McShane was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. He learned at a young age to play bass and guitar, and showed talent for dancing at seven years old. Later as a young man in the late seventies, McShane left 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. He told Dick Clark on American Bandstand in 1986 that he fell in love with Italy from that moment. He also learnt the Italian language.
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 for the Red Cross in Ireland until he met Bassi with whom he created Baltimora. The band 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 Jimmy actually providing the backing vocals. This still remains uncertain, but would include lead vocals on their biggest hit Tarzan Boy, despite the fact that McShane lip synched while appearing in the Tarzan Boy music video, and not Bassi. 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.
However, their inability to provide a successful follow-up led Bassi to disband Baltimora. This drove McShane away from the music scene.
McShane was diagnosed with AIDS in 1994. A few months later he returned to Ireland where he decided to spend the last year of his life. He 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, McShane and his father received a commemorative plaque.
Joel Whitburn's Music Stars: Brief Bios of Every Recording Artist Who Ever Charted by Joel Whitburn
Paperback: 285 pages
Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation (September 1, 2009)
Amazon: Joel Whitburn's Music Stars: Brief Bios of Every Recording Artist Who Ever Charted
If you ever need a quick reference on any recording artist from the last 60 years, here is your book. From the best source in the business, this handy bio book includes vital stats on every artist who had even one hit on the Billboard charts. Over 8,000 entries!
More LGBT History at my website: www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Gay Classics
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