Category Archives: Artists

One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1984 – Re-Flex

“The Politics of Dancing” by Re-Flex

Here is one for New Wave/synthpop music fans. Re-Flex was formed in the early 80s. In late 1982, the band recorded their debut album, The Politics of Dancing, which was released in 1983. The album was moderately successful. But their lead single, the title track “The Politics of Dancing” acheived greater success. It became a big international hit in 1984, reaching the Top 40 in several countries, and peaking at #24 on March 17, 1984. The band toured Europe and the United States, where, on their first visit, they supported The Police.

Re-Flex planned a follow-up album for 1985, called Humanication. But the record company, EMI, felt the album was too political, so they would not release it. The band left EMI after that.

Re-Flex continued to record together, working on a new project entitled Jamming The Broadcast. During this period the band also recorded two tracks, “Life’s Too Dangerous” and “Revolution Now”, for the soundtrack to the 1987 film Superman IV. After recording was completed, the group ceased actively working together, but never officially disbanded. They have an official web site.

Here is the band’s only hit, “The Politics of Dancing”:

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Remember That Song? – 12/12/11

Can you name this Simply Red song:

I been laid off from work
My rent is due
My kids all need
Brand new shoes


Last Song: “Anything for You” by Gloria Estefan ad the Miami Sound Machine:

Time keeps draggin on and on
And forever’s been and gone
Still I can’t figure what went wrong

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One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1984 – Nena

“99 Luftballons” by Nena

OK, how many of us used to try to sing this song in German, when we didn’t even speak German? We would sing incoherently, until we got to the part where we would sing loudly: 99 LUFTBALLONS!! Thankfully, Nena would release the song in English, so we would have an idea of what the sog was saying. But, it was still the German version that was the big hit in the U.S., peaking all the way at #2 on March 3, 1984.

Nena was the name of the band, as well as the lead singer. The band was formed in 1981, and had some success in Europe. When “99 Luftballons” was released, the band became weel known all over the world.

The song came into existence when Nena’s guitarist Carlo Karges went to a June 1982 concert by the Rolling Stones in West Berlin and noticed that balloons were being released. As he watched them move toward the horizon, he noticed them shifting and changing shapes, where they looked like strange spacecraft (referred to in the German lyrics as a “UFO”). He thought about what might happen if they floated over the Berlin Wall to the Soviet sector.

Both the English and German versions tell how faulty East German radar equipment registers 99 balloons as incoming weapons. They immediately put their troops on red alert and scramble fighter jets to intercept which ultimately triggers a nuclear war between East and West. In the apocalyptic aftermath, the song’s narrator stands in the rubble of the city and finds a single remaining balloon. Thinking of someone, he or she then lets the balloon go.

Although “99 Luftballons” was Nena’s only hit in the English-speaking world, the band continued to enjoy success in several European countries in the following years. The band split in 1987, and Nena went solo.

Nena has been very active recording albums. The songs have not made it back across to the U.S. at all. But, the one time Nena made it big over here, they made a huge impact. Here are both versions of the song:

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Remember That Song? – 12/9/11

Can you name the artist and song:

Time keeps draggin on and on
And forever’s been and gone
Still I can’t figure what went wrong


Last Song: “Tears Are Falling” by Kiss:

I read your mind like an open book
You lost the fire in your eyes
You turn to me with a different look
And then ____ ________, _____ ____ ____ ________

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One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1984 – Shannon

“Let the Music Play” by Shannon

In the early ’80s the major backlash against disco was in full swing. “Disco Sucks” became a catchphrase. disco fans were ridiculed, and it was being played less and less on the radio. Dance music was all but dead on mainstream radio.

And then “Let the Music Play” burst on to the scene, and blew the doors wide open again for dance music.

Shannon’s hit defined dance-pop music of the ’80s. The song reached #1 on the US Dance chart in November 1983, and peaked at #8 on the US singles chart on February 25, 1984. “Let the Music Play” was Shannon’s only US Top 40 hit. It was ranked 43rd on the 2009 VH1 Special 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 1980s.

Shannon released a couple of more albums in the ’80s. While popular on dance charts, she did not reach mainstream success again.

In the late 1990s interest in Shannon rekindled, when VH1 spotlighted her on their One Hit Wonders series.

This prompted her to release her fourth studio album, 1999’s The Best Is Yet to Come. A fifth studio album, A Beauty Returns, was released in 2007.

She is currently a voting member of the Grammys.

Now, let’s Return to the ’80s, and listen to the ’80s dance-pop trailblazing song, “Let the Music Play”:

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Remember That Song? – 12/8/11

Can you name the artist, song, and complete the lyrics:

I read your mind like an open book
You lost the fire in your eyes
You turn to me with a different look
And then ____ ________, _____ ____ ____ ________


Last Song: “Talking In Your Sleep” by The Romantics:

You tell me that you want me
You tell me that you need me
You tell me that you love me
And I know that I’m right
‘Cause I hear it in the night

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One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1984 – Jump ‘N the Saddle Band

“The Curly Shuffle” by the Jump ‘N the Saddle Band

The ’80s had several novelty hits, and “The Curly Shuffle” ranks right up there as one of the most memorable. The song, a tribute to The Three Stooges, became a regional hit for the Jump ‘N the Saddle Band in the Chicago area. As the song became more and more popular, the group signed to Atlantic Records and released a self-titled album, composed mostly of covers, in 1984. In the meantime, “The Curly Shuffle” peaked at #15 on the Billboard charts on January 21, 1984.

The band then entered negotiations with Atlantic for a follow-up album in 1984. The label wanted them to record the song “Shaving Cream” for their next single, which the band was not too crazy about. They recorded the song anyway – but with a catch. They added lyrics that criticized Atlantic. So the company dropped them. The Jump ‘N the Saddle Band never received national exposure again. However, they continue to play in the Chicago area.

Hey Wiseguy, let’s listen to the Jump ‘N the Saddle Band’s hit song, “The Curly Shuffle”:

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Remember That Song? – 12/7/11

Can you name the artist, song, and complete the lyrics:

You tell me that you want me
You tell me that you need me
You tell me that you love me
And I know that I’m right
______ _ ______ __ __ _____


Last Song: “We Belong” by Pat Benatar:

Maybe it’s a sign of weakness
When I don’t know what to say
Maybe I just wouldn’t know
What to do with my strength anyway

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One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1983 – Big Country

“In a Big Country” by Big Country

Big Country were very successful in Europe, but they only had one big hit in the U.S. – “In a Big Country”, which peaked at #17 on December 3, 1983.

Big Country are a Scottish rock band that formed in 1981. In 1983, the band released the single, “Fields of Fire”, which reached the UK’s Top Ten. They quickly followed this up by releasing the album The Crossing. The album contained the hit “In a Big Country”, which helped it become a big seller in the U.S.

Their second album Steeltown (1984) was a hit as soon as it was released in the U.K. However, it was a commercial disappointment in the U.S. The band continued to release albums and tour throughout the ’80s.
Throughout the ’90s, Big Country became a popular ‘opening act’, supporting such bands as Rolling Stones and The Who. Meanwhile, lead singer, Stuart Adamson struggled with alcoholism. In 1999, Big Country released their eighth album, Driving to Damascus, and it did not do well at all. Adamson said publicly that he was disappointed that the album did not fare better on the charts, which led to depression. Later that year, he disappeared for a while before resurfacing, stating that he had needed some time off. Adamson returned for the band’s ‘Final Fling’ farewell tour, with their last concert being in October 2000 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In November 2001, Adamson disappeared again. He was eventually found dead in a room at the Best Western Plaza Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 16, 2001. The official autopsy revealed that he had hanged himself. At the time of death he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.279%.

In 2007, to celebrate 25 years of Big Country, founding members Bruce Watson, Tony Butler (now lead vocalist for the first time), and Mark Brzezicki reunited to embark on a tour of the UK with dates in Scotland and England and a gig in Cologne (Germany). They also released a new album, twenty five live, on the trackrecords label.

This past year, the band permanently reunited by touring and recording. In August, they released a single called “Another Country” with Mike Peters on lead vocals. As good as this song sounds, “In a Big Country” remains Big Country’s lone top 40 hit. So here it is:

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One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1983 – Frank Stallone

“Far From Over” by Frank Stallone

Arguably, “Far From Over” was the best part of Staying Alive, the sequel to Saturday Night Fever. Frank Stallone (younger brother of Sylvester Stallone) wrote the song along with Vince DiCola. “Far From Over” peaked at #10 on October 1, 1983. It was nominated for a Golden Globe award for Best Original Song from a Motion Picture and a Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special.

Stallone has released several albums over the years. Being a huge Frank Sinatra fan, his albums have been Big Band/crooning style music. So, he has not had another major hit since “Far From Over”.
In 2008, he went on tour with his own Frank Stallone Band, which featured himself on lead vocals and rhythm guitar.

It seems like his chart-topping success is over. So let’s enjoy this awesome song – “Far From Over”:

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