Friday, June 8, 2012

More One-Hit Wonders ~ 1970's Edition

As readers of my blog know, once I find a topic that's interesting (to me), I like to beat it to death.

So, here we go!

And let me just note that, it appears, the 1970's has the distinction of producing more one-hit wonder songs than any other decade.  Kudos, nineteen seventies!  I knew you were good for something!

Did you ever notice that some of the songs that get the most airplay on oldies or classic rock radio stations just happen to be the one-hit wonders?  See, that's where they fool you.  You think, hey, they're playing Norman Greenbaum again!  He must have had a ton of hits!

Apparently, this video is supposed to look like this (and here I thought it was just a really bad transfer).

Curious about this song, I surfed over to Songfacts, and found this:

"Norman Greenbaum was kind enough to tell us about this song. He set out to write a religious rock song, and he is Jewish. Instead of using a Jewish word for God, he used "Jesus" because he thought it would be more marketable. It took months for Greenbaum to finish the music, but the lyrics came really quickly. Interesting fact we also learned about Norman: he used to run a goat farm."

Nice juxtaposition of relevant facts!  It's like saying, "Paul McCartney, in addition to being the most famous living rock star of all time, also, interestingly, wears a size ten shoe."

Spirit In The Sky

The Free Movement only had one hit record as well.  Being unable to find an actual performance video of their song led me to wonder whether they actually were a band.  However, this "video" does show a picture of the album cover, so my suspicions were unfounded. I realize it was 1971, so in context, the name makes sense, I guess, but I still find it rather unfortunate.

Honestly, the only reason I remember this song is because country singer Cal Smith had a hit with a cover version.

I've Found Someone Of My Own

Speaking of unfortunate band names, Climax had a 1972 hit with this next song, which happened to be the theme of my junior year high school prom.  Oh, I didn't go....I saw it in the yearbook, though (look, I wasn't exactly an active participant in high school activities).

Precious and few are the moments we two can share
Quiet and blue, like the sky, I'm hung over you
(how about just "hung over"?)
And if I can't find my way back home (obviously because I am hung over)

It just wouldn't be fair 
Precious and few are the moments we two can share 

This is apparently the last surviving remnant of Climax's live performance of the song, and thus the quality is atrocious. One would think the videographer was hung over.

Precious and Few

This next one makes me laugh.  Because it's by a group that was slapped with the name, "Hillside Singers".  Know why they were called the Hillside Singers?  How old are you?  Because it was a Coca-Cola commercial, and they were all standing on a hillside!  In fact, the only rendition of this song I could find was the actual Coca-Cola commercial. 

Coca-Cola started a heretofore unexplored trend; that of turning a TV commercial into a hit song.  They did it with Dottie West as well, with "Country Sunshine".

Now, I drink tons of Diet Coke, but I think I'll go with, "I'm a Pepper, You're a Pepper" instead.

I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing

If you don't remember the 1972 version of this next song, you may remember the 1985 Motley Crue cover.  Regardless, you will remember it.

The main reason I remember this song so well is that my little brother loved it.  He was 11.  Here is Brownsville Station:

Smokin' In The Boys' Room

Before we go further down memory lane, let me just interject, B.W. Stevenson and Clint Holmes ~ sorry, guys!  Apparently, you don't exist on video!  But, alas, we remember your songs!

But moving on, and speaking of band names, I think it's good to call yourselves something that really denotes your standing in the musical community.  For example, First Class.  Sounds like a group that would really be rocking the charts, right?  Well, no.  They had but one hit, but we do remember it.

And, frankly, maybe it's just me, but the only part of the song I remember is:

Beach baby, beach baby, give me your hand

I have absolutely no recollection of any of the rest of it, but let's learn together, shall we?

Beach Baby

You know, some songs, for various reasons, just stick with you.  Let me tell you why George McCrae's song sticks with me.

I woke up one summer Saturday morning; my husband (at the time) was at work.  I had left the AM radio on throughout the night.  I was all alone.  I heard sirens.  Yes, the tornado sirens were sounding.  We lived in a trailer.  You know what they say about the worst places to be in a tornado?  Yes, that's right.  We owned one car, which was currently with my husband, at work.  I frantically dialed my sister, who lived a couple of miles away.  She, too, was carless that morning.  She said she would call me a cab to take me to her house, which had a basement.  So, as I waited and grew more agitated by the second, this song was playing on the radio.

Rock Your Baby

Before I send my camel to bed, I thought I would like to hear Maria Muldaur's hit song:

Midnight At The Oasis

Picking on 1970's band names has become a fun part (for me) of this whole undertaking tonight.  Here is a helpful hint, nineteen seventies up-and-comers (again, you have to climb inside that time machine to hear it); just put any two words together!  A good tip is to make two columns; then try various combinations of Column A and Column B, until you come up with just the right cool-sounding name.  It's really pretty simple.

Now, Paper Lace, while pretty!  Sounds a bit twee.  At least for a male rock group.  All Valentine'ish.  Perhaps you should go back to the east side of Chicago and rethink your name choice.

The Night Chicago Died

There is a grainy, skippy live performance of this next song, but it just doesn't convey the awesomeness that is Blue Swede.

We all remember B.J. Thomas, right?  Great singer.  "Raindrops Keep Fallin'....", etc.  He had a really nice poppy record called, "Hooked on a Feelin'".  Unfortunately, now, I can no longer hear the B.J. Thomas version without inserting my own, "ooga-chawka ooga-chawka's", thanks to Blue Swede.

And what is a Blue Swede, actually?  A Swedish guy who got stranded out on the iceberg?

Hooked On A Feelin'

"Ace" is a nice, masculine name.  "Hey, Ace!"  "How ya doin', Ace?"  "How long has it been, Ace?"  "Hey, you ain't quite as dumb as you seem, Ace!"

Yes, Ace, with its homage to the piano/organ stylings of Steely Dan, had an unforgettable (even if we try) hit, that goes a little something like this:

How Long

Spain, heretofore only known for its catastrophic financial situation, did also produce a one-hit wonder band.   A band whose name, in English, translates to "youth".  Again, not to quibble, but really?  This is the best you could come up with, even in Spanish?  Youth?  You know, Paper Lace in Spanish is "Encajes de papel".  I'm not saying that sounds any more masculine than Paper Lace.  I just thought I would throw that out there.

Sure, Mocedades doesn't exactly roll off the tongue (or the brain, if something can roll off one's brain), but you, trust me, will remember them when you hear this song.  "Eres tu", meaning, (from my two years of high school Spanish, twenty thousand years ago)  "it's you".  That's all you need to know, really.  Just make up your own words to sing along.

Eres tu

Eres tu reminded me of this next song, which, inexplicably, is not listed on the One Hit Wonders site, but it was absolutely a one-hit wonder for Barry DeVorzon and Perry Botkin, Jr.  (Again, not to quibble, but that's the worst band name ever.)

You can call it by its original title if you want.  We all know, however, that it is actually the theme from the Young & the Restless.  Ahhh, Jack Abbott.  Ashley Abbott.  Victor Newman.  Kate Chancellor.  Yes, I remember them well.  I haven't seen that show in about 20 years, but I loved it.

Nadia's Theme

Around that same time, Minnie Riperton also had a hit.  Not to speak ill of the hits, but this is a song that would drive my dog nuts.  I, personally, am not able to hear the high notes, but Josie can.  I think it's all fine and dandy to show off one's extensive vocal range, but not to the point of driving the listener insane.  Forget the theme from Sesame Street.  I think they should play this song for the Gitmo detainees.  They'd be begging for Sesame Street, truly.

Lovin' You

Believe it or not, I have only begun to scratch the surface of one-hit wonder hits from the decade that was the seventies.

I realize, however, that this post is getting long, so I will save more hits for next time.

I leave you, and me, to wash out our ears with something a bit more pleasing.  I can't find any decent performance videos of this song, but I love it; always have, so we'll settle for this:

Elvin Bishop ~ Fooled Around and Fell In Love

Can't believe this guy only had one hit record. 

There is more to come, folks!

The First Episode of One-Hit Wonders

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