#3: When I’m With You by Sheriff

City: Halifax, NS
Radio Station: CJCH
Peak Month: March 1983
Peak Position in Halifax ~ #1
Peak position in Vancouver ~did not chart
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #61
YouTube: “When I’m With You
Lyrics: “When I’m With You

Sheriff was a band formed in Toronto in 1979. The lead vocalist was Federico “Freddy” Curci. He was born in Toronto in 1962. Growing up in his Italian-Canadian family, he was first exposed to opera. But in his late childhood he discovered Black Sabbath and the Doobie Brothers. In the mid-70s, Curci was part of a number of Italian wedding bands that played in Greater Toronto. Curci co-founded Sheriff with Steven “Steve” DeMarchi, also born in Toronto (1961 ?) and his parents also immigrated to Canada from Italy. The third founding member of Sheriff is Arnold Lanni. He was born in 1956 in Toronto. Bass guitarist, Wolf D. Hassel, joined Sheriff in 1982, as did Rob Elliott on drums.

In the summer of 1982, the band released “You Remind Me”. The single climbed to #14 in Toronto, and cracked the Top 30 in both Montreal and Ottawa. A second single, “Making My Way”, failed to chart.

The band’s third single release was “When I’m With You”.

When I'm With You by Sheriff
Freddy Curci and Steve DeMarchi co-wrote “When I’m With You”. The song is a dedication to one’s lover who gives them chills. The singer is “lost in love,” and “lives for” their heart-throb. They “come undone,” and their “world stands still.” It’s another soft-rock anthem that, in time, took the band to number-one. But the first time out, they got most of their attention in Canada, and a few radio markets in the USA.

“When I’m With You” peaked at #1 in Halifax (NS), Ottawa, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Detroit, Presque Isle (ME), #2 in St. Cloud (MN), #3 in Kitchener (ON), #5 in Toronto, #8 in Hamilton (ON), Bangor (ME), and Kansas City (MO), #9 in Sydney (NS), and #10 in Houston.

In 1983, “When I’m With You” peaked at #61 on the Billboard Hot 100.

A fourth single released in 1983, “Mama’s Baby”, was a commercial flop.

Freddy Curci wrote on his website about what next unfolded. “Sheriff’s American tour was plagued with reports of new fans not being able to buy the record in their local shops. Rigorous touring, frustrations, and disappointments caused tensions that split the band in two. In 1985 Sheriff decided to call it a day.”

In 1985, Arnold Lanni co-founded the rock band Frozen Ghost. Wolf Hassel joined him. In 1987, Frozen Ghost released an album and a single titled “Should I See”. The band released three albums between 1987 and 1992. They had four Top 30 hits in Canada, including “Round And Round”, “Pauper In Paradise”, and “Head Over Heels”. In 2000 Lanni was nominated as producer of the year at the Juno Awards.

In November 1988, Brian Philips, Program Director at KDWB in Minneapolis-St. Paul, and WKTI in Milwaukee began playing the song. Eventually, other radio stations in the USA followed suit. This encouraged Capitol Records to re-release”When I’m With You” as a single. The song re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 on 26 November 1988. On February 4, 1989, the song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Sheriff the first Canadian band to do so since Bachman-Turner Overdrive reached #1 in November 1974 with “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”. On its second time around in Canada, “When I’m With You” reached #4 in Burnaby (BC) and #5 in Hamilton (ON). 

In 1988, Curci and DeMarchi were founding members of Alias. The band recorded several albums, including the number-one hit in Canada, “More Than Words Can Say”. Their followup single, “Waiting For Love”, peaked at #1 in Hamilton and #7 in Vancouver in the spring of 1991.

Alias disbanded in 1991, but they reformed in 2009, with Curci and DeMarchi heading up the band. Steve DeMarchi’s younger brother, Denny had joined Alias briefly in 1991. He was back with the reformed band in 2009 until 2020 on keyboard and backing vocals until he died at age 57 of cancer. In 2011, and since 2014, Wolf Hassel has also been a bass guitarist with Alias.

April 24, 2024
Ray McGinnis

Sheriff,” freddycurci.com.
Freddy Curci Interview,” Strutter Magazine, February 16, 2002.
John Stewart, “2016 Inductee: Steve DeMarchi,” music walk of fame, 2016.

When I'm With You by Sheriff

CJCH 920-AM Halifax (NS) Top Ten | March 4, 1983

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