Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for "Zoot Suit Riot"

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!

YES! We made it to the final one hit wonder.

Back in late 1997, swing music was on the verge of making a big comeback. The Cherry Poppin' Daddies' "Zoot Suit Riot" was a big part of that wave. The music video was on MTV all the time, and it slowly gained momentum on the radio. It was a big hit here in the States, but didn't go international.

The song refers the Zoot Suit Riots back in 1943 when a Latino youth was killed in Southern California. White servicemen stationed in L.A. and Latino youths often clashed, and the violence spread to cities across the U.S. A zoot suit was an over-sized suit many of the young Latinos wore during the time time, which white military men called "un-patriotic."

The Cherry Poppin' Daddies were known to mix ska and swing out on the West Coast, and "Zoot Suit Riot" was their fourth album. Their follow up was more ska, and it failed. The band broke up in 2000. They got back together in 2002 and released a rockabilly-swing album last summer.

I was never a big fan of the whole swing revival, and the music video for this song really creeps me out. I'm pretty sure it's the evil clown's fault.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for "You Get What You Give"

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!

1998 was a crazy year. You had President Clinton deep in a sex scandal, war in the Middle East continued, and John Glenn became the oldest person ever to go into space. In November, a song that at first, I swore Mick Jagger had sung, started to get some airplay.

The New Radical's "You Get What You Give" became an international hit in 1998 and 1999. For me, the best part of the song was the closing lines:

Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson,
Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson
You're all fakes, run to your mansions
Come around, we'll kick your ass in.

Isn't that awesome?

Unfortunately, the New Radicals broke up after their one song became a big hit, disbanding in 1999. Gregg Alexander, the lead singer, writer, and producer, went on to work with other artists including Enrique Iglesias, (ironically) Hanson, Rod Stewart, and his biggest post-New Radicals hit was Santana and Michelle Branch's "The Game of Love" for which he won a Grammy.

I still like this song. It's got a strong social message, although the media focused on all the name dropping at the end.

Monday, April 28, 2014

X is for "Xtra"

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!

I hate to accept defeat, but I just couldn't find a song or a band starting with the letter "X" that was a one hit wonder. I decided to totally cheat and just use the X for Xtra one hit wonder - one that doesn't begin with a letter, but with a number.

99 to be exact.

99 Red Balloons (Luftballons) by Germany's Nena hit the U.S. airwaves in 1983 and was a smash hit. Many radio stations played a spliced German and English version of the song. The song itself has an interesting story, and its origin has to do with the split between East and West Germany. Some guy releases a bunch of balloons into the air, East Germany thinks its under attack, and then nuclear war ensues.

The catchy song rose to #2 here in the States. It also rocketed up the charts on more than a dozen countries.

Nena released another couple albums in 1984 and '85, but the band split in 1987. Gabriele Susanne Kerner, the female lead singer known as "Nena" went solo. She's continued to have some success as an artist and actress.

This music video got a lot of airplay on MTV also, and I remember seeing Nena dance around on stage in her tight leather pants. I also thought her band members looked like Duran Duran.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for "What is Love?"

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!

For many here in the States, whenever you hear Haddaway's "What is Love," you think of the Butabi Brothers from the Saturday Night Live skit performed by Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan. But the song was a big hit for Nestor Alexander Haddaway back in 1993. Haddaway was born in Trinidad, lived in Washington D.C. and then moved to Germany.

His Euro-Club song was huge in Germany, and it became an international hit. It peaked in the U.S. Billboard at #11. Like many club songs, the only words I know to this song is the chorus. I'm sure there are other words, but who cares.

Haddaway has released six albums, his last one back in 2005. Although he's scored a couple minor hits back in 1995 (from his 2nd album), he's failed to find any success since then. I remember seeing Haddaway on TV here in the States on that show Hit Me Baby One More Time, and it was cool to see him up on stage singing his one big hit.

To many Americans, however, this song belongs to Saturday Night Live! When I hear this song, I can't help but bob my head.


Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for "Valley Girl"

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, I had to include this song on my list even though I cannot STAND it.

Frank Zappa is known as an avant garde musician, and his career in the music industry lasted 30 years. But in 1982, he released a weird song with his 14 year old daughter to poke fun of the "Valley Girls" who had their own language down in Southern California.

The song went as high as #32 on U.S. Billboard, and it remained Zappa's only real hit before his death in 1993. Even though I find the song very annoying, and I really cannot listen to the whole thing without my ears bleeding, Zappa brought to light the "Valley Girl" stereotype that really affects the rest of the country.

When I heard many of my peers talking, I often hear words such as "awesome" or "dude." Both of those now-ordinary terms came from the surfer/skater/Valley Girl "Valleyspeak" dialect. Even with younger people saying "like" a million times as a filler while talking, the Valleyspeak language is very much alive today.

There was an actual movie called Valley Girls that came out. And then Clueless in 1995 really put Valleyspeak on the map. Valleyspeak that I still here today include:

Bitchin', Whatever, Duh, As If, Chill, and I even heard someone use "Psyched" the other day.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for "Under the Milky Way"

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!

Wow, "U" was tough. Not too many to choose from here. So I picked a dark and moody song that was used in the weird movie, Donnie Darko in 2001. The Church released "Under the Milky Way" in 1988 from their 5th album, Starfish. The song peaked at #26 here in the States, but was a big hit in their native Australia.

I don't love this song, nor do I necessarily hate it. I just remembered it from the soundtrack. But the song is kind of haunting. Maybe even a little depressing. At first, I thought this song was about a guy on the road who's lonely after a show.

But after a much closer examination, I'm now convinced the song is about being high on drugs.

The Church is still around, and their career has continued into the 2000s. I think their last official album was released back in 2009.

Anyway, if you're in a dark mood, give this song a listen.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for "Torn"

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!

I do a funny thing with pop songs that I like. When they come on the radio for the millionth time, I change the channel. Because I like a song, I don't want to let music stations make me sick of them. Back in 1998, When Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn" hit the airwaves in the U.S. I changed the channel almost every time.

I still love this song. Okay, maybe the fact that Natalie Imbruglia is amazingly beautiful helps, but this song is just really good. It was a huge hit worldwide, and holds the record for the most airplay in several countries. Here in the U.S., it was #1 for 11 consecutive weeks on the 100 Hot Airplay rankings, but because the song wasn't released as a physical single until much later, it didn't rise above #41 on the Billboards.

But she was nominated for 3 Grammy Awards, and she won all kinds of other awards (Billboard Music, MTV awards, etc). On various countdowns, it ended up #1 (Top 90s pop songs of all time) and has sold over 4 million copies worldwide.

Although she's released three other albums through 2010, she hasn't had another hit here in the States since 1998. That's okay, because she's done all kinds of other stuff since then, like being a judge on The X Factor in the U.K. and her native Australia.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for "She Blinded Me With Science"

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!

Oh man, "S" was tough, as there were a bunch of one-hit wonders to choose from. I decided to go with the 80s classic by Thomas Dolby. I think I was in the 3rd or 4th grade when this song came out in 1982. The song was a big hit here in the States, but I don't think it did much in his home country in the U.K.

The song is about a woman that confuses him by being overly complex. She probably rejected him and now he's trying to make sense of why she would do such a thing. It's enough to drive him crazy. I'm not really sure. But the sound is typical of the 80s synth pop New Wave sound that took America by storm.

What's fun about this song is how it samples some actual scientist yelling "Science!" In fact, if you yell it in a public place, a bunch of late 30 and early 40 year olds will know exactly what you're talking about.

Although "She Blinded Me With Science" remains Thomas Dolby's only big hit, he's stayed very active in the music industry. In addition to continuing to release albums, he has composed and performed music for movies, video games, and is even a professor of arts at John Hopkins.

A big myth surrounding Thomas Dolby is that he's the son of Dolby Laboratory's Dr. Ray Dolby (who invented that system behind your awesome surround sound home movie theater experience). He's not. Dr. Dolby actually does have a son by the same name, who is also an author.


Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for "Return of the Mack"

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!

I love good R&B, funk music. And in 1997, Mark Morrison from the U.K. scored a huge international hit with his song, "Return of the Mack."

The song is about a guy who had his heart broken, but now he's back with a vengeance. I guess "mack" means slick "pimp daddy" or whatever. Or maybe cool guy like "Mack the Knife." Either way, the guy gets his swag back and I guess is a rock star with all the ladies again.

Being a St. Lousian, I always associate this song with Cardinals centerfielder Ray Lankford. They played this song whenever he came up to bat. Maybe it was because he left St. Louis to play with the Padres for a couple seasons before coming back to finish his career here in 2004 (his first year with St. Louis was in 1990).

And this song holds a special place in my heart. After a decade of rejections and quitting the writing-thing, I decided to give it one more try back in 2010. I remember playing "Return of the Mack" on my computer while I was completely redoing my blog to focus on my writing.

I think Mark Morrison could use a comeback of his own. This remains his only hit, and he's spent way more time in jail after peaking at #2 here in the US Billboard charts. He's gotten in trouble with the law for firearms violations to fights at nightclubs.

He's currently NOT in jail, but hopefully this Mack doesn't return to the "Big House."


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for Quarter Flash's "Harden My Heart"

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, I'm cheating here. I just could not find a one-hit wonder song starting with the letter Q, so I opted to go with a band here.

I'm reaching back to 1982 once again for this one. Quarterflash's "Harden My Heart" was a huge hit that year, and went to #1. MTV was brand new at the time, and I remember their music video being pretty dark and heavy, just like the song.

Many would argue that this really isn't a one-hit wonder because Quarterflash did have another song reach the U.S. Billboard charts again in 1983, but for me, "Harden My Heart" was such a huge success, anything they ever did thereafter pales in comparison.

Quarterflash dissolved in 1985 after being dropped by their label. Two members reunited years later and put out an album last year. So I guess they're still together...kinda sorta....maybe?

Either way, the song is pretty melodramatic, much like everything from the 80s. Rindy Ross' vocals are pretty good, though. And hell, she's the one playing the sax!


Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Pass the Dutchie

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

I was 10 years old back in 1982, and I was home, in bed, and sick with something. A radio at my bedside played Musical Youth's "Pass the Dutchie" at least 20 times that day, and all 20 times, my 10 year old brain tried to decipher the damn lyrics.

Even if I had known the lyrics, it wouldn't have helped.

Regardless, the reggae hit sold 5 MILLION copies. Not bad for a group of young, poor kids from the UK (with parents from Jamaica). The song is  cover of "Pass the Koutchie," which was most definitely about smoking weed. And I remember even as a kid, the discussion of "What is that song about?" was a topic we argued about on the bus ride home from school.

But the word "dutchie" refers to a different kind of pot. A pot for cooking. And the song itself was a statement about living in poverty. The song was an international hit, peaking at #10 here in the States and hitting #1 in the UK and all over the world.

Musical Youth got to work with Donna Summer and even got a Grammy nomination for their work. But within three years, their work got mostly ignored by the music industry. The band dissolved in 1985. Wow, talk about burning out quickly. One of the members died suddenly at the age of 24. He had been in and out of juvenile jail for most of his teen years, but he collapsed due to a hereditary heart condition.

Two members of Musical Youth reunited in 2001, and they did perform somewhere in Europe in 2005 as a duo. "Pass the Dutchie" is still a fun song, and once in a great while, I'll hear it on some tiny radio station while traveling through the middle of nowhere America.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for One of Us

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!

Wow, two heavy songs in a row! Joan Osborne's "One of Us" was controversial when it came out back in 1995. But it was a huge hit too. Maybe controversy sells. Okay, it does. Regardless, the song asks the questions, "What if God was one of us?"

To me, the strangest thing is that the song was written by one of the members of The Hooters - another band that had one big hit back in the 80s. The song went near the top in several countries, peaking at #2 here in the U.S.

Interestingly, Joan Osborne's music has a heavy country/bluegrass sound, and I'm pretty sure many people who bought the album that featured "One of Us" was disappointed to not get more pop/folk music on that record.

Joan Osborne still has a pretty good career, even if she hasn't had a mainstream hit since 1995. She's the lead singer for Trigger Happy, and their album featuring blues/soul covers received a Grammy Nomination just last year.

For me, this song is just O.K. I don't hate it, but I don't love it either. But it was a big hit the same year I graduated college, so when I do hear this song on some adult contemporary radio station, it makes me think of that exciting and crazy time in my life.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Nothing Compares 2 U

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!

Many of us remember Sinead O'Connor from when she tore a picture of the Pope at the end of her performance on Saturday Night Live or when Frank Sinatra said he wanted to "kick her ass." Her shaved head has always been her trademark. Despite all that, she had her one and only big mainstream hit with "Nothing Compares 2 U" back in 1990.

The song was on her second album, and it was written by Prince. It was originally featured on an album released by The Family - a band formed by Prince as a way to release more of his music. Many of the members were part of Morris Day and The Time, but they didn't score any hits.

But it was Sinead O'Connor's version that became a HUGE international hit. Here in the U.S., it went to #1 and was certified platinum. It was nominated for a Grammy, and the music video also won 3 MTV music awards, and it had to be one of the biggest hits of the 90s.

For the rest of the 90s and through the 2000s, she continued to record and tour, but she retired in 2003 due to health issues (fibromyalgia). But that didn't last long. She was performing and recording again a year later. Sinead has continued to record and perform, but she has had to cancel tours and such because of her physical health and bouts of depression (bioplar disorder).

"Nothing Compares 2 U" remains her only hit, but geez, it was one helluva one-hit wonder.


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."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H is for "How Bizzare"

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!

There are some great one-hit wonders that just have that ability to bury itself into your brain. These "earworms" can be good or bad, and it's usually bad. O.M.C.'s "How Bizarre" is an example of a song-disease that just won't leave you alone.

I'll be honest. I HATE this song. But somehow, someway, "How Bizarre" became a big hit here in America back in 1997. In fact, this infectious song spent a stunning THIRTY TWO weeks in the Top 40 Charts, peaking at #1.

O.M.C., as a band, does have an interesting story. The band's name is an acronym for Otara Millionaires Club, which is ironic since Otara is the poorest area in New Zealand. The song was a big hit in Australia in 1995, and slowly spread like a zombie-apocalypse all over the world. The song hit America in 1997 and got so much airplay, I think radio stations brainwashed people into falling in love with the song.

By 1998, the band was in trouble. The two main songwriting members, Phil Fuemana and Alan Jansson had a falling out. They reunited in 2005, but "How Bizarre" would be their only big hit in the U.S. Sadly, Phil Fuemana would die of a heart attack in 2007 at the age of 41.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for "Groove is in the Heart"

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!

Back in 1990, music was just on the verge of going into its grunge phase. But on the eve of this revolution, we still had retro-70s pop music still going on the charts (i.e. B-52s "Love Shack"). Deee-Lite's "Grove is in the Heart" is a fun mix of disco, funk, pop, and hop-hop.

The song is heavily sampled, borrowing from Herbie Hancock, Vernon Burch, and Eddie Jefferson. Oh, and don't forget the rap from A Tribe Called Quest's (remember them?) Q-Tip. And there is a lot of cow-bell goin' on! The result is a psychedelic great dance song that topped out at #4 in America and #1 in Australia. It was the biggest club song of the year.

Some would argue that Deee-Lite isn't a one-hit wonder group, since they did score another 6 top dance songs, but as far as popular mainstream music is concerned, after "Groove is in the Heart," the group pretty much disappeared. They disbanded just seven or eight years after their biggest hit.


Monday, April 7, 2014

F is for "Faded"

* I'm out of town from Sunday - Friday night, so I will be scarce until then. I apologize, but I hope to try my best to catch up when I return!

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!

At the height of MTV's TRL, bubblegum pop music was given a home to gain in popularity. A trio from Canada hit it big with their 2000 song, "Faded." Many people lump the group, soulDecision with other boy bands that dominated the charts. But soulDecision wrote their own music and played their own instruments.

"Faded" is about a guy being so infatuated with some girl, that he's practically intoxicated. It's saccharine, bubblegum pop music that tends to become an earmworm after hearing it. I don't love this song, but it's one of those "Oh yeah, I remember that tune from the 90s" kinda deal.

inDecision toured with Christina Agiulera, N*SYNC, Destiny's Child, and even Jay-Z. Their debut album sold over 1 million copies worldwide. But, they're on my list for a reason, and "Faded" remains their only big hit.

They released a second album in 2004 that is pretty forgettable, and you can add "Faded" to the long list of one hit wonders.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

E is for "Easy Lover"

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, you've caught me on a technicality when I say that Philip Bailey's (and Phil Collins') "Easy Lover" is a one-hit wonder. Obviously, we all know Phil Collins is a big star with tons of hits. And Philip Bailey is a member of the iconic funk band Earth, Wind, and Fire.

BUT...Bailey's solo career does only include one big hit, "Easy Lover." It's an infectious 80s song about a warning to guys about a very dangerous woman who will seduce you and leave you like a bad habit. I LOVE this song. I remember singing this with a fellow camp counselor during skit night at summer camp.

Philip Bailey's voice is incredible. You can distinctly hear his falsetto, 4-octave range voice on any Earth, Wind, and Fire song, and it's a nice compliment to Phil Collin's pop voice style. Philip Bailey "Easy Lover" was his leading single on his solo album, Chinese Wall, which was also produced by Collins. It remains his only big solo hit.

But don't feel bad for Mr. Bailey. The man has had an amazing career. As a member of Earth, Wind, and Fire, he has SEVEN Grammy Awards, and was inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.


Friday, April 4, 2014

D is for "Days Go By"

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!

I love all kinds of music, and my taste is all over the board depending on my mood. I love hard rock, R&B, adult contemporary, and...electronic music.

2001 was a great year the British electronic band, Dirty Vegas. Their big hit, "Days Go By" rocketed up the charts and even won a Grammy for Best Dance Recording. Many people recognize the song from the 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse commercial.

The music video is also pretty awesome. It features a guy that decides to dance "from sunup to sunset" in front of a sandwich shop, hoping that lost love returns. He dances every day, for years. He even ages, but the woman of his dreams never shows up. But the guy's dancing is pretty incredible.

Alas, Dirty Vegas didn't do a whole lot to capitalize on their initial success and disbanded in 2005. Maybe if I go out and dance long enough, I can bring them back!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

C is for "Closing Time"

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!

Anyone else remember this big hit for Semisonic, "Closing Time?" It hit #1 here in the US in 1998 and was nominated for a Grammy. The song, on the surface, is about partying at a bar and it's time to go. That's it, party's over!

However, it's been revealed that the song is actually about the fears of impending fatherhood. It's funny, because I remember dancing around to "Closing Time" while holding my newborn son. But I just love that line, "every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." Gotta love a song that quotes Seneca, the Roman philosopher.

But here in America, Semisonic would never have another hit, although they did experience more success overseas.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for "Barely Breathing"

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!

I was  first year high school English teacher in 1996, and pop music was swaying towards bubblegum pop again. Boy bands were emerging, and Britney and Christina were on the verge of hitting the music scene. Then Duncan Sheik's "Barely Breathing" hit the airwaves, and his song became a nice "breath" of fresh air.

His only big hit sat on the charts for an incredible 55 weeks! "Barely Breathing" was even nominated for a Grammy.

After that, we didn't hear much from Duncan at all. It's a shame, because I have come across several of his other songs, and they're pretty good. Melancholy, but good. After a string of album releases in the 2000s that not many people knew about, he's been composing music the musical adaptation of "American Psycho" and "Because of Winn Dixie."


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A is for "Angel Eyes"

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!

I was 17 years old when I heard The Jeff Healey's Bands, "Angel Eyes" play on the radio. After this bluesy, country song became a hit, I remember seeing Jeff Healey in the movie Roadhouse. So I always associate this talented singer/musician with that movie.

When he was only a year old, Jeff Healey has both eyes removed due to a very rare cancer. Unfortunately, cancer would eventually claim his life in 2008 at the young age of 41.

"Angel Eyes" is his only big hit, but it's a wonderful song. It's romantic and poetic, and it was on the US Charts for 22 weeks in 1989.