; Tangled Up In Blue: one and done

Saturday, September 17, 2005

one and done

The problem with Looking Glass may have been that they looked more like roadies for Thin Lizzy than an actual band. Then again, maybe the rest of their music was unlistenable, and "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" was an anomaly. Who knows? I doubt that anyone outside of the band could name another song by this Rutgers quartet who hit one hit wonderdom back in 1972.

We can all laugh at one hit wonders, but we must always keep in mind that they still have one more hit than most of us will ever see.

“Brandy” is probably my favorite song by a one hit wonder, but I don’t know why. Do I think that the sailors will eventually discover that they can love both Brandy and the sea? No, I know that this tragic story of unreciprocated love is bound to repeat itself a couple of times a week on classic rock stations all over the country. Maybe I just like the lazy Leon Redbone-esque vocals set against the dramatic chord changes or the “such a fine girl” back-ups. Maybe it just got engrained into the music part of my brain while growing up in the late seventies.

I don’t know why, but I love it, and I know that some of you don’t. I have tried to get every band I’ve ever been in to do a cover of it, but no one has ever shared my enthusiasm or taken me seriously.

What is your opinion of the song? What is your favorite song by a one hit wonder? What are the benefits of choosing the sea over a real live female?


Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

Wow. Lots of great one hit wonders. Brandy feels good, but not my fav one hit wonder. Here are several I like(defined as having only one song to chart in the top 40)

Journey To The Center Of Your Mind by Amboy Dukes. Charted at #16 in 1968. You may have heard of one of their members--Ted Nugent.

Counting Blue Cars-Dishwalla. Peaked at #15 in 1996. I knew they would be one hit wonders. They had a great hook with "Tell me all your thoughts on God, cause I'd really like to meet HER." I also knew they'd never do it again. They haven't.

Everything Falls Apart-Dogs Eye View, also hit in 1996. These Counting Crow knock offs were nothing more than that.

Kung Fu Fighting.-Carl Douglas. EWWWWW. Reached #1 is 1974!

Friday On My Mind-The Easybeats. Guitarist old brother of AC/Dcs Young brothers. Hit #16 in 1967.

Love Grows(Where My Rosemary Goes) #5 in 1970...totally made up of studio muscians...recorded this one as Edison Lighthouse. They actually charted with other songs under other names...can you name them? (Other than Karen Raizor from Raizors Edge lol )

From The Beginning--Emerson Lake and Palmer # 39 in 1972. That's right. Lucky Man didn't chart.

Playboy-Gene and Debbe #17 in 1968. There's a reason this was their only hit.

But It's Alright-JJ JAckson. #22 in 1966. This one felt really good.

Mr. Big Stuff-Jean Kngiht #2 in 1971. Fun song.

Love(Can Make You Happy) by Mercy. #2 in 1969...was a pretty nice song.

Morning Girl-Neon Philharmonic #17 in 1969. Nashville Symphony Orchestra Musicians. Don Gant, the man who gave me my break as a songwriter and gave me my first publishing job where I actually got paid to write music, was the lead singer on this.

Short People-Randy Newman. #2 in 1977. This is the only song Randy ever charted with, though thankfully, he's been successful without radio.

Thats enough from me for now!

2:59 PM  
Blogger John H said...

I wish I was in Tiajuana, eating barbecued iquana - from Mexican Radio by Wall of Voodoo. modulated madness. Fun tune with hooky chorus..

The keyboardist on the Easybeats hit was Rick Wakeman of Yes fame, for what it's worth.

Other fun favorite: I know what boy's like by the Waitresses (boy's like me!)

Last and possibly least, one of the many odes to those who are NOT masters of their domain - 'When I think of you, I touch myself by Divinyls.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Raizor's Edge said...

As for one charted song wonders, my favorite would probably be XTC's "Mayor of Simpleton" (1989, peaked at #72). Hey, any video that's a spoof of The Avengers is fine with me! Plus, it's just a GREAT song.

Now, for songs that cracked the top 40:

"You're Only Lonely" - J.D. Souther. I put this first because there might be a technicality problem. J.D. hit the charts as part of the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, and on the duet with James Taylor. This was his only charted song "as a solo artist." (Of course, Looking Glass had a second top 40 hit ["Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne"], so I don't think the technicality will be a problem LOL)

"Little Arrows" - Leapy Lee. Yes, it's cute and hokey, but who doesn't sing along with it?

"Marianne" - Terry Gilkyson. See comment about "Little Arrows."

"Mississippi" - John Phillips. Great dobro, great beat, great song. Everybody sing!

(Running for cover before I announce this one)
"Undercover Angel" - Alan O'Day. Yeah, well, remember he wrote "Rock and Roll Heaven" (well, he also wrote "Angie Baby," too). I always thought this was a neat pop song.

"Mexico" - Bob Moore. No, not the same "Mexico" that James Taylor sang in the mid-70s. This was an instrumental, and a great one.

"Cruel to Be Kind" - Nick Lowe. He had another song that charted but didn't make the top 40. He has a catalog that should've been loaded with top 40 hits.

"Someday, Someway" - Marshall Crenshaw. Ditto about his catalog and top 40 hits that should've been.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

John-I love touch myself. I love that Seinfeld episode even more.

Karen-I should be shot for leaving off Hank.

3:15 AM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

Sharon-I had forgotten all about Dog's Eye View. I went out and bought that CD after hearing "Everything Falls Apart" and then traded it in after a month or so. However, that song has one of my favorite lines of all time:

The devil is not in the details, he's in my pants.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

Rex..I agree. I got the cd for that one song as well. But the rest of the cd stunk, and it was actually produced or co produced by Adam Duritz, which would explain the Counting Crows "sound."

12:58 PM  
Blogger HUCK said...

Raizors Edge,
I love "Mayor of Simpleton" as well, but I'm not sure it could truly qualify as a one-hit-wonder. I mean XTC had a huge underground following long before that song ever hit the airways; I being one of those underground followers. Also, they also had somewhat of a previous hit from the album before. The song was called "Dear God". Mercy! I still get the vapors just thinking about that one...

Still, "Mayor of Simpleton" is a great pick and one dilly of song from one dilly of a band!

John H,
I'd have to say "Mexican Radio" is right up there in the top 10 best one hit wonders. I could drive from Savannah to San Fran with that tune set on Repeat. That there is quintessential road trip equipment.

Although Nazareth has already been mentioned by Glen in a previous post, they also have to get a huge nod in the one-hit-wonder Best Rock Anthems category for "Hair of the Dog". Plus, the rest of the album is better than gold, it's pure hard rock cocaine.

I've got to give it up for Sweet "Ballroom Blitz", The La’s “There She Goes”, and Golden Earring "Radar Love". Although, I can see how Golden Earring’s nomination might be dubious due to their much later hit, "Twilight Zone".

So, what do y'all think? Would Molly Hatchet count with their one big hit, "Flirtin with Disaster", as a one-hit-wonder? Sweet Christmas! I love that song.

...And finally...
Here's a list of one-hit-wonders I thought were greats until the 80's revival stations started force-feeding us like we were cirrhotic geese:

Big Country, "Big Country"
Dexy's Midnight Runners, "Come On Eileen"
After the Fire, "Der Kommissar"
Men without Hats, “Safety Dance”

Etc… etc… etc…

Oh yeah... And Rex, "Brandy"? Uh uh, no. Sorry.

You dis on Rush... you get the horns, son.

8:10 PM  
Blogger Glen Dean said...

The only top forty record the Grateful Dead ever had was "Touch of Grey".

Of course they did last thirty years and gross the most of any other touring band ever.

8:10 PM  
Blogger HUCK said...

See... They were no one-hit-wonders.

Not in my book.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Sharon Cobb said...

Big Country, "Big Country"
Dexy's Midnight Runners, "Come On Eileen"
After the Fire, "Der Kommissar"
Men without Hats, “Safety Dance”

Huck! I love those!!!!!!!!!!

11:06 PM  
Blogger Raizor's Edge said...

RE Huck: I love "Mayor of Simpleton" as well, but I'm not sure it could truly qualify as a one-hit-wonder.

I have a Whitburn "Top Pop Singles" book, and "Mayor of Simpleton" was the only song of theirs that charted on the Billboard Top 100. That's why I included it. It DIDN'T make the Top 40, so technically it was never a "hit" here, so I can see your point.

I've got to give it up for Sweet "Ballroom Blitz"

A great song, and much better than their last hit, one that should be confined to that desert island we mentioned earlier: "Love is Like Oxygen."

"Come on Eileen" -- CLASSIC. Absolute classic.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Steve Forbert "Romeo's Tune".

And who can forget The Wonders (Oneders) with "That Thing You Do!"?

2:39 PM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

Huck, it is strange to think that "There She Goes" can really be classified as the only hit by two different one hit wonders (the La's and Sixpence, None The Richer).

I had forgotten about "Big Country". That may very well be one of my all time favorite songs.

I always think about that movie when I think of a one hit wonder, Sarcastro. Great film.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Glen Dean said...

You all remember that song "Relax, Don't Do It" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Sarcastro said...

Didn't Frankie have two hits? They did a follow up song called "Two Tribes" or something like that. Of course, it wasn't as big a hit.

I heard Deep Blue Something's "Breakfast At Tiffanys" today. Now that is a power pop one hit wonder.

3:45 PM  

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