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Subject: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: whistledog on 05/31/20 at 10:50 am

A One Hit Wonder has two common definitions:  An artist who is primarily only known for one song, or an artist who only has one top 40 hit, but there are several things that are never factored in such as other countries where said artist may have been more popular, or was the song a hit on another type of chart (country, dance, adult contemporary …).  Here is an example of a known one hit wonder that is not ...

In 2009, American channel VH-1 released their list of the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.  At #62 on that list was the 1987 song Dear god by XTC, which reached the Top 40 on the US Billboard Rock chart … as did 5 other of their songs.  Plus, the only hit they had in the US Hot 100 was The Mayor of simpleton which peaked at #72.  In the UK, XTC had 12 hits (6 which saw the Top 40) and here in Canada, they had 6 chart singles (2 which reached the Top 40)

Here's another one …

Men Without Hats are known as a one hit wonder for their 1983 hit The safety dance.  On that VH-1 list, it came in at #17 in their rank, and while it did peak at #3 in the US, they reached the US Top 40 a 2nd time, peaking at #20 in 1987 with the fantastic single Pop goes the world which as I understand is a well heard song on American radio.  In Canada, they charted a total of 7 singles, 6 of which made the Top 40.  In the UK, The safety dance was their only chart single in the Top 75, so it is legit a one hit wonder in that country

This is their 1984 single titled Where do the boys go?, which peaked at #30 in Canada and even reached #39 on the US Billboard Dance Chart (the two aforementioned hits also reached the US Dance Top 40 chart).  Dear VH-1, do better research lol

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Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: wagonman76 on 05/31/20 at 12:18 pm

Does it count if their follow up hits came after the 80s?  I’m looking at that list and can think of several that had more hits in the 90s.

One I can debunk right off hand is Animotion. Yes they had Obsession, but also Room To Move which I still hear a lot. It hit #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Cutting Crew had Died In Your Arms but also had Been In Love Before which also hit #9 on the hot 100.

Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: nally on 05/31/20 at 12:40 pm


Does it count if their follow up hits came after the 80s?  I’m looking at that list and can think of several that had more hits in the 90s.


That's a good point. For example, Tracy Chapman had only one big hit in the 1980s, and that was "Fast Car" from 1988. However, in 1996 she scored a big hit with "Give Me One Reason" (which she had actually started writing before she became famous; she just didn't release it til the mid 90's).

Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: whistledog on 05/31/20 at 4:19 pm


Does it count if their follow up hits came after the 80s?


Totally.  Cutting Crew also had One for the mockingbird which was also a Top 40 hit on Billboard.  Their follow-up album in 1988 also had a few minor hits that I remember hearing on the radio all the time ,most notably one called Everything but my pride

Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: whistledog on 05/31/20 at 4:34 pm

In a big country by Big Country, a big hit in 1983.  It wasn't their only charting single in the US/Canada, but it was the only one that made the Top 40.  In their native UK, they charted 23 singles (15 which made the Top 40) and of those 23 singles, each and every one is just fantastic!

This one here from 1984, Where the rose is sown.  Peaked at #24 in the UK.  I am very sad we in North America did not get this one.  It's just so good!
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Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: wagonman76 on 05/31/20 at 6:04 pm

Will To Power had Baby I Love Your Way/Freebird, but also had I’m Not In Love (which I actually hear much more often).

Swing Out Sister had Breakout, but also had Am I The Same Girl.

Martika has Toy Soldiers, but also had Love Thy Will Be Done.

Quarterflash had Harden My Heart, but I know they at least had Take Me To Heart which I heard quite a bit when I was a kid. Maybe others.

I also don’t think it’s fair for them to take a collaboration of 2 singers and call them a one hit wonder, when each singer had plenty of hits on their own. It’s also kinda iffy when they call solo singers a one hit wonder when they had other great hits when fronting bands, such as John Waite. It’s not like the guy wasn’t successful.

Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: nally on 05/31/20 at 6:35 pm



Swing Out Sister had Breakout, but also had Am I The Same Girl.


Of course, "Am I The Same Girl" was 90's ('92); the band also had other 80's singles, not just "Breakout."

In fact, their followup single to "Breakout", titled "Surrender", was also a top 10 single in their native UK in 1987; it also did fairly well in other countries but not the US (except on the AC and the Dance Club charts).

Other info on their released singles can be found here.

Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: Howard on 06/01/20 at 3:50 am

How about the singer Taco, He had that song "Puttin On The Ritz" in 1983 but did he have any other hits after that?  ???

Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: whistledog on 06/02/20 at 10:09 am


How about the singer Taco, He had that song "Puttin On The Ritz" in 1983 but did he have any other hits after that?  ???


In the US, no.  In other countries, yes.
Here in Canada, the follow-up single was a cover of Singin in the rain and peaked at #47 in 1983

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Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: Philip Eno on 06/02/20 at 10:15 am


How about the singer Taco, He had that song "Puttin On The Ritz" in 1983 but did he have any other hits after that?  ???

In the US, no.  In other countries, yes.
Here in Canada, the follow-up single was a cover of Singin in the rain and peaked at #47 in 1983

He has not even made any impact in the UK Charts, I have never heard of him before, his name Taco does not ring a bell with me.

Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: Howard on 06/02/20 at 2:08 pm

How about the Dutch girl group The Dolly Dots, I hear their song "P.S." from 1981 always being played on internet radio but what about other hits, could they be a one hit wonder girl group?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU4wTR5EiNY

Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: nally on 06/02/20 at 4:12 pm

^ I for one never heard of them. Must be one of those forgotten bands. ???

Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: whistledog on 06/02/20 at 6:14 pm


How about the Dutch girl group The Dolly Dots, I hear their song "P.S." from 1981 always being played on internet radio but what about other hits, could they be a one hit wonder girl group?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU4wTR5EiNY


P.S. was a hit on the US Dance chart.  They were primarily a success in some parts of Europe, but mostly unknown in North America

Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: Howard on 06/03/20 at 4:06 am

I've always wondered why these singers and groups from different parts of the countries have a hit in their hometown but not in the U.S.?

Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: Philip Eno on 06/03/20 at 4:16 am


I've always wondered why these singers and groups from different parts of the countries have a hit in their hometown but not in the U.S.?
It is all down to local interest?

Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: whistledog on 06/03/20 at 5:24 pm


I've always wondered why these singers and groups from different parts of the countries have a hit in their hometown but not in the U.S.?


It boils down to marketing and promotion.  Some artists from Europe never secure a record deal in North America, and if they do, it's up to DJs and VJs whether or not they will play the records/videos (at least in those days)

Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: nally on 06/03/20 at 5:26 pm


It boils down to marketing and promotion.  Some artists from Europe never secure a record deal in North America, and if they do, it's up to DJs and VJs whether or not they will play the records/videos (at least in those days)

That makes sense. O0

Subject: Re: Debunking 80s One Hit Wonders

Written By: Howard on 06/04/20 at 7:40 am


It boils down to marketing and promotion.  Some artists from Europe never secure a record deal in North America, and if they do, it's up to DJs and VJs whether or not they will play the records/videos (at least in those days)


And how come that the groups from different parts of the countries can't come to perform here in the United States? You could ask a DJ or VJ who The Dolly Dots are and they would probably or most likely say "never heard of them" or maybe some stranger on the street.

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