Occasionally, a recording artist from overseas will finally break into the US market with one huge hit, and then they will become a fixture on the US charts for years to come. (ABBA comes to mind almost immediately.) However, there are other artists who have that one breakthrough hit on the US charts…which turns out to be their only one. Such was the case for Tina Arena and her power ballad, “Chains”.
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”.
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?
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?
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 (“The One and Only”) quite a bit when it was on the charts. 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, whose one hit was “Everybody Dance”.
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.