Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #59: One Hit Wonders

Thirteen of My Favorite
Since Sept. 25th is National One Hit Wonder Day, I decided to list a baker's dozen of my favorites. As for what constitutes a one-hit wonder, you can ask three people and get three different answers (for the various definitions, you can click here). For my list, I chose to focus on artists who had only one Top 40 hit on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. Following the song title and the artist is the tune's highest chart position and the year that it reached its peak.

What are some of your favorite one-hit wonders?

1. Over the Mountain, Across the Sea by Johnnie and Joe (#8, 1957)

2. Sorry (I Ran All the Way Home) by The Impalas (#2, 1959)

3. Have I the Right? by The Honeycombs (#5, 1964) - This British band was one of the earliest to feature a female drummer (Honey Lantree).

4. Reach Out of the Darkness by Friend and Lover (#10, 1968)

5. How Do You Do? by Mouth and MacNeal (#8, 1972)

6. The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy (#12, 1976)

7. Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now by McFadden and Whitehead (#13, 1979)

8. Mickey by Toni Basil (#1, 1982)

9. Tarzan Boy by Baltimora (#13, 1986)

10. Supersonic by J.J. Fad (#30, 1988)

11. Groove Is In the Heart by Dee-Lite (#4, 1990)

12. Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) by US3 (#9, 1994)

13. Kiss the Rain by Billie Myers (#15, 1998)

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The Gal Herself said...

You know, until this very moment I had never SEEN Mouth and McNeil. Not even lip-syncing on American Bandstand. Now I can see why. Scary! Oh well, his scary looks do not detract from a great TT idea. Thanks for sharing.

anthonynorth said...

One hit wonders are a strange phenomenon. Especially as some bands, like Thin Lizzy, did many more records.

Hootin' Anni said...

Ho boy Malcolm, I would really have to think hard on this subject. One hit wonders...I'll try and get back to you on that...great choice for a 13!!

Stop by for my T-13 if you can find time to do's just a conglomerate of photos.

SJ Reidhead said...

I like one hit wonders and you've stumped me, but then, like I've said, repeatedly - I'm out of touch!

The Pink Flamingo

SandyCarlson said...

All I know is No. 6!

Shannon H. said...

Great list as always! I love the Thin Lizzy song.

Janet said...

Thin Lizzy had another pretty big hit, at least here in Boston, called The Cowboy Song.

Yen said...

All I know is the Thin Lizzy song! Others are pretty interesting though!~My 13 T's is posted in HERE too. Happy T13!~

mister anchovy said...

Great topic! My fave on your list is Have I the Right.

pussreboots said...

I know only a third of the ones on your list. I'm talking about books as always. Happy TT.

Meju said...

What a fun idea! I have never heard of most of wonder, huh? Happy TT.

Lori said...

Only 3 of those songs rang a bell. Id have to hear the rest. Great list..Happy TT:)

pjazzypar said...

I love Dee-Lite! I cannot really think of anyone, except the guy named Greg Perry you sung "Fly With Me". He later went on to produce the Honeycombs.

Malcolm said...

The Gal Herself: Mouth is pretty scary looking. When I first saw him a few years ago, I was amazed at how much his looks match his voice.

Anthony: Some may be surprised but artists such as Jimi Hendrix and The Grateful Dead are technically one-hit wonders too.

Hootin' Anni: I look forward to hearing what song(s) you come up with.

SJ: Thanks for stopping by.

Sandy, Yen, Pussreboots, Meju, and Lori: Thanks for commenting. I hope you all take the opportunity to sample some of the songs on this list that you don't know. :-)

Shannon: The Boys Are Back In Town has one of the all-time great guitar riffs. The flip side (Jailbreak) is pretty good too!

Janet: Thanks for swinging by. The Cowboy Song by Thin Lizzy only charted at #77 nationally. Since I am always looking to expand my music library, I am going to check Napster to see if it's available to purchase.

Mister A: I love the driving beat of "Have I the Right". I think they may have been the first band with a female drummer to have a top 40 hit in the U.S.

Pjazzy: Wow, I never even heard of the Greg Perry song you listed. It is available to listen to on You Tube. Once the site is back up again (it's undergoing maintenance), I'll check it out.

Candy Minx said...

A good lis t and I really enjoyed the archival photos and record covers. How does it happen with a one hit wonder. I find myself always hoping that the band saved their money and spent it have it worth something.

I enjoy it when radio stations have whole weekends devoted to "one hit wonders"...hey I liked the Wonder Bread logo too!

Here is my Tt:

Anonymous said...

I love one-hit wonders, and you have put together a great list (although I don't know number 12 & 13). Two of my favorites are "Ah, Leah" by Donnie Iris (1981) and "Oh, Nicole" by Point Blank, also 1981.

Toni said...

I love 6, 8, 10, 11 and 12. Happy t 13. Mine are up at a Daily Dose.
A Daily Dose of Toni
2 Boys 1 Princess

bernieg1 said...

Great list. I really enjoyed it Malcom.

Thin Lizzy did a lot of albums ad enjoyed her too!

My TT is up at 13 Myths about Barack Obama

Qtpies7 said...

I loved Mickey! I had no idea who sang it, though, lol. I pay very little attention to music or artists, though.

Darla said...

I always wonder what happened to one-hit artists--did they keep recording, but just never had another hit, did the band break up, were they unable to get a recording contract, did they quit music altogether?

Journeywoman said...

I love number 6. But you're forgetting A-HA and Take On Me. Which, also, has THE coolest video.

Anonymous said...

I think The Boys are Back in town would be my favorite off that list.

PopinFresh said...

I now have Mickey stuck in my head after reading this, hehe. Good TT post.

~ Popin

siteseer said...

Love the list, really takes you back in time.

Anonymous said...

i like the #8 & 9

Anonymous said...

The last four are all songs I know well. Great idea for TT this week.

...the local radio station in Houston did a parody of supersonic called "soup and salad" back then, and for some ridiculous reason I remember the words to both songs....

Debbie said...

Good list. I chuckled at #7 sincle clearly there was a way of stoppin' them...

Malcolm said...

Candy: Thanks! I found that Wonder logo in Google Images and made a few changes to suit my needs. I like watching those "Where Are They Now?" specials about one-hit wonders just to see what they are doing. I like the one-hit wonder weekend concept. I wish I could find a station that does that.

Cooking Mom: Thanks for stopping by... I hope it's the first of many visits! I haven't heard "Ah Leah" in years. I need to add that to my collection.

I've never heard the song by Point Blank. However, I know of them through reading various Billboard chart books.

Toni: Until I purchased it the other day, I hadn't heard "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)" in quite a while. Thanks for visiting.

Bernie: Thanks. I need to delve deeper into the Thin Lizzy catalog because I have heard many good things about them.

Qtpies7: Mickey is a tune that I never get tired of hearing.

Darla: I sometimes wonder myself about some of the one-hit wonders. Some make the mistake of releasing a follow-up that is a sound alike of their hit song... the career kiss of death if you ask me.

Journeywoman: As you can probably guess, narrowing down my list to just 13 one-hit wonders was hard as hell, lol. There were so many that I wanted to include that I left off for space reasons. In regards to A-ha, they weren't a one-hit wonder. In addition to "Take On Me", they also hit the top 20 with their follow-up song "The Sun Always Shines On TV". The video is pretty cool too... which makes sense because it's pretty much a sequel to the video for "Take On Me".

Nonersays: Thin Lizzy is getting a lot of love from you and some of the other commenters... you all have good taste. :-)

Popinfresh: First off, your username is cool as hell! If I poke you in the belly, will you giggle for me?

Mickey is one of those songs that's hard to get outta your head once it gets in there. See, it's in mine now.

Sitseer: Thanks

Fickleminded: Tarzan Boy is catchy as hell. Do you remember when it was used in a mouthwash commerical? I can't remember if it was for Scope or Listerine.

Thriving Holly: I busted out laughing when I read your comments about the Supersonic parody. I wish I could hear it now.

Debbie: Great line about McFadden and Whitehead (Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now). I wish I had come up with it.

Brenda ND said...

The only one I recognize is "The Boys Are Back in Town." Happy TT!

Tink said...

Funny to see Mouth & MacNeal in there. over here in their home country they had a lot of hits. :)
Thanks for visiting my TT.

Calliope said...

Wow. Now you have Tarzan Boy stuck in my head.

I love Groove is in the Heart, too. Great list. When I get home I'm going to have to listen to some of them.

- Celticlibrarian

Starrlight said...

Flip Fantasia will now be stuck in my head the rest of the day!

Pop Art Diva! said...

Ya know, if you had to have just one hit "Over the Mountain, Across The Sea" wasn't a bad one to have, was it?

It's cool we can download them too!

I posted 13 Things I liked about school - and a few things I hated! I wanted to be fair, lol!


Pamela Kramer said...

Oh I love a lot of your list! 8, 11, 12 - Can you believe Toni Basil just turned 65!? How crazy is that? Are you on

Los Angelista said...

My kids love to dance to Tarzan Boy. Such a great song.

But as for Dee-Lite, didn't they have like four or five #1s on the dance/club chart? I remember they had some big hits from back in my dancing days.

Oh my goodness, I just said, "dancing days". Now I feel old.

Robin said...

6, 7, and 8 were all good ones (love me some Thin Lizzy) but the prize for best group name definitely goes to Mouth and MacNeil!

verabear said...

Hmm I can't say I'm familiar with them. But I think I do remember Kiss the Rain.

Thanks for another interesting 13! :)

Mine is up at

Cindy Swanson said...

I didn't do a TT this week, but yours are often among my favorites, Malcolm. This is an EXCELLENT one. One-hit wonders are such a puzzle--how could an artist or band that had raging success with one tune, completely evade any further success?

Oh well. As for your list...I had COMPLETELY forgotten about "How Do You Do"...."Mickey" is always fun to hear...and "Cantaloop" is actually one of my favorites of all time. The jazzy vibe, along with the relaxed, cool rapping, is irresistable. If I ever get an iPod, that's going to be on there.

Malcolm said...

Brenda ND: Some of the other songs you might know once you listen to them. Thanks for commenting.

Tink: I remember reading in one of my books that Mouth and MacNeal's popularity continued in the Netherlands even after "How Do You Do". I just found a clip of them performing one of their follow-ups, "Hello-A". Damn that song is catchy as hell!

Calliope: "Tarzan Boy" is one of those songs that, once it gets in your head, you better get used to it being there awhile.

Starrlight: For better or worse,a lot of one-hit wonders have a tendency to get stuck in our heads.

Pop Art Diva: No argument from me on that one. I knew that if only one person mentioned "Over the Mountain, Across the Sea" in their comments, it would be you. :-)

Pamela: Even though I knew that Toni was born in 1943, I still did a "yipes" when I saw that she was 65. It's something about seeing the actual age instead of just the birth year I guess.

Los Angelista: Thanks for stopping by and commenting. As soon as I saw your comments about Deee-Lite, I knew I had slipped. What makes it so bad is that I have the Billboard book "Joel Whitburn's Hot Dance and Disco 1974-2003"! I definitely need to start consulting it more. I just looked up Deee-Lite's entry in the book and found that they had six #1s on the Dance chart. I updated the intro to my post so that it says that the artists listed only had 1 top 40 hit on the Billboard Pop Singles chart.

Thanks for not only setting me straight, but doing so in a respectful way.

Robin: According to "The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders", Mouth (born Willem Duyn) was so named because he was always running off with it.

Verabear: I think a lot of these may be recognizable once you hear them.

Cindy: Thanks, I am glad to hear you enjoy my T13s. The song "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)" makes me think of Twiki the Robot from the TV show "Buck Rogers". He often used to utter "bidi-bidi-bidi", which sounds a lot like "Diddi-diddi bop" from "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)".

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