Friday, October 1, 2004

The One Hit Wonderful Eighties

Yesterdy KSDK played "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell. I have always loved the song. In fact, I view as the quintessential Eighties song. That having been said, Soft Cell was also a prime example of a one hit wonder in the Eighties. I don't have any statistics at my access, so I can't be sure, but I think the Eighties may have produced more one hit wonders than any decade save the Sixties.

Another prime example of an Eighties one hit wonder was Dexy's Midnight Runners, who produced a smash hit with "Come On, Eileen." The song went all the way to #1 on the Billboard charts. The video was in heavy rotation on MTV. But Dexy's Midnight Runners' album bombed. And the group never had another hit. Another example of a one hit wonder was British band Cutting Crew. They had a huge hit "I Just Died in My Arms" even if it wasn't as huge as either "Tainted Love" or "Come On, Eileen." The band never really had another hit after that.

Of course, in some cases I have to wonder if artists considered one hit wonders really can be. Norwegian band A-Ha is usually counted as a one hit wonder. Their song "Take On Me" was a huge hit. But they actually did have one other hit song. The group did the theme to the Bond movie The Living Daylights. The song didn't do spectacularly well on the charts, but well enough that I don't think they can be considered a one hit wonder. A two hit wonder, maybe...

I really don't know why one hit wonders happen. I suppose in many cases it is just a case of an unextraordinary group coming up with a song with mass appeal. But in other cases, one hit wonders appear to have real talent, yet they still only manage to produce one hit in the whole of their career. I can only guess that a large part of success in the record industry is luck. True, I believe that a lot of success in the record industry is due to hard work and talent, but it seems to me that at least part of it is due to sheer luck. I mean, how else can one explain a group like the Fountains of Wayne, who have been around for years, having only one hit single ("Stacy's Mom") to their name? At any rate, I am guess that the Naughts will have their fair share of one hit wonders too...

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