Listen to this track by Detroit-based British Invasion fans and power-pop poppers The Romantics. It’s their massively covered by wedding reception bands 1980 hit “What I Like About You”, a single taken from their self-titled debut. This tune represents one of the several tributaries that reacted to the classic rockification of pop music, when the “roll” mysteriously disappeared from “rock ‘n’ roll” sometime in the late ’60s and into the ’70s.
It’s no accident that this song is so popular during events at which people gather to dance – like the aforementioned wedding receptions. This tune rolls as well as rocks. It is meant to be danced to.
In this way, this was never about being retro. It’s a reminder that rock ‘n’ roll and dance music need not be two separate things. But, even with this in mind, The Romantics tapped into another aspect of guitar pop music that had arguably been forgotten by the ’70s mainstream, particularly on the radio. It had to do with an attitude of the musicians themselves, even before they picked up instruments.