As if you needed proof I’m a bit off, one of my favorite things is to check out </span><span style=”font-family:Helvetica Neue;”><em>The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits</em></span><span style=”font-family:Helvetica Neue;”> from the library and then just flip through the pages, soaking up the trivia. I recently checked it out again and figured I would put it to some kind of use. Thus, I scribbled some notes about one hit wonders as well as bands/artists you might think were one hit wonders but in fact were not. I’ll be sharing the results of this intense research over the coming weeks. Here is my first list based upon it: my five favorite one hit wonders of all time.
I did struggle with methodology a bit. Strictly speaking, a one-hit wonder is an artist that only had one charting single. But there are some bands that had songs that got decent airplay, yet never charted. Or perhaps charted on specialty lists, like the Modern Rock or R&B charts, but never hit the top 40 (The Church is a fine example. “Under the Milky Way” was their only top 40 hit, but they had several other charting songs on the Modern Rock list.). So there is some randomness and inconsistency here.
5 – “Welcome to the Boomtown” David & David, #37, 11/15/86. A very cool song that was probably a bit ahead of its time. It didn’t really fit into the mainstream rock world if 1986.
4 – “Don’t Disturb This Groove” The System, #4, 5/16/87. A classic pop/R&B jam that reminds me of living in California and the spring.
3 – “Cars” Gary Numan. #9, 3/29/80. One of the greatest, if not the greatest, synthesizer songs ever.
2 – “Tainted Love” Soft Cell, #8, 5/22/82. I’ll admit, it’s still a great song even if it sounds a bit dated. But in the spring of 1982, it sounded like it was from a completely different time and place.
1 – “Do They Know It’s Christmas” Band Aid, #13, 1/5/85. The greatest modern Christmas song from a group made to be a one-hit wonder.
There’s plenty more one-hit wonder madness to come.