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25 February 2012

What's your favorite one hit wonder?
Mambo #5 - Lou Bega
posted by rainbaby 25 February | 20:39
"Popcorn" by Hot Butter, not just a favorite but one of the most influential as it started my lifelong fascination with synthesis.
posted by Ardiril 25 February | 20:45
"Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)", a fast-rappin' name-droppin' salute to damn near every pop music icon of 1955-1974 (the year it was released) by 'Reunion' (actually a semi-reunion of members of bubblegum band Ohio Express, of "Yummy Yummy Yummy (I Got Love In My Tummy" fame... so does it qualify?)

If not, I'll go with "In The Summertime" by Mungo Jerry. And THANK YOU YouTuber MJRawVision for digging up this clip with the original band in all their 1970 glory! (OMG THE SIDEBURNS!!!)

Actually, a disproportionate percentage of my all-time favorite songs are One-or-Two-Hit Wonders, so I'll probably be back...
posted by oneswellfoop 25 February | 21:09
Mambo #5 - Lou Bega

That was a good one!

Wasn't the "Macarena" a one-hit wonder, at least here in the US? That was a good one.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 25 February | 21:29
Something in the Air by Thunderclap Newman.
posted by octothorpe 25 February | 21:35

ummmm either Syndicate Of Sound - Little Girl or Count Five - Psychotic Reaction , but then there is also The Standells - Dirty Water . Its a hard call
posted by rollick 25 February | 21:45
I'm only suppose to pick one?!

Sticking to 1990s and 2000s:

Mambo #5 is great. So is Macarena. And Sir Mix-a-lot's Baby Got Back. And Skeelo's I Wish. Not to mention Baha Men's Who Let The Dogs Out? and Chumbawamba's Tubthumping.

But I think Blue October's Calling You is my absolute favorite.
posted by bluesapphires 25 February | 21:54
Looking Glass: "Brandy (You're A Fine Girl)"

It's like a movie in my head every time I hear that song.
posted by BoringPostcards 25 February | 22:39
I lloooooovvve Brandy.
posted by Miko 25 February | 22:47
Spirit In The Sky. It was a one hit wonder two times. Love that fuzz box Fender sound.
posted by arse_hat 25 February | 23:40
And two Canadian ones.

Molly Johnson one of the most lovely women ever. Blue Mondays at the Cameron House were sublime.

"much to my chagrin . All I found was my groin."
posted by arse_hat 25 February | 23:55
BoPo, Brandy was one of my runners-up, although Looking Glass was not technically a 'one hit wonder' because they had a barely-top-40 follow-up "Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne" (warning: schmaltzy teen romance story)

For a song that made a 'one hit wonder' for two different acts, there is also "Funkytown", 1980 by Lipps Inc. (LOVE that pun) and 1986 by Pseudo Echo (which was NOT a one hit wonder in its homeland Australia, it had several hits there, just the one export).

Also in the 'one hit wonder twice under different names' you could include Gerry Rafferty, who himself had "Baker Street" (plus 4 chart-but-not-top-10 other songs you'll only remember if you're a fan like me) and as part of Stealers Wheel had "Stuck in the Middle With You".

Another of my favorite musical people, Thomas Dolby would qualify as a 'one hit wonder', since "Blinded Me With Science" was his only single that came anywhere near the top of the charts.
posted by oneswellfoop 26 February | 00:31
Taco, Puttin' on the Ritz. I played the hell out of that as a kid, and was bereft when a friend carelessly broke it. I eventually got a replacement 45 as a teen but it just wasn't the same. (Also, for years I swore that it was Falco that made/covered it, not Taco. That made finding a replacement way harder than it had to be.)
posted by sysinfo 26 February | 02:23
When you're a child you don't have 'good taste', whatever that may be, to defend you from eendagsvlieg (one day fly) hits. Earworms that they are they wiggle their way into your head.
Les Poppys - Non, non, rien a changé The melody is a powerful happy earworm
Wild Cherry - Play that funky music I remember rocking out to this when I was 8
Peter Maffay - Du Wonderfully camp. A great song to sing with a resonant bariton after a beer or two.
C. Jérome - C'est moi It has such an innocent quality. Instant melancholy for erswhile love.
Reinhard Mey - Als de dag van toen Again cheesy. Maybe it's just the clearly enunciated German accented Dutch.

Guesch Patti - Etienne Very 80s
Divinyls - I touch myself Perfect pop/rock song.
Visage - Fade to grey
Alizée - Lolita The song in the background to a ski holiday in the Savoy

posted by jouke 26 February | 02:55
Ah, sysinfo, Puttin'on the Ritz. Great choice.
posted by jouke 26 February | 03:09
One hit wonders always makes me think of Filter and Hey Man, Nice Shot. It's a pretty good song, and yet nothing else they did was anything other than absolute dreck, just awful and entirely unmemorable.

How about I Ran (So Far Away) by A Flock of Seagulls?
posted by kmellis 26 February | 03:19
Visage! OMG I loved them. They were a no-hit wonder here in the States, but I loved that album, which I think I only knew of via the Midge Ure connection.

And the video isn't viewable in North America, so I guess they'll stay obscure for a little while longer.
posted by BoringPostcards 26 February | 03:23
BTW, Wild Cherry fans may enjoy this mashup of them and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. It's fairly awesome.
posted by BoringPostcards 26 February | 03:31
Visage - Fade to Grey. Should be available in NA.
posted by arse_hat 26 February | 03:32
And I loved Midge Ure & Ultravox. Their show at the edge in TO was one of the best I've ever seen.
posted by arse_hat 26 February | 03:35
≡ Click to see image ≡
posted by arse_hat 26 February | 03:47
I love Uptown Top Ranking by Althea and Donna. When it came out I was working at Sounds (a now-defunct music paper) and Vivienne Goldman taught me the words.

Move Closer by Phyllis Nelson - this was always the last track of the evening at many of the very sketchy clubs I used to go to in the 80s. Perfect last dance music.

Tubeway Army - Are Friends Electric

I thought this artist would have a massive career but she disappeared after this. Tasmin Archer - Sleeping Satellite.

posted by Senyar 26 February | 04:39
Okay, that Funky Goes To Hollywood is, honest to god, fairly awesome.
posted by kmellis 26 February | 06:29
Great selections, jouke - I'd never heard of Les Poppys and I'm kind of enchanted.
posted by Miko 26 February | 10:20
Loren Swift. We dated for two weeks.
posted by danf 26 February | 10:31
No really, it's gotta be Surfin' Bird by the Trashmen. At the time, this was just prefect because came out at a time when it was just a perfect reduction of all of the early surf-garage music. An anti-Beach Boys song, if you wish.
posted by danf 26 February | 10:38
Heh, miko, I'm glad you like it.
posted by jouke 26 February | 10:59
Not sure this counts, because it only got to #51 on the charts, and I think it's probably just a studio band, but I LOVED this song as a kid, and it's definitely an earworm. You Are The One, by the Sugar Bears.
posted by JanetLand 26 February | 11:39
There's a spell that bad taste pop songs can cast that 'good music' often doesn't.
Partly it's because the wonder of some spellbinding pop songs is obscured by our disgust after over exposure.
Partly it's because these songs sometimes reach a non-intellectual part of me. Some recent popular songs still evoke in me the the strange excitement of wanting to fall in love. A teenage emotion in a middle aged guy. Maybe music had an evolutionary role in getting us synchronised in flirting mode instead of toiling to survive mode. Since we humans don't have a mating season.

So digging up popular stuff after it has fallen into obscurity lets us see the charm afresh.

And that Alizée song definitely evokes a discotheque kind of longing in me.

Which is a very roundabout way of me saying that I enjoy sharing this music more than the regular indie singer songwriter exchange that happens more frequently on metachat and metafilter.
posted by jouke 26 February | 12:00
According to Wikipedia, they were an international three-hit wonder (and a much bigger act in The Netherlands), but in the U.S., they were more like a two-hit wonder, so I'm counting it: Radar Love by Golden Earring. That's a song I never skip or walk away from, no matter where or when I encounter it.

foop, I totally forgot about "Life is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)", which I knew only from the 1980s Tracey Ullman cover. Now I'm going to be singing that all day!
posted by Elsa 26 February | 14:34
I thought this artist would have a massive career but she disappeared after this. Tasmin Archer - Sleeping Satellite.

Senyar, I had a Tasmin Archer CD back in the 90s --- I can't remember how I ever laid my hands on it, but I suspect the amazing crew at my local CD shop (the late great Rock Bottom Records in Portsmouth, NH) found it in the used bin and saved it for me on a whim. I LOVED it.
posted by Elsa 26 February | 14:49
Golden Earring! They were so cool back then. Here's a version with visuals.
posted by jouke 26 February | 14:53
I can't think in terms of favorites but I just keep thinking of a ton of stuff from the eighties.
posted by ethylene 26 February | 14:55
Exxxxxxxcellent! jouke, that's much better than the looser live version I found but rejected. And by "better," of course, I mean only that it tickles that nostalgic spot that I have for it.

I first heard "Radar Love" about a decade after its initial success; when "Twilight Zone" became a hit in the early 80s, suddenly "Radar Love" got fresh airplay, too. At the time, I was a tween, just old enough and young enough to soak in the sound like never before or since. And it was such a contrast to the New Wave I was steeped in; it twanged something deep down in me and never let go.
posted by Elsa 26 February | 15:00
When I first saw Babylon Zoo on TotP I thought they would be huge.
posted by jouke 26 February | 15:01
but I just keep thinking of a ton of stuff from the eighties.

I hear that; I find I'm thinking mostly of unnameable one-hits from the 70s, so maybe it's generational? 10-15 years seems like it's roughly the gap in age between us.

A lot of the 1980s New Wave or New Romantic one-hit wonders don't really register for me as one-hits, because I bought a lot of those albums. Bow Wow Wow? Bought the album. Gary Numan? Naked Eyes? Soft Cell? A-ha? Kajagoogoo? Thompson Twins? The Fixx? Bought the album. Thomas Dolby? Devo? Bought several albums and am still buying their music.
posted by Elsa 26 February | 15:11
I know, it depends on what you think is a one-hit. For me, it's really because that's about the last time I was listening to mainstream radio so I was aware of what was a "hit." Also, a lot of people at the time were in bands that broke up pretty quickly.
I can think of bands that only had one decent song on an album, too.
posted by ethylene 26 February | 16:37
A treasured book, although I don't have the updated version.
posted by JanetLand 26 February | 18:40
House of the Rising Sun.
posted by bearwife 27 February | 01:17
My Sharona. Yes, sexism and all. It reminds me of my misspent youth.
posted by Splunge 27 February | 04:44
A snoring hummingbird. || "Other People's Heartache"