Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Mary's Prayer

Oftentimes, lightning only strikes once for many singers and bands. My A-Z Challenge for 2014 will focus on those glorious "one hit wonders" spanning the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. Some are my favorite songs, others are just plain memorable (for better or for worse). Join me in celebrating these 26 one hit wonders in pop music!

Okay, the last few songs have not been my personal favorites, but they were just memorable one-hit wonders. Today is different. I really love "Mary's Prayer" by the band Danny Wilson. The song was featured on the Scottish band's debut album back in 1987. It didn't do very well initially, and they re-released the album a year later.

"Mary's Prayer" was a surprise hit in the U.S., peaking at #27. Danny Wilson was part of a more sophisticated pop-sound coming from the UK at the time (Simply Red, Swing Out Sister, Level 42), and I remember seeing the music video on MTV (back when they played actual videos).

I guess being Catholic, I understood all the religious metaphors, but the song is a simple love song. It's about a guy that regrets the "one that got away," but he hopes that Mary has a wonderful and fulfilling life. Basically, the man that got you is one lucky dude. The theme kinda reminds me of a country song.

And of course, the song was featured in the awesome movie, Something About Mary (1998).

Danny Wilson broke up in 1989, as all three members were pretty good songwriters and fought over what material to put on their third album, so they decided to break up before things got ugly. Each member has had a pretty good career in the music industry as producers and song writers.


Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for Lovefool


* So I was out of town on business from Sunday through Friday, and it was exhausting. But I guess I'm a glutton for punishment, as I'm out of town again from today until Wednesday. I hope to have some energy to try to catch up with everybody this week despite all that.

Oftentimes, lightning only strikes once for many singers and bands. My A-Z Challenge for 2014 will focus on those glorious "one hit wonders" spanning the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. Some are my favorite songs, others are just plain memorable (for better or for worse). Join me in celebrating these 26 one hit wonders in pop music!

What's up with Swedes writing creating pop songs that bore into our brains? In 1996, "Lovefool" by the Swedish band, The Cardigans, played on American airwaves every single hour, it seems. The song flew up to number one, and it also hit the charts all over Europe.

"Lovefool" was a single on The Cardigans' third album, First Band on the Moon, and having the song featured in the weird yet entertaining movie Romeo+Juliet. The song is an infectious mix of pop and a little disco in there. But the song's lyrics seem to be about a girl who's upset that some guy doesn't love her anymore. She's the "Lovefool" for still wanting him.

I say move on!

Unfortunately, The Cardigans did move on, but without another hit here in the States. They were huge internationally, however, and sold 15 million albums worldwide. They have gone on hiatus here and there, but still are together and are pretty popular in Asia.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for "Kiss Him Goodbye"

Oftentimes, lightning only strikes once for many singers and bands. My A-Z Challenge for 2014 will focus on those glorious "one hit wonders" spanning the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. Some are my favorite songs, others are just plain memorable (for better or for worse). Join me in celebrating these 26 one hit wonders in pop music!

Most people aren't going to know who the heck Canadian a capella group, The Nylons, are. But their remake of the classic "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" is one of those songs that you might hear at some big sporting event. The original song was a hit for the band Steam in 1969. British pop trio Bananaramma even released their own version back in 1983.

In 1987, The Nylons released the single and shorted the title to "Kiss Him Goodbye." It peaked at #12 on the US's Billboard Charts. It was their only big hit, but the song itself has been remade so many times, I've lost count.

Even though the group has been hit-less for 27 years and experienced many changes (they've had 12 total members come and go), they're technically still together and have released 22 albums up until 2011.

Like I said, at any big sporting event, you'll hear people sing or chant the chorus whenever somebody strikes out or loses, so their legacy lives on.


Friday, April 11, 2014

J is for "Jump, Jive an' Wail"

Oftentimes, lightning only strikes once for many singers and bands. My A-Z Challenge for 2014 will focus on those glorious "one hit wonders" spanning the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. Some are my favorite songs, others are just plain memorable (for better or for worse). Join me in celebrating these 26 one hit wonders in pop music!

It's interesting how some songs become popular when used for TV advertising. The Brian Seltzer Orchestra's "Jump, Jive n' Wail" is a prime example how a commercial can thrust a song up the charts.

Back in 1998, The Gap featured the song in a commercial that featured people swing dancing in khakis. People clamored to find out who sang this fun, lively, throw-back song. The Brian Seltzer Orchestra (BSO) was founded by former Stray Cats lead singer, Brian Seltzer, so "Jump, Jive an' Wail" isn't his only hit (he scored a hit with the Stray Cats back in 1981 with "Stray Cats Strut."

"Jump, Jive, an' Wail" went up to #23 on America's Billboard Charts, and it rose similarly in the U.K. in 1998.

But BSO would not have another big hit. Not a big deal, as the song revived the interest in swing dancing. I remember people signing up for swing dance lessons, and I'm sure many ladies suffered concussions thereafter. And the 20-member band is still together!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for "I Can Dream About You"

Oftentimes, lightning only strikes once for many singers and bands. My A-Z Challenge for 2014 will focus on those glorious "one hit wonders" spanning the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. Some are my favorite songs, others are just plain memorable (for better or for worse). Join me in celebrating these 26 one hit wonders in pop music!

In 1985, a movie nicknamed a "Rock N' Roll Fable" called Streets of Fire came out. It starred the alluring Diane Lane and William Defoe. The film bombed, but something DID come out of it....the top 10 hit "I Can Dream About You" by Dan Hartman.

The music video featured a scene from the movie where an all-African American group, The Sorels, performs the song (comedian and film maker/directer Peter Townsend is one of the members). So when the song became a hit, people thought the group in the movie actually sang the song.

We were all shocked to learn that some white guy sang it! I remember seeing him on Soul Train. Dan Hartman was the epitome of "blue-eyed soul." In fact, Dan Hartman had written "I Can Dream About You" for Daryl Hall & John Oats. But for the movie, the song featured in that concert scene was sung by a studio singer. Dan Hartman had to fight to get his vocal used for the soundtrack and the music video. He did release two other singles from his album, but "I Can Dream About You" would be his only hit, peaking at #6 in 1985.

Despite that, Dan Hartman continued to work as a songwriter and producer. He collaborated with Joe Cocker, Tina Turner, and co-wrote James Brown's "Living in America." Dan Hartman died in 1994 due to a brain tumor related to AIDS.

Below is not the original music video, as this second version was released to let people know who REALLY sang "I Can Dream About You."