New Wave Sheet Music: "The Promise" by When in Rome

A New Wave one-hit-wonder by pop-synth group When in Rome. Dive into this piano solo arrangement by Jennifer Eklund of "The Promise".

New Wave Sheet Music: "The Promise" by When in Rome

About When in Rome:

“When in Rome” is an English synth-pop/new wave group that gained recognition in the late 1980s. The original lineup consisted of Clive Farrington and Andrew Mann as vocalists, along with keyboardist Michael Floreale. They formed the group in Manchester, England, and derived their name from the famous proverb, emphasizing the cultural differences between Manchester and London.

The band’s most notable success came with their 1988 single “The Promise,” which became their only top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. The song initially gained popularity as a 12” dance disc, topping Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart. The success of “The Promise” led to the release of their self-titled debut album in 1988.

Despite the initial success, subsequent singles, such as “Heaven Knows,” did not achieve the same level of commercial success, and the band eventually disbanded in 1990. Following the breakup, there were tensions and legal disputes among the members. Floreale was fired in 1990, and the group disbanded after Virgin Records dropped them in 1993.

The band experienced a reformation and legal issues in the 2000s. Floreale reformed the band in 2006 as “When in Rome II” with a new vocalist and guitarist. Farrington and Mann also reformed in 2009 under the name “When in Rome UK.” Legal disputes over the band name arose, with Floreale successfully trademarking “When in Rome” in 2010.

Today, there are multiple iterations of the band, each using a different name due to legal challenges. The members have continued to perform separately, and the legacy of “When in Rome” is primarily associated with their hit single “The Promise.”

About “The Promise”:

“The Promise” is the debut single by the British new wave and synth-pop band When in Rome, released in 1987. It was the lead single from their self-titled debut album and written by all three band members: Clive Farrington, Andrew Mann, and Michael Floreale. The song reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1988, making it the band’s most successful commercial hit.

The band wrote and jammed in a small studio, and the song’s lyrics were inspired by a breakup experienced by Clive Farrington. The track received positive reviews for its catchy melody and dance rhythm, often likened to New Order’s style. “The Promise” initially reached the top of the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart and later peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite its success in the U.S., it achieved a modest position of number 58 in the band’s native Britain.

“The Promise” was used in the 2004 film “Napoleon Dynamite.” The song gained renewed popularity after being featured in a memorable scene in the movie. This exposure in “Napoleon Dynamite” contributed to a resurgence of interest in the song and introduced it to a new generation of listeners. In 2020, a 30th-anniversary orchestral edition of “The Promise” was released by Farrington and Mann, featuring remixes, extended mixes, and instrumentals. The song has been covered by country singer Sturgill Simpson and featured in the HBO television series The Leftovers.


“The Promise” Intermediate Piano Solo

Key features of the intermediate version:

  • Appropriate for intermediates and late intermediates
  • 6 total pages
  • Run time is approximately 3:45

🧐 Sheet music sneak peek:


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Jennifer Eklund
Written by Jennifer Eklund
Jennifer Eklund holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music from California State University, Long Beach. She is an avid arranger, composer, and author of the Piano Pronto® method books series as well as a wide variety of supplemental songbooks. She is also a Signature Artist with Musicnotes.com with a large catalog of popular music titles for musicians of all levels.

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