Saturday, April 4, 2009

Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s 80 - 61

For those just tuning in:

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.

Part 1 is here.

And away we go:

80 Eddie Murphy: “Party All The Time”
Yes, it was a vanity project for one of the largest (at the time) and most narcissistic stars. But he got a drugged up Rick James (bitch) to help out, and damn if it’s not catchy. I think I put this on a “dance party” mix tape. If it was Eddie, and not the girl, who liked to "party all the time," that might better explain Pluto Nash. And Meet Dave. And Norbit. N

79 Alannah Myles: “Black Velvet”
When this song came out, I was “between cars,” since I had had two consecutive new VWs stolen from my apartment. My dad helped out, and bought me another car, this time an older Monte Carlo. It was in great shape, but it was white, with a dusky rose crushed velour interior (bench seating!), landau top and wire wheels. Yes, I was the palest pimp in the Marietta area. I was also hanging out a lot with a friend of mine’s soon to be ex-wife, and we both loved this tune. H

78 Aldo Nova: “Fantasy”
Remember this video? Where Aldo Nova, in skin tight leopard print, arrives in a helicopter and uses his guitar as a laser beam? If that doesn’t say “80s,” I don’t know what does. Nova was Canadian, like Alannah Myles and several others on this list. Maybe there’s some truth to the How I Met Your Mother theory that it takes decades for things to get from Canada down to the States. So perhaps their “second” hits are just around the corner. This was a great song to have blasting in HS when you were driving 90 MPH around country roads. H

77 General Public: “Tenderness”
After one of my favorite 80s bands, English Beat, split up, one part of the band went on to form Fine Young Cannibals, and the other part formed this band, who only had the one hit, which is awesome. (the song, not that they only had one hit). Y

76 J.J. Fad: “Supersonic”
I wasn’t too crazy about rap (though I used to know all the words to “Rapper’s Delight”) back in the 80s, so I have absolutely no memory of this song. N

75 Bertie Higgins: “Key Largo”
How bad could a song be that invokes Bogie and Bacall? Eh, the movie was much better. My parents loved this song though. N

74 Information Society: “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy)”
This was one of the lesser europop dance pop songs, though I did really like that whole genre. What did I learn from the VH1 special? The “pure energy” sample in the song is Mr. Spock from Star Trek. Could they have exited the ranks of “one hit wonders” with a follow up using “KHAAAAAAAAAAN!”? Maybe. N

73 Paul Hardcastle: “19″
Wasn’t this one of the oddest top 10 hits ever? A spoken word sample from a Vietnam War documentary put to a synth pop beat by an English dude. Weird. (Plus, it turns out the info was wrong – the average age of the soldier was 23). N

72 Swing Out Sister: “Breakout”
The song was okay, but I loved the lead singer’s hair, a short, dark, razor sharp bob, and one of my pseudo girlfriends at the time got that cut. Ahhh, that brings back fond memories. I think I’m kind of an anomaly among guys in that I’m not all that crazy about the long flowing wavy tresses. If my significant other could have one hairstyle for the rest of eternity, it would be this one. N

71 Jack Wagner: “All I Need”
Frisco Jones! Another soap star (and really good celebrity golfer, who is currently shacking up with his Melrose Place co-star Heather Locklear). This was a cheesy ballad, but I do remember one of my fraternity brother’s younger sister had just arrived on campus, and we wound up making out in her car listening to this. I probably would have preferred "Perfect Circle" or some old school Barry White, but I was drunk. N

70 Harold Faltermeyer: “Axel F”
In the summer of Beverly Hills Cop, you couldn’t escape this song. One of the few movie soundtrack hits that somehow didn’t seem to involve Kenny Loggins. N

69 T’Pau: “Heart And Soul”
Geek that I am, I know that the band was named after the old Vulcan chick who made Kirk and Spock fight to the death, after Spock’s bride to be (named T’Pring) kicked him to the curb. When the character showed up again on the Enterprise prequel, she was no longer a bitter old crone, this time played by hottie Kara Zediker , who would also show up as a member of David Palmer’s staff on the first season of 24. It's been pointed out that I watch a lot of TV. Y

68 Peter Schilling: “Major Tom”
A follow up to a David Bowie song? By someone else? Sure, why not. But you can’t find the original 80s version in English online. N

67 Martika: “Toy Soldiers”
Man, I hated this song. I didn’t realize that she was one of Prince’s girls (like Appollonia, Vanity, etc.), and you never would have know it from this tune. Where’s the funk, girl? N

66 The Jeff Healy Band: “Angel Eyes”
Another Canadian, and a hell of a guitar player. N

65 Boomtown Rats: “I Don’t Like Mondays”
As high a profile as Bob Geldof has, you’d think there would have been more than this one hit. A sugary sounding confection. About a girl who went on a shooting spree. Ahh, good times. Y

64 Robbie Dupree: “Steal Away”
They pointed out in the show that it seemed like this song should be from the 70s, and that’s exactly right. Maybe he was from Canada too? N

63 Oran “Juice” Jones: “The Rain”
The 80s was a good time to be nicknamed “Juice.” Two decades and two heads later, not so much. N

62 XTC: “Dear God”
This was XTC’s only hit? Really? What about “Senses Working Overtime?” Still, I love the sentiments expressed here. And XTC’s Andy Partridge wrote the theme song for one of my favorite TV shows, Wonderfalls. H

61 E.U.: “Da Butt”
A “do this dance song” much like The Twist, The Macarena or the Electric Slide, only much simpler, since all you need is your ass. N


  1. Martika was one of Prince's girls? Damn. I only remember her from Kids, Inc. (K! I! D! S!)

    Look, I cop to watching a lot of TV. I never said it was GOOD TV.

  2. What's funny about your comment is that on the show, they mentioned her Kids, Inc background, and in fact, the Kids Inc costars (including Jennifer Love Hewitt and Fergie) are singing backup on the "Toy Soldiers" track.