Category Archives: One-Hit Wonders

One Hit Wonders: The Georgia Satellites

Keep Your Hands to Yourself by The Georgia Satellites

by Robert Mishou

I definitely have a liking for Southern rock. Thirty-Eight Special is one of my favorite bands as well as one of the best concerts I have ever been to. The Georgia Satellites have more of country sound in vocalist Dan Baird, but the music rocks. This song, released in 1986, reached #2 on the AT 40 and is instantly recognizable, remaining one of the more popular One Hit Wonders to come out of the ‘80s. No complex lyrics here- just a guy who wants a girl, but she is insisting on marriage first. Excellent guitar work accompanies somewhat tongue-in-cheek lyrics like:

B-B-B-baby baby baby why you want treat me this way
You know I’m still your lover boy I still feel the same way
That’s when she told me a story, ’bout free milk and a cow
And said no hug-ee no kiss-ee until I get a wedding vow
My honey my baby, don’t put my love upon no shelf
She said don’t hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself

I think this is one of the more ‘fun’ songs from the ‘80s. It sure seemed like the Georgia Satellites had what it took to be band that would be around for a while, but it was not meant to be. Dan Baird would later hit the charts with the equally fun song “I Love you Period”, and while the band is still performing, they have undergone major lineup changes with guitarist Rick Richards being the only original member remaining.

There you have five more classic One Hit Wonders from the decade with the best all time One Hit Wonders. There will be five more coming at you next week.

One Hit Wonders: After the Fire

Der Kommissar by After the Fire

by Robert Mishou

In 1981, I had just moved to Frankfurt, Germany and, at first, my radio was my best friend. There was one American radio station who played Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 every Sunday from 2-6 in the afternoon. I listened to that show religiously, but also experimented with some German radio stations. During one of these forays, I heard a song with one of the coolest guitar riffs I had heard. The song was completely in German so I could not understand a word, but I did pick up on the artist: Falco. Fast forward to 1983 and I hear that guitar riff again, only this time I could understand the lyrics. After the Fire covered (and translated) Falco’s song and hit #5 on the AT 40 with “Der Kommissar.” My wife, who is a high school German and Spanish teacher, tells me that the translations is not bad, understanding that they had to change things to have it make sense in English. A ‘kommissar’ is a police chief or government officer and in this song he is on the trail of a couple who is constantly trying to escape his notice. The lyric that remains in German, “Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?” is translated into “Everything OK, officer?” They know he is chasing them and they are feigning innocence. When you watch the video look for the waiter – that’s Falco! This song has legs. Not only is it recorded in German by Falco and in an English translation by After the Fire, but the music is also used by Laura Branigan in her song “Deep in the Dark” (yes, I am a closet Branigan fan). Of course, we all know that Falco will have his own hit “<a href="http://” target=”_blank”>Rock Me Amadeus” in just a few years – can I count him as a One Hit Wonder for that song? I am including links to Falco’s German version, After the Fire’s English version, and Branigan’s song that uses the music.

After the Fire


Laura Branigan

One Hit Wonders: Oran “Juice” Jones

The Rain by Oran “Juice” Jones

by Robert Mishou

In 1986 my best friends (LeRoyce and Marvin) and I fell in love with this song and played it constantly for an entire month. It is not the best song or even our favorite from that decade (that honor probably belongs to Prince’s “Purple Rain”), but we did love this song and the somewhat humorous telling of a story that ends with poetic justice. “The Rain” reached #9 and gave the impression that Jones would be on the charts for a long time, but, like everyone else featured in this series, it was not meant to be – if you gotta have only one hit, though, this is a great one. The story is a simple one: rich boy meets girl – they fall in love – girl fools around – boy drops girl, you know, that old chestnut. The listener is not surprised at the outcome because the song begins with the man finding out about the illicit affair. The song opens with the chorus, “I saw you and him walking rain / You were holding hands and I will never be the same.” So, decision time. He makes the easy and spiteful decision to drop her – but not without a few choice words. This part of the song was our favorite. As I look back on it now, it is a bit silly, but we waited for it every time and just cracked up at this spoken section of the song. After he lets her know he saw her with another man he says:

[I was] So upset with you I don’t know what to do
My first impulse was to run up on you
And do a Rambo
Whip out the jammy and flat-blast both of you
But I ain’t wanna mess up this thirty-seven hundred dollar lynx coat
So instead, I chilled
Instead, he decided to take all of his wealth away from her and leave her with nothing. Then comes our favorite part:
You gotta get on outta here with that
Alley-cat-coat wearin’
Crumb cake I saw you with
Cause you dismissed
That’s right, silly rabbit
Tricks are made for kids, don’t you know that?
You without me: like cornflake without the milk
It’s my world–you just a squirrel, tryin’ to get a nut
Now get on outta here – you’re dismissed

Yes, it does seem silly now, but we loved it then.

Hold up, hold up, hold up! DON’T YOU ALL BE CLOSING OUT THIS WINDOW JUST YET!! You just listened to the Juice’s side of the story. This is Miss Thang over here, and now you’re gonna listen to my side of the story! Watchu smiling at, Robert!? So, Oran “Juice” Jones cracks you up? Well, let me tell you somethin’. Juice ain’t nothin’ but a punky, whiny excuse of a man. Woooow! He had one hit! Well so did I. He sang about “The Rain”, which I’m assuming is a metaphor for his tears. Well, I brought the “Thunder & Lightning”.
Check out these lyrics I dropped on him:

You finished now, baby?
Are you finished reading me?
‘Cause I’m gettin’ ready to read, write and erase you

It’s about time you saw me and him walking in the rain
As a matter of fact
That seemed to be the first thing you noticed about me in months
You better sit down, baby
And get out the umbrella
‘Cause there’s gonna be a storm tonight

First things first
Don’t be fronting like you gonna pull no Rambo on me
Because no attitudeless, Jheri curl gigolo jerk
Is gonna put his hands on me

Too get the full affect, why don’t you just take a listen yourself:

Hi Everybody, Paul here. Wow, that Miss Thang came out of nowhere. They don’t make response songs like that anymore. I can’t believe it’s been 30 years since these songs were released!

So, whose side are you on in this battle, Oran “Juice” Jones or Miss Thang? I haven’t done a poll on here in a while.

One Hit Wonders: The Boomtown Rats

“I Don’t Like Mondays” by The Boomtown Rats

by Robert Mishou

I am stretching a bit here and I truly struggled including this song for the main reason that it only reached #73 in the U.S. but lead singer Bob Geldof’s fame here comes from his amazing work with Live Aid. So, out of respect for his humanitarian efforts (and because I love his solo album Deep in the Heart of Nowhere) I decided to include this deceptively haunting song. This song is about the unfortunate, and now all too common, event of a school shooting. Geldof read about a sixteen year old girl who killed two adults and injured eight children while shooting at a school playground. Her reason for this horrible act was simply, “I don’t like Mondays.” The song fictionally recounts the day and tries to put the listener both inside the shooter’s head as well as in the town itself. There is no real good reason for these actions:

The fax machine is kept so clean
As it send to a waiting world
And mother feels so shocked
Father’s world is rocked
And their thoughts turn to their own little girl
Sweet sixteen ain’t so peachy keen
No, it ain’t so neat to admit defeat
They can see no reasons
‘Cause there are no reasons
What reasons do you need?

For reasons known to most of us, the shocking nature of this song is also a prophetic. Over the past two decades, the United States has had more school shootings and students killed in these shootings than the rest of the world combined. It saddens me that we are no longer shocked when these horrible events happen – we should be, but it is all too common of an occurrence. Book recommendation: to get some reliable information about the shooting and how media twists events and information, read Columbine by Dave Cullen. It is a horrific and important account of what happened that day by a man who covered the events and has had access to every piece of evidence.

One Hit Wonders: The Jeff Healey Band

Hi Everybody! Robert is back this week with some more one-hit wonders for us. Before we jump into this, here is reminder: For the purposes of this series, a One-Hit Wonder is an artist who only had no more than 1 song break into the Top 40 of the U.S. Billboard mainstream chart. Some of these artists may have had hits on other charts, or in other countries.

Now, let’s jump into this. We have a good one to start us off this week! Take it away, Robert!

Yep, I’m back with five more One Hit Wonders. I mentioned last week that I narrowed my list to twenty-five – it has expanded. Spending so much time revisiting these songs has caused me to once again be transported to the best era of music ever. Some of these One Hit Wonders are so good! I fully stand by last week’s choices – yes, even Jack Wagner and will do the same for the week’s. So sit back, relax, push play and enjoy these (some of these) one time overplayed songs, that have become seldom heard classics of the ‘80s.

Angel Eyes by The Jeff Healey Band

I sorta have a liking for rock bands who drop in a bluesy song now and again. Jeff Healey does more than drop it in and this song is a perfect examples of the sultry blues sound that made this band famous for a while. Healey garnered musical attention in 1988 with his first album See the Light, from which “Angel Eyes” is a single. During the time the band was recording this album, they were also recording music and filming an appearance in the Patrick Swayze film Road House. Yes, that blind musician leading the band from his chair is Jeff Healey; during it’s run, “Angel Eyes” reached #5 on the charts. Healey hails from Canada which has always surprised me because his music is so “American”, deeply rooted in the Southern blues sound. The highlight of this, and most songs, by the band is Healey’s guitar. The passionate sounds that he emits from his six string are nothing short of amazing. I am a big fan of Eric Clapton and Healey is one of the few guitarists whose music reminds me of Slowhand. His playing has true soul to it and he easily affects the listener with the tender and emphatic heights it reaches . The lyrics are about the musings of a man who does not understand why this beautiful woman is wasting her time with him:

So tonight I’ll ask the stars above
How did I ever win your love
What did I do?
What did I say?
To turn your angel eyes my way?

Unfortunately, Jeff Healey succumbed to cancer in 2008 leaving behind an excellent catalog of fantastic blues rock music. “Angel Eyes” is his only AT 40 hit so he does fit this category of One Hit Wonders, but his music is way bigger than that.

Clip from Road House:

Angel Eyes video:

One Hit Wonders: Don Johnson

Today, Robert wraps up this week of one-hit wonders. If you missed the previous songs, they were:

Sly Fox
Midnight Oil
Nik Kershaw
Jack Wagner

Now, here is the final song of the week…

Heartbeat by Don Johnson

Let’s keep the actor turned singer theme going today. Don Johnson is a much more famous actor than yesterday’s Jack Wagner and in 1986 he parlayed his acting success in Miami Vice into an album and hit single. “Heartbeat” reached #5 on the AT 40 and the album included videos for each song that worked together as a long play video that told one complete story. Don Johnson is not a fool and he asked trained musicians to work with him on the album; the song “Heartbeat” features the guitar being played by Dweezil Zappa. This song (and the others on the album) fit into the rock genre. It is not complex and the vocals are just adequate (not Steve Perry here), but it is catchy and difficult to ignore. Lyrically it is less complex – a guy looking to fall in love. He is getting close:

Looking at me, it’s easy to see
You think you know just how I feel
But you do me wrong, it won’t take me long
For my restless heart to heal

I will be completely transparent here – I love this song and album. I am a sucker for guitars and bass, as well as a sappy ballad and this album has all of that. I still listen to it frequently and enjoy it every time. Unfortunately, the video for “Heartbeat” which feature Don Johnson playing a reporter covering a war, it not available. The videos to the other songs on Heartbeat are, so check those out.

I hope these songs have rekindled an interest in an artist you have not listened to in a while. So, go back into the record or cassette collection, pull one of these albums (or singles) out, listen and enjoy. Come back next week for five more One Hit Wonder classics.

One Hit Wonders: Jack Wagner

Hi Everybody! Paul here, The One-Hit Wonders series continues. I should have mentioned at the beginning of this series that these artists are one-hit wonders in the U.S. The artists may also have other songs that we have heard of, but just didn’t chart high enough on the Hot 100 Billboard charts to be considered a hit. If you missed the previous articles Robert has written this week, you can check out:

Sly Fox
Midnight Oil
Nik Kershaw

Now Robert continues the one-hit wonders…

All I Need by Jack Wagner

This song falls in the category of one of my guilty pleasures. When I was in high school, in the summer I earned some money by watching neighborhood kids while their parents were at work. I spent most of that time with four siblings who loved General Hospital, so I started to watch the soap opera with them – so begins my mini obsession with Jack Wagner. I know the music is not great, but I did but his first three albums and I really like this song. “All I Need” reached #2 on the AT 40 in 1984. It is a simple ballad and it still strikes a chord in my soul. Listening to this song now, I realize (remember?) how it secretly appeals to any fifteen year old boy who was hoping beyond all hope that a girl would notice him and maybe even talk to him. I knew that if any girl would take just that little chance, I would not disappoint her. I would be thinking that:

Kissing you was not what I had planned
Now I’m not sure just where I stand
I wasn’t looking for true love
But now you’re looking at me
You’re the only one I can think of
You’re the only one I see

Yep, it’s cheesy as hell, but what do you expect from a hopelessly romantic, shy fifteen year old? The video is from an episode of Solid Gold, which I watched religiously every Saturday on AFN after The Soul Train.

One Hit Wonders: Nik Kershaw

Wouldn’t it be Good by Nik Kershaw

I struggled with including this song because it only reached #46 on the AT 40, but it was #88 on VH1’S top 100 One Hit Wonders list – and I am being a little selfish because I love this song. Oh, and one more reason – there is a cover of this song on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack by the Danny Hutton Hitters and I have been listening to this album a lot lately, so I though the original One Hit Wonder would be a good choice. Growing up in Germany, I heard this song many, many times as it was a major hit in nearly every European country. I bought this album, Human Racing, and his next, The Riddle, but I have not kept up on any of his music after this. The music has that typical new wave ‘80s sound full of synthesizers and an occasional guitar riff. The speaker in the song is falling into that place we all tend to go sometimes – my life is hard, I wish I could have yours. The chorus get this idea across very clearly:
Wouldn’t it be good to be in your shoes
Even if it was for just one day
Wouldn’t it be good wish ourselves away
Wouldn’t it be good to be on your side
The grass is always greener over there
Wouldn’t it be good if we could live with a care

Nice idea, but I am not sure it is possible. If you do not know much about Kershaw, I would recommend his first two albums; they are a bit different than most American music, but clearly and firmly grounded in the ’80s.

One Hit Wonders: Midnight Oil

Beds are Burning by Midnight Oil

I am including this song despite it reaching only #17 on the AT40. Despite being monsters in their native Australia, this is their only song to make any sort of dent on the American charts. The lead singer, Peter Garrett, quickly, albeit temporarily, became the most recognizable part of this band short lived 1988 success. His large frame, bald head, and jerky dance moves helped this song remain in high rotation on MTV. The band shines lyrically. The have used their talents and this musical medium to make people aware of political and social issues in Australia. This song won several Australian music awards in 1988 and discusses the touchy subject of the Australian indigenous population. In a nutshell, Australia was colonized by British who moved (or were sent) to the continent, lived on the land using the resources, and displaced those that were there first – sounds somewhat similar to what happened in the United States with the Native American population. Midnight Oil makes their stance on this issue very clear, pulling no punches:

The time has come
To say fair’s fair
To pay the rent
To pay our share
The time has come
A fact’s a fact
It belong to them
Let’s give it back

In case this is not clear enough, listen to the chorus, “How can we dance when our world is turning? / How do we sleep when out beds are burning?” While I like this song, it has never been one of my favorites. I bought the album with one of my penny purchase from Columbia house. I did not like the album much, but at least I did not pay the full price. I do admire the way Midnight Oil uses the their music to do more than just set a beat. They understand the power the medium has to influence people and change minds.

One Hit Wonders: Sly Fox

Hi Everybody! Robert is back this week with some one-hit wonders of the ’80s. Every decade has had their share of one-hit wonders. I may be a little partial, but I think the ’80s had the best of the best! This week we will feature one song a day. Take it away, Robert!

What draws us to songs by bands who appear, have a great song, and then disappear? Encarta Dictionary defines One Hit Wonder as, “A musical performer, group, or composer who produces one hit song and then has no further success.” This phenomena of the One Hit Wonder is firmly entrenched in ‘80s music lore. The decade is riddled with songs that reached peak positions on all sorts of charts and received hours and hours of radio airplay. Some of those songs still surface on a variety of stations – AND WE LOVE THEM! I have no good explanation for what draws us to these songs, but we are drawn – and we sing (and sometimes dance) to them at the top of our lungs, enjoying every note as we are transported back to the heyday of our youth.

A few days ago one of these songs came on the iRadio ‘80s channel while I was doing some school work. Predictably, I stopped the work and sang at an extremely high volume. This sparked my desire to revisit more of these One Hit Wonders. I love these songs because they allow me to break my routine and experiment with genres I usually do give much time to. They allow me to step out of my box and enjoy something a bit different and even a guilty pleasure or two. I have made my list and narrowed it down to twenty (or twenty-five, still a few on the bubble) songs that perfectly represent this much beloved category. Over the next few weeks, I give you some of the best One Hit Wonders of the ‘80s.

“Let’s Go All the Way” by Slyfox

This is the song that was playing on iHeart radio that day and it has served as my Muse for this series of articles. Slyfox is a duo made up of Gary “Mudbone” Cooper and Michael Camacho who released this song in 1986. This song reached #7 on the AT40 and received plenty of airplay at my and my best friends’ house. All of us instantly put this song on any mixtape that we were making for anybody. While there is no official record keeping in existence, I am pretty sure you hold the world record for number of times “Let’s Go All the Way” was played. This song’s beat is infectious! It is impossible to get it out of your head even after just one listen (you’re welcome). The lyrics depict a modern world full of confusion and struggles; a world where just getting by is an ify proposition. The third verse even gets a little bitter and cynical: “Living in New York looks like and apple core / Asphalt jungle, got to be a man of war / California dreamers sinking in the sand / The Hollywood Squares are living in Disneyland.” The video has an antiwar slant to it, but the overall message is a bit muddled. I have listened to the entire Slyfox album and this is the only song of note. This is easily my favorite One Hit Wonder because it is catchy as all get out and it is the duo’s only real hit song – a perfect fit for the definition.