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August 28, 2009

Top 100 One-Hit Wonders of the 80s (#20-11)

Can you believe we're almost at the end of this countdown? How many one-hit wonders will there be in this last 20 where I say "Oy! He/she's had more than one hit!" And I would say the "he/she" part too, because I'm tolerant that way.

Why are these intros starting to sound like Craig Ferguson doing his "Late Show" monologue on Speed? I don't know.

I do know that here are #20-11 of VH-1 One-Hit Wonders of the 80s countdown, and supposedly we're getting down to the good stuff. One can only hope.

#20: Rockwell: "Somebody's Watching Me" (1984)

Must be nice to have friends in high places! Being the son of Motown founder Berry Gordy gets you Michael Jackson singing background in the chorus, as well as Jermaine Jackson. Ok, Jermaine, maybe not ("Stop teasing, Jermaine!" 100 points to whoever gets that reference). Still, this song is kind of fun, and the video is even funner. Typical 80s electronica in the instrument department, but that's not all bad. And of course, it's cool to get a dig in on the IRS.

Sadly, nobody kept watching (or listening to, for that matter) Rockwell, as this was his only hit. Another song hit #35, but then he soon disappeared. You know it's bad when nobody can be bothered to track down what you're doing to update your Wikipedia entry.

#19: Dead or Alive: "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" (1985)

Back in the day, I used to sometimes get Dead or Alive lead singer Peter Burns and Boy George mixed up, because they had much the same look (watching the video, I can't imagine why that would be the case *rolls eyes*). No, I didn't truly get them mixed up, but they did remind me of each other. That being said, I loved this song, and still do have a soft spot in my heart for it. While it hit the charts in 1985, my biggest memories of it are playing at college parties where the booze was flowing and I was watching others dance (yes, I was sad in college).

This is another example of a band who should not be on this list, as "Brand New Lover" hit #15 as a follow-up to this song (which hit #11). When a second song does almost as well as the first, how can that be a one-hit wonder?

The band has been back and forth as far as whether they're broken up or not, but a new CD is supposed to be released soon, but I haven't heard anything else other than that. Burns appeared on Celebrity Big Brother over in the UK, and gained some fans and critics for basically being an asshole to a couple of the other housemates. And the VH-1 special also showed some of the medical problems Burns has had with his cosmetic surgery. That had to be one of the grossest things I've ever seen.

#18: Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock: "It Takes Two" (1988)

Man, but I can't stand hip hop music. It just does nothing for me. So you can guess what I feel about this song. It was annoying then and it's annoying now. However, it was very popular, making not only this list, but #80 in VH-1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s (WHY????????) Oh well. I'm obviously not the audience for it.

The duo are still active, evidently, but thankfully they haven't hit the mainstream charts again since this song, though they had a number of Dance chart hits.

#17: Men Without Hats: "Safety Dance" (1982)

Damn, but this is a fun song, and an even funner video! If you're a Ren Faire enthusiast, the video will be even better for you. The song doesn't mean a thing, at least not that I can gather. "We can dance if we want to, we can leave your friends behind. Because your friends don't dance, and if they don't dance, well, they're no friends of mine." HUH? Whatever. It's still a cool song.

Another "2-hit wonder" on this list of 1-hit wonders, they hit #20 with "Pop Goes the World," which could arguably be considered a better song than this one (it actually charted higher in Canada than "Safety Dance" did).

They re-grouped in 2003 to release another album, but have since disappeared.

#16: Nena: "99 Luft Balloons" (1984)

The German version of this song hit the the US charts in 1984, and even the English language version released later did well too. This Cold War protest song is cool even if you disagree with the protest aspect of it. The video's really cool too, though it definitely helps that Nena is one hot singer. But the mist-filled German forest she's walking through, explosions going off all around her, add an interesting effect to the whole thing. I'm sure some of the gals out there fell for the big-lipped, long-haired keyboard player too.

This was her only success over in the States, though she still continues to be quite prominent in her native Germany.

#15: Devo: "Whip It" (1980)

What a weird song, a weird video, from a weird band. I can't really say whether I liked or disliked the song, though, as it was just...weird. It gets your foot tapping with the interesting electronic beat and rather amusing lyrics, but that's about it. Consider this a lukewarm recommendation.

The band is still around and doing things, with a new album coming out next year supposedly. They never did much after this song on the US charts, however.

#14: Big Country: "In a Big Country" (1983)

I'm a big fan of Scotland (at least the concept, never having been there), so I already kind of like this Scottish band just on principle. Add in a bit of bagpipe and Scottish fife and you attract me even more. This is a pretty decent song with nice music, though the words again don't appear to mean much. And the video is just plain silly.

The band continued to be relatively big in Europe but this was their only US success.

#13: Thomas Dolby: "She Blinded Me With Science" (1982)

I love this song!!! Probably one of my favourites on this list, it's just so silly and fun. I loved the mental institution setting and that doctor! You can't go wrong with this song. The scientist in the video, Magnus Pyke, reportedly really got irritated because, when he was over in the States, people would see him on the street and shout "Science!!!" at him. Why didn't this happen in the UK? Because surprisingly, while this hit it big in the US, it didn't in the UK. MTV's influence? Ehhhh, could be!

Dolby had a lot of charted songs in the UK, though he never broke onto the main US chart again after this song. He has recently returned to music, however, after a long hiatus. What was he doing? Among other things, making your life a lot more interesting. His company, Retro Ringtones LLC, is majorly responsible for the ringtone boom, and his musical talents have been put to use creating unique ones.

Looking at him back in 1982, why does this not surprise me? He looks like a tech geek.

#12: Animotion: "Obsession" (1985)

Another awesome song!! Ok, maybe not awesome, but damn, it's fun to listen to. Very 80s, very electronic, very big haired video. Gotta love the Roman centurion outfit. I do have to say that female lead singer Astrid Plane's nose is rather...distracting. Even so, this is a good video and a song I could listen to again and again.

The band didn't exactly break up, continuing under the Animotion name, but it completely redid itself, with most of the original members leaving. They have since reformed and are doing a little touring. This band is also kind of in a grey area as far as one-hit wonders go. They had another song hist #39 ("Let Him Go," which I actually really liked at the time, and like it now too, listening to it on Youtube) and they hit #9 with "Room to Move." But since none of the original members were in the band for "Room to Move," does it really count as "their" hit?

I'll leave that for you to discuss. Or not, as the case may be. Am I the only one obsessing about this stuff? And is it on purpose that I mention that in an entry on the song "Obsession?" And why am I asking myself all these questions?

#11: Gary Numan: "Cars" (1980)

More 80s electronica!!! Though this song was released in 1979, actually, just hitting the US charts in 1980. It's kind of a cool song, supposedly about road rage, and captures perfectly how box-like the modern world can seem. It's not one of my favourites, but I do like it.

Numan remained wildly popular in the UK and Europe after this song, but for some reason never succeeded in the US again. Not sure exactly why. He still remains active, though, and a new CD could be coming down the turnpike.

I think this is the first group of 10 songs that I've liked every one of them, at least a little bit (with one exception, of course, as there always is). It's a good group, but it will be interesting to see what's in the top 10, especially #1 (he says, pretending like he hasn't seen the list already).

I hope to post that one on Sunday, which means I will have completed this entirely in the month of August, which has always been my goal. And when I say "always," I mean it has been since I realized I only had two left to do and five days until the end of the month.

I'm funny that way.

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


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