Let’s be honest: 1982 was a weird year for top 40 music. Disco was dead, punk rock was waning, and no one genre dominated the music scene. To add to the constant flux in the top 40 sound, dozens of one-hit wonders appeared on the charts that year, seemingly more than in a usual year. One of the least likely one-hit wonders to chart that year was an act which came out of a recurring skit on a comedy show. But that’s how begins the story of Bob and Doug McKenzie.
One of the most prominent, and certainly one of the most recognizable, bands in the 1970s was Kiss. With their onstage makeup, even those who didn’t follow much rock music of the time knew who Kiss was. But who remembers the period when each of the four band members released his own solo album, all at the same time? And who further remembers which of the band members had the biggest hit of the four? Why, Ace Frehley, that’s who.
Led Zeppelin, it goes without saying, will never be featured on this site. This is a site for forgotten songs, but a lot of Led Zeppelin songs still get radio airplay.* It was for that reason that so many other bands tried to sound like Led Zeppelin. One of those bands, though, had the added advantage of having the son of a Led Zeppelin member as its founder. Show of hands: who remembers the band Bonham?
Occasionally, a musical act, even though it is officially a one-hit wonder, can find itself known for multiple reasons. Stranger still, that act may find that, while some of its other non-charting work has endured, its one hit didn’t. That is exactly the case with the short-lived early-80s new wave group The Waitresses.
It’s always amazing when songwriters can cram a full story into a three-minute song. Some of these stories have lasted, while some have fallen by the wayside. Some of the more enduring story songs include (to name just a couple) Aerosmith’s “Janie’s Got a Gun” and Meat Loaf’s “Paradise By The Dashboard Light”. Paul Nicholas’s one and only hit song, “Heaven on the 7th Floor”, on the other hand, falls into the latter category.
Some pieces of entertainment are best known for the memes they inspire. Such was the case for the 1984’s minor hit Breakin’. Virtually no one remembers the sequel, but its subtitle has appeared all over the internet in recent years. At this point, most people who have spent more than a few hours on the internet have seen a lousy sequel to something, be it a movie, a political debate, or virtually anything else, given the title “____ 2: Electric Boogaloo”. Well, thank Breakin’ for that. But also thank Breakin’ for a little remembered Top 10 hit called “Breakin’…There’s No Stopping Us” by a duo called Ollie and Jerry.
Readers of this site know that, in many cases, two types of songs which find themselves forgotten by radio after their initial release are one-hit wonders and power ballads. I suppose it goes without saying that a song that is both is more likely still to be forgotten. Add to that the fact that the song was released in 1990, a mostly forgotten year in pop music, and you very nearly have the perfect storm. Such was the case for the one hit for the hard rock* group Giant.
At the end of the 1970s, the Southern rock band Wet Willie had decided to split up (though they still tour occasionally, even now). Lead singer Jimmy Hall, though, was invited to record a solo album by the band’s then-label, Epic Records. And while Jimmy Hall’s solo career did not produce a lot of chart success, it did yield one bona fide hit, a song which is, sadly, quite forgotten now.
The late 1980s brought a lot of new British acts to the United States, several of which charted over here before (or instead of) charting in their native Britain. The Eighties had also, by this time, brought forth the dance-pop genre from the ashes of disco. It was natural, then, that some of those British acts which were successful in the US first would have that chart success with dance-pop music. One such act which had success at the time but which, 30 years later, is largely forgotten by radio, was Giant Steps.
Actors have crossed over to singing top 40 hits, and vice versa, almost as long as there has been a top 40 chart at all. Obviously there were Elvis and Sinatra doing quite well on both fronts, but there were many, many others who had various degrees of success. Do you remember Shaun Cassidy, Rick Springfield, Jack Wagner? You might even recall the top 40 entries by Bruce Willis, Don Johnson, and Eddie Murphy. Now – show of hands – who remembers when there was a very successful top 40 hit from…Joey Lawrence?