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 music fans to associate Foreigner with a particular era, and you’ll likely hear them direct you to the late 70s/early 80s. To be sure, that era was Foreigner’s heyday, but the band did place one hit onto the Hot 100 well into the 90s. That one hit was a power ballad called “Until the End of Time”.
The Tubes are yet another group that most people would consider to be a one-hit wonder. “She’s a Beauty” was their only hit, right? Well, actually it wasn’t; the Tubes had several singles which charted, including a second top 40 hit. It’s that other hit we’ll look at today, a single entitled “Don’t Want To Wait Anymore”.
Most people, when asked to name a song by Kansas, would gravitate toward one of two songs. And so would I, and probably so would you, since there are two songs from that group which are more well known than the rest of Kansas’s discography combined. With that said, there were multiple top 40 hits, most of which have fallen by the wayside, at least as far as radio is concerned. Case in point: how many of you remember the band’s top 20 single “Play The Game Tonight”?
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.
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 my last post, I wrote about a song, “In My Dreams”, that appeared, briefly, on the Hot 100 during early 1986 for a hair metal band named Dokken. Some of my readers definitely still remember, and appreciate, that song (even if American radio doesn’t). But were you Dokken aficionados aware that another group took a somewhat similar version of that same song not only into the Hot 100 but all the way into the Top 40? Show of hands: who remembers The Party?
It’s not uncommon at all to see a song hit the charts in multiple versions. Heck, some artists built their reputations through remakes. (For example, a good percentage of Linda Ronstadt’s released singles were covers.) It’s less common, however, to see a song hit the charts twice in versions from bands much further apart in genre than the two bands which hit the charts with a song, originally released in 1985, called “In My Dreams”.
Occasionally, a band that has had a long history will be well remembered solely for its earlier hits. In these cases, those early hits will continue to receive airplay on classic hits and/or classic rock stations even today, while its later hits seem to vanish from the airwaves. To a point, that was the case with the final hit of Starship.
In the late 1980s, hair bands (or glam metal, or whatever you want to call that type of music) were at the height of their popularity. (The author here takes a moment to remember his now-departed grandfather greeting the image of, I believe, Twisted Sister on his television with “Look at them ugly girls!”) Glam metal was all over the pop charts at the time, thereby making it the perfect time for a girl group called Vixen to make it big. And I suppose they did that, ever so briefly.