Forgotten One-Hit Wonders
Creating a song that enraptures an entire country encapsulates the mission of artists the world over. Standing out in the music scene, perhaps the most crowded and competitive industry on earth looks a lot like mission impossible. However, a choice few conceive a catchy enough tune to enthrall millions. Of course, to become a star, an artist must rise and repeat over and over. A minute percentage ever reaches that rarified air of icon; the rest become one-hit-wonders if they are lucky.
The list of flashes in the pan is lengthy but not as long as the list of those who never made their mark. While these one-hit-wonder artists failed to reach the heights of fame and fortune, their ephemeral works live on forever as drive-time classics and car karaoke specials. Here is a sampling of amazing one-hit-wonders.
I'm Too sexy blew up like a classic flash in the pan. (tenor)
“I’m Too Sexy” By Right Said Fred
“I'm too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt, So sexy it hurts.” On paper, those lyrics look completely laughable and quite frankly, also when you hear them. Nevertheless, Right Said Fred’s “I’m too sexy” sold six million singles and five million records of which people only played that singular song on a loop.
The band came up with the riff, thanks to the group’s employment at London’s “Dance Attic.” While working there they witnessed endless examples of complete narcissism. One night, as a joke, Rich Fairbrass just started singing along to a loop “I'm too sexy for my shirt" and the rest was history.
“My Sharona” by The Knack
The provenance of “My Sharona” remains questionable but the catchiness of The Knack’s ‘79 hit is not. As the story goes, lead singer Doug Fieger walked into a clothing store and instantly fell in love with a high school girl, ergo very questionable. Despite his ‘Sharona,” having a boyfriend and Fierger having a girlfriend, he courted her anyway. Quickly they followed the cliche path of dating and engagement before calling it over. Still, the pair stayed friends and Figer’s Sharona was present at his death bed when he passed away due to cancer.
“Take Me On” by “A-ha”
As they say location, location, location. In their native country of Norway, A-ha resembles the Beatles more than a one-hit-wonder band. However, in America, they are only known by this singular song and its critically important accompanying music video. Ironically enough, “Take Me On” was actually a redux of another song by A-ha that flopped everywhere but Norway.
Thanks to producer Alan Tarney, they added some instrumentation and energy that sold Jeff Ayeroff from Warner Brothers. Ayeroff then hired Steve Barron, music video guru who oversaw “Billie Jean.” He created the music video masterpiece that took “Take Me On” to new heights. Even the band members credit the music video to the song’s overwhelming success.
"I have no doubt that the video made the song a hit," said keyboardist Magne Furuholmen. "The song has a super catchy riff, but it is a song that you have to hear a few times. And I don't think it would've been given the time of day without the enormous impact of the video."
“Brandy” By The Looking Glass
Also known as “You’re a Fine Girl,” the song Brandy ranks as one of the all-time one-hit-wonders. In fact, the band itself only lasted a couple of years after “Brandy” took off. Amazingly, “Brandy” wasn’t even released on the A side of their album despite famous record executive Clive Davis overseeing their work. Davis was known for recognizing a hit when he heard it but missed on “Brandy.” It took Harv Moore, a D.C disc jockey, playing it over and over until it spread throughout the country.
Apparently, “Brandy” was actually a “Randy” and the high school sweetheart of lead singer Elliot Lurie. Once Lurie went solo, the band tried to replace him but quickly fell apart. It didn’t help that “Brandy” actually bore no resemblance to the rest of The Looking Glass’s discography. People came to hear their sing-a-long hit and got rock instead.
Tags: My Sharona | One Hit Wonders | Take Me On
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