If you like music of any kind and have Cox cable, you need to sign up for the “Music Choice” channels. There are 37 of them and they cover every genre you can think of whether it be reggae, solid gold hits, country, swing, hard rock, or anything else you prefer.
Lately, I have been listening to the solid gold stuff because I enjoy many of what we used to call in the days of the hit parade, “one hit wonders.” That was a competitive time in the music business. From the mid 50s on there were so many great songs that I figured the artists doing them would launch successful careers. Alas, with the competition and the quality of stuff recorded, most of those tunes and the artists were one and done after their first and only success.
For example, In 1969 Norman Greenbaum had a gigantic hit with “Spirit in the Sky.” It reached #3 on Billboard and stayed in the top 100 for 15 weeks. Since its debut I have heard it as background in some commercials and in a couple films. It was one of those songs that we used to say “Turn the volume up all the way and break off the knob.”
In spite of its popularity, I have never heard anything else noteworthy from Greenbaum.
Billy Ray Cyrus. "Achy Breaky Heart"
was huge for him in 1992
If you like country, how about Billy Ray Cyrus and his one and only hit from 1992, “Achy Breaky Heart.”
I was doing DJ gigs at that time and because of the “Achy Breaky” dance craze and the catchy tune, it was my most requested song. (Click the link above) Cyrus was a good looking guy and it was a decent recording. It made it to #4 on Billboard and hung around for about five months.
That was pretty much it for Billy Ray who went on to some minor acting gigs. His daughter Miley gained some teen fame when she was playing “Hannah Montana” on Disney.
In August of 1967, Bobbie Gentry had a huge hit with “Ode to Billie Joe”. It held number one on Billboard for four weeks and stayed in the top 100 for 12 weeks.
She sang about Billie Joe and his jumping off the Tallahatchie bridge. That plus a mourning tune as background kept that song alive for a while.
Bobbie was from Mississippi and had a couple minor hits with Glen Campbell later but “Ode to Billie Joe” was about it for her. Today, she is 68 and probably still in Mississippi but she once knew fame.
Those are just three examples of one hit wonders but there are many more like Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley PTA”, Carl Douglas and “Kung Fu Fighting”, Devo with “Whip It”, and the great dance song “Macarena” by Los Del Rio. The Macarena fell into the same hole as the Limbo, the Twist, and the Electric Slide. Popular dance songs always have a limited life.
With YouTube, all these songs can be heard anytime you wish and they get thousands of hits from fans. In fact, I think I’ll open a Stella Artois and check out Mungo Jerry with “In the Summertime”, a huge hit from July, 1970. Then, there is Wild Cherry with “Play that Funky Music”, a number one biggie from 1976.
One hit wonders are great to remember and the list of them is endless. Happy listening!