Once again, lovers of music from decades past have been saddened to hear of the passing of Aretha Franklin from cancer. To say that Ms. Franklin had a long and successful recording career, quite honestly, doesn’t do justice to the influence she had on many, many others.
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.
Given all the chart successes enjoyed by Daryl Hall and John Oates in the mid to late 1970s and, especially, the early 80s, it’s not surprising that some of their songs from outside that period have fallen by the wayside. It’s possible, but certainly not proven, that their longer than usual hiatus after 1984’s Big Bam Boom caused them to be somewhat forgotten, even back then. But regardless, when the duo returned to the studio in the late 1980s, their songs, while fairly successful at the time, did not seem to have much of any staying power on American radio. Such was the case with “Everything Your Heart Desires”.
When Daryl Hall wasn’t making hit albums and singles with John Oates (along with the occasional now-forgotten song), he certainly kept busy during the 70s and 80s.* In addition to writing and producing, he also recorded some music on his own. American terrestrial radio has pretty much forgotten, but he had some success in the mid-80s with a hit called “Dreamtime”.
If one were to make an objective list of the most successful duos in American music during the pop era by sales and chart successes, one would have to include Daryl Hall and John Oates. However, if I were to make a list of the most disrespected duos in America music in the pop era, I would also include Daryl Hall and John Oates. Add to that the fact that they did have so many chart smashes, and it’s easy to see how a single that was not so successful could be forgotten so totally. And that’s exactly the fate of the duo’s 1981 single “Your Imagination”.
Many times an artist who hits the top ten is better known for acting. For example, within a three-year period during the 80s, actors Don Johnson, Bruce Willis, and Patrick Swayze hit the top ten for their first and only time. For an artist to be better known for his work on an animated children’s show, though, is a much rarer instance. Such is the case for Austin Roberts, one of those artists now thought to be a one-hit wonder…even though he wasn’t.
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.
Power ballads have been around for decades. Some of the best known songs of all time could fall into that category. (“Stairway to Heaven”, anyone?) Quite honestly, most of the songs that would be classified as power ballads would be most at home on classic rock stations, and there are many that still get lots of airplay. With that said, there have been power ballads from groups whose music was of a different type entirely. Could you, for example, picture a power ballad from a group best known for freestyle dance music?
Enter Sweet Sensation.
In the late 1970s, disco ruled the airwaves.* Some artists, such as the Bee Gees, made a full-blown dive into the genre., while others made occasional forays into the field. And as the disco craze went on, even artists who many people might not have pictured doing so went and made disco records. Remember disco hits from Cher, KISS, and others? Well, if you don’t, that’s what this webpage is for.
With all that said, if you hadn’t previously heard today’s spotlighted hit, could you have pictured a song with a disco sound coming from the progressive rock group The Alan Parsons Project?
Yeah, me neither. But it happened. And it was glorious.