Australian One Hit Wonders!
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
AOHW #1 Get Used to It - Roger Voudouris - No 3, 1979
I thought this song nicely set the tone for the rest of this year 😜
Every person and their boss have a special song, right?
This is ours.
I like to think that on the very rare occasions that we hear it we both sigh briefly and think loving thoughts about how grateful we are to work together. Well, until last Christmas, but I'll come back to that shortly.
Roger became a star in Australia off the back of a wind machine/brown leather pants performance of this track on Countdown, but he never troubled the charts again.
I decided to "prank" my boss last December by sneaking the below promo into the radio station I work for's advertising logs to celebrate whole hours of Roger Voudouris goodness on repeat, non stop, all Christmas day.
I'm not sure he thinks quite so wistfully of me anymore when he hears this.....
AOHW #2 Tar and Cement (Il Ragazzo Della Via Gluck) / Verdelle Smith - No 1, 1966 (1 week)
Verdelle Smith is a OHW of epic proportions. From the US, for one reason or other this song was only a hit here. It is a loose translation of an Italian song, the Italian above meaning 'The Boy From Gluck Street'.
Some diligent Aussies tracked down Verdelle more than 10 years ago and found her alive and well in Brooklyn. She was tickled anyone remembered her.
It's a great song - as relevant and beautiful today and when it was released more than 50 years ago.
AOHW #3 A Girl Like You/ Edwyn Collins - No 6, 1995
First foray into the 90s! So many OHW are hits off the back of use in movies and this is a case in point.
Edwyn Collins is a Scotsman musician, producer and record label owner. Fun fact - he has also a book published of his British bird illustrations.
This song was featured in the film Empire Records which is a music buff's delight. Released 25 years ago (!) it starred Liv Tyler and an up and coming Renee Zellweger.
AOHW #4 Bitch/Meredith Brooks No 4, 1997
Today and tomorrow's songs are tied in together. Some of you will already know what is coming 😜
Meredith found fame in Australia with this track which followed closely from Alanis Morissette's angry Jagged Little Pill period.
In 1998 she was the support act for the Rolling Stones in Argentina. Twice she came out to perform and twice (the second time she even wore an Argentinian football jersey) the crowd threw stuff at her till she had to leave the stage. It wasn't that she was a bad performer, they just wanted the Stones!
AOHW #5 Bloke/Chris Franklin No 1, 2000 (2 weeks)
This is just one example of a call response/parody song where both are one hit wonders.
Recorded in my stomping ground of Tuggeranong, Chris was given a crew who tried to give him guidance on creating a film clip. He told the director,
"Listen, me and my mates are gonna drink piss and you'll record us all weekend."
He's a fascinating person; a chef who spent years in the Australian Navy, he was one of a select few who got to cook for the Queen when she visited in the 80s.
Franklin's follow up "Mullet Head", a parody of the classic Radiators song "Gimme Head", didn't crack the charts. He now lives in Tasmania.
AOHW #6 I Was Born To Love You/Freddie Mercury - No 13, 1985
As Queen wraps up their tour of Australia I thought I'd celebrate a couple of OHWs from band members.
From his Mr Bad Guy album, Freddie would sing this with Queen and, after he died, Queen turned it from a disco into a rock tune for their 1995 album, Made in Heaven.
The film clip for this is great but I've chosen to go with the extended cut to celebrate Freddie's amazing voice for a little bit longer.
AOHW #7 Too Much Love Will Kill You/Brian May - No 12, 1992
OBVIOUSLY Brian May is not a OHW, but this is his only solo success in Australia.
It was written around 1988 by May about the breakdown of his marriage. It was recorded by Queen to be included on The Miracle album but, because the tracks were supposed to have all the band in the songwriting credits, it got discarded.
After Freddie died, May sang this at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, which turned it into a worldwide hit. People thought May had written it about Mercury.
May's very attached to it, as am I. Despite there being a Queen version with Freddie out front, this is now considered the definitive take.
AOWH #8 My Sharona/The Knack - No 1, 1979 (5 weeks)
How was this a OHW? What did the Knack do wrong?
This was written (in 15 minutes apparently) by Doug Fieger of the Knack about his girlfriend Sharona. He was so besotted by her that everything he wrote, said or did at that time was about her. Maybe he lacked additional material?
It was so influential. Apparently Michael Jackson's Beat It was inspired by it. Reality Bites introduced it to a 90s audience. Weird Al Yankovic did his own special take called, My Bologna. Fans of Weird Al have asked him to do a new version around the coronavirus - My Corona etc. Weird Al said he won't, due to fears the song would be too infectious.
AOHW #9 Walking in Memphis/Marc Cohn - No 12, 1991
This song is coming up for 30 years old but I can still remember every line. I loved Elvis and the era of music he represented, so I could vividly see the Cohn penned lyrics -
Saw the ghost of Elvis On Union Avenue Followed him up to the gates of Graceland Then I watched him walk right through Now security they did not see him They just hovered 'round his tomb But there's a pretty little thing Waiting for the King Down in the Jungle Room
If I hear the piano intro, wherever I am, I'll pause and savour a moment. Top notch one hit wonder.
AOHW #10 Baby Come Back/The Equals - No 13, 1968
The next three days are all tied in together. You'll see....
This song is ageless and timeless. Pato Banton and brothers Robin and Ali Campbell of UB40 covered it in 1994, which is also a OHW (if you don't count that UB40 had many hits here).
This band has Eddy Grant out front who is massively influential in the UK and to ringbang (a Caribbean fusion genre of music he pioneered and you can get flavours of here).
I find the hits of Eddy Grant earworms. Once you hear one they will remain stuck in your brain for days. This song was released in his native UK in 1966 and totally ignored. Then other areas of Europe picked it up and loved it, so it was re-released in 1968 and went to No 1.
Totally iconic opening riff.
AOHW #11 Baby Come Back - Player - No 9, 1978
Two OHWs with the same name yesterday and today - but absolutely no risk of getting them confused!
So much trivia to this song - Player's bass guitarist is one Ronn Moss. Sound familiar? That's because he played Ridge Forrester on the Bold and the Beautiful for 25 years! Not a bad back up plan when Player didn't work out.
I'm a big fan of the Australian band Ocean Alley. They covered this song in 2018 for triple j's Like A Version. It went to No 16 on the Hottest 100 that year - the same year they won it with the spectacular song Confidence.
Oh, it was tough to decide which video to post. There is an extended album cut that radio stations never play; but let's be honest, we just want to see Ridge. More than 100 million views BTW.
AOHW #12 Space Invaders/Player 1 - No 3, 1980
Australian OHWs are relatively rare as the industry seems to support a second crack if the first hit works (or it did, anyway). One of the things I love about OZ music of the 70s and 80s is that songs LOOK like a novelty hit but are in fact massively important to plenty of careers.
This band had to call itself Playback when it tried to crack the overseas market so that it didn't get confused with yesterday's OHW band Player. They didn't succeed as this song and concept was ahead of its time.
It is now though to be the grandfather of electronic dance music as one of the first Chicago house records called On and On sampled part of this just four years later. Whaddya know.
Player 1 was Russell Dunlop and Bruce Brown. They produced classic albums for Mental as Anything, The Reels and Machinations. They also played instruments for people like Renee Geyer and Richard Clapton - so, fair to say their careers went okay in and around this OHW.
AOHW #13 Brimful of Asha/Cornershop - No 37, 1998
Everybody DOES need a bosom for a pillow, sometimes.
More minor hit that I was expecting for these proud Indian fellows.
BTW, this weekend's AOHWs will be NSFW.
I'm so across acronyms. LOL.
AOHW #14 Detachable Penis/King Missile - No 17, 1993
Look, if we are truly going to appreciate the vast range of Australian humour and one hit wonders, some of our weekends are going to feature songs such as this. Thank goodness he was able to track down his missing member at Kiev Restaurant and reattach back at home.
Their follow up VvV (VulvaVoid) achieved no chart success, sadly.
AOHW #15 One Perfect Day/Little Heroes - No 6, 1982
This song still so perfectly sums up the feeling when you and your beloved are separated by half a world.
I also love that is it a message from an Aussie to someone in the UK and keeps going on about, "So, it won't stop raining where you are, huh?"
It's him saying - get out of the non stop drizzle and come the hell home.
I like it.
AOHW #16 Don't Worry, Be Happy/ Bobby McFerrin - No 1, 1988 (4 weeks)
Now is definitely the time for happy songs that lift the soul and nurture the spirit. That is the purpose of music (outside of all those lost love/traumatic breakup/battle cry ones 😉)
Bobby McFerrin made history with this as it was the first No 1 to features no instrument other than Bobby's voice. He performs jazz and classical improv now. I have his classical CD at home and it is genuinely a remarkable thing of beauty.
This film clip is poignant. I can't watch Robin Williams in something like this without remembering that we lost him.
McFerrin turned 70 this week too, so a big happy birthday to him.
AOHW #17 Right Here, Right Now/Jesus Jones No 38, 1991
You are going to get some minor charting efforts from the 90s due to my obsession with watching Rage as a teenager. I thought this was a much bigger hit. It got a lot of radio airplay.
The intro was filmed in Romania and was new and exciting for post Cold War youths who had never been able to see music like this.
They performed in Victoria where the crowd in the mosh pit nearly broke the stage. The show was stopped and the moshers moved away. Apparently, they are incredible live and have returned here twice in the last decade.
AOHW #18 Get Together/The Youngbloods - No 5, 1969
You'll know this song even if the title and band are unfamiliar. It was written in 1964 and several artists tried it but it only seemed to work for this folk rock American band.
I've been enjoying playing this as I type and really savouring the harmonies and guitar work. Timeless and this film clip fills my bucket.
AOHW #19 The Whole of the Moon/The Waterboys - No 19, 1986
This is one of my all time favourite songs I could play every day of my life and never get sick of. It makes me think of my Mum, my beloved niece Lizzie and my dear friend Bede whom I share music with most every day. There are lines in this song that represent all of them.
This song to me is about the people we are gifted with in life who always manage to see the glass half full even in the most trying circumstances.
AOHW #20 Zoom/Fat Larry's Band - No 6, 1983
I had two meetings yesterday using Zoom. As a result of thinking how much I was going to have to keep using both Zoom meetings and my Zoom portable microphone I sang this in my head virtually all day!
When you watch this glorious clip you'll see that "Fat" Larry James is the drummer (and vocalist) who formed this band. He died of a heart attack aged just 38 in 1987. The rest of the group, who adored him, disbanded upon his death.
Not sure if this is appropriate, but guess what they called their greatest hits album, which came out in 1999?
I Like Eating Chocolate. 😂
AOHW #21 Stuck in the Middle With You/Stealers Wheel - No 13, 1973
If you didn't know this song from the 70s, you certainly discovered it in the 90s via its use in Reservoir Dogs. I was going to attach a montage clip created from images from the film to the song but it was way too violent for a Sunday morn.
This clip is MUCH better. How good are the trousers? And Jesus on the drums?
Front man Gerry Rafferty is also a AOHW - we'll be savouring him at a later date. Rafferty had already left the band by the time this clip came out so it is co-writer Joe Egan who is miming the vocals here. Due to a massive spat with their recording company (which, according to urban myth is what this song is about - Egan and Rafferty stuck between record execs making decisions on their behalf) both Egan and Rafferty were not allowed to record or release music for three whole years after this came out.
Thought this was a good choice as currently we are not allowed to be the meat in the sandwich with anyone......
AOHW #22 We Are The World/USA for Africa - No 1, 1985 (10 weeks)
I wanted to post something that respectfully celebrated the life of Kenny Rogers, who passed away age 81 on the weekend. For the record, Kenny had 13 top 40 hits, five top tens, one No 1 (Islands in the Stream).
He became known as a middle of the road country music artist and a staple of most easy listening stations. With his death I think the depth and breadth of his music is being remembered. He was absolutely in on all the jokes about him. Totally didn't take himself or his Gambler persona seriously. I wish I'd seen him in concert.
Anyway, in 1981, Rogers bought the old ABC Dunhill building in LA and built a state-of-the-art recording studio. This song was recorded there and featured a great many non one hit wonder artists. Enjoy the all star film clip - 35 years ago!
As a concept this was remarkable and the single sold more than 10 million copies. Time for a COVID-19 single bringing our musicians together again too.
AOHW #23 Fanfare for the Common Man/Emerson, Lake & Palmer - No 11, 1977
My life has forever been changed by this one.
I've known this song for ages but was thinking about the upcoming Olympics and thinking about this song as a good reference point. Then I watched the attached film clip.
This was a prog rock super group of sorts and their translation of Aaron Copland's classic piece was used for the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
But.......how about this performance in light of the current situation?
They're playing at the empty Montreal Stadium, which makes me think of all the sporting events I watched last weekend. It is FREEZING. Their breathing is puffs of smoke, I think I see ice on the guitar strings and, at one point, it actually snows.
Still, they put on this performance for (unbeknownst to them) eight million YouTube watchers by 2020.
You can't hold music, the arts and creative talent down - no matter what challenges you throw at them.
AOHW #24 I'm an Individual/Jacko - No 33, 1985
Now that the AFL and my beloved NRL have been postponed until further notice I don't know what to do with myself on weekends. No gigs, no games, nothing.
It is how it must be.
However, please may I ask,
I IMPLORE that no rugby league or AFL player decides to pop into a studio somewhere and record a "hit" single like Jacko here in their down time.
Described as "shouty rap" the success of this single inspired Warwick Capper. His single, I Only Take What is Mine, has Capper playing darts targeting Jacko's head.
Jacko's follow up single My Brain Hurts astonishingly didn't chart.
AOHW #25 Spirit in the Sky/Norman Greenbaum - No 2, 1970
One of the greatest OHWs of all time as far as I'm concerned.
Couple of cool trivia notes:
Norman is Jewish, so this is a totally bizarre song to write. He created this in 15 minutes after watching a gospel show on TV.
Greenbaum used a Fender Telecaster guitar with a fuzz box built into the body to generate the song's characteristic guitar sound, which I used to play over and over in my younger days
It is in the top 5 funeral song requests.
and, my favourite, a quote from Norm himself:
"If you ask me what I based "Spirit In The Sky" on ... what did we grow up watching? Westerns! These mean and nasty varmints get shot and they wanted to die with their boots on. So to me that was spiritual, they wanted to die with their boots on."
There is an 80s revival by OHW band Doctor and the Medics, but that will be my only mention of them as the original is WAY better.
AOHW #26 Rainbow Connection/Kermit - No 16 1979
For the lovers, the dreamers and me (and you)
AOHW #27 I Want Candy/Bow Wow Wow - No 23, 1982
I have said these words way to many times over the last week or so while opening the fridge for the 100th time to see whether something interesting has grown in there. It is a good thing I didn't buy any sweeties. The TimTams are all gone. Sigh.
This band is basically Adam and the Ants with 14-year-old Annabella Lwin on vocals. She was discovered singing along to the radio at a laundromat. Created by Malcolm McLaren, the use of pictures of Lwin would not be acceptable now.
They became the first to release their debut EP Your Cassette Pet on cassette only. On the A side were two songs with heavy references to dubbing songs from the radio or other sources and recording them onto a cassette, which saw the single get into lots of trouble from anti-piracy music organisations.
The B side of the above single was blank. So that you could do exactly what the A side singles had suggested you do.
I miss the urgency of trying to record onto a cassette without missing the first beats of a song. Maybe that can be a coronavirus challenge for me - recording music old school.
AOHW #28 Escape (The Pina Colada Song)/Rupert Holmes - No 3/1980
I had a great, shared OHW moment yesterday.
I took my boys for a long hike. When we returned and they were waiting for me to open the door, my 13 year old sings:
"If you like pina colada and getting caught in the rain."
I go, "If your not into health food and you have half a brain."
We go, "IF YOU LIKE MAKING LOVE AT MIDNIGHT , mmmhm mahahum."
(we couldn't remember the second half plus I'm not going to verify the quality of our first half recollection either)
I go, "I'm the love that you looked for."
We go, "Let's plan our escape!"
It felt like Christmas. God knows how he knows Rupert Holmes and his only hit at 13, but there is no doubting that he is my boy. I'll gift him the ongoing maintenance of this page in my will.
To spice up our isolation I'm going to do AOHW duos and duets all next week.
AOHW #29 Hold On, I'm Comin'/Sam and Dave - No 12, 1968
Lots of big name stars from the Motown and Stax labels had very little success here in Australia, even though we now know their songs back to front.
Case in point. I think this was used in an ad for Levis (?) to great success and, of course, was featured in The Blues Brothers too.
Sam and Dave were Grammy Award winners, in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and were legendary in their early days live. Friction got the better of them. Despite remaining an act till the 80s, for 13 whole years they would not speak or interact with each other unless it was part of a performance.
But, forget all that for seven minutes and watch these two men perform at their peak, dripping with sweat and primal energy.
I am so missing live gigs.
AOHW #30 In the Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus)/Zager & Evans - No 1, 1969 (1 week)
Exordium and Terminus means beginning and ending in Latin.
This is a unique OHW as the duo, from the US, were one hit wonders all over the world. Often a band might have a follow up hit, somewhere. Not these guys.
Still a fresh and relevant song, despite being more than 50 years old.
AOHW #31 Goodness Gracious Me/Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren - No 5, 1960
Goodness Gracious Me, Sophia Loren is STUNNING. Those lips........
This is an early example of actors dabbling in the pop charts - they had another song I know quite well called Bangers and Mash, but it never charted.
How I wish this whole virus thing was an April Fools joke and just a manifestation of love in our bellies, like in this song.
Sophia Loren is 85 now. She has also won a Grammy Award, five special Golden Globes (including the Cecil B. DeMille Award), a BAFTA Award, a Laurel Award, the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival, the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival and an Academy Award for Two Women, in 1960, the same year as this silly film called The Millionairess came out.
Peter Sellers was a member of the glorious comedic group The Goons. His film, Being There, which was released a year prior to his death in 1980, should have won him an Oscar. Hard to find, but incredibly worth tracking down.
AOHW #32 The Right Combination/Seiko featuring Donnie Wahlberg - No 10, 1990
Continuing with a week of duos and duets - this is a doozy.
If you grew up in my era, you'll know that Donnie Wahlberg was the tough and rugged one in New Kids on the Block. He was famous well before his youngest brother Mark (there were nine siblings in the Wahlberg family). Donnie could also act and plays a pivotal role in The Sixth Sense. This was Donnie's only singing success outside of NKOTB.
Seiko. Bet you've never heard of her, right? She is called the "Eternal Idol" in her native Japan due to the longevity of her career. She has sold...........wait for it...........30 million records.
Not bad for an Australian One Hit Wonder!
AOHW #33 Cinderella Rockefella/Esther and Abi Ofarim - No 6, 1968
I quite unreasonably love this song.
Esther Zaied is an Israeli singer who contentiously lost the 1963 Eurovision Song Contest while representing Switzerland to Denmark duo Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann.
No matter; she decided to pair up with her then hubby Avraham Reichstadt - they became Esther and Abi Ofarim. They recorded a couple of Bee Gees compositions before this spectacular number became a world-wide success.
Now, if you don't mind, I'm off to take this earworm with me everywhere I go today. Probably a good thing that we're all in isolation. The film clip of them in London in 1968 garb and cars is just divine too.
AOHW #34 Your Mama Don't Dance/Loggins and Messina - No 5, 1973
Neither of these guys are one hits wonders, but their story is fascinating. Jim Messina was part of successful late 60s early 70s bands Buffalo Springfield and Poco as well as a record producer and a song writer for Columbia Records.
Messina met Kenny Loggins, who was an aspiring singer/songwriter, and decided to help him create his first album. But, Messina contributed so much to that album that they became an accidental duo. This song came from their second album together.
While Kenny Loggins went on to significant solo success in the 80s (he's the guy who sang Footloose), Messina was happy to stay behind the scenes, but occasionally step back up to tour or help out when Loggins needed.
In the 60s and 70s, lots of Australian acts would pick up American songs and release them at the same time. The Bootleg Family Band (featuring a young Brian Cadd) did exactly that and the two singles charted together.
Last but not least, Loggins and Messina wrote and sang Danny's Song; Kenny Loggin's feelings towards his brother Danny's first-born son Colin. Anne Murray covered it in the 70s. Neither version ever charted here, but the song, Anne's version, is one of my all-time favourites. It is one I associate with the birth of my first-born son as well.
AOHW #35 Ain’t no Sunshine/Bill Withers - No 21, 1971
I’ve woken to the news of Bill Withers passing away. Also sang Lovely Day and the original of Lean on Me.
Shouldn’t be a one hit wonder and astonishing that this never charted higher.
Might watch Notting Hill tonight where this song was used so beautifully.
AOHW #36 Just the Two of Us/ Grover Washington (feat Bill Withers) - No 25, 1981
I hadn't known what song to end this week of duo/duets with but Bill Withers death yesterday decided for me.
Late last night I discovered that Grover is not the singer here at all. This is ALL Bill Withers.
Grover is a highly influentual saxophonist. He wrote this track, plus some lyrics, for his seminal album Winelight. Bill didn't like some of the lyrics - he added stuff like "crystal raindrops" and the song became a pretty big hit in the States. An edited 3 minute version that barely mentions Bill.
So I'm attaching the song in its natural glory. Ideally you'd be listening to this in the winelight like me last night. In bed with a coffee at 8 am works too.
Vale Bill Withers.
AOHW #37 Copperhead Road/Steve Earle- No 23, 1988
Monday morning in self isolation calls for some mighty music.
Every now and then I'll post an Australian one hit wonder who, as I post the song, I know the OHW label will mortally offend a friend or loved one who is a devoted fan of the artist.
Earle is a God of Country/Rock music in the States. He still performs (I watched him do an epic isolation gig this morning!) and is a hell of a songwriter too (Goodbye/Emmylou Harris is a stand out).
Copperhead Road did exist but the street sign was stolen so often it had to be changed to Copperhead Hollow Road.
AOHW #38 Silence/Delirium (feat Sarah McLachlan) - No 6, 1999
What an unexpectedly wonderful fusion of one of the most beautiful female voices of all time and trance music!
The original album version came out in 1997 and was released as a single two years later. There are several remixes of this song. I've attached my favourite. I remember hearing this for the first time and needing to find it, own it and play it again and again.
Sarah McLachlan had two very, very minor hits in the early 2000s. If her voice sound familiar, she sings Angel from the 1997 City of Angels soundtrack (why the f*** was that never a hit??) and the Randy Newman penned When She Loved Me from Toy Story 2 (also from 1999 and one of the most heartbreaking songs of all time).
AOHW #39 I Believe/Marcella Detroit - No 8, 1994
Another artist that I loathe to call a OHW due to her extensive hit background. Marcella was part of Shakespears Sister with former Bananarama member Siobhan Fahey. Fahey had left the group to pursue solo goals and ideally wanted Marcella as a backing singer, but her then husband Dave A Stewart (from the Eurythmics) encouraged her to make it a duo, and they were very successful, particularly in Australia.
Things soured and Marcella recorded a solo album called Jewel, from which this single comes. We loved her more than every other country in the world. A solo album was Marcella's life long dream.
You see she was Eric Clapton's backing singer for years. You can hear her on Wonderful Tonight, Promises and she co-wrote and sang Lay Down Sally. She's also worked with Leon Russell, Bob Seger, Alice Cooper, Aretha Franklin, Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager and many, many more.
It was in the mid to late 70s she first tried to release a solo album with the assistance of super producer David Foster. For some reason it was never released. So Jewel, this song and love now are the answer. ❤️
AOHW #40 The Good, The Bad and The Ugly/Hugo Montenegro and his Orchestra - No 2, 1968
My kids don’t know this classic instrumental, the movie or even who Clint Eastwood is.
My subtle isolation game has been stealthily introducing my kids to music history. I’m going to play this everywhere I go today. Guaranteed tomorrow not only will my boys be quoting Clint but this will be on my son’s Spotify playlist.
AOHW #41 Slice of Heaven/Dave Dobbyn with the Herbs - No 1, 1987 (5 weeks)
We may be a couple of hours on a plane from NZ but, musically, we are very different.
This was the theme to Footrot Flats - A Dogs Tale and every Australian of my generation will know it as well as You're the Voice. It is such a beautifully put together song with catchy and upbeat harmonies.
I assumed that Dave Dobbyn was a OHW in his native NZ as well, but NO. He's an icon. He is their, well I was going to say John Farnham, but Dobbyn is a bit more badass than that. Maybe their Barnesy, perhaps?
Dobbyn was arrested after a gig he was headlining lost power. Then Prime Minister David Lange called a commission and he was charged with inciting a riot.
His former rock band Th' Dudes sang what is recognised as New Zealand's drinking song, called Bliss.
And lastly, in an APRA list of the all-time greatest NZ songs this came in at No 7. That's impressive. But at No 3 is a Dave Dobbyn solo track called Loyal.
Along with savouring this deliciously 80s film clip, I'm going to spend today getting to know Dave Dobbyn a lot better.
AOHW #42 Right Kind of Mood/Herbie - No 9, 1995
Herbie is a British record producer who is responsible for a truck load of hits but only one for himself.
AOHW #43 Show Me Heaven/Maria McKee - No 4, 1990
What a woman and what a voice!
Used in the Tom and Nicole movie Days of Thunder, Maria rarely sings this in concert. Shame.
She wrote the massive hit A Good Heart for Feargal Sharkey when she was just 19.
She's the backing vocalist on U2's cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's Fortunate Son, Counting Crows' Mr Jones, Promise You Anything with Steve Earle (which she also co-wrote) and was personally selected for the soundtrack of Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino. That song, If Love Is a Red Dress, Hang Me in Rags, is the only original on that soundtrack. Great song - didn't chart though.
Maria will pop up again in another OHW with her "cowpunk" band. For now though, savour Nicole as a neurosurgeon and Tom as the divinely named race car driver Cole Trickle.
Imagine if that was Tom's real last name.
Then she could have been Nicole Trickle.
I have waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy too much time on my hands.....
AOHW #44 Me and Bobby McGee/Janis Joplin - No 1, 1971 (3 weeks)
Mighty music Monday.
I know. I can't believe that Janis is a one hit wonder as well.
This is a posthumous No 1.
Written by Kris Kristofferson, Me and Bobby McGee was recorded by Roger Miller, Gordon Lightfoot, The Statler Brothers, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition and Kristofferson himself prior to Janis taking it on.
Joplin recorded this only a couple of days before her accidental death from a heroin overdose in October 1970. Kristofferson had sung it for her but didn't actually know she had recorded it until the day after she died.
Janis's version is voted No 148 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Her magnificent album Pearl, from which this comes, is No 122 on the same list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
AOHW #45 Donna / La Bamba /Richie Valens - No 8, 1959
I'm cheating a little here as I said that 1960 was my start date for OHWs in this project, but man, I had a hankering for this song.
I thought the Los Lobos version used in the 1987 La Bamba movie might have been a OHW, but they also charted with Come On, Let's Go (which is of course a Richie Valens song too).
So, I went back to the original - a double sided single with Donna listed first.
A second posthumous hit in two days. Richie Valens died in the plane crash with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper on February 3, 1959. He was just 17.
AOHW #46 Ça Plane Pour Moi/Plastic Bertrand - No 3, 1978
If we are going to have Mighty Music Monday, then, seeing as this is a one hit wonders page, you are also going to have to deal with Widiculous Wednesdays. Well, until next Wednesday - as I have a couple of theme weeks up my sleeve.
This wasn't his real name (GASP!). It is Roger François Jouret. He's Belgian (can't you tell?). And the translation of this song is it's gliding for me - or everything is going well.
C'mon. Give the RAGE video clip a go. Plastic is fantastic.
AOHW #47 Bamboléo/ The Gipsy Kings - No 16, 1989
A second foreign language OHW this week. I was to see the Gipsy Kings in concert last night but, alas, another band I will simply have to hope will return to Australia at a later date.
Despite the upbeat feel and film clip this is a sad song. The words are in gypsy Spanish, which is hard for anyone to translate. I used Señorita Google:
That love arrives this way, this way. It's not its fault. A horse that dances in vain. Because its so very scorned that's why it won't forgive your crying. That kind of love arrive this way. It's not its fault.
AOHW #48 She's So High/Tal Bachman - No 10, 1999
The son of Randy Bachman (of Bachman-Turner Overdrive and The Guess Who, who will feature as a OHW later too) you'd think that being a musician might be the sum total of Tal's career - but this Canadian is amazing.
Firstly, he plays Rugby Union pretty competitively for the Castaway Wanderers.
Also, fascinatingly, he's a former devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He went on a two-year UNPAID mission to Argentina to research into his church's origins. Bachman came away with the belief that the church's founder Joseph Smith had invented his stories and subsequently severed all ties to the church. He's been part of a couple of later documentaries about it.
AOHW #49 American Woman/The Guess Who - No 33, 1970.
It has had all sort of meanings given to it, many of a political variety. When The Guess Who were invited to play for Richard Nixon at the White House in 1970, his wife Pat, asked the band to ensure they didn't sing it.
For the record Cummings said in 2013 that the lyrics actually were his way of saying he prefers Canadian women to American.
Love it. It was a big hit for Lenny Kravitz 30 years later too.
AOHW #50 Rikki, Don't Lose That Number/Steely Dan - No 28, 1974
We apparently just weren't all that into many of the classic rock and darker bands and artists of the 70s here in Australia. This duo has a whole array of great hits that have been used in so many movies and such like that you just THINK they were amazingly successful here, but no.
Along this journey you'll also assume that various artists aren't featured because they did have more than one hit, but I keep finding artists, like Lynyrd Skynyrd and Leonard Cohen (😢) who never graced our charts at all. WOW.
I like Rikki, but I prefer songs like Do it Again and Hey Nineteen. I'll put a Rolling Stone list of some more of their finest below for you to check out.
Starting tomorrow, from the comfort of mine and your bedrooms, I'll take you around the world for a week.
AOHW #51 Solid Rock/Goanna - No 2, 1982
Mighty music Monday.
I'm going to take you around the world this week from the comfort of your bed or lounge rooms.
We'll start right here with a song that has the courage to deal with indigenous land rights. This was the lead single from Goanna's debut album Spirit of Place. The band and the record company were nervous about whether the public would buy it due to the highly charged and political themes, but the public made their own mind up and I have no hesitation in calling it an iconic Australian classic.
Shane Howard, front man of Goanna and song writer, was inspired by a camping trip to Uluru. He said,
"I realised that this country that I grew up in, that I thought was my country, wasn't. I had to reassess my whole relationship with the land and the landscape, and understand that we had come from somewhere else, and we had dis-empowered a whole race of people when we arrived."
The follow up single Razors Edge is really, really good too, but didn't chart.
AOHW #52 Vienna/Ultravox - No 12, 1981
This was the third single from Ultravox's fourth album and far and away their biggest and best known song. It's bizarre that it wasn't released first.
Midge Ure (who'll feature with his own OHW at a later date) found the over the top orchestration a bit much and apparently said while recording, "This means nothing to me." The producer Conny Plank replied, "Well, sing that then." And so he did. Several times.
This is a famous No 2 hit in the UK. It was held off No 1 by John Lennon's posthumous release Woman and then by.....
Wait for it.....
Shaddap You Face by Australia's Joe Dolce! Which I know you all CAN'T WAIT for me to share with you at a later date.
Little wonder that it was awarded an later honorary number one by the Official Charts Company.
AOHW #53 A Walk in the Black Forest/Horst Jankowski and his Orchestra - No 1, 1965 (3 weeks)
We are off on this Wacky Wednesday to Germany for "Eine Schwarzwaldfahrt". That's the song's proper title. Fahrt means journey in German. Just so you know.
This instrumental was a huge hit world wide selling over a million copies. I want you to bear in mind that 1965 also saw at least 6 number ones from the Beatles as well as from the Rolling Stones and Elvis, so three weeks at the top was pretty impressive.
I loved the Goodies and was really saddened at the passing of Tim Brooke-Taylor last week. Especially as The Goodies never charted in Australia. However I remembered an episode where the Goodies decided to create their own radio station. Things, naturally, go pear shaped and they end up doing pirate radio on a giant submarine. Only thing is that Tim Brooke-Taylor discovers they only have one record with them.
AOHW #54 Moscow/Genghis Khan No 1, 1980 (7 weeks!)
Russian around and continuing our trip around the world.
Everything about this song literally screams ONE HIT WONDER!!!!
Channel 7 used it as the theme to their television coverage of the Moscow Olympics. Reading through the comments on the below video, lots of young people who watched Channel 7 thought this was the actual Olympics theme as it was played so often!
I dare you to get this out of your mind once you've heard it.
AOHW #55 Turning Japanese/The Vapors - No 1, 1980 (2 weeks)
Definitely not a song about a surprising change of nationality. There is a commonly held belief by many of us as to what this song is about (which I'll leave you to Google if you don't know).
The songwriter David Fenton says, "Turning Japanese is all the clichés about angst and youth and turning into something you didn't expect to."
I know he wrote it but COME ON. We believed Bryan Adams for years that Summer of '69 was simply nostalgic before he fessed up too.
This song was the biggest hit here than anywhere else.
AOHW #56 Werewolves of London/Warren Zevon - No 11, 1978
I'm going to do some massive name dropping on behalf of Warren Zevon, who sadly passed away in 2003.
This song started our as a joke Zevon was sharing with Phil Everly from the Everly Brothers. Warren whipped up most of the lyrics with his then wife and promptly forgot about it until another good mate, Jackson Browne, started performing it in concert. Then Bob Neuwirth and T-Bone Burnett started doing it to open Bob Dylan's 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue concert tour.
So, Zevon thought he'd better record it himself. He wasn't happy with the sound until more good mates, Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood and John McVie came in on the drums and bass respectively.
It turns into Zevon's only and biggest hit, although he has a wealth of song writing talent, particularly for Linda Ronstadt.
Zevon was known for being a very funny man. The opening lines of this -
I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand, Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain, He was looking for the place called Lee Ho Fook’s, Going to get a big dish of beef chow mein
have been voted by BBC Radio 2 listeners as the best song opener there is.
After Zevon died, Adam Sandler recorded and released this song as part of a tribute album for him called Every Single Sandwich - The Songs of Warren Zevon.
AOHW #57 Don't Cry For Me Argentina/Julie Covington - No 2, 1977
This will wrap up our trip around the world for this week and I didn't even go to America. Well, North America anyway. Oh, we will. At a later date. Charlie Daniels Band anyone???
I digress. This song is from the Andrew Lloyd-Webber/Tim Rice musical Evita and has also been a hit for Olivia Newton-John and Madonna, plus covered by virtually every other woman who wants to show her singing chops.
This song was No 1 in the UK when I was born and as we shared initials I've always had a special affection for it.
Julie Covington was selected by Lloyd-Webber and Rice to sing this song for the original studio recording. It was a huge hit and so Covington, who was a stage musical veteran already, was asked to be Evita for the first stage production but, she turned the opportunity down. The role went to Elaine Paige instead.
Why? Covington explained in 1985 that she didn't like Eva Peron and that she felt that it went against her code of ethics to portray a character she didn't feel any affinity towards. Apparently she regretted the decision later. Based on the sheer emotion of this recording I regret that she didn't either.
For the next two weeks I'm going to give you an expansive colour palette. You have no idea how many songs with various shades and hues in the title were one hit wonders. Tomorrow's mighty track is by a Canadian whose album Harvest is considered one of the greatest of all time.
AOHW #58 Heart of Gold/Neil Young - No 8, 1972
Mighty music Monday. A splash of colour and an artist who absolutely has no right to be on an Australian, or any, one hit wonder list.
This is from the album Harvest, which is regarded by many to be up there among the greatest of all time. The super group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young had recently disbanded and Young was recovering from a back injury. Nothing about the album was really planned. Session musicians and singers (like James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt who do backing vocals on this track) came and went. The last song, the incredibly moving The Needle and The Damage Done was a simply a recording of a live solo performance at UCLA. It gets me every time.
The success of Harvest, which was the best selling album of 1972 in the US, really threw Young, who totally didn't see it coming. He was deeply private and felt it would make him a middle of the road artist so, in his words -
"I headed for the ditch. A rougher ride but I saw more interesting people there"
AOHW #59 Fade to Grey/Visage - No 3, 1981
The film clip for this, now nearly 40 years old, was so incredible when first released.
While this band most definitely is a OHW, as is often the case the band members went on to become very successful via other groups, projects and nightclub hosting gigs. I could spend ages on each of them but it is enough to say that they were instrumental to establishment of the whole British new wave sound.
This is a great song and one you probably will immediately know without realising the band or title. Worth checking out the extended remix too as these guys knew how to mix their music
AOHW #60 Lily the Pink/Scaffold - No 7, 1968
I probably should apologise for this one.
It's Wacky Wednesday and continuing our coloured theme.
This went to No 1 in the UK and features an all star line up of backing vocalists including Graham Nash (of The Hollies), Elton John (then Reg Dwight), and Tim Rice. Jack Bruce plays the bass guitar.
But it gets better.
One of the guys in this trio goes by the name of Mike McGear. His real name is Peter Michael McCartney and he's Sir Paul's younger brother!!!!!!
This is obviously a novelty song but someone on YouTube posted this comment that I'm still laughing over,
"I bet Paul's jealous, writing rubbish like Hey Jude and the Long and Winding Road while his brother is coming out with this genius."
It's lots of fun though and definitely an earworm - so be warned!
AOHW #61 Navy Blue/Diane Renay - No 27, 1964
Continuing the coloured theme with shades of blue. I just wish I could have paired this with Lou Gramm's Midnight Blue but he had a second solo hit away from Foreigner with Just Between You and Me. Does anyone else remember the Kenny Wayne Shepherd band song Blue on Black which got flogged on rock station Triple M when I was a young adult. Apparently, it d