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August 9, 2009

Top 100 One-Hit Wonders of the 80s (#80-71)

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 #80-71! Links to the previous installments will be down at the bottom of the post.

I hope you're getting some enjoyment out of this (or, to the eventual new readers, will get some). I'm having fun thinking back to my high school and college years, and remembering some of the music. It's also infected me with the 80s virus, and I've been listening to 80s stations on my digital music TV stations and at work. Somebody help me!

#80: Eddie Murphy: "Party All the Time" (1985)

Yet another actor who became popular and then said "hey, I can sing, too!" I don't know whether Murphy got the idea he could from Rick James or Rick was just humouring him, but it would have been nice if James had told him the truth. "Eddie, this dream of becoming a music star? I think I'd be a better actor than you are a singer." Might have nipped things in the bud. Still, the guys in the video appear to be having fun. "Hey, you in the back! Did I just see you snickering??????"

Then again, it did reach #2, so what do I know? That the people in the 80s had no taste? We all know that. I think there was some sort of collective delusion about some of the music during that decade. I never liked this song, so I wasn't totally deluded.

#79: Alannah Myles: "Black Velvet" (1989)

This song, however, definitely stands the test of time. In fact, I heard it on Jack FM the other day, and was still tapping my fingers on the steering wheel. Myles' sultry voice adds that bluesy touch to the whole thing, and the song definitely has staying power. Then again, it's about Elvis, so how could it not be popular?

Myles is only a one-hit wonder in the States, as this Canadian hit the Canadian charts many times during the 90s. Also, while this song was recorded in the 80s (1989), it became a hit in 1990. Is that still the 80s?

#78: Aldo Nova: "Fantasy" (1982)

This song is just classic 80s, heavy synth with some pounding guitar and keyboards (funny how Nova plays all of those) along with a wonderful drum beat. This song just gets you grooving to the pace of the music. What's he saying? Other than "Life is just a Fantasy," I have no idea. But I know I like the delivery of the message!

"Fantasy" was his only hit, and soon after this he moved into songwriting and producing, penning songs for such luminaries as Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, and, in 2003, Clay Aiken (God, has it been that long since Aiken was on American Idol?).

#77: General Public: "Tenderness" (1984)

This song just screams "80s!!!!" in my head when I hear it. Pop dance beat, weird guitar riffs, and singing voices that just make you feel like you're chewing bubble gum. It's kind of a nice song, but it doesn't really make me yearn for when it first came out. It doesn't make my ears bleed, if that's any recommendation. It's just completely innocuous and forgettable.

The band broke up shortly after their second album, but they re-formed in 1994 and had another hit (almost as big as "Tenderness"), so I guess that really doesn't make them a one-hit wonder, does it? Ok, in the 80s, they only had one hit, but that seems to be a technicality.

#76: J.J. Fad: "Supersonic" (1988)

"we're J.J. Fad, and we're here to rock..." Thanks for the warning. This is the first of the new hip-hop groups on this list, and I'm sure this song was great in the clubs (I couldn't get into any in the 80s, turning 21 in 1991). But just as a song on the radio? I found it really annoying. Now? It's even worse. My ears are begging me to turn off this video while I'm typing this, but I want to give an informed opinion. See what I go through for you? I would have to call this song Bubblegum Pop Rap (credit for that term goes to Allmusic).

This was their only hit, and they released one more album. Yet they're supposedly reuniting this year and releasing a 20th anniversary Supersonic album? What the hell?

#75: Bertie Higgins: "Key Largo" (1982)

Smoke that cigarette, Bertie! This video tries to cash in on Higgins' rugged, bearded good looks. Ladies, did it work? The song's pretty decent too, in a Caribbean island kind of way (why do I keep thinking of Jimmy Buffett, though?). That woman in the video, however, is hilarious. All she has to do is look adoringly at Higgins, and she can't even manage that! She's just got that look of "how much are you paying me for this video again?"

The song? It's memorable, more for the piano than anything else, though. Higgins has a decent voice and I remember liking it at the time. Now? Not so much, though again, it's not bad. I'm sure women were swooning about it at the time, though. He's just got that look.

Higgins released a few more albums after this, but none of them charted.

#74: Information Society: "What's On Your Mind? (Pure Energy)" (1988)

This really catchy dance track features the dulcet tones of Mr. Spock! Intoning "Pure Energy" from some Star Trek episode, Nimoy's voice adds a bit of something to this dance/pop hit. It's a really catchy tune with some nice drum beats. Information Society was one of the "answers" to the British New Wave invasion, and the lead singer definitely sounds like one of those! They fit right in with the New Wave explosion. The song's not something I particularly enjoy right now, but I remember really liking it back in college.

Information Society had a lot of Dance chart hits, but they did have another Pop hit as well as this one, with "Walking Away" hitting #9 in 1989. So why is this on the list again?

#73: Paul Hardcastle: "19" (1985)

This anti-war song set to a dance beat became a big hit for Hardcastle in 1985. Using soundbites from an ABC Vietnam documentary, along with a video full of Vietnam War images, this song definitely has a danceable tune to it.

I didn't like it at the time, and it's even worse for me now. Though if your beliefs dovetail with Hardcastle's, then you might find it a bit more palatable. Even without the message, dance tracks and re-mixes just don't work for me as music. I might feel differently in a dance club or something, though. Who knows?

Hardcastle was a British sensation, having a number of hits in the UK, but this was his only major US hit (another song went to #57, but that was about it). He now does smooth jazz CDs, and I probably have heard him without knowing it. I may have to check him out.

#72: Swing Out Sister: "Breakout" (1986)

This is another song with that "80s sound", with lots of synth and drum beats. Swing Out Sister is a British "sophisti-pop" band, and this definitely sounds like that. I never really cared for it too much, and a re-listen now isn't changing that feeling. It's not a bad song, but it just doesn't sing to me. The video is really weird too, with lots of splashy colours on a black-and-white background in parts of it. And what's with those hula hoops? Still, they look like they're having fun.

Swing Out Sister is actually still around and producing music. Their popularity leveled off in the 80s and this was their only hit, but they're still popular in Asia. "Twilight World" went to #31 in the US in 1987, though. Maybe VH-1 should do a "2-hit wonders?" show, to capture all of these?

#71: Jack Wagner: "All I Need" (1984)(Only video I can find is a Solid Gold performance)

Ah, yes. Another soap star who can sing! Supposedly. He does have the 80s hair, though not as fluffy! This song is so schmaltzy, and Wagner's voice doesn't help. Listening to the words, he actually just seems like a whiner. "Please, give me more time, babe!!! I need to think about us and what I feel!" Just make a freakin' decision already, bub.

Thankfully, this was Wagner's only hit and I think he only released one album. He's still out there in the soap world, though, now terrorizing the ladies of Bold & the Beautiful.

So that's it! Numbers 80-71 are in the books. Hope you enjoyed and got a little nostalgic. I know I *sniff* get a bit choked up listening to these songs. Of course, sometimes that's not nostalgia...

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

*Update: 12/30/09* The Information Society video (#74) has been removed from Youtube, so I had to change the link.  Also, Swing Out Sister (#72) has been changed to a live version because the original video I linked has now been marked "private"


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