Tuesday, May 19, 2009

One-Hit Wonders, Part Two


We left off yesterday with all the pure one-hit wonders - acts with a Number One hit on the Billboard chart, but no other songs that reached the Top Forty - through 1970. Now we pick up the action in the spring of '73 - the charts went more than three full years without a one-hit chart-topper. Even Billy Paul, of "Me and Mrs. Jones" fame, eked his way up to Number 37 in 1974 with a song called "Thanks for Saving My Life."

Vicki Lawrence, "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," went to Number One in April 1973 Written by her then-husband, Bobby Russell, who also inflicted upon the world Bobby Goldsboro's much-maligned "Honey."

Stories, "Brother Louie," August 1973 This was a cover of a song by Hot Chocolate, who later hit big with "You Sexy Thing."

Terry Jacks, "Seasons in the Sun," March 1974 Earlier done by Jacques Brel and the Kingston Trio, this became the biggest-selling single ever by a Canadian artist.

MFSB featuring the Three Degrees, "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)," April 1974 You might not want to count this one, since they were the house band for Philadelphia International.

Paper Lace, "The Night Chicago Died," August 1974 Chuck Eddy has credited this song with inventing rap.

Billy Swan, "I Can Help," November 1974 Despite being a one-hit wonder, Swan has a huge reputation in the music world, and has been a longtime sideman for Kris Kristofferson.

Carl Douglas, "Kung Fu Fighting," December 1974 The first Jamaican-born artist to have a Number One hit in the U.S., Douglas released a follow-up single called "Dance the Kung Fu."

Minnie Riperton, "Lovin' You," April 1975 Minnie was dead of cancer four years later, though not before she gave birth to future SNL star Maya Rudolph. Also, I believe, the last person with a chart hit who was named "Minnie."

Van McCoy, "The Hustle," July 1975 Also tragically died early, of a heart attack in 1979 at the age of 39.

Starland Vocal Band, "Afternoon Delight," July 1976 Happy Bicentennial! They managed to parlay this into a network-TV variety show.

Wild Cherry, "Play That Funky Music," September 1976 The B-side was a cover of "I Feel Sanctified" by the Commodores.

Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band, "A Fifth of Beethoven," October 1976 Walter Murphy played nearly everything on the record, but the label felt it would sell better if it was credited to a group.

Rick Dees and His Cast of Idiots, "Disco Duck," October 1976 The non-hit follow-up was "Disco-rilla."

David Soul, "Don't Give Up on Us," April 1977 At least that's one more hit than Starsky ever had.

Bill Conti, "Gonna Fly Now," July 1977 He did write another big hit, Sheena Easton's title track from his score for 'For Your Eyes Only.'

Alan O'Day, "Undercover Angel," July 1977 It's been done.

Nick Gilder, "Hot Child in the City," October 1978 He later co-wrote the Scandal hit "The Warrior."

Amii Stewart, "Knock on Wood," April 1979 Let's hope this put a few bucks in Steve Cropper's pocket. Stewart has been a pretty big star in Italy, where she has lived since 1982.

Anita Ward, "Ring My Bell," June 1979 She was a schoolteacher before this song hit; it's always nice to have something to fall back on.

M, "Pop Muzik," November 1979 It peaked at Number Two in M's native U.K., unable to dislodge Art Garfunkel's "Bright Eyes" out of the top spot.

Lipps, Inc., "Funkytown," May 1980 The genius behind Lipps, Inc. was, swear to God, a guy named Steven Greenberg.