In the late 80s and early 90s, a lot of new artists came onto the scene, in a lot of cases due to the major upswing in dance music during that time. Some, like Paula Abdul, have endured well into the 21st century, while many, many others have fallen by the wayside. Show of hands: who remembers the short-lived pop career of Kevin Paige?*
Dr. Hook is one of those 1970s groups that a lot of people know by name. I would imagine, though, that most people don’t remember many, if any, of Dr. Hook’s hits (and they had several). It’s interesting, though, that a group which had top 20 hits in five out of ten years of the 70s is so easily forgotten. And, surprisingly enough, one of those forgotten hits was one of the group’s highest charting.
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 isn’t unheard of for the artist credited on a track not to be the one who actually sings on that track. Carlos Santana, for example, made a career of it. But while many Santana tracks are still receiving airplay, one artist whose credited tracks are much more difficult to hear on American radio is famed producer Quincy Jones.
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.
Rita Coolidge was one of those artists who could have been known for many different things during her career. She had some success with then-husband Kris Kristofferson. Before that, according to multiple accounts, she wrote the piano coda of the Derek and the Dominoes classic “Layla”. But I would imagine most people remember her best for a string of hits in the late 70s, all of which were remakes. Two of those were top ten hits (though even those are not getting much airplay these days), but how many of my readers remember a top 30 hit entitled, simply enough, “You”?
When one thinks of Herb Alpert, it’s easy to think about his long recording career. There were lots of hits, including a number one vocal hit and a number one instrumental hit. Most people, I would imagine, think mostly of the 1960s and 70s when thinking about all his hits. Fewer people, however, would think of a late 80s top ten hit that featured Janet Jackson.
September 2018 saw the loss of yet another name from rock music history, as Marty Balin died at age 76. Marty Balin was one of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane and also sang with its offshoot, Jefferson Starship. But it was his solo career that has become forgotten by radio now.
It’s certainly not uncommon to hear of a popular recording artist switching labels. In some cases, the jilted label waits a while, then releases a greatest hits collection from that artist containing only those hits (and almost-hits) which that artist recorded while under contract to that particular label. And that’s all well and good. Less common, though, is for a label to continue to release singles by a long-gone artist. That, however, is exactly what happened with Donna Summer.