Formed in 1979 by friends Arnold Lanni on keyboards and vocalist Freddy Curci, Sheriff was rounded out by longtime friend/bassist Wolf Hassel, Steve de Marchi on guitars, and Rob Elliott on drums. With a blend of light rock and pop sensibility, they became fixtures on the Toronto scene while writing their own material.
In 1982 they signed a deal with Capitol Records, and released their self-titled debut album later that year. Produced by John and Helen Victor, the record was soft rock delivered with a punch. The first single “You Remind Me” scored them a Canadian top 40 hit, and they set out on the road across Canada. Their biggest ticket was backing up The Beach Boys on the Canadian leg of their world tour. The band’s follow-up single, “Mama’s Baby” stalled before ever getting out of the gate. But the third single, “When I’m With You” became one of the most played ballads of the decade, on its way to #1 on the Canadian charts and peaking at #61 in the US, and pushing the album gold (50,000 units) in Canada.
But within a year, musical differences were coupled with the fact they were barely breaking even, and caused the band’s demise. Lanni and Hassel later formed Frozen Ghost. Lanni would also go on to become a highly sought after producer, working with the likes of Finger Eleven, Wild T & The Spirit, Our Lady Peace, and King’s X, among many others.
But in 1989, a Las Vegas DJ started playing “When I’m With You,” prompting other stations around the market, then the country, to do the same. The song spent 30 weeks on the charts, eventually selling over half a million copies, six years after the band’s breakup. The renewed interest led Capitol to re-release the album on compact disc that year, though there were no added bonuses. Additionally, label reps pressured the band to reform to cash in on the newfound exposure, but Lanni, who owned the band name, declined. As a result, Curci and DeMarchi took their two dozen demos they’d recorded, shopped them around, and formed Alias in 1990 with remnants of Heart.
In early 2005, an acoustic version of “More Than Words Can Say” was released on a VH1 compilation disc, CLASSIC METAL MANIA: STRIPPED.
You Remind Me
Makin’ My Way
When I’m With You
Kept Me Coming
Crazy Without You
Living For A Dream
Give Me Rock n Roll