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    The Rembrandts

    Biography

    Let’s get this out of the way first: The Rembrandts—the pop-rock duo of multi-instrumentalists and songwriters Phil Solem and Danny Wilde—co-wrote the effervescent Friends theme song, “I’ll Be There For You.” That song, with its inimitable handclaps and jangly guitar riffs, spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart, climbed several charts around the world, and continues to find new audiences thanks to Friends reruns.

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    Let’s get this out of the way first: The Rembrandts—the pop-rock duo of multi-instrumentalists and songwriters Phil Solem and Danny Wilde—co-wrote the effervescent Friends theme song, “I’ll Be There For You.” That song, with its inimitable handclaps and jangly guitar riffs, spent 11 weeks at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart, climbed several charts around the world, and continues to find new audiences thanks to Friends reruns.

    However, for Solem and Wilde, that song is just one small chapter in a friendship and creative relationship spanning four decades, two bands, four studio albums, two greatest hits records, a handful of U.S. radio hits, and two U.S. Top 40 singles. Anyone familiar with the Rembrandts only from “I’ll Be There For You” should know that the band has a rich catalog brimming with smart, well-wrought pop gems.

    That streak remains unbroken on ‘Via Satellite’, the first Rembrandts studio album in 18 years. ‘Via Satellite’’s lyrics are certainly clear-eyed about life’s ebbs and flows—including romantic breakdowns, changes of geographical scenery and unexpected emotional fissures—and the leaps of faith people take in order to pursue happiness. As always, words come courtesy of both Solem and Wilde. 

    Being on the same wavelength comes naturally to the duo. Solem and Wilde originally met each other at a party, where they bonded over a stack of David Bowie, Brian Eno, Roxy Music, and Cheap Trick vinyl LPs. At the time, Solem and Wilde were just 20. The former was performing around the Los Angeles music scene with power-poppers Loose Change, while the latter was playing in the now legendary power-pop band The Quick. When that group dissolved, Wilde and his Quick bandmate, bassist Ian Ainsworth, formed Great Buildings and recruited Solem to join, adding vocals and guitar work that created a signature Great Buildings sound. The band released one album, 1981’s power-pop/new wave cult classic, Apart From The Crowd, for Columbia Records.

    After Great Buildings, Solem and Wilde moved forward with solo careers, yet were always close in touch. In 1989, the pair gathered together for a songwriting session in Los Angeles. It was from this meeting that The Rembrandts were born. “We always said, ‘Yeah, one day we’re going to get back together and do something,'” Wilde recalls. “When my solo deal finally fizzled out, I called Phil and said, “How about we get together, write a few songs and see what happens…So Phil came out to Thousand Oaks and, man, we just woodshedded.”

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