The Rembrandts are best known for their song "I'll Be There For You", which was the main theme for the hit television show 'Friends'. Their signature, almost Beatles-esque pop rock sound, coupled with ringing guitar and fresh harmonies, rocketed them to stardom in the 90s, and their third album, 'L.P.', went platinum as a result. Though remembered primarily as a 'one-hit-wonder', the band had a fairly long history before 'Friends' made them a household name.
Lead vocalist Danny Wilde began his musical career as the lead singer of The Quick, an L.A.-based punk and power pop inspired combo briefly popular in the late 70s, breaking through with their song "Pretty Please Me". The musical duo of Danny Wilde and Phil Solem had roots in an early 80s new wave/power pop band, called Great Buildings, which released a single critically-lauded album on Columbia in 1981. Although spawning minor hits in "Hold On To Something" and "Maybe It's You", major success eluded the outfit.
After they disbanded, Wilde released a series of slick 80s solo albums before rejoining with his former partner to form the Rembrandts. Initially, the band was heavily indebted to simplistic guitar pop reminiscent of early work from The Beatles and The Everly Brothers. They also took serious inspiration from pop contemporaries such as Squeeze and Crowded House. Their first, self-titled album, released in 1990, featured the surprise #14 hit "Just the Way It Is, Baby", which managed to claw its way onto top 40 playlists despite sounding out of place for the time. Follow-up singles "Someone" and "Save Me" also garnered some airplay.
Their second record, released two years later (and titled, humorously, 'Untitled') also spawned minor hits in the brooding, violin-spiked "Johnny, Have You Seen Her?" and the breezy "Rolling Down the Hill". Both songs showed the band's partial influence from alternative rock groups. In 1995, however, the Rembrandts became a surprise, seemingly-overnight success when they recorded the theme song to the program 'Friends', a ditty reminiscent of British invasion groups called "I'll Be There For You",
The song became an instant smash based on its thirty-second TV version. Interestingly enough, they recorded the full-length version of "I'll Be There For You" only after the shorter version was recorded specifically for the TV show. The band was busy prepping their third release, 'L.P.', at the time that "I'll Be There For You" became so successful, and it was shoehorned last minute onto the end of the track order (initial pressings omit the song on the track list). Unfortunately, much of the new audience generated by the hit didn't take a shine to the rest of the low-key pop rock on the disc. The album went platinum and picked up supportive critical reviews, but it has become something of a lost 90s classic. A few follow-up singles, notably "This House Is Not a Home", generated a small amount of interest, but nothing compared to that of the 'Friends' theme.
The sudden shift in the band's fanbase– where they had gone from being a low-flying critical success to a discarded 'one-hit-wonder' in the popular consciousness– took its toll on the band, especially Solem. He outright quit several years later. Danny Wilde produced another Rembrandts album without him, but it was a commercial failure. In 2001, however, the duo reunited for 'Lost Together', their fourth album as a duo and fifth overall. A greatest hits compilation was released in 2006, displaying that the band did in fact have a singles history far deeper than the 'Friends' theme. As time has gone on, they've also had a cult following among power pop fans.