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 didn't chart?
So you'll just little gem from the 60s which speaks of steady boys and wind-up toys and turns the word navy into four syllables.
AOHW #62 Black is Black/Los Bravos- No 6, 1966 AOHW #63 Black is Black/La Belle Epoque - No 1, 1978 (5 weeks)
Black is black is black is black. This has been a hugely successful OHW twice!
This is a simple song with lots of rhyming colours.
Los Bravos is the first Spanish band to have international success. Many assumed this was a Gene Pitney track.
La Belle Epoque do a disco remake which was the biggest hit here than anywhere else in the world. Interestingly both versions went to No 2 in the UK.
After September 11, an American media company called Clear Channel Communications, sent a memo to each of the more than 1000 radio stations the company owned with 162 songs they felt were unsuitable to play due to questionable lyrics.
I totally get that with some sensitive songs and topics, but this song was on the list and I still can't imagine why. I've included La Belle Epoque's version in the comments.
AOHW #64 99 Red Balloons/99 Luftballons/Nena - No 1, 1984 (4 weeks)
When I said I was going to do a couple of weeks of colour songs I'm certain that several of you have been waiting for this one.
The song, the German original, came about after Nena's guitarist Carlo Karges watched balloons were being released at a Rolling Stones concert in West Berlin.He thought they looked a bit like UFOs (must have been a great concert) and wondered what might happen if they floated over the Berlin Wall to the Soviet sector.
The direct translation of the title, Neunundneunzig Luftballons, does not include the colour red, it is 99 AIR balloons.
Australia and America like the German language version as you will see above, making both a simultaneous No 1. The UK preferred the English language version.
The translation into English of the song somehow resulted in the meaning taking a different direction to what was originally intended. Keyboardist and song co-writer Uwe Fahrenkrog Petersen said the translation made the song sound silly. As a result, despite having done more that 500 concerts all over the world, Nena has never once, not even in the UK, sang the English language version live.
Tomorrow we continue with the red theme to a most unpleasant surprise here in Australia.
AOHW #65 The Redback on the Toilet Seat/Slim Newton - No 1, 1972 (1 week)
Despite its silliness, this is a very important song in Australian music history.
Released on Hadley Records, it was the first recording for Slim (nothing to do with Dusty, but frequently confused with him) and the first success for the label. Hadley Records was a family run business who based themselves in Tamworth and are key to the thriving country music festival and scene that exists there to this day. The catalogue of releases are genuine Australian country - not an imitation of American releases.
Our stories and experiences in our voices. No American can sing, or understand the implications of a redback on the toilet seat!
The follow up single was How Did the Redback Die? 😂
AOHW #66 Gold/John Stewart - No 7, 1979
Mighty Music Monday.
John Stewart was part of the iconic folk group The Kingston Trio. He's also the songwriter of hits like Daydream Believer. This was his only solo success and a song you'll know when you hear it.
Does that backing vocalist sound familiar? It's Stevie Nicks. She so distinctive to this song that I've always been surprise it wasn't called a duet.
AOHW #67 Don't it Make My Brown Eyes Blue/Crystal Gayle - No 11, 1977
The sister of Loretta Lynn, in the States it would be hard to pick which was the siblings were more successful. Despite a career that continues to this day, this was Gayle's only hit here, and one that didn't quite crack the top ten.
Crystals, debut single, written by Loretta, was the very similarly themed, "I've cried the blue right out of my eyes". This song was to be offered to Shirley Bassey but Gayle nabbed it and it turned her into a middle of the road darling through the 70s and 80s. She recorded it in one take.
As a young child she was made to keep her hair short. After seeing a Nashville country singer with long hair she chose to grow hers and you'll see in the below clip it is knee length. Now it hits the floor! You'd think she doesn't cut it, but each year she lops at least 9 inches off (according to Wikipedia 😉). She has often been ranked among the world's most beautiful women, but she says it wasn't till her hair grew long that she was seen in that light. Long hair, huh?
AOHW #68 Blue Moon/Marcels - No 4, 1961
Tell me you all know this one?
Recorded in two takes (which is amazing when you actually listen to how long the bomp-baba-bomp guy goes without a breath) this made its way to a big time radio announcer in the US who liked it SO much he played it 26 times in one show.
Take a close look at the band.
This was 1961 folks, so multiracial groups were not a thing. It became so bad, touring the deep south, that the two white members were forced to quit. They did reunite though, when times had changed somewhat, in 1973 for a bit.
What I'd like to know is how these five men came to form a group in the first place? They clearly were able to hang out and record together and, remained friends even after circumstances forced the band apart. I'd love to know the backstory as even the picture on the front of this YouTube video speaks a thousand words.
AOHW #69 Black Betty/Ram Jam - No 3, 1977 & No 32, 1990
You can't keep a good song down. This song is based around a Lead Belly song that came out around 1939. It has been recorded about 50 times by artists as diverse as Nick Cave to Tom Jones, Meatloaf to Moby. I remember the Ram Jam re release in 1990 but can't figure out why it became a hit again. Was it due to a movie?
Aussie band Spiderbait started doing it in concert in the early 2000s. They released it as a single in 2004 and it became their biggest hit, charting also in the US. Both versions are on high rotation in my house, and particularly in my car.
AOHW #70 Forbidden Colours/ David Sylvian & Ryuichi Sakamoto - No 23, 1983
Yesterday we lost Little Millie (My Boy Lollipop) and Florian Schneider, founder of Kraftwerk (Autobahn). Both had two hits in Australia.
Schneider was a pioneer of electronic music and reclusive. I read a story about Chris Martin asking for approval to sample Computer Love for the Coldplay song Talk. He went through all the legal hurdles and hoops to finally receive an envelope in the mail with one handwritten word - yes.
I'm really enjoying the colour theme and this song is appropriate as it has so many threads that would have been influenced by Schneider and Kraftwerk. I've been listening to this, and the Sakamoto full instrumental version, which I'll also attach in the comments, while writing and researching this.
This was used in the highly regarded British/Japanese film Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence which stars David Bowie and was largely filmed in New Zealand. Sakamoto won the 1983 BAFTA for best film music. I don't want to give anything away about the film if you haven't seen it, but its themes and message are as relevant today as in 1983.
Sylvian was the lead singer of Japan who were a new romantic group of the significance of Visage who also featured in this two weeks of coloured one hit wonders. Japan never charted in Australia.
I've found this music a perfect antidote to isolation blues.
AOHW #71 Goondiwindi Grey/Tex Morton - No 3, 1973
Not much sports happening right now, bar some horse racing. Every Saturday of my young life I would have my father go everywhere with his transistor radio listening to the GGs all over Australia and writing down results on scraps of paper he'd keep in his pocket. He still does this.
This was such a surprise hit. Gunsynd was a champion race horse through the early 70s whose colouring and hometown earned him the moniker The Goondiwindi Grey. Prior to being retired to stud in 1973 he did an exhibition gallop at Doomben racecourse to a crowd of more than 25 thousand people.
Tex Morton was an early pioneer of country and western music who has a statue erected in his honour in Tamworth.
Both Gunsynd and Tex Morton died in 1983.
AOHW #72 San Francisco (be sure to wear some flowers in your hair)/Scott McKenzie - No 2, 1967
I looked for appropriate Mother’s Day songs but the only relevant Australian One Hit Wonder is Tracey Bonham’s Mother Mother which is much more angsty than I was hoping for.
Instead I’ll celebrate my own mother, Margaret Lorraine Coulter, using this song.
As you can possibly imagine if you’ve been following this page, or know me at all, I rather like music trivia. Growing up, wherever we went as a family, music trivia accompanied us. I would write answers on napkins at restaurants, shout them out in the family car and spent all my teenage earnings on music books, vinyl and experiences.
My dad and brother came along for the ride. My mother, a classically trained soprano, notsomuch. She absolutely can tell her Prokofiev from her Puccini - but Pearl Jam from Pink Floyd? Nope. They’re not “real singers” apparently anyway.
Over time I soaked up more classical music knowledge (I know MY Prokofiev from Puccini too!) than I care to admit. And mum also sometimes would astonish us with correct answers to the most obscure pop music questions.
If she didn’t know the answer, there was Scott McKenzie.
Scott McKenzie was and is Mum’s go to answer to any music question she doesn’t know. It is a long standing family joke, as he only had this one hit song.
So today, I’ll ring her and say my AOHW is San Francisco, and does she know the artist? She’ll reply, “Is it Scott McKenzie?”, and she’ll be right.
She’s always been right.
Happy Mother’s Day.
AOHW #73 Addicted to Bass/Josh Abrahams & Amiel Daemion - No 12/1998
Mighty Music Monday. Thought you might be missing the bass line shooting up your spine.
This Australian track was released under the artist name Puretone overseas and was a bigger hit in the US and UK than here.
Many a musician has gone into advertising - which is what Abrahams does now. His branding packages are behind some big companies like Tourism Australia and the International Cricket Council.
Daemion is an actress and singer known professionally as Amiel now. She had a huge hit with Lovesong in 2003. Great track and one I learned the hard way has a very different non radio edit!
AOHW #74 Calling You/Andrew Pendlebury (guest vocals by Kate Cebrano) - No 26, 1992
Andrew Pendlebury is one of Australia's greatest guitarists but you probably don't know his name. He's been part of groups like the Sports and played in post punk to gospel bands across his career.
The solo album from which this track comes, Don't Hold Back This Feeling, won the 1994 ARIA award for best Adult Contemporary Album. I must find it. The guest vocalists list, including Kate, show Andrew's standing in the Aus music community.
The song, which was originally written for the movie Baghdad Cafe, has been subsequently recorded by artists like Jeff Buckley and Celine Dion.
This, in my opinion, is the best version. Andrew and Kate at the peak of their abilities.
AOHW #75 Macarena/Los Del Mar - No 4, 1996
This is the original version without all the female vocal bits, which was done under the artist name Los Del Rio. This actually charted first.
Just so you can sleep peacefully tonight, Los Del Rio’s Macarena won’t feature at a later date as they aren’t a one hit wonder. They also released Macarena Christmas which got to No 4 in December 1996.
It would appear that the Macarena is making a bit of a revival as my son and I did a stunning version of the dance in the lounge room the other day and he already knew all the moves.
You have been warned!
AOHW #76 Teenager of the Year/Lo-Tel - No 34, 2000
I got, for Mothers Day, the three Triple J Hottest 100 albums I didn't have, including Vol 8. That year this song was No 15 on the 100. I'd just started in radio at this stage and it got a lot of airplay via being a Sydney band, and its use in the movie Looking for Alibrandi.
Generally I've found that the 60s and 80s are the most loved for popular music. It's like disco and grunge ruined entire decades for some people. That's part of why I'm enjoying this project so much, exploring some of the forgotten hits, like this one.
This song is the epitome of 90s and 2000s fusion. There is a strong grunge element, mixed in with the dreamy trance like pop that was so huge early in the next decade. Should have been a massive hit, here and overseas.
Singer for Lo-Tel Luke Hanigan married Looking for Alibrandi (and 2019 Australian Survivor winner) actress Pia Miranda in 2001.She's featured in this film clip which must be cool for their children to see.
AOHW #77 Groove is in the Heart/Deee-lite - No 1, 1990 (4 weeks)
Some joy and fun for your Friday.
They will make a movie about this band and its members eventually. Inclusive, diverse and experimental, I like that they’ve added to the start of the clip below to clarify that Lady Miss Keir is not wearing real fur!
AOHW #78 Maybe/Thom Pace - No 7/1979
This is the theme to the film and TV series The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams, based loosely around a real life character called Charles E. Sellier.
Its about savouring life at a slower pace with a greater appreciation for the world around us.
This was top ten here but went to No 1 for a massive nine weeks in Germany. I always love reading the comments on the attached YouTube videos but unusually all this time are in German. This song is clearly beloved there.
AOHW #79 Love Changes (Everything)/Climie Fisher - No 26, 1988
A duo featuring singer Simon Climie and Neon and Naked Eyes keyboardist and song writer Rob Fisher. The Band Neon basically split in half - one duo formed Naked Eyes and the other Tears for Fears.
Post Climie Fisher, both artists were busy producing and writing for an array of big name UK stars before Rob Fisher died aged just 42 from cancer.
The YouTube clip attached has some additional details about its making by Bruce Hill who looks like he was involved in a great many iconic 80s film clip creations.
AOHW #80 Oh Sherrie/Steve Perry - No 6, 1984
Mighty Music Monday and a theme I've been wanting to do for a while.
A great many singers leave their very successful groups and go on to even greater heights. Phil Collins, Robbie Williams, Jimmy Barnes, James Reyne, Beyonce - I could go on.
But, it doesn't always work that way. Some try the solo thing and one hit is all they get. That's what you'll get for the next week or so. How many can you guess?
Steve Perry was the front man of Journey and dubbed "The Voice" by no less than Jon Bon Jovi (who is not a OHW solo artist btw)
This glorious film clip features Sherrie, Steve's inspiration and girlfriend at the time, as the "bride". They broke up about a year later due to his touring schedule and her desire for a quieter life but remain close friends. I kind of didn't want to mention that as they quite clearly are besotted with each other here.
This choice was also inspired by shopping at a major supermarket yesterday. On came Oh Sherrie over the shop speakers and I was not the only person who stopped to bust out the chorus.
AOHW #81 Trouble/Lindsay Buckingham - No 1, 1981 (4 weeks)
The film clip for this is worth the price of admission. What the heck fire is that vocal intro all about? I love the 80s.
Who's Lindsay Buckingham? He's the person who only said he'd join Fleetwood Mac if his girlfriend was allowed to join too.
Lindsay also wrote some songs you might have heard of - Go Your Own Way, Second Hand News and Tusk.
If you know the story behind the Mac you'll know that the whole Rumours album experience was affected by the break up of Nicks and Buckingham. It has been on and off again across four decades now with Buckingham being sacked from the band in 2018 and replaced by Neil Finn.
Lindsay is not only a gifted singer and song writer but an exceptionally highly regarded finger picking guitarist. It is surprising that he never attained the solo success of Stevie.
AOHW #82 Goody Two Shoes/Adam Ant - No 1, 1982 (2 weeks)
Stuart Leslie Goddard, better known as Adam Ant, has had a heck of a life. Some of the forks in his road are extraordinary.
Firstly, when he was looking to find a good producer for Adam and the Ants' second album, he approached Malcolm McLaren to manage the process. McLaren instead pinched all Ant's backing band to form Bow Wow Wow (who featured with their OHW a couple of weeks ago). None the less, Ant regarded McLaren as a mentor for the rest of his life.
Adam Ant was part of the mega fundraiser Live Aid, after being invited by Bob Geldof. Afterwards Geldof called Ant "over the hill" and made it out that he'd only included him out of pity, which Ant said left him feeling like his involvement was a "waste of his f***ing time".
Then most bizarrely, Adam performed a musical set at a 2012 photography exhibition of himself at his glam and gorgeous best in the 80s. Chrissie Hynde was there. She got drunk and heckled Ant throughout!
Much of his music catalogue was destroyed in the 2008 Universal fires.
Despite all this, Adam still performs and has visited Australia many times. This song, and Adam and the Ants hits like Stand and Deliver, are worth checking out.
AOHW #83 I Know There's Something Going On/Frida No 3, 1982
Anni-Frid Lyngstad is one of the As in ABBA. Recorded during the band's final year, Anni-Frid, or Frida as she's better known, wanted this to be very different to ABBA's distinctive sound.
Phil Collins got involved. He produced this song, plays the drums and is on back up vocals. It's written by Russ Ballard, who also composed tomorrow's song (he must have a thing for artists going solo).
There is a TV documentary about the making of this this song, film clip and the associated solo album "Something Going On" called Frida - The DVD which I'd love to track down. Sounds like a fascinating ride.
There's Something Going On has a significant legacy. It's been samples by Salt-N-Pepa and the Bomfunk MCs. And, in a massive nod to Phil Collins, the drum line of Foo Fighters' Erase/Replace is also borrowed from this.
AOHW #84 New York Groove/Ace Frehley - No 18, 1979
This song is written by Brit Russ Ballard, who also wrote Frida's solo OHW yesterday. Ballard (the former singer with Argent, who will ALSO feature as a OHW) gave it to glam UK band Hello who had a bit of success with it at home in 1975.
In 1978 all four members of Kiss - Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons released solo albums ON THE SAME DAY. It was written into their contract that they would do so, but they plugged it as being a way to release tensions in the band, so none of them contributed at all to each other's albums.
Perhaps the record company thought that loyalty to the band from fans would see all the solo albums become successful. That didn't happen. This was the biggest and only solo success by any of them in Australia.
This version is very different to Hello's and one that Kiss does in concert from time to time. Frehley told Rolling Stone magazine that his interpretation was inspired by his experiences with hookers in New York City's Times Square in the 1970s. Keeping it classy Ace.
AOHW #85 Shake/Andrew Ridgeley - No 17,1990
Continuing with artists who left their mega group to end up only having one solo hit.
Andrew Ridgeley was one half of Wham and has generally shunned the limelight since the band broke up. This song came from the album, Son of Albert, which was a part of a contractual obligation to CBS Records, Wham's record label. The album was a flop and this lead single charted highest here in Australia than anywhere else. I've always quite liked it though.
Andrew has been married to Bananarama member Keren Woodward for 30 years.
Most of Wham's hits were written by George Michael. You may have heard of him 😉 But Careless Whisper, George's first contractually obligated solo hit, was written by both George and Andrew when Andrew was just 17. Ridgeley still received thousands of pounds of royalties every year from that one song alone.
When George died in 2016, Andrew tweeted, "Heartbroken at the loss of my beloved friend Yog." I suspect they always stayed in touch.
AOHW #86 If I Was/Midge Ure - No 12, 1985
Midge is a repeat one hit wonder offender. He was part of Ultravox (Vienna), Visage (Fade to Grey) and Band Aid (he co-write Do They Know It's Christmas) and then decided to go solo. This went to No 1 in the UK.
He's still an immensely busy man touring and producing music. He also is a handy cook, making the finals of the English version of Celebrity Masterchef in 2007.
This is a high definition version of the film clip and is strikingly ahead of its time.
AOHW #87 Afternoon Delight/Starland Vocal Band - No 6, 1976
Mighty Music Monday.
This was used to delicious purposes in both the films Good Will Hunting and Anchorman (for which I'll attach the scene below). It was also, for years, the first song on my radio station's emergency tape.
A radio station's emergency tape goes on when normal transmission fails. I worked in a building that had both a classic hits and talk station. I was responsible for keeping an ear on the talk station so, every now and then, this song would come on the Classic Hits station, I would think the talk station was off air and I would RUN. Once I ran straight into a wall.
When we changed buildings I wrote about the running into the wall incident and my ongoing issues I have whenever I hear this song come on the radio.
My boss and great mate read the article and changed all the station IDs the next day to finish with the intro to this song. After my initial heart attack I rang him and together we must have laughed for the next ten minutes. Happy memories of an afternoon delight (not that kind though!)
AOHW #88 Sorrow/The Merseys - No 36, 1966
You'll all know the David Bowie version. This is still not the original. It was first done by The McCoys in 1965 as a follow up to their one big hit, which will be an AOHW at a later date.
The Merseys (or Merseybeats) started life as The Mavericks but changes their name to reflect their UK sound. They claim to have performed at Liverpool's Cavern Club with the Beatles more often than any other band from that time.
Many of the original members still tour around Europe on the 60s circuit, no longer with support from the Beatles though!
AOHW #89 Part of the Union/The Strawbs - No 4, 1973
As relevant today as when it released nearly 50 years ago.
There are plenty of songs that are misinterpreted - Eric Clapton's Wonderful Tonight, a beloved wedding song, was apparently written to tell his partner to hurry up and get dressed for a night out. This was originally a dig at the immensely powerful British trade unions but over time it has become a Union anthem and an advertising favourite.
The Strawbs (who still perform) have also changed their minds and said the song was written with "genuine celebratory intent". The YouTube comments show just how powerful an anthem this is to so many people.
US soccer team Philadelphia Union uses it as their theme song.
AOHW #90 Nobody Knows/The Tony Rich Project - No 2, 1996
I have been looking forward to this one!
I know a lot about Tony Rich. I know that he keeps his Grammy in the wardrobe (and formerly the bathroom). I know he's a vegan, funny, gorgeous, loving and every now and then he does secret squirrel basement gigs for those who love him. His voice and music is still amazing.
I know he photo bombs children at their graduations (my personal experience in the comments). I know he still hasn't taken a restraining order out against me.
Yep, nobody knows all that but me.......
AOHW #91 Forever Autumn/Justin Hayward - No 36, 1978
Two more days of Autumn actually. Longest Autumn ever though so this song is apt.
One of my guilty COVID 19 isolation pleasures is following Gary Barlow (Take That) on social media. He's been doing impromptu duets with all manner of UK stars, most of them exceptionally entertaining.
Yesterday he did this with Justin Hayward, which I thought was a left field selection until I read that Gary released his own version of this in 2012.
From Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, the original melody was written for a Lego commercial. Jeff Wayne selected Justin to do this because he wanted, "that voice from Nights in White Satin."
Justin Hayward is indeed the lead vocalist of the Moody Blues. He also wrote most of their biggest hits, including Nights in White Satin. He wrote it, as he once said somewhere, at the end of one love affair and start of another. If, perchance you don't know Nights in White Satin, please find it. One of the most beautiful love songs sung by this man who knew exactly how he wanted it to sound.
AOHW #92 The Weekend/Michael Gray - No 10, 2005
I'm breaking my own rules with this one as I had always planned this to be music from 1960 - 2000 only.
I'll finally have a house without children next week, it looks like I can go to the pub and let the hugs resume.
So yes, bring on the weekend!!
AOHW #93 Chuck E's in Love/Rickie Lee Jones - No 23, 1979
This entered the charts on this day 41 years ago. Chuck E Weiss is real. He's an amazing person in his own right. However, Rickie Lee Jones was actually in love with TOM WAITS when she wrote this. Her heartbreak over the end of that relationship inhibited her forward momentum after this song was released. The story should be made into a movie.
Oh, Rickie Lee Jones is also responsible for The Horses. She co-wrote it with Walter Becker from Steely Dan. Her 1989 version is on my favourite movie soundtrack of all time, Jerry Maguire. Then this guy called Daryl Braithwaite did it. You might have heard of it?
I've always wondered if this film clip was inspiration for Prince's Raspberry Beret......
AOHW #94 Something in the Air/Thunderclap Newman - No 6, 1969
Mighty Music Monday.
This band was formed by Pete Townsend of the Who to celebrate former Who chauffeur, drummer, singer and guitarist Speedy Keen. He was joined by Jimmy McCulloch, who would have been a superstar but died after an overdose aged just 26, and Andy "Thunderclap" Newman. They disbanded in 1971.
By the way, that something in the air is called WINTER.
AOHW #95 Boom Shack-A-Lak/Apache Indian - No 31, 1993
How many of you thought this was Shaggy?
Apache Indian is Steven Kapur, a Brit with Indian background. He predates Shaggy (who is more reggae flavoured) and is considered to have introduced the sound which is a hybrid of bhangra and raggamuffin – also known delightfully as bhangramuffin.
AOHW #96 Sucker DJ/Dimples D - No 1, 1991 (5 weeks)
This was written as a response to Run DMC's Sucker M.Cs (Krush-Groove 1) and initially released in 1983. It did nothing.
In 1990 Dutch dance DJ and remixer Ben Liebrand decided to have a play with it and added some of the I Dream of Jeannie theme song to the background.
We loved the remix and sent it to No 1. It was a big hit in NZ too. Rest of the world weren't as interested in cutting a rap about a Sucker DJ.
AOHW #97 Because I Love You (The Postman Song)/Stevie B - No 5, 1991
Stevie B is a pioneer of freestyle dance music, so this song and the album it comes from was totally uncharacteristic. It was a massive hit - No 1 in the US.
The title has always amused me as it sounds like a love song to the postman. Still not sure why the postie gets a nod as he’s only mentioned once!
AOHW #98 Cool For Cats/UK Squeeze - No 4, 1979
Now really, you didn't need the UK bit at the front to be able to tell these lads were British. Normally singing tends to level out accents, but these guys are as English as the Proclaimers are Scots!
They are just called Squeeze, but due to Australian and US bands with the same name, they were forced to add UK to the front here for legal reasons. Hardly worth it as there was no more Squeeze-ing the charts for anybody.......
Speaking of cool, -2 where I am at the moment. 🥶
AOHW #99 99 Reasons/Jo Beth Taylor - No 28, 1991
I have been sitting on this one, waiting till we got to No 99 to share this with you. Only 3000 odd views on YouTube! Why???? A young Lachie Daddo. A full exhibition of what my 90s wardrobe looked like. What more do you need in life?
Taylor started out in music very young, caught the attention of Molly Meldrum and was back up artist (at just 19) for a tour with Debbie Gibson. She and Debbie became friends, Taylor moved to the US for a year and Gibson wrote five of the songs off Jo Beth's debut album, also called 99 Reasons.
In the mid 90s Jo-Beth Taylor was everywhere. She hosted Australia's Funniest Home Videos, Hey Hey It's Saturday and a kids show, What's Up Doc? She was also performing in theatre and singing. But, it became too much as she took a two year break from everything in 1997 after a nervous breakdown.
In 2016 Jo Beth was a contestant on I'm a Celebrity.....Get Me Out of Here! She elaborated on the breakdown and just how difficult it was to talk about mental health at the time. I remember her sunshine on Australian Funniest Home Videos every week and wanting to be as happy as she always appeared to always be on TV. Wish I'd known better too.
AOHW #100 & #101 Love Hurts/ Jim Capaldi and Love Hurts/Nazareth - BOTH No 3, 1976 (equal best sellers)
No 100 called for something special.
Growing up listening to classic hits stations I knew the Jim Capaldi version back to front. Jim is a revered figure in the UK. He was part of the original line up of Traffic and was a life long friend and collaborator with Steve Winwood until Jim's death in 2005. Capaldi was also beloved by Cat Stevens, Bob Marley, Eric Clapton and George Harrison. He also was one of the first to discover Jimi Hendrix.
In 2007 I was working in Gympie and the Nazareth version was part of 4GY's playlist. I'd not heard it, but man, the first time I did, I FELT it.
Both were released together here in Australia in 1976 and became the rare "equal best sellers" where they appeared to chart together despite being different version of the same song. Neither Capaldi or Nazareth charted again.
Around 10 years later I picked up a copy of a Rockwiz triple CD album, after appearing on my own episode of the show. On it was a Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris (who'll pop up later as a OHW) version of this song which apparently was pretty much done spontaneously. Gram died shortly after that recording, so it holds much additional meaning.
There is also a Roy Orbison version from 1961, Joan Jett's done it. Jennifer Warnes. Cher. It has also been used in Deadpool 2 and That 70s Show. Take your pick.
Nazareth for me.
AOHW #102 White Men Can't Jump/Riff - No 3, 1992
I'd better do this while The Last Dance documentary series is still all everyone is talking about. I did two interviews last week, one sports and one arts related. Both mentioned Michael Jordan.
I'm born on February 17. Everyone likes to check out who they share their birthday with. Feb 17 is Paris Hilton, Ed Sheeran and.......Michael Jordan.
Nearly 20 years ago great mates Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson paired up for the movie White Men Can't Jump; one of four films they did together. The film played on their basketball skills, sense of humour and an underlying theme that black men play basketball better than white. The film made $90 million world wide and spawned a set of Nike shoes named in honour of Snipes and Harrelson's characters.
AOHW #103 (You're such a) Fabulous Dancer/Wha-Koo - No 10, 1978
US band Wha-Koo were made up of a whole lot of veteran session players and front man Danny Douma. Based on YouTube comments, it looks like this video is from an Australian music show - which surely means Countdown?
How incredible was that show? Many one hit wonders had a hit here in Australia off the back of wild and/or charismatic Countdown gigs.
Wha-Koo toured Australia with Thin Lizzy and the Sports. Their catalogue hasn't been transferred over onto digital or CD. I picked up the 45" single somewhere years ago. Glad I did.
AOHW #104 Hole in my Shoe/Neil - No 26, 1985
After celebrating Jim Capaldi's only hit in Australia the other day I thought I'd feature this Traffic song for a Wacky Wednesday. Capaldi, Stevie Winwood, Chris Wood and Dave Mason made up Traffic. Hole in my Shoe was written by Mason in 1967 and became Traffic's biggest hit. It was disliked by the rest of the band due to being totally different to the rest of Traffic's music (and quite psychedelically silly).
Twenty years later a UK comedy series burst onto the scene called The Young Ones. The cast, writers and even guest stars were and are a who's who of English comedy talent. Nigel Planer played the paranoid, peace loving hippie Neil, and would quote a line from this song in several episodes. Of course that led to this single being released, with this fab clip featuring Neil on Countdown.
Nigel Planer has a resume three pages long. If you are a fan of Terry Pratchett, Planer is the voice for most of the audio books.He's also well known for being in the 1980s spoof rock band Bad News and wrote more than 100 episodes of kids show The New Magic Roundabout.
AOHW #105 Ship of Fools/World Party - No 5, 1987
World Party is, in fact, just one person - Karl Wallinger. Wallinger first emerged as a keyboard player in The Waterboys (whose AOHW is the magnificent The Whole of the Moon) but his broader ambitions and skills led him to go solo; and by solo he does everything on this song from sing to play the bass and drum.
He's still performing and has a several other cool notes - in 1987 he helped Sinead O'Connor with her debut album. She has returned the favour with backing vocals for him several times since.
Karl was also the music director for one of my favourite movie soundtracks - Reality Bites, in 1994, as well as contributing to Clueless the following year.
Definitely someone I'd like to share a coffee with. This was a bigger hit here in Australia than anywhere else in the world (party).
AOHW #106 Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)/Glass Tiger - No 7, 1986
A Canadian band who are still together and performing, but this was the only time they troubled the charts here. If the backing vocalist sounds strangely familiar - he is. That's the distinctive sound of one of Ontario's favourite men - Bryan Adams. Bryan was already a big star by this stage and did this as a favour to his long time producer and song writing partner Jim Vallance, who was working also with Glass Tiger. Vallance and Adams have worked together for 40 years.
AOHW #107 Jesamine/The Casuals - No 9, 1968
I keep thinking of all these fabulous songs that I remember as being a one hit wonder, looking them up and then being ridiculously disappointed to discover that there is a second minor hit as well. I woke this morning with this song on my mind. I almost feel I should write the Casuals a letter of apology at my pleasure that this is, in fact, a AOHW.
I've always loved this song, as apparently does Paul Weller of the Jam and Style Council, who has mentioned it a few times when asked his favourite. I like the synergy of that as I can hear the influence on Weller's own style.
The Casuals were most successful in Italy. Not with Jesamine, strangely enough. Prior to 1968 they lived there doing Italian cover versions of UK hits. Their version of The BeeGees' Massachusetts was a No 1 Italian single!
AOHW #108 I'm Not Lisa/Jessi Colter - No 17, 1975
How do you tame an outlaw country music man?
Jessi Colter was born Mirriam Johnson and should be as well known and respected as June Carter Cash. This song was from the album "I'm Jessi Colter" (way before I am.....Sasha Fierce) and was produced by her husband Waylon Jennings. She'd married Duane Eddy very young. She divorced him and struggled for solo success until Waylon had seen something in her.
Man, they were one beautiful couple. She and I shared the same surname when I was a growing up. I loved her. She has a daughter called Jennifer.
From when she met Waylon Jennings in the 70s to when he died in 2002, she was committed and devoted to one of the truly remarkable men of country music who often does, and deserves to, stand beside Johnny Cash. She stood by him as he recovered from substance abuse and addiction to drugs and is mother to Shooter who proudly continues in his father's style.
There must be so much hidden meaning to this song. In the long run, Jessi Colter has shown that she is NOT Lisa and lives outside anyone else's shadow.
AOHW #109 I Love the Nightlife (Disco 'Round)/Alicia Bridges - No 3, 1979 & No 8, 1994
This song was written by Bridges and her song writing and real life partner Susan Hutcheson. Bridges felt it was an R&B song and had goals of someone like Al Green recording it. First time producer Steve Buckingham wanted to tap into the then hot disco market and the end result led to a massive career for Buckingham, but not so much for Bridges.
In 1994, a remixed version of this song was featured in the Australian film, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which became a surprise world wide hit and brought LGBT themes to a mainstream audience. As a result, I Love The Nightlife became one of those rare songs that have charted, successfully, twice for the original artist.
They didn't make a new film clip for Priscilla, so here is Alicia strutting her stuff on stage with the 79 version. She's a highly energetic performer and DJ still.
AOHW #110 Mr Tambourine Man/The Byrds - No 4, 1965
In 1964 The Byrds' manager Jim Dickson was given an acetate of Bob Dylan's Mr Tambourine Man, before Dylan had released his original version. Dickson felt the band could have a go at it too, but Byrds style.
The Byrds' version is totally different to Dylan's. Bob's is a 5 and a bit minute long acoustic version. The Byrds used only the second verse, changed the key and created a sound that became known as "folk rock". Only this version charted in Australia and was, amazingly, The Byrds sole hit here, considering their lingering impact on folk rock and music.
The band was more than a little concerned about how Dylan would feel about their take as both were to be released within a month of each other. Dickson invited Bob to come and have a listen.
Bob said, "Wow, you can dance to that!"
And so, the Byrds released Mr Tambourine Man too, and the rest, as they say, is history.
AOHW #111 I'm Tuff/George Smilovici - No 2, 1984
In 1983 Austen Tayshus released Australiana on 12" single. It was recorded live at the Comedy Store in Sydney and went to No 1 for 13 weeks, becoming the best selling single in Australian history. It is literally a comedy sketch. There is no singing or instruments at all. Austen Tayshus had a couple of other minor hits, however he is generally regarded as a OHW.
The following year Billy Birmingham, who wrote Australiana, created a delicious and quite rude comedy concept album called It's Just Not Cricket under the moniker The Twelfth Man. Even non cricketing fans can still quote whole passages from this.
"Bruce Reid!! He's snapped in half!!"
It went to No 1 for 3 weeks.
There is something so Aussie about comedy sketches going to No 1 on the music chart. Dare I say it, the world could do with more of it right now. Everything's so damn serious and we as a nation could always laugh at ourselves.
So, this Wacky Wednesday, here's I'm Tuff, who's success definitely rode on the coat tails of Austen Tayshus and the Twelfth Man. George taking the piss out of himself and men in general, I must say I've pinched some of his choice lines myself.
"I'm so tuff, I don't eat hundreds and thousands. I eat millions and billions"
AOHW #112 The Power of Love/Beverley - No 2, 1994
I very rarely get to listen to music at home as there are so many competing noise sources. But the other day I was making dinner and washing up. No one was around so I put of an album of love ballads. First up was Jennifer Rush's 1985 No 1 hit, The Power of Love. As soon as it came on the whole family, including the cat, came out to complain about my choice of "mood".
For the record, Jennifer Rush had one other minor hit, a duet with Elton John, so she won't be a AOHW with her original of The Power of Love. But Beverley is!!
Who actually came up with this as an idea? Let's get the slowest, most mellow love ballad and turn it into a dance track!! We can't fail!
Well, clearly they were right and this was a much bigger hit than I remembered.
AOHW #113 He's So Fine/The Chiffons - No 31, 1963
This is a really important song in music litigious and plagiarism history.
The Chiffons came about after a guy called Ronnie Mack heard a group of girls harmonising in their high school lunch room. They released three very similar songs - He's So Fine, One Sweet Day and Sweet Talking Guy (where they actually sing He's So Fine in the background!). This was a US No 1.
Ok, I wonder if I can make this bit simple.
In 1971, the Chiffons’ record company Bright Tunes Corporation sued George Harrison for similarities between his MASSIVE hit My Sweet Lord and He's So Fine. Harrison admitted he know the song, could hear the similarities and maybe, at a subconscious level, My Sweet Lord was influenced as a result. The case went on for five years, in which time, wait for it, a fellow called Alan Klein, Harrison's former manager, had bought Bright Tunes. So, Harrison, not being at all short of money, bought Bright Tunes off Klein for half a million, ending up owning ALL the Chiffons’ music. Finally, The Chiffons recorded and released My Sweet Lord to capitalise on the publicity.
Did you get all that! Phew......
AOHW #114 Wonderful Life/Black - No 9, 1988
Black is English artist Colin Vearncombe. This is another incredibly poignant example of a song that people mistakenly interpret as a message of positivity.
"By the end of 1985 I had been in a couple of car crashes, my mother had a serious illness, I had been dropped by a record company, my first marriage went belly-up and I was homeless. Then I sat down and wrote this song called 'Wonderful Life'. I was being sarcastic"
This was released independently in 1986 to no success, then re-released in 1987 under major label A&M records. Afterwards Black really struggled with the difficulties of always being associated with this song, and a song that everyone wants to be upbeat. You can hear the melancholy in every word, verse and line.
Vearncombe tragically was involved in another car accident in Ireland in January 2016 and died from his injuries two weeks later.
AOHW #115 Our Day Will Come/Ruby and the Romantics - No 11, 1963
What a perfect compliment to Black yesterday.
I'm with my parents today. It has been a long six months since I've seen them. I got my father the newest copy of the charting book that I get all my stats from for this page. He's been testing me with trivia. Life is indeed wonderful.
Many moons ago he asked me to ensure that a couple of songs get played at his funeral. I'm okay with this conversation. I quite like planning albums for people's momentous moments.
My dad is an accountant in every sense of the word. In his mid 70s. He has the palest white skin that burns when exposed to a moment's sunshine. I have inherited it. But his music choices are divinely appropriate to the standards and expectations of how people deserve to be heard and treated that he taught me through demonstration.
His two choices are this song and another AOHW that I have yet to feature. Both are bands that most likely only had the one hit due to their African American background. Australia was like that in the 60s. It was very hard to be black and achieve chart success. Option B was either Pat Boone or Elvis Presley covered your songs for you, or in Ruby and the Romantics instance - The Carpenters and Amy Winehouse.
Dad has always loved the music of Motown and beyond. The Supremes, Drifters, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Platters, Aretha - I know and appreciate the music of black America because of him and I love that I have inherited that too.
AOHW #116 Keeping the Dream Alive/Freiheit - No 34, 1989
Freiheit, or Münchener Freiheit, are a German band who for a while in the late 80s and early 90s went to the effort of translating their entire albums into English. They got this one hit as a result in the English speaking world, which John Laws used as his talk radio theme song for many years.
Couple of additional notes - Keeping the Dream Alive features in Cameron Crowe's exquisitely romantic film Say Anything. It is widely mistaken as being either a Paul McCartney or ELO song. The biggest similarity though is to Cyndi Lauper's All Through the Night. Can you hear it too?
The word Freiheit means liberty in German. They competed for their country in Eurovision 1993
AOHW #117 Love Will Tear Us Apart/Joy Division - No 21, 1981
I'd never seen this original film clip until today. I must admit, watching Ian Curtis sing, makes me feel as melancholy as the song itself.
Curtis died forty years ago, aged just 23. He died less than a month after this was filmed and before this single was released. The markings on the doorway are so poignant.
Joy Division also have left their mark on pop music. After Curtis's death they immediately disbanded but re emerged a year later as New Order, and my goodness, they are a heck of a band too. Their Blue Monday remains one of the best selling 12" singles of all times.
In Wellington New Zealand, the words "Ian Curtis Lives" are written on a wall in Wallace Street. The words appeared shortly after his death in 1980 and every time it is painted over someone repaints it.
AOHW #118 Puttin' on the Ritz/Taco - No 3, 1983.
Righto, where should I start on this one?
This is originally an Irving Berlin song dating back to the 1920s. It is an unusual composition in that the words don't match the beat, if that makes sense. That doesn't matter. I'll attach the incredible Fred Astaire tap dancing to it below.
I don't know who suggested to Taco that he should do a synth pop version but I'm so glad they did. I have been transfixed by this performance on a German TV show since I stumbled across it.
I don't mean to create another Down Under controversy, but has no one notice that the riff from Queen's Another One Bites the Dust is pinched at the 2 min 40 mark?
Lastly, Taco is his real name. Taco Ockerse. He now resides in Germany, is happy for anyone to befriend him on Facebook and is very, very funny. His siblings, Nacho and Enchilada, still live in his native Indonesia.
That last bit is a lie. Don't tell him I said that. He'll unfriend me.
AOHW #119 Dirty Blvd/Lou Reed - No 40, 1989
One week in the Australian charts. That's all Lou Reed AND The Velvet Underground ever managed. Amazing.
If you know this man and his music you'll understand how incredibly important he is and was. He was beloved and a frustration for many great artists like David Bowie (who Reed once punched) and John Cale, who said after Reed died in 2013,
Asteroid 270553 Loureed was named in his honour in 2002 and there is a Spanish spider which had a velvet body and lives underground called the Loureedia.
That's just a first step on a walk on the wild side of this man's story.
When I think of Lou Reed I think of Leonard Cohen. In 2006 Lou Reed sang as part of a tribute show for Cohen, a heavy metal version of The Stranger Song. I mention this because Leonard Cohen NEVER charted in Australia. So this song is for both of them.
Wo ho ho hoooooooooo
AOHW #120 Kung Fu Fighting/Carl Douglas - No 1, 1974 (1 week) and No 14, 1998 (with Bus Stop)
Wo ho ho hooooooooo
They totally enlisted the wrong audience for this film clip. Here they have Carl totally giving it his all and they could not be any less interested.
Wo ho ho hooooooooooo
Douglas is Jamaican but moved to the UK as a child. He spent his childhood singing, playing football and watching Bruce Lee films.
Wo ho ho hooooooooooooo
Tell me this is stuck in your head today now too??????
AOHW #121 Amanda/Boston - No 37, 1986
Like with Lou Reed the other day, sometimes I'll go looking for a particular song and be absolutely stunned it didn't chart.
Boston are indeed from Massachusetts. Their debut self title album came out in 1976 and has sold over 17 million copies. They released a second album two years later and their third, called Third Stage, from which this comes, in 1986. Amanda was written and recorded in 1984 though, and somehow accidentally leaked that same year, which added to the ongoing friction within the band.
Lead singer Brad Delp died by suicide in 2007.
Amanda is pretty good, but on the Boston debut is a song called More Than A Feeling. More Than A Feeling is a great song. I'd go so far as to call it a masterpiece. Boston's website says that song is about "the power an old song can have in your life."
And for that reason, I can't let Amanda pass by without mentioning the power of More Than a Feeling.
AOHW #122 (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay/Otis Redding - No 7, 1968
This song was written mid 1967, after Otis Redding's famed performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. He recorded two takes with the whistling a spontaneous ad-lib after a do-wop rap idea for the ending didn't work out.
Otis wrote and originally recorded Try a Little Tenderness and Respect, the song you probably only can imagine belonging to Aretha Franklin. This then was quite a shift from Redding's traditional, in your face, soul and gospel style.
On December 10 1967 Otis Redding was killed in a plane crash. He had recorded the second version of (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay two days prior but considered it unfinished.
Legendary guitarist Steve Cropper, who had been working with Redding on the track, took it upon himself to put the pieces together and finish it off in what he believed was Redding's vision. It became the first US posthumous No 1.
AOHW #123 Don't Fall in Love/The Ferrets - No 7, 1977
Discovered by Molly Meldrum this band was an early signing to the Mushroom Label. Molly contributed to their first album under the alias "Willie Everfinish".
Initially a double sided single, the A side was supposed to be a track called Lies, which took weeks to produce. Don't Fall in Love was considered inferior taking just three hours to come together.
When it came time to do their Countdown performance Molly made the decision to get them to perform Don't Fall In Love instead of Lies. You'll understand below why everyone then did fall in love with the Ferrets.
Molly certainly had an ear for a hit and many Aussie bands and artists owe him their career. Wish we could bring back Countdown.
AOHW #124 Walk the Dinosaur/Was (Not Was) - No 10, 1988
What a weird band this was (not was). Rock, jazz, beat poetry, social commentary and disco. One album, the delightfully named Born to Laugh at Tornadoes, contained -
1) Ozzy Osbourne doing a rap over electro pop 2) A stunning ballad about asphyxiation by crooner Mel Torme 3) An abstract funk piece called Man vs. the Empire Brain Building and even a technorockabilly fusion track also!
I have a wonderful compilation CD which contains a soul/funk cover of Papa Was A Rolling Stone. It was only today that I realised that the Was (Not Was) that performed that song, is the same Was (Not Was) walking the dinosaur!
If you like your music like a box of chocolates, then Was (Not Was) comes in every flavour.
Now, seriously, I'm off to walk some dinosaurs myself. I'll let you know how I get on.
AOHW #125 Into the Night/Benny Mardones - No 23,1980
Benny Mardones died yesterday after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease.
This was a hit in 1980 and I swear I remember it re-charting in the late 80s too, when I was a devoted fan of watching Rage.
I must be right, even though my Book disagrees with me. Apparently in 1989, a US radio announcer posed the question,
"What happened to that guy who sang Into the Night?
Lots of people contributed answers, along with the story about the 16 year old girl mentioned in the first line of the lyrics - read the story at the top of the YouTube comments - it is NOT what you think! That DJ started playing the song again on high rotation, so others decided to follow suit. It became that very rare song which charts again simply based on word of mouth!
AOHW #126 Popcorn/Hot Butter - No 1, 1972 (4 weeks)
Amongst the many social media/Covid projects I've seen people engage in was one where people posted their ten favourite versions of Popcorn. I'm sure you remember Crazy Frog, but artists from Muse to Charlie Parra (death metal) have had a go also.
This is my favourite. I love Chef. And yes, don't try this at home. Happy Wednesday!
AOHW #127 I Can Help / Billy Swan - No 6, 1974
I was given the Border Lord album by Kris Kristofferson yesterday and saw a familiar name on the back credit notes. Turns out, like so many of this list, Billy Swan is much more than a one hit wonder.
Urban myth has it that he was a security guard at Graceland. He was indeed Kris's bass player for a time and also a song writer for fellow outlaw Waylon Jennings, Conway Twitty and even former Drifters front man Clyde McPhatter. He produced Tony Joe White's huge hit Polk Salad Annie and has done albums with people like Charlie Rich and Randy Meisner from the Eagles.
This song was recorded in just two takes on the RMI organ that Kristofferson and his then wife Rita Coolidge gave Swan as a wedding present to his wife Marlu. Billy and Marlu were married 30 years before she died in 2003. Billy's still going strong. Both he and Marlu's daughters are singers and musicians too.
AOHW #128 Seasons in the Sun/Terry Jacks - No 1, 1974 (7 weeks)
I have a radio mate who is the best kind of friend. He's basically the one who tells me to keep going with my obsessive love of music trivia and seems to know when I need to hear that. Of late he's been in and out of hospital. I'd wake some mornings to a message when he was unable to sleep saying catching up on my one hit wonders gave him some respite.
He's gravely ill and I won't get another of his late night messages again. I've been holding on to this one and just felt I should share it today. Jose Auditore this is for you with love, friendship and thanks. (postscript – Jose died on Saturday 11/07/20)
AOHW #129 When I See You Smile / Bad English - No 6, 1990
This video has had almost 36 million views!
John Waite, Bad English's front man, is also the singer of the band The Babys (Isn't It Time and Every Time I Think of You) and will appear solo at a later date with his own No 1 AOHW. I can assure you that his hair and fashion style have not improved. God, I love the 80s.
This band is half the aforementioned Babys and half Journey.
Some totally random trivia..... the name Bad English came about after keyboardist Jonathan Cain and John Waite were playing pool. Waite missed a shot and Cain commented on how bad his "English" was, which apparently refers to the spin a player puts on the cue ball!
AOHW #130 Mustang Sally/The Commitments - No 28, 1992
This song was originally written and recorded by Mack Rice in 1965. It was going to be called Mustang Mama but changed to Mustang Sally at Aretha Franklin's suggestion. As you do.
in 1991 a little Irish film called The Commitments was released. The cast was pretty much unknown and chosen due to their singing ability or resemblance to the characters in Roddy Doyle's book the movie is based around.
All the music sung and featured are non originals, appealing to those who already know and love the music and those who were introduced to it by director Alan Parker and music supervisor G Marq Roswell. Initially Parker had a "short list" of more than a thousand songs from the 60s - how he narrowed it down to the 52 finally selected would make for a great interview.
The Commitments has gained cult status in the years since and was the highest grossing film in Ireland of all time. It's not easy to track down now, but totally worth a watch. This is the scene from the movie and quite different to the single released to radio.
AOHW #131 Oh Yeah/Yello - No 8, 1988
This is a total guilty pleasure of mine. Ferris Bueller's Day Off, anyone? The Secret of my Success?
Yello is a Swiss duo Dieter Meier and Boris Blank. Blank came up with the music and asked Meier to come up with some lyrics. Apparently something occurred involving a relaxed fat little monster before Meier decide that was WAY too complicated and chose instead a stack of "oh yeahs" and lots of love towards the moon.
Meier invested himself in this song, shopping it around everywhere.
Did that work?
It's made him $175 million so far, so I think the answer is, oh yeahhhhhhhhhh.
PS: Also check out Yello's Rubberband Man. I used to use it as my breakfast theme in my early days of radio. There is much more to them than this one song would suggest. 💛
AOHW #132 (Where Do I Begin) Love Story / Francis Lai - No 1, 1971 (1 week)
This is a really unusual one. In my charting book this was a joint No 1 for FOUR artists - two instrumental (Francis Lai and Henry Mancini) and two with vocals (Andy Williams and Shirley Bassey). Seeing as this is Lai's composition I think he deserves a OHW nod.
Love Story came out 50 years ago. Starring Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal it made the line "love means never having to say you're sorry" a part of pop culture. A sequel followed, Oliver's Story, which also featured Lai's theme.
This film was the 70s version of The Notebook. While much has dated, Ali McGraw's character of Jennifer was strong, fierce, independent and funny. I watched this as a teen and wanted to be just like her (Spoiler alert - without the tragic outcome!)
I also post this as a tribute to Ennio Morricone, the incredible Italian film composer, who passed away yesterday aged 91. I'd already posted The Good, The Bad and the Ugly a couple of weeks ago - Lai (who is French) and Morricone have shaped the sound of so many iconic films.
AOHW #133 The Devil Went Down to Georgia / The Charlie Daniels Band - No 22, 1979
Two one hit wonders today as both Ennio Morricone and Charlie Daniels sadly died yesterday.
As this song would suggest Daniels is skilled on pretty much any stringed instrument - guitar, banjo, mandolin and of course, the fiddle. He's worked with Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen across several of their albums. This duel with the devil has become part of popular culture with the song featured in games, commercials and movies over and over again.
I felt it was very important to attach a live version of this to give Charlie Daniels HIS due as a master of the fiddle.
AOHW #134 Theme from M.A.S.H (Suicide is Painless)/The Mash - No 26, 1980
In the last week Johnny Mandel also died. While not a recognised name he wrote the music for this, is responsible for one of the most incredible piano and movie scenes in the movie Being There (find it, watch it!) and arranged Nat and Natalie Cole's duet Unforgettable. He won five Grammys.
Everyone knows the TV show M.A.S.H. There was a film ten years earlier. An early Robert Altman film, one of the greatest directors of all time. The scene that this song is used for in the film is so totally gut wrenching yet funny and joyous. Like Being There; find it, watch it.
Altman knew the purpose of the song in the film and needed words to make it "the stupidest song ever written." He couldn't write something he felt was stupid enough, so he gave it to his 14 year old son Michael who knocked out the lyrics in 5 minutes. I have a 14 year old. I understand this part.
What Robert couldn't have anticipated is the later TV show's success using the same theme. That the song would go to No 1 in the UK. That he would earn $70K for making the film, where as Michael made more than a $1 million from song writing royalties.
Now there's a hell good story Hawkeye!
AOHW #135 I Go Off/Diana Ah Naid - No 36, 1997
I've been singing this a bit in my head.
This woman has a heck of a backstory. She had taken the H out of her moniker now and is known as Diana Anaid, a complete palindrome.
Diana's mum died when she was one. She, her dad and two brothers started driving around Australia, virtually homeless and often in and out of foster care, as Diana's dad fought all sorts of personal demons. He left them when she was 15 and Diana turned to music to cope. She had a baby at 16, stopped playing for three years, before releasing 500 copies of her debut self titled album when she turned 21.
She sent a copy to Richard Kingsmill at Triple J. He started to play I Go Off. Graham Bidstrup (of GANGgajang) remixed it and it was re released to significant airplay and chart success.
Anaid wrote the track after the father of her then-boyfriend, saw her perform at Byron Bay Bluesfest and told her she would never succeed, "because you just don't go off". She's still extensively performing, writing and releasing music and is highly regarded in the industry.
AOHW #136 Whoomp (There it is)/ Tag Team - No 2, 1994
Someone’s in school holiday mode today.
This duo, Cecil and Steve, made their mark through positive, upbeat rap songs. So much was this needed at the time that they were signed to their record label on the basis of the description of their stuff! This track went to No 1 shortly afterwards in the US.
Tag Team still play the 90s circuit. Whoomp has been used in lots of films, including one of my faves Elf. Good luck getting it out of you head. 😉
AOHW #137 Only for Sheep/The Bureau - No 8, 1981
When Dexys Midnight Runners split up, most of the band went on to form The Bureau and retain that soul and brass sound that was DMR's signature.
Couple of deep questions for a Saturday morning.
Firstly, what on earth did Atlantic Records think when the band said, "Here's our first single mate, Only For Sheep."
Secondly, despite this being a UK band with a fairly well known line up this was a hit ONLY in Australia. Top ten too! Why didn't NZ love it?
and thirdly, when you're awake you're asleep???? What even does that mean??????????????
AOHW #138 Just When I Needed You Most/Randy VanWarmer - No 10,1979
I remember hearing this the first time on a CD called Singers & Songwriters that I bought in a cheapie mish-mash shop in Hornsby, Sydney around 25 years ago. I still have the CD as it contains, including this song, several tracks I don't have anywhere else. I've put it on cassettes, CDs and it is on one of my car USBs at present too.
Prior to yesterday I'd not thought anymore more about Randy VanWarmer than this was a powerful expression, with the most gorgeous harmonies, of a lost love. Turns out that it has much in common with one of my all time favourite songs, Everything I Own, by the band Bread.
Everything I Own, was written by David Gates, about his father who died in 1963 before Gates achieved success with Gates. At his father's funeral a friend came up and said to David, "Your dad was so proud of what you were doing."
After it came together David played it for his wife. He said,
"She knew right away that it was about my father. She cried."
Randy VanWarmer's one hit is also interpreted as a love and loss story like Bread. VanWarmer's father died when he was 12 in a car accident. Several years later a beloved car that VanWarmer owned broke down for the final time and this song came out of the resulting culmination of both losses.
John Sebastian of the Lovin' Spoonful plays the auto harp instrumental break in the middle of this. VanWarmer died aged just 48 in 2004. I'd like to think after reading and listening to this you might give the influential man in your life a hug, phone call or message of love 💙
AOHW #139 Counting the Beat/The Swingers - NO 1, 1981 (4 weeks)
Possibly one of the biggest New Zealand hits in Australia, although, because the band was signed to Mushroom Records we of course have tried to claim them as ours. Front man Phil Judd was straight out of Split Enz.
The crowd grooving at the end were part of a drinking bus tour, where popping in for the recording of this film clip was part of the adventure. They got 15 minutes to dance with the band, got back on the bus, kept on drinking and presumably forgot all about it the next day. Certainly no one in the YouTube comments says they were there!
Today's also a special day for me with this project as I've been counting the words. Today's AOHW brings me to 20K. I've never written so many towards one project! I've been adding and building to this project here - (https://www.jenxaudio.com.au/post/australian-one-hit-wonders)
These Australian One Hit Wonders are going to go further places from here too, as well as straight to the pool room. 😉
AOHW #140 I am Pegasus / Ross Ryan - No 1, 1973 (3 weeks)
I very much hope that if you don't know this song you'll give it a couple of listens as it grows on you.
This was released in September 1973, by then 22 year old Ross Ryan, formerly of Kansas but by this stage living in Perth after several years on a 3000 acre sheep farm in Western Australia.
From age 13 Ross did everything he could in the arts - he sang, played guitar, released some self published albums, ran a radio show and worked as an audio operator for TV. He turns 70 this year and recently I met a friend of his who regaled me about Ross's BIG break.
Ross had the best kind of agent, Al Maricic. Maricic heard that Roy Orbison's support act, a comedian of all things, had pulled out of Roy Orbison's tour of Australia in 1972. The last time Orbison visited here. Maricic sent Ross Ryan up to Darwin as a stand in. Roy really like him and Ross joined Roy Orbison for the rest of the tour.
Off the back of that, I am Pegasus was released by EMI and slowly picked up sales as it grew on people, going to No 1 three months later.
Last fun fact - last year in Melbourne A fruit and veg shop decided to celebrate the 45th anniversary of this song by playing it on repeat, non stop, for 45 days! I told you, it's catchy 😉
AOHW #141 Sway/Bic Runga - No 6, 1998
Bic is a New Zealander of Chinese,Malaysian and Maori descent. Her name is Chinese and means jade green. Delightfully you pronounce it Bec, or Bic with a NZ accent accent. 😉
This was her only chart success here. It was a hit worldwide off the back of being used at the end of the American Pie movie.
Bic's huge in her home country, has toured with Dave Dobbyn and Tim Finn (other NZ national treasures) releasing a live album together. She was inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame in 2016.
Don't mind if I do Bic.
AOHW #142 Da Da Da I Don't Love You You Don't Love Me Aha Aha Aha/TRIO - No 4, 1982
This is a first for me. The first of 142 Australian One Hit Wonders that I didn't know before I posted it. I came across it in my trusty book and couldn't believe there was a top five hit from the 80s I wasn't aware of. And then.....
And then I watched the film clip.
Well, where do I start?
There's the singer whose only joy seemingly comes from the words "da da da", and in his socks and sandals. The drummer who sits on his guitarist's lap at one stage! The guitarist who covers his head with a lamp shade when he gets "tired".
Then I googled the trio TRIO. They're German and they defined their musical style "new German cheerfulness".
Oh my God! This was where the sa-ka-ta ads came from. I never knew!
Two of TRIO's follow up songs include "Bum Bum" (I watched that too - the guitarist dresses this time as Crocodile Dundee and the drummer forgoes his kit for an axe!) and "Turaluraluralu - Ich mach BuBu was machst du" which literally translates to "Tooralooralooraloo - I make BuBu, what do you make?"
Honestly, I doubt I could be happier right now. Just when I thought I'd seen everything......
AOHW #143 Italo House Mix/Rococo - No 11, 1990
What a walk down memory lane. I literally can't find any further details on twins Evelyn and Elaine who are grooving in this film clip. I can't even decide if they are the singers, or if they have used some original recordings and "recreations" a la Milli Vanilli.
There's about six hits of the time meshed in here. Some will also be future one hit wonders.
The only thing further I can add is that I have danced to this at teenage discos. I did it in an outfit that technically resembles what you see here, but somehow didn't on me. I still have my elastic belt. In red. Fits my thigh now days.
AOHW #144 I Don't Like It / Pauline Pantsdown - No 5, 1998
Australians are self deprecation and (usually) able to see the humour in ourselves and our situation.
This article was released this week and contains the story behind and film clip for I Don't Like It, the only Hottest 100 song banned from triple j. Fascinating read on a largely forgotten song, but one I've got on a couple of CDs.
AOHW #145 Love Plus One / Haircut 100 - No 13, 1982
Happy Sunday everyone.
We've done some aha aha aha da da da earlier this week, so today it's ay ay ay ay ay ah Ay ay ay ay ay ah ring ring ring ring.
I don't think there is any sense to this at all, other than an excuse to play a giant glockenspiel and douse pretty people with buckets of water, but they all look like they're having so much fun while doing it.
Where to tomorrow? Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang or shall we get all Shiny Shiny with Haysi Fantayzee? I don't know what was in the water in 1982/83 but we could all do with some right now........
AOHW #146 Stay With Me Till Dawn / Judie Tzuke - No 8, 1979
I'm going to move from the ridiculous to the sublime, as I'll have plenty of time for both in this list of one hit wonders.
Judie Tzuke's family moved from Poland to the UK in the 1920s, and her parents changed their last names to Myers. Tzuke's father, Sefton Myers, ended up managing artists like Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice during the writing of Jesus Christ Superstar.
When Judie decided to pursue a singing career she decided to reclaim the surname her parents had left behind.
I've always found this song sensuous and similar in theme to Diana Ross's Touch Me in the Morning. Unlike Di, what I love about the words here, is that Judie's not saying, stay the night and leave at sunrise.
She's saying, "I'll show you a sunset, if you'll stay with me till dawn."
I'm worth it.
AOHW #147 Run to the Hills / Iron Maiden - No 26, 1982
This is a UK heavy metal band, perhaps you've heard of them?
A mere 39 album releases, 100 million copies sold and more than 2000 live shows, they've done alright for a band with little radio or TV support.
This was the sixth (!!) single released from the album The Number of the Beast and the first with Bruce Dickinson on vocals.
A cool trivia note - Dickinson watched a documentary about why My Way is one of the best loved songs in history. Part of Run to the Hills construction is based on the "rising sixth" interval within a scale, same as what Dickinson discovered was a key feature in the Frank Sinatra classic.
AOHW #148 They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa / Napoleon XIV No 9, 1966
This guy is my spirit animal. His real name is Jerry Samuels and he did have some success as a serious song writer. But this has doolally written all over it. The B side is aaaH-aH ,yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC er'yehT.
The A side played backwards.
Napoleon XIV's follow up is I'm In Love with my Little Red Tricycle. Here is the first few lines to show you the depth of talent at work here -
Thirty days have Septober April, June, and no wonder All the rest have peanut butter All except my dear grandmother She had a little red tricycle I stole it Ha ha ha ha ha ha
Jerry Samuels is 82 and still performing. No one has come for him yet.
AOHW #149 Break My Stride/Matthew Wilder - No 2, 1984 & AOHW #150 Break My Stride/Unique II - No 3, 1996
You can't keep a good song down or, more relevant in this instance, break its stride.
Matthew Wilder co-wrote this song and has seen it covered many times since his original 1984 version. Bizarrely, considering Wilder released an album alongside this song, the B side is an instrumental version of Break My Stride?!?
Wilder went on to become the record producer of No Doubt's massive debut album Tragic Kingdom and other female superstars like Kelly Clarkson and Miley Cyrus. He's also the voice of Ling in the Disney film Mulan.
Unique II are a music producer duo who are the most successful dance-pop band in Austria.
AOHW #151 Jump Around/House of Pain - No 11, 1992
I watched Bridget Jones's Baby last night. Bridget turns 43 at the start of the movie (my age also) and is sitting on her eponymous couch, blowing out her cupcake candle to the Eric Carmen penned song All By Myself. The version in all three films is sung by Australian country singer Jamie O'Neal who is worth checking out and has never charted here, but I digress.
Bridget goes, "Stuff this..."
and changes from Jamie O'Neal to House of Pain.
This is a song of my youth. This is a song whose distinctive horn scream at the start and further sampling of Chubby Checker's Popeye the Hitchhiker always, ALWAYS makes me jump around too.
It falls into the category of hip hop, but put this on at a night out, or while making your children their school lunch in fact, and watch the people jump.
AOHW #152 Because The Night/The Patti Smith Group -No 16, 1978
Bruce Springsteen wrote this in 1977 and wasn’t real happy with it. He had the chorus but the melody was a mish mash of mumbles.
Springsteen has recently been joined by up and coming producer Jimmy Iovine, who was also trying to find Patti her break through hit. Iovine asked if Smith could have a play with Because the Night, she tweaked it, added her words and it became her signature song.
Bruce came to like it very much too. There’s only a couple of places you can get it on an album but he’s performed it in concert more than 500 times.
AOHW #153 Every Night/Phoebe Snow - No 15, 1979
Over the years I've put together many music theme shows - one of which was night and day songs. Along with yesterday's Because the Night, I've realised I can put together a whole week of massive night and evening songs that are one hit wonders.
This sits very well alongside the Springsteen penned Because the Night as Every Night is also written by a superstar.
Firstly, Phoebe Snow's voice is very distinctive. She has supported artists such as Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and Paul Simon. She can be heard doing backing vocals on Simon's 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover. Phoebe chose to care for her severely disabled daughter over pursuing a major singing career.
In 1970 Paul McCartney released his first solo album McCartney. It was panned on initial release (nothing off it charted in Australia) as it was basically recorded at his home, includes some tracks that don't even go for a minute and several instrumentals. It feels like a giant jam session. I've come to love it - off the back of a couple of tracks that were used by Cameron Crowe in Jerry Maguire and Maybe I'm Amazed, which is one of the most romantic songs ever penned. Man, Paul loved his Linda.
On that album is Every Night. McCartney wrote it and recording exists of the song with other members of the Beatles, but this was happening as they were breaking up and, indeed, the song's lyrics reflect that too.
For my mind, Phoebe Snow's version is the very best of many, due to that incredibly unusual voice.
AOHW #154 The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down/ Joan Baez - No 5, 1971
Mighty Music Monday and continuing our night theme. How on earth is Joan Baez a one hit wonder?
I could spend a lot of time on the importance of Joan to folk music, social justice and as an activist - but my hope is you will watch the below and then feel inspired to find out more yourself. For the record she's been performing for more than 60 years (and still counting), has recorded in eight different languages and has released more than 30 albums.
This is a song originally released by Canadian band, The Band and written by Robbie Robertson. Baez basically introduced the world to Bob Dylan and Dylan used the Band as his backing band for many years.
Baez is best known as an interpreter of someone else's song. Basically, once Baez does it, it is no longer yours, but in this instance The Band's version is very different and equally significant - so much so that it ranks at number 245 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
As an additional bit of trivia, Joan recorded this having never seen the Robertson's printed lyrics, so this recording includes some misheard song lyrics - happens to the very best of us, apparently!
AOHW #155 Miss This Tonight/Matt Moffitt - No 21, 1986
When I started doing this Australian One Hit Wonder project I took requests and have a few up my sleeve that I'm saving for special occasions. I was contacted by several people, some I knew, some I didn't, about Matt Moffitt.
Matt Moffitt was an Australian singer/songwriter and guitarist who was part of the band Matt Finish in the early 80s. They had two hits, one a 12" single and their best known song, Short Note. Matt Moffitt went solo for a while (hence Miss This Tonight) and then rejoined Matt Finish until his death aged just 46.
It sounds like Moffitt was one of those guys who absolutely killed it on stage. Like Michael Hutchence in many ways. He was immensely hard on himself about his writing talent and was a perfectionist. Certainly, everyone who has contacted me about him he has left an indelible mark on.
AOHW #156 Hot Summer Nights/Night - No 4, 1978
A song that is deeply inappropriate for the current climate where I live, but a great song none the less and double in keeping with this week's night theme.
Written by Walter Egan, produced by Richard Perry and voiced by incredible session singer Stevie Vann (former wife of Robert "Mutt" Lange) and Chris Thompson (who co-wrote You're the Voice!!) this had hit written all over it.
Stevie now coaches a new generation of singers and has worked with Robbie Williams, Atomic Kitten and KT Tunstall, to name a few.
AOHW #157 In the Evening/Sheryl Lee Ralph - No 4, 1997
I remember this song coming out in 1997 and boogieing to it at some choice Sydney nightclubs. I had not idea until yesterday that this song dates back to 1984! It was released off an album with the same name that Ralph did just after she was awarded a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Deena Jones in Dreamgirls. She's appeared in more than 30 films too.
This version has been given the old dance remix treatment, but why? And who inspired this? The film clip seems to show Sheryl looking back at her 80s self in a glorious Fame/Flashdance kind of way. How did it get traction into the top ten thirteen years after its initial release?
Eh, big questions for a Thursday. Sheryl Lee Ralph's subsequent pop music career vanished like she does at the end of this film clip, in a burst of sequins, glitter and red lipstick.
AOHW #158 Midnight at the Oasis/Maria Muldaur - No 14, 1974
This song contains some of my favourite lyrics.
Darling, send the camel to bed. Cactus is our friend, he'll point out the way. You won't need no camel when I take you for a ride.
Muldaur says she's still approached by people who tell her the song inspired sexual encounters, loss of virginity, and pregnancies.
Personally, the only advice I've received about cacti is watch out for the pricks.
AOHW #159 Eleanor Rigby / Zoot - No 3, 1971
I've done something naughty with regard to Zoot. I'll come back to that shortly.
This band is a genuine Australian super group and could have been massive but for some awful management that saw them dress in pink and sing sugar coated pop for their first two years. They even got beaten up in Brisbane over it.
Perhaps though, had this not happened they wouldn't have bared their nude pink buttocks in an ad to shed their bubblegum image, nor released this hard rock take of the Beatles Eleanor Rigby. This period in the early 70s saw many Aussies covering the Beatles. This, and Doug Parkinson's Dear Prudence are two example where I think they've created something BETTER than the Beatles original. There, I said it.
Zoot features Beeb Birtles, Daryl Cotton and Rick Springfield (among others). They eventually broke up when Springfield was scouted as a solo artist in the US. Birtles and Cotton collaborated a lot from then on. Cotton acted as well and had some solo success. Birtles went on to form several groups including Little River Band.
But, back to my naughtiness.
Rick Springfield was MASSIVE in the US. He acted in General Hospital and is the singer of Jessie's Girl. At the time that was released in 1981, everyone wanted to be Rick's girl.
Rick has rarely returned to Australia, but did for a one off Zoot reunion in 2011, about six months before Daryl Cotton died from liver cancer.
But, Rick's coming back, Zoot's reforming as a tribute to Cotton and they're bringing Russell Morris (who turned 72 yesterday and is incredible in concert) into the fold.
I've booked tickets to see them for October 2021.
They cost a snotload. But totally worth it when I snuggle up to Rick Springfield.
Oh, last things, they were the support act who helped Johnny Farnham get his first recording contract and it was Doc Neeson who recommended the band's name Zoot.
AOHW #160 Miss Sarajevo/Passengers - No 5, 1995
The siege of Sarajevo went for 1425 days with this song and the associated documentary released during that period. Miss Sarajevo was 17 year old Inela Nogić (whose is featured in the attached film clip along with images also taken by journalist and film maker Bill Carter). She won Miss Beseiged Sarajevo while hiding in a basement to avoid sniper attacks. None of this footage is staged.
Bono, from U2, produced and funded the documentary and wrote the lyrics. Passengers is basically Brian Eno and U2 under another banner. This was the great tenor Luciano Pavarotti's only foray into the charts.
U2 were the first band to play in Sarajevo upon the end of the war. Bono lost his voice and messed the song up which he was devastated over. After the performance Larry Mullen, Jr. said,
"That was an experience I will never forget for the rest of my life. And if I had to spend 20 years in the band just to play that show, and have done that, I think it would have been worthwhile."
Bono calls this his favourite U2 song.
AOHW #161 Summertime/Billy Stewart - No 34, 1966
I'm sure you know this song and perhaps this version is familiar if you've seen the recent Tarantino film Once Upon a Time in.....Hollywood. But, have you really listened to it?
I put this on while I was doing some work on the computer yesterday. Billy hits a high note abut half way through and it just smacked me in the heart. The quality of this recording and of Stewart's astonishing voice with his scatting and trilling make this a total re imagining from the Nina Simone version I was more familiar with.
Billy was already working back up with Marvin Gaye and Bo Diddley when this came out, both of whom had immediately spotted his talents. On Jan 17, 1970 he and three fellow band members were driving to a nightclub show in South Carolina. The car left the road and plunged into a river killing all the car's passengers. Billy Stewart was just 32.
AOHW #162 Caravan of Love/Housemartins - No 16, 1987 & AOHW #163 Dub Be Good to Me/Beats International - NO 12, 1990
In 2008 it was suggested that Norman Cook had had the Guinness World Record for the most Top 40 hits under different names. So I thought I'd celebrate a couple of projects that have seen Cook chart in Australia.
Norman Cook is best known as Fatboy Slim, a musical hero of mine who always seemed to be one step ahead of the rest of the musical world.
Let's start with Caravan of Love. We've been playing this at work and I'd forgotten how great it is. Norman Cook joined the Housemartins to help a mate after their bassist dropped out on the eve of their first national tour. That mate was Paul Heaton. He and Heaton were part of The Housemartins long enough to have this hit before moving on to other things.
I just have to mention this addendum - Paul Heaton went on to form The Beautiful South. They never charted here (UK friends will be astonished at this). They are the most wonderful and underrated band. Check them out, especially Song For Whoever, which I consider a personal anthem.
Back to Norman Cook. After he left the Housemartins almost immediately he started working with MC Wildski and had a hit with him before grabbing several session singers he knew to put together Dub Be Good to Me as Beats International. (I'll attach that below)
Only problem was Dub Be Good to Me pinches from "The Guns of Brixton" by The Clash AND "Just Be Good to Me" by The S.O.S. Band. The resulting lawsuit actually bankrupted Cook. But, like a phoenix, he released You've Come a Long Way Baby in 1998 as Fatboy Slim and I suspect paid off all outstanding debts.
AOHW #164 Born to be Alive/Patrick Hernandez No 1, 1979 (5 weeks)
This is a fave. I have the extended mix in my car. It does tend to affect my speed when I drive.
Hernandez is still alive and released songs like "Someone's Stepping On My Mushrooms" after this, which may explain why he is a OHW.
Really though, let's talk about the clips I have attached.
Firstly, the extended mix is accompanied by The World Disco Finals 1979. I thought I dreamed this sequence where all these nations come out and dance for 20 seconds. Apparently not. It is now forever saved in my favourite YouTube clips.
Below I have attached the Patrick Hernandez original clip, which at the time was incredibly avant-garde with two (or even three) Patricks on the same screen.
I'm hoping this next bit will sneak through to the keeper.
Last week I tested out Face App to see what I would look like if I was a man. It's so much fun and great to use on unsuspecting friends. However, it turns out I look astonishingly like Patrick Hernandez. No - I won't be showing you photos.
AOHW #165 Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime/The Korgis - No 13, 1980
This is the original of this song although it has been covered many, many times since. The Beck version, used in The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, is very good also.
Front man of the Korgis James Warren wrote this song in less than 15 minutes around feelings he was having about becoming a better person. I think that is why I like this version best as James is singing it as he intended it.
An interesting fact I've picked up though - you'll notice that the below film clip is an Australian one (note the RAGE tag) with less than a thousand views. A very daggy film clip too.
I went hunting for another clip thinking that there must have been a British release. I found it, but in that version the very distinctive guzheng (a chinese zither) is a smaller part of the song. It also appears to have been done at a much later date. I've attached it below.
Which version do you know?
AOHW #166 Mad World/ Michael Andrews feat Gary Jules - No 26, 2004
Originally a Tears for Fears song, this version, used in the cult movie Donnie Darko, was a total re imagining and is part of my 77 Favourites.
Donnie Darko came out in 2001 and no one saw it. Over the next couple of years, as Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze's cool cred grew, more and more people found it, leading it to be released on DVD. Then, such was the demand for this song that it was finally released as a single at the end of 2003. It went to No 1 in the UK.
The strange lyrics towards the end? An ad lib by Tears For Fears' Curt Smith that somehow remained in the recording and had also gained cult status. He says, "Halargian world".
The below film clip is directed by Michael Gondry and needs several viewing to fully appreciate.
AOHW #167 X-Files Theme/Triple X - No 3, 1996 & AOHW #168 X-Files Theme/Mark Snow - No 26, 1996
David Duchovny turns 60 today.
To celebrate I thought I'd remind you that the TV theme from the X-Files was a hit, and then it was remixed into a dance tune to become an even bigger hit. You'll actually see in the Triple X film clip attached that it has been taken from RAGE the week it was at No 3.
A couple of cool and random bits of trivia. Mark Snow created the original TV theme. The whistling is partly done by his wife. It would be terrifying to wake up next to her if she wanted to scare you while you slept.
This and Xanadu are the only chart entries in my book under X. The X-Files Theme charted twice (see above). Xanadu has charted three times!
Lastly, instrumental hits are a rarity now. In the 60s they were common with a great many also number ones (think the Shadows, Rob EG, The Joy Boys, etc). In 1996 this song sat at number 2 in the UK behind Children by Robert Miles, also an instrumental. Robert Miles is nearly a one hit wonder, but had a lovely follow up to Children called Fable. I doubt there has been an instance since where an instrumental sat at No 1 & 2 anywhere.
AOHW #168 Sexual Healing/Marvin Gaye - No 3, 1983
I'm going to spend the next week on artists whose one hit is really not reflective of their career with Marvin Gaye a case in point.
I think Marvin's version of I Heard It Through the Grapevine is the definitive take. What's Going On is superb. I can't believe they never charted here. Sexual Healing - - - I won't say this often but this song is pretty ordinary. I must be a minority in this opinion as it sits at number 233 on Rolling Stone's list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
On the day before his 45th birthday Marvin Gaye was shot dead by his father. Since his death he's been given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and been inducted into the Songwriters and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
AOHW #169 Mr Sandman/ Emmylou Harris No 15, 1981
This is one of my most favourite artists, but if I was to introduce you for the first time to Emmylou her rendition of the Chordette's Mr Sandman wouldn't even come up in conversation.
In 1978 Emmylou, Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton recorded this song together for an album that was to feature the trio. For some reason the album was scrapped. Emmylou decided to put the song on her album Evangeline as long as it wasn't released as a single (as all three women were associated with different record labels). It gained momentum and to most likely appease her own label she decided to make this a single and do all three of the harmonies herself.