Saturday, April 4, 2009

Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s 100 - 81

I love the 80s. If there was ever a sliver of happiness in my otherwise dismal existence, it was this decade. Therefore, I have a tendency to "romance" things that occurred in the 80s, and make them seem better in my memory than they probably were in reality (though acid-washed jeans always sucked).

VH1 did another of their nostalgia-laden lists recently, counting down the Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s. I felt it my obligation to tune in to this giant wheel of cheese and see how many of these tunes I remember, and how many I liked.

I did something similar with another VH1 countdown, examining the Greatest Songs of the 90s. If you want to read my musings on that, you can here:

Songs 100 - 81
Songs 80 - 61
Songs 60 - 41
Songs 40 - 21
Songs 20 - 1

As I go through the One Hit Wonder countdown, I'll offer some thoughts on the song, video or anything else that pops into my head. Also, I'll examine my iTunes library and indicate if I already have the song there (H), will be downloading it (Y) or will make like Nancy Reagan, and just say no (N). Feel free to chime in with any of your personal remembrances or anecdotes as we jump into the Wayback Machine with Sherman and Mr. Peabody.

100 Clarence Clemons (and Jackson Browne): “You’re A Friend Of Mine”
Yes, in the video, they’re dancing uncomfortably close. And Daryl Hannah, is in the video! After playing a fish and a replicant, but before Jackson Browne beat her. N

99 Michael Damian: “Rock On”
Have any other soap stars, besides Rick Springfield (who was on a fucking cartoon! Remember that?) gone on to pop stardom? N

98 Buckner & Garcia: “Pac-Man Fever”
They’re from Atlanta. And on the heels of this hit novelty song, they put out an entire album of video game songs. People think that “The Wall” or “Quadrophenia” are rock operas with a thematic tissue running throughout. But this is an entire album ABOUT VIDEO GAMES. (check out the other songs) And now, they do the songs you HEAR ON THE WAFFLE HOUSE JUKE BOX about grits and hashbrowns. How awesome is that? N

97 Will To Power: “Baby I Love Your Way / Freebird”
Today, rap artists rip off, er, sample, a hit song and do exactly what the judges on American Idol tell them: “make it your own.” In the 80s? Let’s take not one, but TWO songs from seminal 70s acts, and turn them into a Cylon hybrid of lite rock Gouda. N

96 The Fabulous Thunderbirds: “Tuff Enuff”
The legendary Stevie Ray Vaughn’s brother was the axeman for this group for a while. They sounded very similar, but one went on to superstardom, and the other, not so much. Was their similarity in style nature or nurture? N

95 Midnight Oil: “Beds are Burning”
I appreciate someone putting their political beliefs into a song, and putting their money where their mouths are, even if I don’t necessarily agree with their politics. Or like their song. The lead singer, who looks remarkably like Sloth from the Goonies (or one of "The Gentlemen" from Buffy) has gone on to a career in politics. But unless the song was remarkable, like many U2 songs that I appreciated more for their catchiness rather than their take on the IRA or whatever, I didn’t really care. This was one of those songs that I found tedious, because at the end of the day, dude couldn’t sing. And he scared me. N

94 Club Nouveau: “Lean On Me”
We be jammin! We be jamming! (Uh, don’t remake Bill Withers). N

93 L.A. Guns: “The Ballad of Jayne”
Other than the fact that the guitarist was part of the formation of Guns N’ Roses, only to quit and get replaced by Slash before they hit it big, I don’t really remember much about them. And as for songs about "Jayne," I much prefer "The Man They Called Jayne" AKA "The Hero of Canton). N

92 Frank Stallone: “Far From Over”
Oh my god. Staying Alive was one of the worst sequels in the history of mankind. But I saw it multiple times at the theatre, and still stop on it when I’m surfing channels occasionally, because I had the biggest crushes on the two chicks, Cynthia Rhodes (she was in Michael Crichton's sci-fi movie about tiny malevolent robots Runaway with Tom Selleck!) and Finola Hughes (Anna Devane!). And gasp, I actually liked this song. Y

91 Gloria Loring & Carl Anderson: “Friends And Lovers”
I hated this song, but fondly recall Gloria Loring for her TV theme songs and the fact that she was on one of the two soaps that I watched all through HS and college (Days of Our Lives, and General Hospital, though I was much more of a Days follower). Current trivia: she married Canadian import Alan Thicke (now appearing on How I Met Your Mother websites! Awesome!) and they spawned current R&B artist, Robin Thicke. N

90 Haircut 100: “Love Plus One”
This was part of the early new wave/MTV invasion, and you can’t help but love this one, even though the band name and the song make no sense whatsoever. H

89 Rodney Dangerfield: “Rappin’ Rodney”
This doesn’t diminish my love of Caddyshack nor Back to School. N

88 Nik Kershaw: “Wouldn’t it Be Good”
I fucking LOVE this song, and have been searching online for it for ages. (Note: it's not in iTunes, but you can now find it on Amazon as part of a British compilation). This is a perfect pop concoction, and moves me every time I hear it. Y

87 Vixen: “Edge Of A Broken Heart”
For people who like their strippers dancing to hair metal, but are too lazy to go to a strip club. (Richard Marx wrote this song? Who knew). N

86 Patrice Rushen: “Forget Me Nots”
I don’t recall this song at all, but instantly recognized it as the "sample" for Will Smith's Men in Black theme song. N

85 Ziggy Marley And The Melody Makers: “Tomorrow People”
The son had a top 40 hit, while unbelievably, the dad didn’t. I don’t think I got stoned to this one however. N

84 The Church: “Under The Milky Way”
Man, this is a good tune. And for some reason, I always confused The Church and The Alarm. Maybe it's because churches alarm me. H

83 Paul Lekakis: “Boom Boom Boom Let’s Go Back to My Room”
What is this about, exactly? I’m not sure what the text, or even subtext, is here. N

82 Red Rider: “Lunatic Fringe”
This song makes me think of sitting in a loft. With black lights and Fruity Pebbles. N

81 Josie Cotton: “Johnny Are You Queer?”
Well, we’ve come a long way. No one would put out a politically incorrect song like this now. Oh, wait. This was on the Valley Girl Sound track, and I had a huge crush on Deborah Foreman. So much so that I went to see April Fool’s Day. But left in the middle of it, because I was so unspeakably high that this movie scared me. So my buddy and I went to a local bar and drank whiskey until we couldn’t see straight. Needless to say...N

Back soon with the next 20 in our countdown.


  1. I always forget Michael Damian was a one-hit wonder. When I think of him, my mind always goes to his appearance on Facts of Life.

    God, I watch too much TV.

  2. I forgot about that, too. I had a major crush on Blair, dating back to her time on the revived Mickey Mouse Club. If the interwebs had been around then, I would have realized she was a major bible thumper and it would have poisoned my lust.