The late 80s provided a lot of one-hit wonders. I, personally, remember that era quite well because that was when I was most likely to be found sitting with my boom box, waiting to record the latest big hit off the radio. One of those songs I recorded back then was the one charting hit for the British group Roachford.
Pop music in the early 90s, while being very notable for the fracturing of the top 40 format amid grunge, rap, and even a little country, also had, as one of its features, a fair number of Christian artists crossing over. Amy Grant, of course, is the most easily remembered*, but there were others. One of the lesser remembered artists had a big hit in early 1992, but these days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a secular, terrestrial station playing Kathy Troccoli.
The early 1990s had, perhaps, more one-hit wonders than any other era that easily comes to mind. A lot of those one-hit wonders have been forgotten. Very few, though, had completely disappeared from my mind. So, I was rather surprised when I heard the only US hit from British singer Chesney Hawkes. I had heard the song quite a bit when it was on the charts, but, apparently, even I can forget some of these unfairly forgotten songs.
I would imagine that most people who listened to top 40 music in the 1980s could pick out a song that falls into what was called the Minneapolis sound. This was the subgenre of music which basically traces its roots back to Prince, though many other acts had a similar sound. One such group was the mid-80s one-hit wonder Ta Mara and the Seen.
A lot of family groups have hit the charts over the years. You can undoubtedly name several, as a good number of those families hit the charts multiple times. But do you remember the Burke family, who hit the charts as part of two different groups? A lot of people will remember the first group, but how many of you remember The Invisible Man’s Band?
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.