Category Archives: 1988

One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1988 – Ivan Neville

“Not Just Another Girl” by Ivan Neville


With the name of Neville, Ivan was boud to have at least one hit, which is what he had. The son of Aaron, and nephew to the members of The Neville Brothers, got off to a good start with his debut solo album, If My Ancestors Could See Me Now. His one hit song, “Not Just Another Girl”, came from that album. The song peaked at #26 on December 10, 1988.

Ivan Neville released other songs, such as “Falling Out of Love” from the soundtrack for the John Ritter film, Skin Deep in 1989, and “Why Can’t I Fall In Love” from the 1990 Soundtrack to the Christian Slater film, “Pump Up the Volume”. But, they weren’t the hits that “Not Just Another Girl” was.

Neville has stayed active in the music business, playing and appearing on several Neville Brother records, as well as his father’s solo records. He also played with the Spin Doctors touring and recording on the group’s album Here Comes The Bride in 1999–2000. When the Spin Doctors’ lead singer, Chris Barron, lost his voice, Neville took over lead vocal duty.

In 2003, he formed his own band called Dumpstaphunk. In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Ivan Neville recorded a critically acclaimed version of John Fogerty’s “Fortunate Son“, which appeared on the benefit album Sing Me Back Home.

Let’s Return to 1988, and go back to Ivan Neville’s top 40 solo hit, “Not Just Another Girl”:

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One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1988 – When in Rome

“The Promise” by When in Rome

When in Rome was a British trio consisting of vocalists Clive Farrington and Andrew Mann, and keyboards player Michael Floreale. They were signed by Virgin UK subsidiary 10 Records. They released the single, “The Promise”, which went on to become a big hit, peaking at #11 on December 10, 1988. The record company ordered an album, which would be When in Rome’s self-titled debut. “The Promise” was included on the album. They did not have any more success.

When in Rome broke up in 1990. Mike Floreale moved to the United States, and now lives in Dallas, Texas, where he composes music for television and film. Interest in When in Rome was renewed when “The Promise” was featured in the 2004 movie Napoleon Dynamite. In 2006 Floreale reformed When in Rome, but without Farrington and Mann. However, Farrington and Mann reformed in 2009, under the name When in Rome UK.

But let’s Return back to 1988 with the original trio, and check out “The Promise”:

As a side note, here is an interview with the band on the Kickin’ It Old School page.

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One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1988 – Giant Steps

“Another Lover” by Giant Steps

Giant Steps was a dance pop duo from England. They only released one album – 1988’s Book of Pride. The single from that album, “Another Lover” became a big hit for them, peaking at #13 on November 12, 1988. The song was also featured in the 1989 Patrick Dempsey movie, Loverboy. Giant Steps followed up with one more song – “Into You“, which was not nearly as successful.

Since they did not have Another hit, let’s Return to 1988, and listen to Giant Steps’ “Another Lover”:

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One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1988 – Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock

“It Takes Two” by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock

Hit It!!
With “It Takes Two”, Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock ranked #18 on VH1’s 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s, #37 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop, and #80 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s.

Woo! Yeah!

Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock are a duo from Harlem, New York. Rob Base (Robert Ginyard), does the rapping, and DJ E-Z Rock (Rodney “Skip” Bryce) mans the turntable.

Woo! Yeah!

“It Takes Two.” uses multiple samples from the James Brown and Lyn Collins 1972 song “Think (About It).” The song became a regional hit, then slowly climbed the Billboard charts, peaking at #36 on October 29, 1988, peaked at #3 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.

Woo! Yeah!

They followed up with some other songs, from the album It Takes Two, that were popular on the dance floor, such as “Joy and Pain,” and “Get On the Dance Floor.” This helped the album go platinum seven times over. The duo went on their own after that, with Rob Base putting out his 1989 debut solo album, The Incredible Base. It did not do nearly as well as It Takes Two. Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock had a reunion album in 1994 with Break of Dawn; however, the album did not do well commercially.

I Wanna Rock Right Now! So let’s Return to 1988, and check out “It Takes Two”:

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One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1988 – Bobby McFerrin

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin

I’m sorry. Unfortunately, Bobby McFerrin had only one hit, so he makes this list. While this song was my #1 Worst Hit of the ’80s, it ranked #31 on VH1’s 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s. It was also a #1 hit, so somebody must like it! So here we go…

Bobby McFerrin was born to be a musician. His father, Robert Sr., was the first African American to be a regular with New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Anf his mother, Sara is a former soloist with regional opera companies and in Broadway shows.

The Indian mystic and sage Meher Baba (1894–1969) often used the expression “Don’t worry, be happy”. In the ’60s, this expression by Baba was printed up on inspiration cards and posters. In 1988, McFerrin noticed this type of poster in the apartment of the jazz band Tuck & Patti in San Francisco. Inspired by the expression’s charm and simplicity, McFerrin wrote the now famous song. “Don’t Worry Be Happy” was included in the soundtrack of the movie Cocktail. While this song annoys me to no end, I do have to admit that Bobby McFerrin is very talented. The song is a cappella. The “instruments” that may be heard in the song are overdubbed voice parts and other sounds made by McFerrin. No instruments were used at all. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” won Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 1989 Grammy Awards.

The more things change the more they stay the same. Republican George H. W. used “”Don’t Worry Be Happy” as his 1988 official presidential campaign song (without Bobby McFerrin’s permission or endorsement). And like most artists McFerrin was a Democrat, and protested the use of the song. He even dropped the song from his own performance setlist. Bush then stopped using the song.

And No! Bobby McFerrin did not commit suicide! He is still with us today. In the early ’90s, there was an urban legend that Bobby McFerrin committed suicide. Somebody was probably trying to be ironic, and then word spread like wildfire. McFerrin makes regular tours as a guest conductor for symphony orchestras throughout the United States and Canada. He is still very active in the music community.

Besides “Don’t Worry Be Happy”, you may know this other song by Bobby McFerrin:

So let’s go back to 1988, smoke a doobie if you have to, and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”:

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One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1988 – J. J. Fad

“Supersonic” by J. J. Fad

J. J. Fad is an American rap group from Los Angeles, California, whose name initially stood for Just, Jammin’, Fresh And Def. They got a recording contract with the help of Eazy-E. Their first album, Supersonic, was produced by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella (shortly before they became famous with the group N.W.A), and went platinum. The single was a huge success, also going platinum, and peaking at #30 on the Billboard charts on June 18, 1988. J. J. Fad were the first female rap group to earn a Grammy nomination and have a record reach platinum status.

It took 3 years for J. J. Fad to follow up with their next album, 1991’s Not Just a Fad. But the album failed to make an impact. The group disbanded shortly afterwards.

Now let’s Return to 1988, and listen to the “Homechicks” rock our world:

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One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1988 – E.U.

“Da Butt” by E.U.

This song by E.U., or Experience Unlimited, is another song that will make you say, “Oh, I remember that one!” E.U. is led by singer/bassist Gregory “Sugarbear” Eliot, and based out of Washington D.C.

Spike Lee was directing his first major movie, School Daze, when he wanted a song for a scene where the kids would be doing a new dance called “Da Butt”. He called his friend Marcus Miller and asked him to write one. Once this was done, Miller asked the band E.U. to record it. “Da Butt” became their best-known song,peaking at #35 on the Billboard charts on May 21, 1988, and reaching #1 on the R&B charts. The song was #61 on VH1’s 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s. In the hourly intros for the latter program, Sugarbear says he is proud to be a one-hit wonder.

E.U. experienced a resurgence in the mid to late 1990s, by partnering with the jazz, gospel, pop and gospel session singer, Maiesha Rashad, while performing under the name Maiesha and The Hip Huggers featuring E.U.

So far, “Da Butt” is still the band’s only hit, so let’s go shake it, Yeah-ee yeah. Yeah-ee, Yeah-ee, Yeah-ee Yeah:

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One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1988 – Times Two

“Strange But True” by Times Two

Times Two was a duo of Shanti Jones and Johnny Dollar. Their their only hit, “Strange But True”, came from their 1988 debut album ,X2. The song peaked at #20 on May 21, 1988. That same year, Times Two was the opening act for Debbie Gibson’s Out of the Blue Tour.

In 1990, the band released a follow-up EP called “Danger Is My Business” and a new single, “Set Me Free.” Neither made any impact on the charts.

Johnny Dollar now goes by Giovanni Di Morente and performs with El Radio Fantastique in the San Francisco Bay area.

Shanti Jones’ band is Sex and Reverb and he has produced several CDs.

Here is Times Two’s big pop hit, “Strange But True”:

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One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1988 – Scarlett and Black

“You Don’t Know” by Scarlett and Black

Scarlett and Black were a pop duo of Robin Hild and Sue West who are from the U.K. They had been backing vocalists for Doctor and the Medics (“Spirit in the Sky”). In 1987, they released their self-titled debut album. The first single off of that album, “You Don’t Know” was a hit, peaking at #20 on April 16, 1988. They weren’t able to capitalize on that hit, as their next single, “Let Yourself Go-Go” did not do well at all. The duo was short lived as they broke up after that.

Sue West went on to play with Sparkle Jet UK from the mid 90’s to early 2000’s, and Robin Hild continues to work as a songwriter.

Now let’s Return to the 80s, listen to Scarlett and Black’s lone hit “You Don’t Know”, and say “Oh Yeah, I Remember that song!!!”

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One Hit Wonders of the ’80s: 1988 – Patrick Swayze

“She’s Like the Wind” by Patrick Swayze (featuring Wendy Fraser)


Here is another actor jumping into the music fray. Patrick Swayze first became known in the movies after appearing in The Outsiders, then Red Dawn and Youngblood. In 1985, he had a leading role in the 1985 television miniseries North and South.

However, it was in 1987 that Swayze became a worldwide superstar when he starred as Johnny Castle in the movie Dirty Dancing. The film was supposed to be shown in theaters for one weekend only and then go straight to video, but it became a surprise hit and achieved massive international success. Not only was the film a smash hit, but the movie soundtrack became a huge commercial success. It spent 18 weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 album sales charts, went on to sell 42 million copies worldwide and is one of the best-selling albums of all time.

One of the reasons the soundtrack was so successful was Swayze’s song, “She’s Like the Wind”. Swayze and Stacy Widelitz co-wrote the song in 1984, originally for the soundtrack of Grandview, U.S.A. and was meant to be about Jamie Lee Curtis’s character in the film. However, the song was not used in that film. Swayze went on to play the demo for the producers and director of Dirty Dancing, and they loved it. So the song was included in the movie, was released as a single, and was also an international success. In the U.S. is peaked at #3 on February 27, 1988.

Of course we know Patrick Swayze went on to star in several more movies including Road House, Ghost, and Point Break, in addition to being named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1991.
Sadly, Swayze died on September 14, 2009, at age 57 from pancreatic cancer.

But, let’s Return to some happier times, and listen to Patrick Swayze’s smash hit, “She’s Like the Wind”:

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