March 1995) was a Northern Irish singer, known as the front-man of Italian band Baltimora.


McShane was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. He learned at a young age to play bass and guitar. As a child, he was allegedly shunned by his family after they learned of his homosexuality. Later as a young man in the late 1970s, McShane left Northern Ireland to study at a stage school in London, where he learned to dance, sing and recite.

Hired as a stage dancer and backing singer, McShane soon went around Europe with Dee D. Jackson and her band. During a visit to Italy with the band, McShane was attracted to the country's underground dance scene, which led to him settling in Milan in 1984.[1] He told Dick Clark on American Bandstand in 1986 that he fell in love with Italy from that moment. He also learned the Italian language.[2]

He made his debut playing in small clubs in his hometown and was presented to various audiences, without success. In view of his low artistic success, McShane decided to work as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for the Red Cross until he met Italian record producer & keyboardist Maurizio Bassi, with whom he created Baltimora. The act found success with its most popular single, "Tarzan Boy", released in 1985.

In America, he was overwhelmed with the success of "Tarzan Boy". Some sources state lead vocals were performed by Maurizio Bassi, the group's keyboardist, with McShane actually providing the backing vocals. This still remains uncertain, and it should be noted that McShane lip synched while appearing in the "Tarzan Boy" music video, and not Bassi.[3][4] Both the music and the lyrics of Baltimora were written mostly by Bassi and Naimy Hackett, though McShane wrote the lyrics to some of their songs, such as the single "Survivor in Love".

Break-up of Baltimora and aftermath

After the release of "Survivor in Love", with no label support of a follow up album and due to its poor success, Bassi decided it was time to move on to other projects and Baltimora disbanded.

The single "Tarzan Boy" bounced back into the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March 1993 as a remix, climbing to No. 51, at the time of its appearance in a Listerine commercial. The song was also featured in the films Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), Beverly Hills Ninja (1997) and was then referenced in A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014).

Illness and death

McShane was diagnosed with AIDS in Milan during 1994.[5] A few months later he returned to Northern Ireland to spend his final year, and died in his native Derry on 29 March 1995 at the age of 37. A family spokesman issued the following statement after his death: "He faced his illness with courage and died with great dignity." In the centre of Derry, a commemorative plaque was bestowed upon the grave of McShane and his father, who had died three years prior.[6]


  1. Knocking on Heaven's Door: Rock Obituaries – Nick Talevski. Omnibus Press. 2010-04-07. ISBN 9780857121172. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  2. "Dick Clark Interviews – American Bandstand 1986". YouTube. 7 April 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  3. "One Hit Wonder Baltimora: Tarzan Boy" (in German). Bayerischer Rundfunk. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
  4. See "Epilogue" section. Archived 9 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine. euro-flash.com, 2004.
  5. Knocking on Heaven's Door: Rock Obituaries - Nick Talevski - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. 2010-04-07. ISBN 9780857121172. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  6. Jimmy McShane death notice
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