They came, they played, they conquered the music charts.
Like rising stars, they skyrocketed with their catchy tunes. But as quickly as they rose to fame, their songs eventually dissipated from the radio airwaves and concert halls. Some performers tried to carry on, but to no avail. Alas, that marketable sound which propelled these artists to the forefront could not be recaptured; a return visit to the Top 40 charts could not be duplicated, try as they may.
Even so, some things stand the test of time. Though their flight to fame may have been brief, the infectious sounds of their single hit resonates in our minds forever. Gone, but not forgotten. Here is a compilation of my favorite one-hit wonders of the 60″s and 70’s and the year their songs peaked on the charts:
Steam–“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him” (1969) The title of this song was simple and caught on quick with listeners. Soon, ladies were singing the snappy tune to bad boyfriends. At football games, we sang the chant “Na Na Na Na, Goodbye,” warning the opposition they were leaving in defeat! Steam scored a number one pop single on the Billboard 100. Click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsaTElBljOE
The Capitols–“Cool Jerk” (1966) The Capitols capitalized on the latest dance craze of the day: the jerk. Back in the day, this song let you dance the jerk all night long. All that dancing caused it to land on the Billboard R&B chart at #2. Cool! Go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27PydomerjM
The O’Kaysions–“Girl Watcher” (1968) At first, you will think you are listening to the Motown sound. But these six “blue-eyed soul” brothers from North Carolina lay down the funk in this upbeat tune that soared to #5 on the pop charts; a respectable #6 on the R&B chart. Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTIaRZYdGJo
Minnie Riperton–“Lovin’ You” (1975) She was known for her five-and-a half octave range and unfortunately, her untimely departure due to cancer at the age of 31. This Chicago native’s hit went gold, selling over a million copies as she captured fans worldwide. Go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE0pwJ5PMDg
The Youngbloods–“Get Together” (1967) Jesse Colin Young and his band dish up folk rock with a pop twist. The Queens, New Yorker hit pay dirt with this “feel good” tune that promotes peace, harmony, and brotherhood. Think: Woodstock. Visit here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hbrn9eXEKWk
Wild Cherry–“Play That Funky Music” (1976) More “blue-eyed soul” as Wild Cherry rocked the airwaves with this funk pop rock tune that rode the Billboard R&B chart for 3 weeks. Add to that a couple of Grammy nominations, an American Music Award, and Best Pop Group of the Year by Billboard. Sweet! Long live the funk! Click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe1ScoePqVA
Vicki Sue Robinson–“Turn the Beat Around” (1976) Picture this: A Broadway star delves into disco; gets Top 10 song and Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. Not bad for an actress who started working professionally at age 16. Later, Laura Branigan and Gloria Estefan would put their spin on her dance tune. Estefan carried it up the charts to #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 after the disco era in 1994. Robinson’s song enjoyed a generous six-month stint, turning disco upside down. More here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRSzZsQV5fc
Mungo Jerry–“In the Summertime” (1966) Pop blues from across the ocean, compliments of the UK, would be the best way to describe this song that celebrates summer. Mungo Jerry produced one of the best-selling singles in music history with this giant hit. Sit back, relax, and reminisce about hot fun in the summertime! Enjoy here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvUQcnfwUUM
Cheryl Lynn–“Got to Be Real” (1979) Lynn’s tune has some serious bragging rights. First, it was co-written by David Foster. Moreover, Ray Parker, Jr. and David Paich were recording musicians on the guitar and keyboards, respectively. And, “Got to Be Real” topped the R&B charts in the #1 position. When you think of music from the disco era, Lynn’s tune has got to be in the mix. Check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoXvDleWJ5U
McFadden & Whitehead–“Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” (1979) Gene McFadden and John Whitehead represent TSOP–The Sound of Philadelphia, or the Philly groove, with their high-stepping lyrics that continue to serve as a motivational anthem for music lovers. Starting as songwriters and producers, they successfully parlayed these talents to recording and performing. Needless to say, eight million sales later worldwide, time at #1 on the R&B charts, and a Grammy nomination, there was no stopping the duo’s catapult to fame. They will always be remembered for their prolific contributions to Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International label. Groove here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgYczUH-QWQ