Daily Dirt: These artists may have been one-and-done, but memories their songs left with us remain today


Daily Dirt for Sept. 17, 2021

When it comes to songs, one-hit wonders have always fascinated me. How did a particular singer or group manage to put all the pieces together for that one gargantuan smash — and then never be heard from again? Vol. 70 of the Daily Dirt examines some of the best examples of this phenomenon:

1. In my humble opinion, no other decade in my lifetime managed to contribute as many one-hit wonders as the 1960s. And by one-hit wonders, I mean chart-topping No. 1’s (or close to it) that are still popular today.Here’s my list of the decade’s top one-hit wonders. See if you agree.

A. “Love is Blue,” Paul Mauriat Orchestra (1968): The finest instrumental hit ever. Period. Mauriat became an international star — well, for awhile, anyway — while “Love is Blue” enjoyed a five-week stay atop the Billboard pop chart in 1968. That was a good year for Mauriat, who wrote the theme for the Walt Disney film “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” during that same 12-month period.

\B. “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” Steam (1969): Arguably the most overplayed song in sports history next to “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen. Raise your hand if you have sang “Na Na Hey Hey” at a sporting event sometime in the past 40 or 50 years. Yep, I thought so …

C. “Eve of Destruction,” Barry McGuire (1965): If you were alive at the time this song was popular, you likely remembered how terrified you were some days. Russia was threatening to destroy the United States and U.S. grade-school students regularly went through drills how to do best avoid the fallout of an atomic bomb. This song captured the public’s ear because of its haunting lyrics. McGuire had formerly been a member of the New Christy Minstrels.

The Eastern world, it is explodin’
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’
You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’?
And even the Jordan river has bodies floatin’But you tell me over and over and over again my friendAh, you don’t believe we’re on the eve of destruction

D. “Dirty Water,” Standells (1966): The song led listeners to believe it was about the rough life on the streets of Boston, which may or may not have been true, but the band was from Los Angeles.

E. “Dominique,” The Singing Nun (1963): Arguably the most surprising song to ever ascend to No. 1. But it captured the listening public’s fancy. For the record, the Singing Nun’s real name was Jeanne-Paule Marie Deckers. She was a member of the Dominican Order in Belgium.

A few more major one-hit wonders from the 1960s:

“Green Tambourine,” (1968) Lemon Pipers

“The Worst That Could Happen,” Brooklyn Bridge (1968, featuring lead singer Johnny Maestro)

“Stay,” (1960) Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs

“Angel of the Morning,” (1968) Meriulee Rush

“Sukyaki,” (1963) Kyu Sakamoto

“The Girl from Ipanema,” (1963) Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz

“We Ain’t Got Nothin’ Yet,” (1966) Blues Magoos

“Judy in Disguise,” (1967) John Fred and his Playboy Band 

2. For my money, the candy bar of the year is the mocha/chocolate version of the Kit Kat. It’s 210 calories  of feel good. Kit Kat has branched out in recent years with a wide variety of flavors and styles, but this one might be the best of ’em all.As far as old-school treats are concerned, have you had a Mr. Goodbar lately?

3. Speaking of pop music (if you missed it, just go back to No. 1 …), if he were alive today, Tony Bellamy would have been 75 on Sept. 12. Bellamy was a singer, lead guitarist and occasionally played the piano for the 1970s Native American rock band Redbone. The band shot to the top of the Billboard charts in 1974 with the feel-good “Come and Get Your Love.” Bellamy died on Christmas Day in 2009, but lives on through that one monster hit. Check out the video on YouTube. It’s from Redbone’s appearance on the old “Midnight Special” series on NBC, and that’s Bellamy doing the tribal dance at the onset. Singing is Lolly Vegas.

Steve Fact O’ The Day

My first favorite pro wrestler was Bobo Brazil, who I found out years later was actually named Houston Harris. Bobo’s big move was the coco butt.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. He is no one-hit wonder.

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