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January 18, 2010

The true one-hit wonders of the 80s (Part 3)

It's that time once again, boys and girls, ladies and gentleman, hermaphrodites and...well, other hermaphrodites.

Yes, it's time for more one-hit wonders of the 80s! (Listens for applause.  Hears crickets.  Taps "Applause" sign and holds hand to ear until the crowd reluctantly starts cheering)

That's better.  Yes, it's more one-hit wonders, your favourite posts next to those about unfriending Facebook friends!  Don't deny it.  I know it's true.  You can't hide from me.  I'm from the government.  Well, sort of.  They supplement my pay.

But anyway!  Enough of that.  Here's Part 3 of the *true* one-hit wonders of the 80s, as diagnosed (yes, that word use is intentional) by the guy who does (yes, he just looked at a book, but it's more than I did!).  These are the true one-hit wonders, not the VH-1 crap that was put out, which included those who had more than one hit (and yes, the posts based on that list accounted for probably 20-25% of my traffic before I joined a blogging group, but that doesn't mean anything) (and yes, I am trying for the record on parentheses use in a blog I winning?).

Wow, I'm exhausted now.  And I haven't even listened to any of the songs.  Stream of consciousness writing can be so tiring (Peanut Gallery: "And really bad to read!").

Without further ado, here is the next 9 songs/videos.  As well, don't forget the other 80s posts I have, linked at the bottom of this page.

1) Larry Elgart & His Manhattan Swing Orchestra: "Hooked on Swing" (#31, 1982)

(I had to change the video because the original's user deleted it. This isn't as good, and please ignore the video game-type sounds)

Now this is definitely a "love it or hate it" song. I love Swing music (though I don't listen to it much), so I definitely fall into the "love it" category. Elgart and his orchestra do a great job with it too. It definitely helps the video that there's some great eye-candy, though (ok, a few of the guys look dorky, but the ladies? mmmmmm) And yes, the paper instruments toward the end of the song are really tacky too. I assume the song is made up of excerpts from Swing-era songs? A great song to start off with.

No, I didn't do that by design. Do you really think I look that far ahead? Don't answer that.

2) Face to Face: "10-9-8" (#38, 1984)

No! Don't put that filthy razor on the mirror! The woman's going to kill him. Don't you hate it when you wake up from your one-night stand and there's only a paper airplane there to remember him by? Is he trying to tell her something? I guess she vents her frustration by going up to the roof and singing with her band. Get that band out of the street! You're blocking traffic.

Anyway, this is a typical 80s song, nothing too great but nothing too offensive either. I do like the bright green and red going with the washed-out, or even black & white, colour. Sort of a medieval Sin City, without the Yellow Man. Anyway, I enjoyed the song well enough, though like most of these songs, I haven't heard it since the 80s. Yet I can still remember it. That's, actually, rather frightening.

3) Frida: "I Know There's Something Going On" (#13, 1982)

Wow, this former Abba singer has come a long way! Until she faded back into obscurity (as an individual artist, I mean, since Abba just *never* goes away). Frida lives quite the spartan existence, doesn't she? Maybe she's too busy stalking that guy and the woman he's seeing on the side instead of getting some good living room furniture. I know which one would be my priority. I actually only have vague memories of this song, and listening to it now, that's probably for the best. Again, there's nothing outright *bad* about the song (ok, actually, there is, but I'm being charitable). I can't imagine why this went as high as #13. Abba star power maybe?

Of course, if they were paying me to go all of those beautiful locations, I'd make a bad song too!

4) Get Wet: "Just So Lonely" (#39, 1981)

(Couldn't find an actual music video...maybe there wasn't one)

Ouch!!! My ears!!!!! God, this song is terrible. Repetitive beat (and not in a good way), rather shrill voice, that little screech she has occasionally. This song is just grating on the ears, like...something that grates on the ears! Excuse me, but I have to go wash my brain out...and fix my ears, and wipe my memory. Wow, I sat through all of that just so I could tell you that no, it doesn't improve from the first note. Is there a variation of "Name That Tune" where you can say "I can say that song sucks in 3 notes." and then the other contestant says "I can say that song sucks in only 2 notes!" If so, this song would be perfect for it.

5) Godley & Creme: "Cry" (#16, 1985)

(the lip syncing seems to be off, but I don't know if that's the upload of the video or if it was originally like that).

I have a bit of a soft spot for this song, as it's one of the tracks on one of the radio stations in Grand Theft Auto IV, so I've been hearing it lately. That being said, it is a great song anyway, with an interesting video too (if you like morphing faces back before it was so common and done with computers). One of the commenters on the Youtube video calls it haunting. I don't know if I'd say *that*, but it is pretty cool. The lyrics, however, are very good (and Mom, you should be able to understand them! Unlike all of that other Rock and Roll crap). Definitely a good song, but is that because it follows Get Wet or is it because it's good? Probably a bit of both.

6) Jan Hammer: "Miami Vice Theme" (#1, 1985)

The embedding of the original music video is disabled, but you can see it here.

But you can get a taste of it, over the Miami Vice credits, here (this version's shorter):

This song is just so cool. I'm a big Hammer fan, which helps. It became such a sensation that they released it as a single, hitting #1 on the charts. This song just *screams* 80s, and there's really not much more to say about it.

So I won't. See? I know when to shut up. I can take a hint. I can... (Peanut Gallery: "MOVE ON!")

Ahem. Anyway, on to the next one.

7) Hipsway: "The Honeythief" (#19, 1987)

Ok, even *I* can't understand what they're saying. Is he wanting to steal Winnie the Pooh's honey? I don't know. "You've got the satisfy!" I caught that. But after that? I don't know. However, it's got kind of a cool beat, but the dancing? My eyes are bleeding now. Why do I picture the judges on "So You Think You Can Dance" pulling out the shotgun and threatening this guy off the stage? Is it just me?

Ok, it probably is. No need to get vulgar about it.

8)John Hunter: "Tragedy" (#39, 1985)

Oh no! The 80s hair is back! Actually, he looks quite yummy. Why would Blondie choose that guy over him? I love how she just ignores him, though. "Oh, you caught me? Oh no! Oh well, I guess I'll just go back to necking with this guy." Talk about shoving it into a guy's face. It's almost as bad as the woman in "I Remember Holding You" video, though she's not quite as blunt (and she's not as easy, considering she's going with one guy). This guy just can't put things behind him, can he? It ruins his whole next day! Oh, then the slapstick starts! But we have a happy ending to this tragedy. And with someone who's hotter, too. Why did this never happen to me? Oh, the song? It's actually not too bad. It's easy on the ears, and the video is kind of funny, in a cheesy kind of way. A medium thumb up.

9) Rebbie Jackson: "Centipede" (#24, 1984)

Found the video! Wow, did she look like Michael, or what? Only with more teeth.

This was written by Michael Jackson? Wow, learn something new every day. I guess it helps being part of that family, doesn't it? Here I was hoping this was the song based on the video game. My mistake. Or maybe it is? The words kind of fit. I love how Michael does the high-pitched "CENTIPEDE!" throughout the song. It's a pretty good song, having that "Jackson" sound to it. It's kind of catchy, makes you want to dance a little bit, and doesn't burn the ears. Believe me, after some of the songs on this list, that's high praise!

And for those of you itching to leave a comment, I know it's not about the video game.

But I still think it fits.

So there it is. Part 3 of 8 (I believe; I'm too tired to check it out). Hope you enjoy it, and we'll be back after O'Reilly. Notice I didn't say which *episode* of O'Reilly. Because I'm cagey that way. (Peanut Gallery: "Would you please SHUT UP and end this post?")

Uh oh. I'm being paged. See you soon!

Update #1: Found the Rebbie Jackson video, so replaced the one I had.

"True" One-Hit Wonders of the 80s posts
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 1 (1/23/10): Had to change the "Hooked on Swing" video.


  1. I wrote down comments of all of the songs. You can probably guess my reaction. The only one I knew was the first one. A few of the videos I didn't even finish they were so bad. Were there no slow ballads in the 80's? the song (cry) you said i would be able to understand the words to was one I couldn't finish watching. I guess I'm just too old to enjoy this kind of music. Sorry about that.

  2. Okay, Hooked On Swing...loved it, so much so that I may have to post it on FB. Just depends, as it does go on and on...and on.

    Frida - I very clearly remember that one, because it was in my highschool (maybe post highschool, not sure) haydays. Nothing of ABBA-ness can be called "bad" to someone who grew up on them!

    Cry...oh my word, yep, brought back memories. Big hair, typical videos that didn't make much sense, although this one did a pretty literal interpretation.

    The rest, I didn't feel like commenting on, prob because I don't remember them, or I didn't like them. One Hits are always fun to revisit, though!


  3. Those were the days! LOL...Kind of for me, being much of the 80's was when I was a small/midsized kid.

  4. Ah Godley and Creme. One hit wonders ... maybe one and a half hit wonders. Do you remember "An Englishman in New York"? It was a moderate hit over here.

  5. Sorry you lost me here...guess I got to busy in the late 80's. I know a couple but up to this point I knew pretty much all of them...LOL....thanks for the time & effort you put into this.


  6. Wow! Lots of comments. I'll take them in order:

    Mom: Yeah, but did you understand the words? I didn't say you'd *like* it. :) No need to be sorry. If you enjoy the post, that's all I ask. You don't have to like the songs.

    Dawn: You're right, the Swing song does go on a bit, doesn't it? And Abba can still be enjoyable and bad. I know I enjoy a number of their songs, but I still don't like to admit it. :)

    They are fun to revisit, aren't they? These *true* one-hit wonders, I haven't heard pretty much since the 80s, which is why I think VH-1 did what they did. They chose more iconic (not sure if that's the right word) 80s songs, even if the artist did have another hit. These songs, for the most part, aren't that memorable.

    Glad I could provide some nostalgia for you. :)

  7. pr0udmom0f3: I was born in 1970, so these years were right in my wheelhouse as far as when I was growing up. It's been pleasant to look back on them, which is why these posts are so much fun to write.

    livemorenow: The "one-hit wonder" classification is based on the Billboard Pop Music Top 100 chart, so even if the other song (which I've never heard) was a hit in Australia, if it wasn't here, it doesn't count. In fact, Roseanne Cash was on a previous list, and she was all over the Country chart! But she made this list because she only had one "hit" on this list.

    Bill: All but one of these songs came out in 1985 or before, so that's no excuse. :P

    That being said, I'm finding a lot of these songs to be ones that I either barely remember or don't remember at all. Certainly all of them are of the "oh yeah, *that* song! I had totally forgotten it" variety.

    And I'm glad you enjoyed the post despite not knowing any of the songs. I was in a weird mood yesterday and was worried that my attempts at humour (we'll call them that) might have gone a bit over the top.

  8. Yes I did understand the words but just didn;t like the song. You didn;t answer my question. Were there no nice ballads in the 80;s? There must be some.

  9. I'm sure there were. But they weren't one-hit wonders. I don't think I'm up for a "Top 100 hits of the 80s" series of posts right now, but maybe in the future. :)

  10. I am soooo behind....but here we go (I need to go back and read part 1 & 2). But there are so grovvy ones in this part!!

    1. Hooked on swing -- LOVE it!!! I remember the cover to this lp, but my parents wouldn't by it. I know later in the 80's, Jive Bunny (some DJ out of England)did a version on this song, but incorporated some early rock songs in it.

    2. 10-9-8 -- I have never heard this song, but my partner was singing it word-for-word!! From her shoulders up, the lead singer looked very modern, but the red boots are sooooo 80s. Is it me, or when she sang 10-9-8, I couldn't help but think it sounded a little like a Miami Sound Machine song (1-2-3).

    3. I Know There's Something Going On -- It was a huge hit because Phil Collins produced and played the drums on it. This was during his NO JACKET REQUIRED phass. I LOVE this song!! And Frida isn't slumming anymore, since she has actually married into the Swedish royal family!!

    4. So Lonely -- I had never heard this song, but it reminds me of MICKEY. It seems to me that the group was part of the New Wave explosion of the early 1980s, which was experimenting and using the 1950s for inspiration.

    5. Cry -- LOVE THIS SONG!!! It was actually the first thing to use morphing. I know that I tried for so long to hit the last note in this song , but can't usless I smash my nuts in a vice. It took me too long to see that it was the magic of the synthesizer that created that glory note.

    6. Miami Vice -- hated the show. Can barely stand the song. But it did get instrumentals back on the radio. I always got Jan Hammer and Harold Faltemeyer (Axel F) confused.

    7. The Honey Thief -- LOVE IT!!! It is always played on our iPod during car trips. My partner has this whold album on casette!! And I can't believe you can't figure out he's cheating with another man's girlfriend -- stealing her honey! Poor Piglet :)

    8. Tragedy -- It was a tragedy to sit through this video. I think Richard Marx stole his look.

    9. Centipede -- I remember this song, but I'm not sure if the video I remember by Rebbie is the same one. I remember her walking down a staircase and lasers coming out of her eyes, burning whole in artwork along the staircase. MTV loved anything done by a Jackson at this time.

    WHEW!!! Can't wait for the other ones!!

  11. OOOPS...forgot to say Godley & Creme were part of 10CC, so technically that could disqualify them :)

  12. Hey Dave

    This the comment I've been waiting for. :P

    Great stuff and reminders. The only one I have a response to, though, is the "Honey Thief." I may have picked that up, except I couldn't understand a word he was saying to begin with. :)


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