Find me online!

twittergoogle plusemail

August 10, 2009

Top 100 One-Hit Wonders of the 80s (#70-61)

Ick, I feel dirty even touching politics. So how about another fun post instead? Continuing the countdown of 80s One-Hit Wonders (at least according to VH-1, who, as we've seen has been wrong in some of what they choose), here's #70-61! Links to the previous installments will be down at the bottom of the post.

Now that I know I've got some fans of these posts, I'll be inspired to do them even more quickly. And I promise not to mention a certain American Idol singer, because I don't want to artificially drive my traffic up. Ok, I will if he actually comes up in these next ten songs, but I promise not to do it just because! I'm not a traffic whore. Not much of one, anyway.

Anyway, here are #70-61, after the break.

#70: Harold Faltermeyer: "Axel F" (1985)

The instrumental theme song to 1984's hit movie, Beverly Hills Cop, this is another song that just screams "80s!!!" with nothing but some synthesizers and a drum machine, expertly done. It even works as music by itself, though I'm sure it only became a hit because of the movie. Still, that's not all bad, is it? I actually kind of like it, even today.

Faltermeyer has had a lot of success doing soundtracks, but moved back to his native Germany after doing the soundtrack for Tango & Cash. Thus, he is a one-hit wonder because the studios felt that Axel Foley's theme just might make a catchy tune and, incidentally, tons more cash.

I guess it worked.

#69: T’Pau: "Heart & Soul" (1987)

Another British 80s band who made a splash in the States and then disappeared. I actually really like this song, and it's not just because the band is named after a Star Trek character. I like lead singer Carol Decker's voice and the song has a nice beat to it too. It's definitely an 80s song in feel and sound, though. This is another one I'll sing along to if it shows up in the car.

This was T'Pau's only US hit, but they were huge in the UK, charting many more times before breaking up in the early 90s. Decker has formed a new band with the same name and is still active. I would assume this is one of the songs they continue to perform.

See? I can do one of these entries without being snarky.

#68: Peter Schilling: "Major Thom" (1983)

I absolutely love this song. The video is surreal, though, with NASA rocket launch video interspersed with a tower of broken-down cars, with Schilling sitting in the topmost one and a bunch of hobos sitting down on the ground. I'm not sure what the point of that is, but I'm sure it's some kind of statement. NASA's not getting enough money? I don't know.

Anyway, the song itself is wonderful, especially the end. The first few times I heard it, I almost cried when Major Tom disappears into the celestial wastes, and then when his wife receives the message from him.

This song has been covered quite often and is currently being used in a car commercial. This is still the best version, though, and I'll forgive him for selling out. He can probably use the money.

#67: Martika: "Toy Soldiers" (1989)

A heart-wrenching song about drug addiction, it's actually quite good. The video, however, is overwrought with Martika's attempts to be passionate looking pained instead. The imagery in the video is powerful, though, so there is a trade-off.

It was never one of my favourite songs, but I do like the message and Martika's voice isn't too bad. Not great, but passable.

Martika actually had a few more hits in the 90s, one under Prince's tutelage, so again, I question her inclusion in this list. That being said, I've never heard any of the other songs, so take it for what you will. It sounds like she's still working in the industry, though, so that's good.

#66: The Jeff Healey Band: "Angel Eyes" (1989)

Damn, but this is a good song! And it's my least favourite Jeff Healey song, too. He has done so much great stuff, that this almost seems like a sop to the Chart Gods. I loved this song at the time, but I much preferred his more bluesy songs like "Confidence Man" (off of the same album as "Angel Eyes"). Still, this ballad just grabs me and makes me sing along with it.

Healey has been huge up here in his native Canada, not quite a national icon, but he should be. "Angel Eyes" is his only US hit, though. Sadly, Healey left us on March 2, 2008 at the age of 41. The music world lost one of the greats on that day.

#65: Boomtown Rats: "I Don't Like Mondays" (1980)

Written by Bob Geldof and inspired by a California school shooting where the killer basically said that she didn't like Mondays and this livened it up, this song became enormously popular on album rock stations, but only reached #73 in the US because Geldof had some bad feelings about US radio stations. I've never really liked the song too much, and didn't even know all of that until this post. I just never cared for it.

Album rock stations would play this throughout the 80s on Monday mornings, I guess to show solidarity with those workers who have to start their work week on Mondays. Once again, demonstrating that people who do this kind of thing never really listen to(or don't care, anyway) the words to the songs they use for these purposes.

#64: Robbie Dupree: "Steal Away" (1980)

This is actually quite the catchy tune (I guess the "60s" in this Top 100 have some pretty good stuff in there!). It's another song I used to sing along with when I was a kid, though I don't know if it was when it originally came out (I was only 10) or later on in the 80s when it was still being played.

I love the wikipedia entry for this song, where it says: "The song is built around a keyboard riff notably similar to the 1979 hit version of "What a Fool Believes" by The Doobie Brothers." I guess they didn't use the word "sampling" back then, or am I getting my terminology wrong?

Anyway, Dupree had two other US hits, so again, I'm questioning his inclusion on this list. He appears to be still active in the music business, though he hasn't risen to any prominence since the early 80s.

#63: Oran “Juice” Jones: "The Rain" (1986)

I only have vague memories of this song, even now as I'm listening to it. I do remember it, though. Jones has a disturbing resemblance to Eddie Murphy, which isn't bringing good 80s music vibes to my brain, considering his attempts at singing noted earlier. The song isn't too bad, in that "80s soul" kind of way, but it's nothing memorable (which is probably why I don't remember much about it!). The video is cheesy beyond belief (sorry for any of you who click on it).

Jones never was able to follow this up, though he did have a hit duet with Alyson Williams, "How to Love Again."

#62: XTC: "Dear God" (1987)

I am completely baffled by this inclusion on the list. First, I have no memory of this song at all. That's not necessarily a surprise, though given the fact that I was 17 when it came out, there's no way I wouldn't have heard it.

Looking at their discography, I can see why I never heard it. It never charted in the US! I guess it did reach #15 on the Rock Album charts, but it's completely unmemorable. When I think XTC, I think "Mayor of Simpleton" (which actually did chart in the US at #72) and "King for a Day" (which was #11 on the Modern Rock chart).

What about this song? I just heard it now for the first time. Didn't really care for it, but it is vintage XTC.

#61: E.U.: "Da Butt" (1988)

I can't believe I've never heard this song, but I haven't. It definitely has that 80s style to it, though. I'm listening to it now and I can't really say anything good or bad about it. Just that I don't like it. How this made it onto any "Greatest Songs Since You Were Born" list is beyond me. There's just nothing memorable about it. Almost reminds me of Bell Biv Devoe and some of those other boy bands like that.

I never liked them either.

So there you go. Numbers 70-61 are in the book, and it's probably overall the best 10 in the group (though there are better songs in the previous posts, the average quality of this group is quite high). Too bad it had to end on such a downer.

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. I didn't know any of these songs either. Guess you must have listened to them when you were out of the house. You would think I would have heard you play them sometime around thje house. Maybe I'll know some of the next ones.

  2. Somehow, I doubt it. LOL

    You and Dad were into Country. We listened to our music on our Walkman players or with headphones.

    I'm glad you're enjoying these posts anyway, though. :)

  3. Dave -- I am loving your recaps. Now to add a couple of my own, if you don't mind.

    1. Harold F. actually had a song on the Starlight Express pre-Broadway CD (which I bought on the West Band trip of 1988), so I had another fave by him.
    2. Martika did her best work on Kids Incorporated (w/ a pre Fergie Stacey Ferguson) when she sang the Cars "Drive". It was beautiful. Whe also had another song that Power 98.9 played, a cover of Carole King's "I Feel The Earth move".

    3. Have you noticed that a lot of the early 80's singer-songwriters sound really good, but look kind of freaky. MTV killed the fugly singer-sonogwriters.

    4. The Rain was another early Power 98.9 hit (they played it a TON just after they went on the air back in 86).

    5. I am a Peter Pumpkinhead fan of XTC. But I knew of them before that song.

    6. You never saw School Daze by Spike Lee? Da Butt is the SONG in that movie.

    I'm ready for the next 10!!

    David B.

  4. Thanks, David! This is why I post these things. :)

    Now that you mention "The Rain" being on Power 98.9,I do remember hearing it a lot. I had completely blotted it from my mind. LOL

    Never saw School Daze, but I did see in the Wikipedia entry for that song that it was quite prominent in that movie. Probably a good thing I never saw it. :)

    As for the singer-songwriters, I am beginning to notice that, yes.

    Hope you come back for more!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.