Top 40 – One Hit Wonders (Part 1)

Ok, here are my rules. The song must have hit the Top 40 and the artist will not have had any other Top 40 songs. Everyone has different rules for their One Hit Wonders and this is mine. If you have song suggestions for future posts, leave them in the comments. Good listening!

Part 1

Pop Muzik by M

“Pop Muzik” is a 1979 song by M, a project by English musician Robin Scott, from the debut album New York • London • Paris • Munich. The single, first released in the UK in early 1979, was bolstered by a music video (directed by Brian Grant) that was well-received by critics.

The clip featured Scott as a DJ singing into a microphone from behind an exaggerated turntable setup, at times flanked by two female models who sang and danced in a robotic manner. The video also featured Brigit Novik, Scott’s wife at the time, who provided the backup vocals for the track. The single was number 1 in the UK, Australia, Canada, Europe, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US.

M was an English new wave and synthpop music project from London, England, led by English musician Robin Scott in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Although M is often regarded as a one-hit wonder, their impact on the music scene of that era remains noteworthy.

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Pipeline – The Chantays

“Pipeline”, originally called “Liberty’s Whip” after The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, was renamed after the band members saw a surfing movie showing scenes of the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii. The record, fitting in with the popular surfing craze of the time, swiftly rose up the Billboard Pop charts, reaching #4 and becoming a classic 1960s hit.

The tune featured Alberti bass arpeggios. The instrumental hit number 4 on the US chart. The hit single was released in December 1962 on the label Downey and was picked up for nationwide distribution by Dot Records as Dot 15-16440 in January 1963. Both releases spelled the band name as Chantay’s.

The Chantays are an American surf music band hailing from Orange County, California. Formed in 1961, the band initially consisted of Bob Spickard, Brian Carman, Bob Marshall, Warren Waters, and Rob Marshall. However, it was the modified lineup with Bob Welch replacing Warren Waters on the saxophone that recorded their signature hit, “Pipeline.” This iconic track, with its unforgettable guitar riff, climbed to No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and solidified The Chantays’ place in surf rock history. Although they are often considered a one-hit wonder, their enduring impact on the genre remains significant.

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Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry

“Play That Funky Music” is a song written by Rob Parissi and recorded by the band Wild Cherry. The single was first released by the Cleveland-based Sweet City record label in April 1976 and distributed by Epic Records.

The performers on the recording included lead singer Parissi, electric guitarist Bryan Bassett, bassist Allen Wentz, and drummer Ron Beitle, with session players Chuck Berginc, Jack Brndiar (trumpets), and Joe Eckert and Rick Singer (saxes) on the horn riff that runs throughout the song’s verses. The single hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 18, 1976; it was also No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart.

Wild Cherry was an American funk rock band formed in Mingo Junction, Ohio, in 1970, gaining fame for their smash hit “Play That Funky Music.” Led by frontman and guitarist Rob Parissi, the band blended elements of rock and funk. While Wild Cherry is often labeled a one-hit wonder, their impact on funk-infused rock music during the 1970s is undeniable.

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Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum

“Spirit in the Sky” is a song by American singer-songwriter Norman Greenbaum, originally written and recorded by Greenbaum and released in late 1969 from the album of the same name. The single became a gold record, selling two million copies from 1969 to 1970, and reached No. 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 where it lasted for 15 weeks in the Top 100.

Billboard ranked the record the No. 22 song of 1970. It also climbed to No. 1 on the UK, Australian and Canadian charts in 1970. Rolling Stone ranked “Spirit in the Sky” No. 333 on its list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

Norman Greenbaum is an American singer-songwriter and musician best known for his 1969 hit single “Spirit in the Sky.” Born on November 20, 1942, in Malden, Massachusetts, Greenbaum’s signature song blended elements of rock, gospel, and psychedelic music, making it a classic of the era. Although Norman Greenbaum is considered a one-hit wonder for this track, his contribution to the music of the late 1960s and early 1970s remains significant.

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Tip Toe Thru’ The Tulips With Me
– Tiny Tim

“Tiptoe Through the Tulips”, also known as “Tiptoe Thru’ the Tulips with Me”, is a popular song published in 1929. The song was written by Al Dubin (lyrics) and Joe Burke (music) and made popular by guitarist Nick Lucas. On February 5, 1968, singer Tiny Tim made the song a novelty hit[ by singing it on the popular American television show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.

Tiny Tim was on the premiere episode of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, a popular American television comedy-variety show. Co-host Dan Rowan announced that Laugh-In believed in showcasing new talent, and so Tiny Tim was introduced. The singer entered carrying a shopping bag, pulled his Martin soprano ukulele from it, and sang a medley of “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” and “On the Good Ship Lollipop” as an apparently genuinely dumbfounded co-host Dick Martin watched. He sang his iconic version of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” on his second appearance on the show (season 1, episode 3, aired 2/5/1968). For his third appearance on Laugh-In, (season 1, episode 14, aired 4/22/1968) Tiny Tim entered blowing kisses, preceded by an elaborate procession of the cast and, after a short interview, he reprised “Tiptoe Through the Tulips”.

The song was recorded and then released in April 1968 by Tiny Tim on his album God Bless Tiny Tim. Produced by Richard Perry, Tim’s version charted at number 17 in the United States that year, becoming his signature song; which he would continue to perform throughout his career. Side B of the released single included the song “Fill Your Heart”.

Tiny Tim, born Herbert Buckingham Khaury on April 12, 1932, was an American singer and ukulele player known for his eccentric persona and falsetto singing style. He gained fame in the late 1960s with his cover of the song “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” which showcased his distinctive high-pitched voice and quirky stage presence. Tiny Tim’s unconventional image and music made him a countercultural icon during that era. He continued to perform throughout his career, releasing albums and making appearances on television and in films. His unique and unusual persona left an indelible mark on pop culture, and he remains a cult figure in the annals of music history.

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Stumblin’ In – Suzi Quatro and Chris Norman

“Stumblin’ In” is a song written by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn, and performed by Chris Norman and Suzi Quatro. Originally released as a standalone single, it was later added to some editions of the Quatro album If You Knew Suzi… It was Norman’s first single as a solo artist. The single peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979.

Suzi Quatro played Leather Tuscadero, the younger sister of Pinky Tuscadero, an old flame of Fonzie’s, who began dating Ralph Malph, in seven episodes of Happy Days in Seasons 5 and 6, beginning with the Season 5 episodes “Fonzie, Rock Entrepreneur: Part 1” and “Fonzie, Rock Entrepreneur: Part 2” (episodes #8 & #9).

The song was Quatro’s only U.S. top 40 hit and Norman’s lone U.S. charting effort apart from his time with the band Smokie. In the UK, where the song was also Norman’s only chart hit as a solo artist, the disc hit the listing on November 11, 1978, and peaked at number 41 within eight weeks on the chart. It reached No. 11 on the Canada RPM Chart but went to No. 1 on the Canada Adult Contemporary Chart.

Suzi Quatro is an American singer, songwriter, and actress who achieved international fame as a pioneering female rock artist in the 1970s. Born on June 3, 1950, in Detroit, Michigan, she is best known for her hits such as “Can the Can” and “Devil Gate Drive.” Suzi Quatro played bass guitar and sang lead vocals, breaking gender stereotypes in rock music. Her tough, leather-clad image and energetic performances made her an influential figure in the glam rock era. Throughout her career, Quatro released numerous albums and continued to tour, solidifying her legacy as a trailblazing woman in rock and roll.

Chris Norman is an English musician, singer, and songwriter known for his role as the lead vocalist of the popular rock band Smokie. Born on October 25, 1950, in Redcar, England, Norman played a significant part in shaping Smokie’s signature sound, contributing to hits like “Living Next Door to Alice” and “Lay Back in the Arms of Someone.” After leaving the band in the mid-1980s, he embarked on a successful solo career, releasing albums and singles that showcased his melodic and emotional songwriting. His solo work has encompassed various musical styles, including pop, rock, and country, and has maintained a devoted fan base over the years. References: “Chris Norman” – Wikipedia,

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Deep Blue Something

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is a song by the American rock band Deep Blue Something, released in 1995 as the lead single from their album “11th Song.” Written by the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist, Todd Pipes, the song’s lyrics reflect on a failing relationship and the couple’s attempt to find common ground through shared experiences,

including watching the classic film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” The song’s catchy melody and relatable theme struck a chord with listeners, propelling it to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and earning it a place as one of the iconic pop-rock tracks of the mid-1990s.

Deep Blue Something is an American rock band hailing from Denton, Texas, known for their mid-1990s hit single “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Formed in 1992, the band initially consisted of Todd Pipes (vocals, guitar), Toby Pipes (bass, vocals), Kirk Tatom (guitar, vocals), and John Kirtland (drums). Although they achieved prominence with this single, the band continued to produce music, blending alternative rock with pop sensibilities, and released several albums throughout their career.

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96 Tears – ? & The Mysterians

“96 Tears” is a classic rock song by the American garage rock band, ? & The Mysterians. Released in 1966, the song is characterized by its catchy and distinctive Farfisa organ[1] riff, along with the impassioned vocals of the band’s frontman, “?”.

“96 Tears” quickly became a chart-topping hit, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and achieving widespread acclaim for its raw energy and infectious melody. The song’s cryptic lyrics and driving rhythm contributed to its enduring appeal and established it as an iconic track of the mid-1960s garage rock era, earning a place in rock and roll history.

? & The Mysterians is an American garage rock and proto-punk band formed in Bay City, Michigan, in the 1960s. The band’s music was characterized by a raw, gritty sound with Farfisa organ-driven melodies. “96 Tears” became a rock and roll classic, and the band is often credited as one of the pioneers of the garage rock genre, leaving a lasting influence on the rock music landscape.

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Sex and Candy – Marcy Playground

“Sex and Candy” is a hit alternative rock song by the American band Marcy Playground, released in 1997 as the lead single from their self-titled debut album. Written by the band’s frontman, John Wozniak, the song features a sultry and somewhat enigmatic atmosphere with its seductive lyrics and grunge-infused sound.

“Sex and Candy” achieved significant success, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and becoming a defining track of the late 1990s alternative rock era. Its enduring popularity and unique blend of melancholy and sensuality have cemented its status as a classic of the period.

Marcy Playground is an American alternative rock band formed in New York City in the late 1990s, best known for their hit single “Sex and Candy.” Founded by singer-songwriter John Wozniak, the band released their eponymous debut album in 1997, which included the aforementioned chart-topping track. Although Marcy Playground is often considered a one-hit wonder, they continued to produce music throughout the years, incorporating elements of alternative rock, folk, and pop into their albums. While not achieving the same level of commercial success as their debut, the band has maintained a dedicated fan base and continued to tour and release new music.

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Whip It – Devo

“Whip It” is a synth-driven new wave and punk rock song by the American band Devo, released in 1980 as the lead single from their third studio album, “Freedom of Choice.” Written by Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale, the song features catchy and memorable lyrics with a message of empowerment and self-assertion.

Devo’s 1981 “Working in a Coal Mine”, the cover of Lee Dorsey’s international hit in 1966 written by Allen Toussaint, reached No. 43 on the Hot 100.

“Whip It” became Devo’s most iconic and commercially successful song, reaching No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Its quirky music video, featuring the band in their distinctive red energy dome hats and surreal imagery, received heavy rotation on MTV and contributed to the song’s cultural impact, solidifying Devo as key figures in the new wave movement of the early 1980s.

Devo is an American rock band formed in Akron, Ohio, in 1973. Known for their distinctive blend of punk rock, new wave, and art rock, Devo gained fame for their visually striking and satirical performances, often wearing matching outfits and iconic “energy dome” hats. The band’s music, characterized by electronic elements and thought-provoking lyrics, addressed themes of dehumanization and conformity in the modern world. Devo achieved commercial success with songs like “Whip It” in the early 1980s, solidifying their status as pioneers of the new wave movement. Beyond their musical contributions, Devo’s visual and conceptual artistry has left an enduring mark on pop culture.

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Play the One Hit Wonders

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  1. A Farfisa organ is a type of electronic organ that gained popularity in the 1960s and 1970s. Manufactured by the Italian company Farfisa, these organs are known for their distinctive sound characterized by bright, cutting tones and a prominent vibrato effect. Farfisa organs were widely used in various music genres, including rock, pop, garage rock, and especially in the surf rock and garage rock movements. One of the most iconic features of the Farfisa organ is its compact size and portability, making it a favored instrument for touring musicians during the heyday of rock and roll. [Back]

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Further Reading

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Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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