Ask most rock/pop music historians about southern rock, and they will likely point you to the early 1970s. They won’t, by and large, have much to say about the early 80s, as the genre was waning by then. That didn’t stop the group Point Blank from barely hitting the top 40, for the first and only time, with a forgotten 1981 rocker named “Nicole”.
The 1990s brought what might be a perfect combination of events to produce forgotten songs. There were a fair number of movie remakes of classic TV around that time. A lot of those movies produced hits that have, honestly, disappeared from radio. (I’d list some of them, but I realized a lot of the songs from these movies are, in fact, forgotten, so you’ll probably read about them on this page at some point.) One of them in particular produced what would be the last top 40 hit for the B-52s. Do you remember their take on “(Meet) The Flintstones”?
We have seen a lot of artists who, though very famous, have had songs become forgotten. Many have been covered on this page before (and a few probably will appear again). To add to this list, I give you one Whitney Elizabeth Houston. For at least the last half of the 80s, it seemed as if she were everywhere. But with as many hits as she had, some were bound to disappear. Such was the case for her 1988 hit, “Love Will Save The Day”.
I think I’ve said this multiple times over the lifespan of this blog, but there were a lot of one-hit wonders in the early 90s. A. Lot. One of those was a group with a unique lineup. There have been lots of groups featuring siblings, to be sure. How many can you name that consist solely of three triplet sisters? With that distinction, what other name would you expect them to have for their group than The Triplets?
Sometimes a band gets a little bit typecast. Take Bread, for example. You remember Bread, don’t you? They placed a whole lot of slow ballads on the chart in the early-to-mid 1970s. Oh, and two rockers that no one remembers, or at least radio programmers don’t. Let’s take a look at one of those today, the still timely “Mother Freedom”.
From what I have seen, sometimes a song becomes forgotten because of multiple reasons. Take, for example, an artist whose career has stretched six decades and counting, and add in the fact that the song in question was part of a short-lived foray into the world of disco, and you have the perfect recipe for a song that American radio leaves behind. Such is the case for a 1979 smash by Barbra Streisand. You may have heard of her before, but do you have any memory of “The Main Event/Fight”?
Instrumentals have rarely been big on the pop charts. But after the 1970s, they became almost extinct, with just a very few exceptions. One of those was charted in 1980 by an artist who had had a much bigger instrumental hit two years earlier. You probably remember a song by Chuck Mangione called “Feels So Good”…do you remember “Give It All You Got”?
The 1980s, among many things, provided a lot of successful dance artists who weren’t really able to duplicate that same success on the pop charts. Perhaps one of the most prominent artists on that front was the mononymous Alisha, who had five tracks hit the top 10 of Billboard’s dance chart, but never got a track into the top half of the Hot 100. Even the track that actually topped the dance chart didn’t get any traction on the pop chart. You might not even remember “Baby Talk” today…or do you?
By pretty much any standard, The Art of Noise is one of the most unique groups to come out of the 1980s. What started out with a solid pedigree went in a direction no one but its members could have predicted. And it was without the group’s most famous member that the group had its biggest successes. A few of those successes even made it onto the US charts, including one with a very 80s character.
Remakes are a mixed bag. Some are quite good in reimagining the song in a whole new way, while others are, well, terrible. And then, of course, there are the note-for-note remakes which are, in most cases, completely unnecessary. One of the great, and most forgotten, remakes came out in the mid-80s and sounded completely different from the disco song it remade. You’ll probably remember the original disco version of “Funkytown”, but do you remember the remake by Pseudo Echo?