This is one of the signature songs of the ’80s. New Wave band, Devo, went heavy on the synthesizer on this one. The awesome beat to this song, Devo’s look with their famous Energy Dome headgear, and heavy rotation on MTV propelled “Whip It” to be a huge hit. It peaked at #14 on November 15, 1980. “Whip It” may have been Devo’s only hit, but they do have a cult following.
Here is “Whip It”, which has been ranked #62 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the ’80s as well as #15 on the same channel’s 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the ’80s:
This song may have made Benny Mardones a one-hit wonder, but it has the distinction of being a hit twice – both times in the ’80s – 1980 and 1989.
Benny Mardones originally released “Into the Night” in June 1980. The song peaked at #11 on September 6, 1980. In 1989, a Where Are They Now? Arizona radio segment aired, with the most popular question being, “Whatever happened to the guy who sang ‘Into the Night’?” Scott Shannon, then program director for Pirate Radio in Los Angeles, added “Into the Night” to its playlist. Radio stations across the country followed suit and “Into the Night” was once again a hit.
Benny Mardones is still around. He has a blog and website. He still plays music but, here is his huge hit:
Although Gary Numan had one hit in the U.S., he is considered a pioneer of electronic music. “Cars” peaked at #9 on June 7, 1980. The song reached #1 in the U.K. and Canada.
Gary Numan may have been a one-hit wonder in the U.S., but he had several more hits in the U.K. – “We Are Glass”, “I Die: You Die” and “This Wreckage” reached #5, #6 and #20, respectively. Numan has been a huge influence on artists such as Dave Grohl (of Foo Fighters and Nirvana), Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails), and Marilyn Manson.
Gary Numan continues to make music today. He has a new album, called Dead Son Rising, coming out this September 15.
But for most of us, we know Gary Numan from this smash hit:
I think I hear a thunderous cheer of people screaming “Finally a song I’ve heard of!”
Never mind 1980. This is probably one of the most well known one-hit wonders of all the ’80s.
Lipps Inc. released their debut album Mouth to Mouth in late 1979. The second single from this album, “Funkytown”, spent four weeks at number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play charts in the US, and went Platinum.
The Minneapolis, Minnesota band Lipps Inc. was founded by Steven Greenberg. He recruited lead vocalist Cynthia Johnson, the 1976 Miss Black Minnesota winner. After “Funkytown”, the Lipps Inc. did not achieve further success. Cynthia Johnson left the band in 1983. By the time Lipps Inc. threw in the towel, though, they’d begun to open things up on the Minneapolis music scene, not to mention giving valuable early experience to several future members of Prince’s band the Revolution. Greenberg eventually moved into web design, and owns a profitable company, called Designstein, which is based in Minneapolis.
Charlie Dore is a singer-songwriter from England. She started out in theater, then she joined a band that played bluegrass, western swing and hillbilly music. In 1978, she was spotted by Island Records and signed to a solo recording and publishing deal. She recorded an album, Where To Now, and the record company thought it was “too country”. So, they brought in UK producers Alan Tarney and Bruce Welch to re-record several tracks, one of which was her hit “Pilot of the Airwaves”.
After that, she left Island Records for Chrysalis. She recorded her second album, Listen, and again, the record company had her re-record the entire album. Although she re-recorded the album with Toto as the studio band, the album produced no hits.
Dore then got into acting again. While she was acting, she also wrote songs for other artists – one of her mot popular was “Strut” which was performed by Sheena Easton. She continues to write songs today, and every once in a while, comes out with a solo album.
But, her only hit was “Pilot of the Airwaves” which peaked at #13 on May 3, 1980: