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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Monday, May 27, 2013

The Time Machine one hit wonder special.

The one hit wonder- has a magical sound to it, don't it?  A song by someone who's never heard from again.  But what is it really, and how many are there?

Billboard defines it as someone who has never had that elusive second hit.  As I have studied the subject, I have found thirty-seven acts who missed out on that second tune by 9 spots or less- two acts (the Contours and Suzi Quatro) who missed by that much three different times- and seven acts (Quatro, Paper Lace, Deodato, Janis Joplin, Richard Harris, the Contours, and Ketty Lester) who had a song stop at #41.

There are so many one hit wonders, in fact, there was no way I could do a good post off the top of my head.  And how many of you would suggest someone like, say, The Knack, Manfred Mann's Earth Band, or the Strawberry Alarm Clock only to find out they DID have other top 40 hits- or worse, miss something like Barry McGuire's Eve Of Destruction because you thought it was Bob Dylan?  There are 224 one-hit top tens, and 166 top fives!  So I obviously had to set down a process of elimination.  And a year-range; based on the birthday feature's upper end, I chose 1983 for the latest, and 1960 for the early end.

First off, I decided to cut down the list by only taking those who never hit the hot 100 again.  That gave me 66 top tens, and 27 top fives.  Then I looked at a couple of special cases.  First, there was They're Coming To Take Me Away by Napoleon XIV- a song that hit #3 in 1966- and then charted again in 1973 at #87.  Technically it was the same song, but it WAS a second charting in the hot 100, so out it goes. 

Second is Tony Burrows.  He was basically Edison Lighthouse, White Plains, the First Class, and the Pipkins, not to mention lead male vocal on the Brotherhood Of Man; so First Class' Beach Baby and the Pipkins' Gimme Dat Ding are also out.  Finally, we have the curious case of Buckner and Garcia, who hit #9 in 1982 with Pac-Man Fever.  They had previously, under a pseudonym, charted in the 80s, so I booted them as well.

One last thing I should mention- the song that really started this all in motion, Walter Egan's Magnet And Steel, doesn't make the list because Egan also hit at #s 46, 55, and 82. 

So what's left is a list of songs you know and songs you don't, minus songs that you never knew they had more hits and ones that might have made it had they charted a bit higher.  Ranked by chart position and year.

They what hit #10

Percolater (Twist)- Billy Joe and the Checkmates, 1962.  The brainchild of one Lew Bedell, who's other claim to fame was marrying John Barrymore's daughter.

Just One Look- Doris Troy, 1963.  You've heard this one on TV commercials.

Midnight Mary- Joey Powers, 1964.

You've Got To Hide Your Love Away- The Silkie, 1965.  Fresh off the recent "Beatles covers" feature.

An Open Letter To My Teenage Son- Victor Lundberg, 1967.  A very patient letter that ended with dad's line in the sand- "If you burn your draft card, than you may as well burn your birth certificate at the same time..."

Hooked On Classics- Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, 1982.  One last blast of the early eighties' medley craze.

The guys at number nine:

Forever- The Little Dippers, 1960.

Our Winter Love- Bill Pursell, 1963.  Bill was Johnny Cash's pianist in the 60's.

The Israelites- Desmond Dekker, 1969.  A Reggae flavored hit I remember well.

Chick-A-Boom (Don' Yew Jes Luv It)- Daddy Dewdrop, 1971.  Currently appearing in the latest episodes of Time Machine.

Pop Corn- Hot Butter, 1972.  Remember this instrumental from every early seventies Ronco lp?

Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues- Danny O'Keefe, 1972.

Wildflower- Skylark, 1973.  Another great Canadian act.

Eres Tu- Mocedades, 1974.  A Spanish act, and a song it took me years to know what they were saying (I thought it was "it is cool" or "it is true").

Rocking Chair- Gwen McRae, 1975.  An early smooth-disco hit.

Junk Food Junkie- Larry Groce, 1975.  Good Lord, have pity on me...

Smoke From A Distant Fire- Sanford-Townsend Band, 1977.  Don't let the screen door hit you...

Cars- Gary Numan, 1980.  I actually got this 45 for a birthday present.

Great at number eight:

Yogi- The Ivy Three, 1960.  3 kids from Adelphi University.

Asia Minor- Kokomo, 1961.  Actually a songwriter named Jimmy Wisner.

Wild Weekend- The Rebels, 1963.  A surf band from Buffalo, NY, of all places.

More- Kai Winding, 1963.  Danish trombonist.

What The World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin, And John- Tom Clay, 1971.  If you haven't ever heard this, you should look it up.  A very real picture of the world back then.

Desiderata- Les Crane, 1971.  A poem read by an announcer.

Jungle Fever- The Chakachas, 1972.  A Latin soul group from Belgium.

Convention '72- The Delegates, 1972.  A comedy farce on politics 1972.

Life Is A Rock- Reunion, 1974.  But the radio rolls me...

Tired Of Towing The Line- Rocky Burnette, 1980.  The latest of the musical Burnette family.

Tainted Love- Soft Cell, 1982.  A fine example of the new wave eighties.

Lucky sevens:

Let's Think About Living- Bob Luman, 1960.  Had 21 top 40 country hits.

Mexico- Bob Moore Orchestra, 1961.  Bassist and member of Nashville's A-Team of session musicians.

Sweet Mary- Wadsworth Mansion, 1971.  It's the least they could do.

The Pick Six:

Baby Sittin' Boogie- Buzz Clifford, 1961.

Shout!  Shout!  (Knock Yourself Out)- Ernie Maresca, 1962.  Put another dime in the record machine...

Al Di La- Emilio Pericoli, 1962.  Italian language tune.

The Men In My Little Girl's Life- Mike Douglas, 1966.  That's right, the talk show host.

Heaven On The Seventh Floor- Paul Nicholas, 1977.  Havin' so much fun in that elevator...

And now the top fives...

Mule Skinner Blues- The Fendermen, 1960.  I listened to this the other night.... boy, I dunno...

Angel Baby- Rosie and the Originals, 1961.

Party Lights- Claudine Clark, 1961.  This one I remembered.

Psychotic Reaction- The Count Five, 1966.  One of the first great psychedelic hits.

Hold Your Head Up- Argent, 1972.  Rod Argent of the Zombies.

Do You Wanna Make Love- Peter McCann, 1977.  Or do you just wanna fool around?

Makin' It- Dvaid Naughton, 1979.  From the movie.

Four the turnstiles...

Sunshine- Johnathon Edwards, 1972.  It went away, and took all the rest of his hits.

Americans- Byron MacGregor, 1974.  Spoken word testament to all the US of A was, by a Canadian.

The Lord's Prayer- Sister Janet Mead, 1974.  One of two ladies who were active nuns when they hit the pop charts.

Putting On The Ritz- Taco, 1983.  A cover of a 1929 original.

Three, and in the breeze...

Popsicles, Icicles- The Murmaids, 1964.  Written by David Gates, soon to be of Bread.

In The Summertime- Mungo Jerry, 1970.  You got women, you got women on your mind.

The Entertainer- Marvin Hamlisch, 1974.  From The Sting.

Deuces Wild...

Sally Go 'Round The Roses- Jaynetts, 1963.

Fire- The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, 1968.  I am the god of hellfire, and I bring you...

Dueling Banjos- Eric Weissburg and Steve Mandel, 1973.  From Deliverance.  Paddle faster!

Playground In My Mind- Clint Holmes, 1973.  My name is Michael, I've got a nickel...

Float on- The Floaters, 1977.  Not named after unflushed #2s.

And the number one songs...

Alley Oop- Hollywood Argyles, 1960.  Best name that never had a band to go with it.

Dominique- The Singing Nun, 1964.  Sisters weren't good with sequels, apparently.

In The Year 2525- Zager And Evans, 1969.  The one song we ALL knew would be here.

TSOP- MFSB, 1974.  Let's get it on... it's time to get down...

Pop Music- M, 1981.  Shoobie-doobie-doo-wop....


Chariots Of Fire, Vangelis, 1983.  One last instrumental. 

And there you have 'em!  See you Friday on the regular TM!


    Well, you certainly did a lot of research for this post - kudos for that!

    It seems though that you and I had different ideas about a 'One-Hit Wonder' post, and that explains the confusion surrounding our previous discussion pertaining to Top Fives vs. Top Tens vs. Top Forties.

    This may or may not be a technically accurate definition in the radio industry (I'd need to research it a bit to know for sure), but I believe that it is a generally accepted idea that a hit song isn't a genuine "hit" unless it charts in Billboard's Top 40 listing. Hence, the old terms "Top Forty format" and "Top Forty Radio Station".

    I could be mistaken, but I don't believe radio (at least AM stations that played "the hits") considered something that charted below the Top 40 in Billboard to be an authentic "hit". [DiscConnected may be able to enlighten us more about this topic.]

    Of course, for your purposes, if you choose to consider something charting at 99 or 100 on Billboard to be a "hit", you're obviously free to do that - it's YOUR concept.

    But the even greater confusion stems from this: When I first proposed this One-Hit Wonder blog bit idea, I wasn't really looking for a list of hits. What I was primarily interested in was a list of YOUR OWN PERSONAL favorite 'One-Hit Wonder' artists and/or songs, with maybe a brief description of why they are favorites for you.

    I was looking for more of a PERSONAL FAVORITES listing than just an objective listing of 'One-Hit Wonders'. I was primarily interested in Brother Martin's tastes when it came to this subject. And I was also thinking in terms of Top 40, not Hot 100.

    Regardless, you sure did a lot of work studying for this post, Bro.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. And if I was to do it as a "blogfest" format, so I would have gone. But for me, the fun was in the research. I tend to think that after the "great sixties/seventies/eighties countdowns" that people might be tired of my personal tastes. However, right now as we speak, we are listening to all the ones I don't know by name, and perhaps when we're done I can cobble up my favorites.

      And there's a lot of 40+ charting singles that I did love (for example, Beach Boys- Sail On Sailor and Surf's Up), which is one reason I eliminated those who had them too. But mainly, as you see, I had to thin out the crowd.

    2. Also, if you think about the word "hit" it comes from "hit the chart". So whether a person wants to limit it to what AM radio calls a hit- the top 40- or the more widespread definition of the hot 100 (or even beyond) depends on whether you are content with what others tell you is a hit, say Blinded By The Light, or what you might like better while the world at large doesn't, such as Manfred Mann's subsequent single For You, which is one of my favorites despite only charting in the 90's.

      That is my thoughts on the definition of a hit. The way I chose to do this wasn't a reflection of my thoughts on the definition but was a result of my curiousity about what was out there, which is what basically drives Time Machine. I had to cut it down for the space, not because I ever thought that only the top five or ten was a hit.

      As to my own favorites, I looked down the list on Wikipedia for 1960-83, without any trimming, and this would be my top ten (with the caveat that Caroline No was as much a Beach Boys song as the rest of Pet Sounds (which you can take either direction) so I disqualified it):

      10. The Murmaids, Popsicles Icicles.
      9. The Cascades, Rhythm Of The Rain.
      8. City Boy, 5-7-0-5.
      7. Gale Garnett, We'll Sing In The Sunshine.
      6. Mercy, Love Can Make You Happy.
      5.Barry McGuire, Eve Of Destruction.
      4. Max Frost and the Troopers, Shape Of Things To Come.
      3. J Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers, Last Kiss.
      2. Paul Muriat, Love Is Blue.
      And #1- and nobody who followed the sixties countdown will be surprised- Merilee Rush, Angel Of The Morning.

      You see, I grew up with a sister 10 years older than me, and we listened to the radio pretty non-stop, much of the time to CKLW in Detroit. My Mom was also a pretty good music fan, and her taste ran to Rick Nelson, the Everlys, and Andy Williams. Thus my "developmental era" ran from 1962-1975, and quite frankly I'd be okay if all music not from 1974-76 disappeared.

      I actually went through the top five of that era (the one I used on the post) to see how many of the ones that missed the chart I liked. I was surprised by what had to be an anomaly- the only one I knew was Suzy Quatro's If You Can't Give Me Love.I'd love to have back the copy of Joel Whitburn's Billboard book and do a top songs that hit #41 and below someday. Of course, even that would leave out the "no hit wonders" like the Mynah Birds.

    3. Oh, and I forgot to add, I think it would be neat if anyone out there with the time could go down the list ("one hit wonders in the USA" on Wikipedia, put you have to pull up the decades separately) and post THEIR top ten.

    4. I think the "official" version of hit would be top 40, although CW is correct that Billboard charts the top 100 songs (and 200 albums). But when you google any artist's chart hits, they make it a point of letting you know how many top 40 hits they had.

      Billboard has gotten crazy with charts though. For example, Todd Rundgren (not a one-hit wonder with five top 40 hits and one more with Utopia) charted with his most recent album....on the "Electronic Dance" chart.

      Did the world need another chart, or is this the music industry equivalent of ribbons for fifteenth place?


  2. Pac-man fever!! Oh my gosh!
    I actually have Chick a boom on my ipod because of the memories i have when it played as a kid.

    1. Chick a Boom. Don't you jes love it?

  3. 'Eve of Destruction' is a fantastic song, but a bit of a downer. Maybe it's because of lyrics like "...even the Jordan River has bodies floating."
    But, there is an anachronism in the song when he says "...old enough to kill, but not for voting."
    Now he could claim "old enough to kill, but not for ordering a Bud Lite."
    That's a downer, too.

  4. CWM:
    Been rather late getting here, but believe me, THIS post is ALWAYS worth whatever wait awaits you (or me)...!

    I LOVE a lot of these songs..ah, those one hit wonders.
    Fantastic compilation.
    You did some serious homework!

    Keep those hits coing up there.