I was listening to “JCB Song” by Nizlopi earlier, and I thought it was a shame that they ended up being a one hit wonder, because the lead singer Luke Concannon has such a great voice. According to Wikipedia, Nizlopi split up in 2010, so I guess they’ll always be a one hit wonder 😦
In honour of this, here are my favourite one hit wonders, including Nizlopi, in case you don’t know it 🙂
Jerry Keller – Here Comes Summer
Peaked: October 1959
“Here Comes Summer” was a 1959 song, which was written and performed by Jerry Keller. The song was produced for Keller by Richard Wolf. It reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 in the UK Charts. The song uses the opening quote from the Stephen Foster song “My Old Kentucky Home” (“The Sun Shines Bright”). It was also recorded by The Dave Clark Five in 1970, but wasn’t as successful.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Here_Comes_Summer)
The Archies – Sugar, Sugar
Peaked: October 1969
“Sugar, Sugar” is a pop song written by Jeff Barry and Andy Kim. It was performed by The Archies, a band formed by a group of fictional teenagers in the television cartoon series The Archie Show. It reached number one in the US in 1969 and stayed there for four weeks.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar,_Sugar)
Lee Marvin – Wand’rin’ Star
Peaked: March 1970
“Wand’rin’ Star” was an Irish and UK number one single for Lee Marvin for three weeks in March 1970. It was originally written by Alan J. Lerner (lyrics) and Frederick Loewe (music) for the stage musical Paint Your Wagon in 1951. When the film of the musical was made in 1969, Lee Marvin took the role of prospector Ben Rumson. Not a natural singer, Marvin nevertheless sang all of his songs in the film, rejecting the idea of miming to another singer’s voice. Despite the film being a box office flop, the soundtrack became a success. Orchestrated and arranged by Nelson Riddle, Marvin’s version of the song “Wand’rin Star” becoming an unlikely number-one single in Ireland and the UK for him, famously keeping The Beatles at number two in the UK with their single “Let It Be”. Marvin never released a follow-up single, so is classed as a one-hit wonder.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wand%27rin%27_Star)
Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In The Sky
Peaked: May 1970
“Spirit in the Sky” is a song written and originally recorded by Norman Greenbaum and released in late 1969. The single sold two million copies in 1969-1970 and reached number three in the U.S. Billboard chart (April 18, 1970) where it listed for 15 weeks in the Top 100. It also climbed to number one on the UK, Australian and Canadian charts in 1970. Rolling Stone ranked “Spirit in the Sky” #333 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song was featured on the 1969 album of the same name. Cover versions by Doctor and the Medics and Gareth Gates have also made the number 1 spot in the UK.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_in_the_Sky)
Althea & Donna – Uptown Top Ranking
Peaked: February 1978
“Uptown Top Ranking” is a song and single by the Jamaican teenage singers Althea Forrest and Donna Reid, recorded when they were 17 and 18 years old respectively. Released in 1977, it was a surprise hit reaching number 1 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1978, after early championing by BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel and a performance on Top Of The Pops, but had only one week at the chart summit. It was produced by Joe Gibbs, using a re-recording of the riddim of the 1967 Alton Ellis song “I’m Still In Love”, which had already been re-popularised in the 1970s by Marcia Aitken’s cover “I’m Still In Love With You Boy”, and the deejay track “Three Piece Suit” by Trinity, to which “Uptown” was an ‘answer record’. The single’s UK release was on the Lightning record label. The lyrics were written by the duo and Errol Thompson. Althea & Donna became the youngest female duo to reach the number 1 place of the UK chart.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uptown_Top_Ranking)
Brian and Michael – Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs
Peaked: April 1978
Brian & Michael are a British music duo best known for their 1978 UK number one hit single, “Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs”. Without further chart entries, they remain one-hit wonders in the UK. They comprise two members: Michael Coleman and Kevin Parrott. “Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs” was a tribute to the artist L. S. Lowry, who had died two years previously. For the song, Coleman drew on his own memories of Salford and Ancoats as well as the paintings of Lowry. St Winifred’s School Choir appeared on the record, singing the children’s song “The Big Ship Sails on the Alley-Alley-O”. The single spent three weeks at the top of the UK Singles Chart. The b-side of the record was entitled “The Old Rocking Chair”.
Anita Ward – Ring My Bell
Peaked: June 1979
“Ring My Bell” is a 1979 disco song by Anita Ward. It was originally written for Stacy Lattisaw, but when she signed with a different label, Ward was asked to sing it instead, and it became her only major hit. The song hit number one on the disco charts. “Ring My Bell” went to number one on both the Billboard Hot 100, and soul singles chart. It also reached number one on the UK Singles Chart.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_My_Bell)
Fern Kinney – Together We Are Beautiful
Peaked: March 1980
“Together We Are Beautiful” was a popular single by Fern Kinney. Written by Ken Leray and produced by Caron Whitsett, Wolf Stephenson and Tommy Couch, “Together We Are Beautiful” was a No.1 single in the UK for Fern Kinney. Originally a B-side to “Baby, Let Me Kiss You”, the song was flipped after DJs picked up on it. The song made No.1 on the UK singles chart for a solitary week in March 1980.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Together_We_Are_Beautiful)
M|A|R|R|S – Pump Up The Volume
Peaked: October 1987
“Pump Up the Volume” is a song and the only single by British recording act MARRS. Recorded and released in 1987, it was a number-one hit in many countries and is sometimes regarded as a significant milestone in the development of British house music and music sampling. The song derives its title directly from a lyrical sample from “I Know You Got Soul”, a hit single by 4th & B’way/Island labelmates, Eric B. & Rakim, released only months prior in that same year. The single was the product of an uneasy collaboration between electronica-fusion group Colourbox and alternative rock band A R Kane, two groups signed to the independent label 4AD. The link-up was suggested by label founder Ivo Watts-Russell after the two groups had independently sounded him out about the possibility of releasing a commercially oriented dance record, inspired by the American house music that was starting to make an impact on the British charts. When the M|A|R|R|S project was first released early in 1987, the popularity of the style of the song had already started to grow.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pump_Up_the_Volume_(song))
Robin Beck – First Time
Peaked: November 1988
“First Time” is singer Robin Beck’s first significant chart hit, released in 1988. It was originally recorded for a Coca-Cola commercial in 1987, and was released originally in the United States on January 31, 1988, and subsequently released as a single. The single was released in the UK in October 1988 and climbed to #1 and spent 3 weeks there in November/December 1988, spending 14 weeks in total in the UK Singles Chart.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Time_(Robin_Beck_song))
Partners in Kryme – Turtle Power
Peaked: July 1990
“Turtle Power” is a 1990 single performed by rap duo Partners in Kryme. The song was released by SBK Records and was from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles soundtrack and was featured in the film’s closing credits. Written by James P Alpern and Richard A Usher JR and produced by Partners in Kryme, “Turtle Power” rode the wave of popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. A rap record featuring the use of vocoder vocals for the chorus, it became a massive worldwide hit reaching #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, #2 on the Hot Rap Singles and #1 on the UK singles chart for four weeks in July 1990.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtle_Power)
Hale & Pace – The Stonk
Peaked: March 1991
“The Stonk”, based on a fictitious dance craze was written by Joe Griffiths and Hale & Pace and was produced by Queen guitarist Brian May who also featured on the track. A UK number-one single for one week in March 1991, it is their sole chart single but raised £100,000 for Comic Relief. The B side to this was entitled “The Smile Song” and was written and performed by comedienne Victoria Wood.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stonk#The_Stonk)
Rui Da Silva featuring Cassandra – Touch Me
Peaked: January 2001
“Touch Me” is a song by Portuguese house producer Rui da Silva and British singer-songwriter Cassandra Fox. The single is arguably Rui da Silva’s most popular song, spending one week at the number-one spot on the UK chart, the first song by a Portuguese musician to do so, lasting a total of 14 weeks on the chart alone and selling over 300,000 copies.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touch_Me_(Rui_Da_Silva_song))
Las Ketchup – The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)
Peaked: October 2002
“The Ketchup Song” is the English title of the song “Aserejé,” recorded by the Spanish pop group Las Ketchup, which was an international hit in 2002. It was released in July 2002 as the lead single from their debut album, Hijas del Tomate. The song exists in three versions, Spanish, a version in a mixture of English and Spanish, described as “Spanglish,” and a version in Portuguese. The chorus is identical in the three versions. This song reached number-one in the United Kingdom, as well as 26 other countries worldwide. As of 2006, the song has sold over 7 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ketchup_Song)
Nizlopi – JCB Song
Peaked: December 2005
“JCB” (or “JCB Song”) is the second single from Nizlopi’s first album Half These Songs Are About You. The song is a reminiscence of childhood, based on singer Luke Concannon’s own memories; it is sung from the point of view of a young boy, travelling with his father on his JCB digger, listening to Christy Moore’s song ‘Don’t Forget Your Shovel’. The song’s website refers to Luke’s dyslexia, the resulting bullying and characters, such as B. A. Baracus, Bruce Lee and Transformers, who would protect him against the bullies. The bypass mentioned in the song is probably the A46 as the band lived in Leamington Spa at the time and the A46 is known locally as “The Bypass”. The single was originally released in the United Kingdom in June 2005, when it entered the charts at No. 160. Following its release, the song gradually achieved a cult following on the Internet and at film festivals, in part due to the award-winning animated video by Laith Bahrani of Monkeehub. Mainstream coverage and airplay followed, and by 19 November, national newspapers were writing about the song’s rise, and possible destiny as Christmas number one. The song entered the UK charts at number one in the week before Christmas, but was pushed into second place in the Christmas charts by X Factor singer Shayne Ward. Both songs continued to hold their positions for the next four weeks.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JCB_(song))
Vanessa Jenkins & Bryn West – (Barry) Islands In The Stream
Peaked: March 2009
On March 8, 2009, actors Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon, in character as Vanessa Jenkins and Bryn West from the hit BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey, released a version of the song as a single for Comic Relief. Sir Tom Jones also features on the song, performing the final verse and chorus, whilst Robin Gibb appears on the single as a backing vocalist. Re-titled “(Barry) Islands in the Stream”, in reference to the Barry Island setting of Gavin & Stacey, it entered the UK Singles Chart at #1 on March 15, 2009. By peaking at #1, this meant the Gibb Brothers had achieved #1 songs in five successive decades, the first songwriters to achieve this feat. The video was filmed in Barry Island, Las Vegas and the Nevada desert, with both Gibb and Jones appearing in the video alongside Jones and Brydon. Nigel Lythgoe also makes a cameo appearance as a talent competition judge.
(Source: Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_(Islands_in_the_Stream))
I hope you enjoyed my one hit wonder step back in time! 🙂