Friday, September 26, 2008

What is WRONG With Me?

Here I spent much of yesterday's blog devoted to music, and I failed to realize thay yesterday was National One Hit Wonder Day!

And I call myself an American.

Anyway, according to VH1, the following list reflects the Top 20 One Hit Wonders of all time....

(Also, before you think I have a future writing for Rolling Stone, the accompanying text following each song was taken right from the VH1 website, minus a few comments).

20. "She Blinded Me With Science" by Thomas Dolby (1983) The Cairo-born Thomas Robertson was nicknamed “Dolby” by his friends because of his obsession with musical technology, and he played synthesizer on albums by Foreigner and Def Leppard. His 1983 single hit appropriately featured a vocal performance by the eccentric British scientist Magnus Pyke.

19. "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida " by Iron Butterfly (1968) Psychedelia had is brilliant moments, but it was a great cloak for nonsense, too. In 1969, when these dudes arrived out of nowhere with their side-long song driven by a 10-note bass riff, they brought rock something both catchy and cluckish. At heart, they were much more the latter than the former. Which is why they vanished.

18. "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinéad O'Connor (1990) She took a good Prince song and made it great by betting the farm on the fact that candor and intimacy were what people wanted to hear. She bet correctly, and in 1990 the nuance-driven face-only video turned all that private stuff into powerful stuff. Gorgeous. (I actually had a boyfriend play this song over the phone to me after I broke up with him...shout out to KB)

17."We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister (1984) Generic sludge rockers who cast themselves as metal renegades, in 1984 Twisted Sister's marketing device was its singer's use of make-up. But they did have one insidiously infectious tune, and as the group chanted its defiance of all things status-quo, testosteroned teens fell in line.

16."Rapper's Delight" by Sugarhill Gang (1980) Intoxicated on the power of spiel, and up for the challenge of riding the rhythmic groove, these bedrock MCs - Master Gee, Wonder Mike, and Big Bank Hank - brought the glory of rap out of the neighborhood and onto the airwaves in 1979. Chic's "Good Times" was their engine, and the world was their oyster.

15. "96 Tears" by ? And The Mysterians (1966) Proof that attitude is all you need to make a mark on pop. An organ squeals, a tough guy snarls and, in 1966 and forever, a rock fan reaches to turn it up. It's cheesy, it's weird, and it's irresistible. Perhaps the best cultural nugget ever produced by Flint, Michigan.

14. "Groove Is In The Heart" by Deee-Lite (1990) Some say the group was fashion's answer to the B-52's, but the kitschy glamour of this club smash had plenty of musical craft on its side, and its "we're all one" message made room for a broad queer/straight, black/white constituency. A pop gem from 1990.

13. "The Hustle" by Van McCoy (1975) The disco era needed a soundtrack by which hedonists could get busy on the dance floor, and the lite jazz groove perfectly fit the bill in 1976. Honk once if you love flutes. Honk twice if you've ever gotten busy on the dance floor.

12. "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot (1994)Discussing the front part of the human body is dangerous business. But celebrate the rear in song, and you get smiles all around. And if you create a two-cheeked video around a amusing set of rump rhymes driven by a righteous beat, you've hit yourself a home run. It was 1992, and Sisqo's "Thong Song" wasn't far behind.

11."You Light Up My Life" by Debby Boone (1977) Schmaltz will always be with us, and from "Earth Angel" to Celine's Titanic song, some of the best radio pop has been pure goo. This ode to Christianity's top dog is sticky as hell. Which is why somewhere this weekend, a couple are slow-dancing to it and weeping.

10."99 Luftballoons" by Nena (1984) German singer Gabriele “Nena” Kerner recorded “99 Luftballons” as a protest against nuclear war. The canny electronic arrangement and singsong melody obscured its serious message and it became a worldwide hit in 1984. She has continued to sing and even hosted a German variety show called Metro.

9."Rico Suave" by Gerardo (1991) Ecuador-born rapper Gerardo performed in Spanglish, a mixture of Spanish and English, but everyone understood the smooth delivery of “Rico Suave.” He scored no more hits after that 1991 No. 7, so Gerardo became a record executive.

8. "Take On Me" by A-Ha (1985) In 1985, with synth pop at its peak, “Take On Me” became one of the genre’s most memorable successes. The song went to No. 1 on an insidious hook and a video that deftly merged animation and live action. America forgot about the Norwegian trio, but a-ha continue to enjoy international success.

7. "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice (1991) Utilizing a clever sample of the bass line to Queen’s “Under Pressure,” “Ice Ice Baby” zipped to No. 1 in 1990. But Ice’s strutting ego and unwarranted boasting about an imaginary gangster past led to a fall that was as quick as his unexpected rise.

6. "Who Let The Dogs Out" by Baha Men (2000) Like Los Del Rio, the Baha Men had already enjoyed a degree of success on the world music circuit with their take on “junkanoo,” a Caribbean fusion of pop and Latin rhythms. “Who Let the Dogs Out” became a monster smash in 2000 and proved particularly popular at sporting events.

5. "Mickey" by Toni Basil (1982) Toni Basil had already had quite a career before topping the charts with “Mickey” in 1982. She danced in the ‘60s concert film The T.A.M.I. Show and acted opposite Jack Nicholson in the Five Easy Pieces. Although Basil never had another hit, she choreographed the Gap’s swing-music ad.

4. "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred (1992)Brothers Fred and Richard Fairbrass ran a gym in London when they first teamed up with guitarist Rob Manzoli to form Right Said Fred. Their cheeky 1992 poke at the model culture shot the muscle-bound siblings up to No. 1.

3. "Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners (1983) Singer Kevin Rowland and his British musical collective dressed in dungarees and mingled genres like rock and Celtic soul, but nobody expected this single - whose sing-along chorus overwhelmed the dour lyrical perspective - to knock Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” off the No. 1 spot in 1983.

2. "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell (1982) The British synth duo of Marc Almond and Dave Ball were inspired to cover Gloria Jones’ 1964 classic as a tribute to the discos of their youth. Almond’s camp delivery of the suggestive lyrics, however, gave the song a contemporary twist and it flew to No. 8 in 1982.

1. "The Macarena" by Los Del Rio (1996)Antonio Romeo Monge and Rafael Ruiz were just another Spanish flamenco-pop duo when they were inspired to record “Macarena” in 1993 after seeing a dancer in Venezuela. Three years later, after the Bayside Boys remixed the track, it became an American sensation, eventually selling 4 million copies.

WHICH one is your favorite?


Amy M. said...

Too hard to choose a favorite...
Least favorite? Definitely "You Light Up My Life." I am tempted to say that may favorite is "Take on Me," but every time I hear it I am afraid I am going to get sucked into a comic book.

Melissa said...

Honorable Mention - "Afternoon Delight" by the Starland Vocal Band. Possibly the most stomach-churning song of all time.

Abbie, Paul, Drew and Charlotte's Web said... fav is "Come on Eileen". Loved the video with the cheesey denim overalls...and "Rappers Delight".

Debbie Boone, really?? I remember that song was on the radio every 10 minutes, or so it seemed.