One in a row!
Ahh, the one hit wonder. The person or act known mainly for only a single success, one hit record.
There are so so many.
Some one-hit wonders are the result of novelty songs during fads. Examples include Rick Dees’ “Disco Duck, (the disco craze of the 1970’s) C.W. McCalls’s “Convoy”,(the CB radio craze of the 1970s) And probably the biggest selling one hit wonder of all time, “The Macarena” by Los Del Rio based on a dance. Right? It was a dance?
Some artists, such as the Big Bopper, had their careers cut short by death (in the Big Bopper’s case, the fatal plane crash), while others, such as New Radicals and The La’s broke up immediately after their one hit. In the 1960s and early 1970s, session bands such as Edison Lighthouse producing just a single 45 record were common. More commonly, however, one-hit wonders are serious-minded musicians who struggled to continue their success after their popularity waned.
It’s often used in a slightly derogatory manner, but that’s not fair. Some obviously suck and are one hit wonders for a reason, but some are great. And I relish in their one-hit hipness…
Some of my favorites (and yes, some of these border on “guilty pleasures”):
-“You Get What You Give” by the aforementioned New Radicals (1998). Great pop at it’s best. A cross between Todd Rundgren and….well nobody. It’s like Todd had another huge pop hit in the 90’s. They didn’t seem to handle success very well, and frontman/ writer Gregg Alexander thought he could do it all on his own. Nope.
-“In a Big Country” by Big Country (1983). It kicks. You can’t hear it and not yell “Sha” or whatever the hell he’s yelling there. Great song. Distinctive sound.
-“Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve (1998). Yeah, the strings and music were completely stolen from a symphonic version of “Last Time” by the Stones. But they paid for it eventually, and the groove they put behind it is perfect.
-“Spirit in The Sky” by Norman Greenbaum (1970). He didn’t make it simply because of his name. I mean, you can’t be a rock star with a name like that. But what a cool guitar riff. And it was religious too, so it had that going for it. I was always confused by his line “never been a sinner, I’ve never sinned”. Really. Then your name should be Jesus. Not Norman.
-“96 Tears by ? and the Mysterians (1966). Garage rock at it’s best.
-“Come and get Your Love” by Redbone (1974). A classic one hit wonder from a Native American Band. You sing along. Then it’s gone.
-“Welcome to the Boomtown” by David and David ((1986). Los Angeles based studio musicians came out with only one album and one gripping song about despair and broken dreams. Gritty, sad, and I love it.
-“In the Summertime” by Mungo Jerry (1970). Apparently they had other hits in Europe, but in the good old U.S. of A. they only had the one possibly best summer hit of all time. You just can’t not feel good when you hear it on a hot summer evening.
-“Into the Night” by Benny Mardones (1980). Yeah, it’s over the top, too dramatic and all that. But raspy voiced Mardones pulled it off somehow. Once.
-“Reflections of my Life” by The Marmalade (1970). 1970 was a huge year for one hitters. The Scottish band Marmalade came out with this pop gem complete with a backwards guitar solo. Sing it with me: “All my sorrows…Sad tomorrows…”
-“Groove is in the Heart” by Dee-Lite (1990). Come on. Lady Miss Kier. How could not love this little dance masterpiece? Hello?
-“Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners (1983). It just sounded great, and I don’t care what you say. Too-Rye-Ay indeed.
-“Nothing compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Conner ((1990). As much crap as she stirred up, she only had one real hit, the Prince penned song that tore your heart out.
-“Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” by The Crash Test Dummies (1994). It just didn’t sound like anything else. Still doesn’t. Was it kind of a joke? No? Maybe? Hmm hmm hmm hmm?
-“D.O.A.” by Bloodrock (1971). Scariest freaking song ever recorded. I don’t want to think about it anymore…
-“Vehicle” by The Ides of March (1970). Everybody thought it was Blood Sweat and Tears”. I still think it is.
-“All right Now” by Free (1970). Paul Rogers sang it and went on to have numerous hits with Bad company. But this may be one of the best vocals from one of the best vocalist in the history of rock music. Oh, and the guitar riff is kind of catchy too.
-“I’ve never been to me” by Charlene (1982). Just seeing if you were paying attention. This one sucked.
-“Wouldn’t It be good” by Nik Kershaw (1984). It’s so 80’s. But good 80’s. If that’s possible. I love it. Still don’t know why.
-“In the Meantime” by Spacehog (1995). I loved this song and would have bet my house they would have had another hit. Guess that’s why I was never an A&R man.
-“There she Goes” by The La’s(1990). Brilliant Beatlesque pop from a Liverpool band. Too bad the record business got the best of them and these scruffy scouse lads didn’t want to play the game. Gone after one…
Okay, I’ll end with a one and a half hit wonder. “Seether” and “Volcano Girls” by Veruca Salt (1995). Loved this band led by two girls who seemed to just want to have fun and rock, but apparently couldn’t get along. Shame. Both are still on my iPod and will be for life.
There are obviously countless more. Got any that you need to throw in?