Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s 60 - 41

The preamble:

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 - 81
80 - 61

60 Nu Shooz “I Can’t Wait”
An very catchy dance track from the 80s. (Although are they really "one hit?" They did have "Point of No Return" on the charts, too). H

59 The Outfield “Your Love”
“Josie’s on a vacation far away.” Who didn’t sing along to that when it came on the radio back the day? An absolutely perfect pop song of the era. Y

58 Don Johnson “Heartbeat”
What was worse, this song or his marriage to Melanie Griffith? Or Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, the sinkhole of which Mickey Rourke is only now escaping (though the boxing, the babes, the drugs, the surgery might have played a role, too, so we can't blame it all on Sonny Crockett). If you’re gonna have a star trip vanity recording, at least get fucked up in the studio with Rick James (bitch), a la #80 on this list. N

57 Jermaine Stewart “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off”
I had a girlfriend in college who loved this song, and we used to dance to it all the time. She thought it was making a point, as she wanted to “save herself for marriage.” Well, after a “drink and drown” night at O’Malley’s, we didn’t listen to it to much anymore. N

56 Til Tuesday “Voices Carry”
Great song and video. Aimee Mann is still making music (the awesome Magnolia soundtrack, for example) and even showed up on an episode of Buffy. (speaking of which, the douchebag boyfriend in this video looks like a young James Marsters). H

55 Johnny Kemp “Just Got Paid”
I vaguely recall this song from college. I think one of my exes was still in high school, giving this song a somewhat different meaning. N

54 Chris DeBurgh “Lady in Red”
Wow, you couldn’t escape this schmaltz on MTV, or anywhere, for that matter. I remember that his “Don’t Pay the Ferryman” was one of the first handful of videos I saw on the channel. Back when they played videos. N

53 Taco “Puttin’ On the Ritz”
How in the world was this a hit in the 80s? A eurosynth version of a 1929 Irving Berlin tune? Of course, I always think of this, which is much better. Y

52 Mary Jane Girls “In My House”
Someone else benefiting from the Rich James (bitch) touch. At first, I thought they may have been named after the shoes or Peter Parker’s girlfriend. I was kinda naive back then, and there wasn’t an urban dictionary readily accessible on the not yet invented internet via my not yet invented blackberry. Of course, once I got to college, I understood all that perfectly. Spider-man’s chick my ass. Y

51 After the Fire “Der Kommissar”
Another one of those head scratchers. An English band, takes a German song by Falco, and gets an inescapable top 40 hit. Although with lyrics like “zhuh, zhuh” and “cha! cha! cha!” you probably could have predicted that. N

50 Neneh Cherry “Buffalo Stance”
I never really understood what the hell this was about. Did it have to do with chicken wings? Maybe wobbling like Jim Kelly coming out of bar at closing time? (True story: on a trip back from Buffalo a few years ago, I was sitting next Jim Kelly in first class. Between the two of us, I think we knocked back the entire drink cart on a two hour flight. Seemed like a nice guy. He asked me how to make his computer play movies. He wasn’t the brightest bulb on the string of xmas lights). An ode to native American hunting? N

49 Philip Bailey (w/ Phil Collins) “Easy Lover”
I saw Earth Wind and Fire a few years ago in concert, and Philip Bailey still has a remarkable voice. I’m sure the girl this song was written about was flattered. H

48 Yello “Oh Yeah”
Another WTF song on its surface, that everyone now knows as “The Ferris Bueller Song.” How do you ever do anything after this? N

47 Pretty Poison “Catch Me I’m Falling”
I remember the song, and being mesmerized by the big haired, red headed hottie in the video. N

46 Georgia Satellites “Keep Your Hands To Yourself”
Fun, catchy, and doing absolutely nothing to dispel stereotypes about my home state. N

45 Robbie Nevil “C’est La Vie”
I had forgotten all about this one. Good little pop song. Robbie later went on to write the theme song to Hannah Montana. Y

44 Wall of Voodoo “Mexican Radio”
Besides the ultra disturbing image of a face emerging out of beans in the video (and I think there were a few, trippy late night visits to Krystal when I thought this may happen at any second and had to be talked down from the ledge), this was a classic college radio tune. H

43 Shannon “Let the Music Play”
It’s odd when your name appears in popular music. I wish my namesake had done something more iconic than a standard 80s dance tune. Of course, Del Shannon did “Runaway.” And there was that song “Shannon” about a dead dog. Too bad my parents didn’t name me “Gloria.” Or “Mack the Knife.” N

42 Timbuk 3 “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades”
If iPods and digital downloads had been around in college, I could have saved $8 and just bought the single, instead of the whole cassette. I could use that $8 now. Y

41 Billy Vera “At This Moment”
One of those “torch songs” that seems to have escaped from one era and found its way into another. Based on the airplay and Alex P. Keaton connection, I thought this would have rated much higher on the list. Also, how cool is this: Billy Vera appeared in the cult classic "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension." Y

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