NJ’s fave one-hit-wonders through the decades
It’s a day for all of the country to celebrate. It’s one-hit-wonder day which, of course, has everybody in every office across America throwing out examples of songs by bands who just never seemed to be able to make a successful sophomore effort. We had some fun today throwing out titles going all the way back to the 60s, so we figured we would give you a walk down a musical memory lane with us and tell you what our listeners think were the best one hit wonders through the decades.
Zager & Evans - In the Year 2525
Looking back, its images of the “future” are hysterical. And sadly, some of what the future turned out to be is actually more frightening than Zager and Evans even imagined. A song about how how creepy life could be in the distant future, this was the one and only hit for The mysterious Z & E. I always wondered why they used Spanish style horns and flamenco guitar to elicit an eerie futuristic vibe when all it did was make it sound like a Taco Bell commercial.
Norman Greenbaum - Spirit in the Sky (TIE)
A sing along and clap along type of song that sounded almost like an anthem, Greenbaum’s song had all the elements that make a hit. But when a listener commented that she actually attended a Norman Greenbaum concert back in the '70s, I thought it had to be the shortest concert in the world. I mean who knew he had more than one song?
Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting (TIE)
A total non sequitur, this song came from out of the blue with lyrics that said nothing and meant nothing. Somehow, though, it became one of the most danceable, and catchiest songs ever and then it, along with Carl Douglas, went back into the woodwork.
Dexys Midnight Runners - Come on Eileen
Whether or not you knew who “poor old Johnny Ray” was, you couldn’t deny the earworm that this song was. That infectious hook, no matter how intelligible every word after “Come on Eileen” was, made you wanna keep hearing it over and over. And in ‘82, that’s exactly what happened. After that, it was farewell to both Dexy and the Runners.
Tom Cochrane - Life is a Highway
It was the dawn of the '90s (1991 to be exact) and Tom Cochrane came in like a bolt out of the blue with his driving rocker “Life is a Highway.” It was such a hit that the rest of the '90s showed great promise for Cochrane’s music. It was shocking that as the decade wore on, the highway of toms career trajectory was very short indeed.
James Blunt - You’re Beautiful
I think the reason that this song was such a hit is that you had to listen to it a bunch of times to figure out exactly what he was saying. And by the 10th or 12th listen, it became lodged inside your head like an errant popcorn kernel shell. A quick listen to it now illustrates why he never had another hit. It was just too much. Yes, it was tender and sweet but also cloying and annoying. Like a too-sweet dessert that you gobble up and then swear you’ll never indulge in again, fans at first loved James Blunt but ultimately couldn’t forgive him for the stomachache.
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