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August 2, 2009

One-Hit Wonders of the 80s (#100-91)

Was channel-surfing before dinner tonight, and stumbled upon a marathon of VH-1's "Top 100 One-Hit Wonders of the 80s" show. Now, there has been a lot of controversy about some of the bands/singers included on this list (and when I say "controversy," I mean lots of heated comments back and forth on the web page), and I have to agree with some of these criticisms.

However, this post is not about that. After watching the last 33 when we turned it on, I decided that this would be a good way to connect with some of my high school classmates who have found me on Facebook, as well as any of my other readers who either grew up in or remember the 80s and its music. There was a lot of good stuff in that decade. There was also a lot of crap. But it's fond, memorable crap, so there you go.

So here are my thoughts on the top 100, with this post counting down to #91 (other posts my be periodic, based on how much of a chance I get to do this). With links to Youtube, if they have any examples, though you Americans can watch the videos on the VH-1 page I linked to. Sadly, I can't play the videos up here. Thus, I was limited to what Youtube had. Some of them are just still videos with the song while others are the actual videos.

#100: Clarence Clemons (and Jackson Browne): "You're a Friend of Mine" (1985)

Wow, interesting song to start with. It's a catchy tune, and the video is really basic, but it has a bit of an old home feel because of that. Notice Daryl Hannah doing the home video, since she was dating Jackson Browne at the time. I love the sax in this song; it really gets your foot tapping. I also love the timeless message of the song, though the video itself is really cheesy.

That shirt Clarence is wearing is so 80s, though. Perfect example already, at #100!

#99: Michael Damian: "Rock On" (1989)

All I can remember thinking of this song at the time is "Hey, that's the guy from Mom's soaps trying to sound intense!" The hair is typical 80s and what is with that checkerboard bathroom? I don't remember that being common! Basically, the video's got Damian trying to look like a rock bad-boy, which I seem to remember is what he played on Young & the Restless (though I'm sure Mom can correct me if I'm wrong). This is cheesy in so many different ways than the previous song was. And what about those "dance" moves???

#98 Buckner & Garcia: "Pac-Man Fever" (1982) (the "video" is just a link to the song on Youtube...dont' know if there ever was a video)

Now this is more like it! Back in 1982, video games were getting huge. Yes, basic videogames, Pong and the like, had been around for a few years, but Pac-Man, Asteroids, Centipede, and the like were coming into their own. So of course, there had to be a record (remember those?) made of songs inspired by them, right?

This song perfectly encapsulates the whole 80s video game era, though my favourite was the Asteroids one ("Hyyyyperspace! Get all my money, and I'm back in the race!") I'll give the song credit for one thing, though. It certainly is catchy!

#97: Will To Power: "Baby, I Love Your Way/Freebird" (1988)

This is the first song on this list I would truly classify as "good." This re-make of the Peter Frampton 1975 hit, along with an addition of Lynyrd Skynard's "Freebird" just gets you swaying to the beat. It was never one of my favourites when I was growing up in the 80s, but I do have fond memories of it, as it came out during my first year of college. Of course, as per my previous post about dating, it never had any of those memories, but one can dream. Still, it more than holds its own, even today.

#96: The Fabulous Thunderbirds: "Tuff Enuff" (1986)

Who can forget the hot babes working at the construction site in this video? And Kim Wilson (a man, by the way), lead singer, in that hot beret? Who wouldn't mistake this video for an homage to strong women in the construction industry?

Oh, what about the song? I always enjoyed the song, with some cool guitar work and a catchy beat. It gets your toe tapping. But I would never consider these guys a one-hit wonder, considering their smash hit from Cocktail, "Powerful Stuff" (my favourite song of theirs). This song was used in the 1986 movie, Gung Ho

But Kim, man, you gotta do something about those suits. I have to avert my eyes during this video!

#95 Midnight Oil: "Beds are Burning" (1987)

What a distinctive song! I loved this song when it came out, paying slight attention to the actual meaning of the song, though it's even more powerful when you do listen to the words. How can you go wrong with lead singer Peter Garrett's distinctively-shaped face, shaved head, and rather spasmodic dancing? I swear during some of those dancing scenes when it's just Garrett's shadow moving, I thought he was going to leap out of the TV and eat me. But it's a great song, great message, and it has a beat you can dance to, also.

Incidentally, this is another "they aren't one-hit wonders!" entry. While they never topped "Beds are Burning" in the States, they still did have some hits, I believe.

#94 Club Nouveau: "Lean on Me" (1987)

This song has been covered more than the President, but it's still kind of catchy. I don't really care for this version, though it does bring back high school memories for me, given when it came out. There's really not a lot to say about it. I much prefer the original, Bill Withers version. I wouldn't say this version is crap, but it just doesn't move me like his did.

#93 L.A. Guns: "The Ballad of Jayne" (1989)

Isn't it fitting that the first "glam metal" band that shows up on this list has a song that's a ballad rather than a hard-rocking, hair-band metal rock song? Of course, looking at their Wikipedia entry, I see this same album had two equally big hits, once again questioning why they're on this list, but I do have to say that I honestly don't remember this song at all. Still, listening to it now, it's not bad. For a hair-metal band doing the obligatory ballad, of course.

#92 Frank Stallone: "Far From Over" (1983)

From the Saturday Night Fever sequel, Staying Alive, this song is typical 80s. It's got a fast beat, overwrought lyrics and a drum that just won't quit. Add some synth and you've got an 80s classic! I honestly can't imagine this song being popular if it wasn't for the movie. Incidentally, the soundtrack containing this song was the very first cassette tape I ever owned, given to me for Christmas by my parents along with my brand-spanking new cassette player. Now, don't you feel old? And I could be wrong, but I think this was the only tape I got, too. Yes, parents, I am accusing you of child abuse. Thank you for scarring me for life. Thankfully, I had some of Scott's tapes to listen to as well (The Police's Synchronicity being a highlight).

And is it just me, or does seeing Frank Stallone talk, like he does in this Top 100 show, just seem to epitomize the whole "one-hit wonder" mindset?

#91 Gloria Loring & Carl Anderson: "Friends & Lovers" (1986)

Yet another "Hey, that person's on Mom's soaps!" song. Gloria Loring, of Days of Our Lives. Recorded after it was sung on the soap, it wasn't released until the summer of 1986. Thus, it was beaten to the punch by Eddie Rabbit and Juice Newton.

And really, that's all you'll ever want to know about this song. Talk about an insipid ballad. At least the singers are talented, but the song itself is totally cheesy.

I thought I preferred the Rabbit/Newton version, but I just listened to it. It sucks even worse. Now, Eddie Rabbit/Crystal Gayle's "Just You and I." That is a great ballad.

So there's the first 10! Hope you enjoyed some nostalgia (or whatever you call it if you were actually born in the 80s or after and thus never experienced this). I'd love to hear your thoughts on all of these songs, and on subsequent posts as well.

Update 1 (3/2/10) Changed "Tuff Enuff" link to one that actually works.

True One-Hit Wonders of the 80s
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

Top 100 One-Hit Wonders of the 80s posts


  1. You were right about Michael Damian. He played a rock star on Young & the Restless. He was off for a long time but recently they brought him back for a few months. As for us buying you a cassette player I dont' remember doing that. I'm sorry we ruined your childhood by not buying you more cassettes. You turned out pretty good in spite of us.

  2. You did it!!! Congratulations. :)

    As you can see, I recovered from the trauma, so I guess it wasn't that bad. :P


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