CLASSICS: ONE/TWO HIT WONDERS (SINGLES)
Timmy Thomas is a one hit wonder that made it big with his first song called “Why Can’t We Live Together,” released in 1972. The song hit number 12 in the UK, number 3 on the Pop Charts, and number 1 on the R&B charts. This is interesting, as it was never my opinion that this was R&B; ever since I was a child, I’ve always identified this song as being more Latin jazz than anything else. It’s an extremely unique composition I’ve never heard before in any other song. It almost sounds like a theme song to a Latin 70s science fiction movie. Almost like a Spanish version of a “War Of The Worlds,” if it had existed. LOL. He sang a lot about social issues in our country, and it’s a shame that he had no real hits after that.
Ahhh, talk about lost treasures!! This was a very talented group called “Honey Cone.” Unfortunately, like many acts back in the day; sometimes they don’t get to use their voices to it’s full potential; because of poor songwriting; or sometimes bad marketing. Honey Cone, I feel falls in to that category. If they had the right management team, their fame could have been “up there” along side “The Three Degrees” in my opinion.
They’ve made several albums throughout their career. But they’ve only had 2 number ones, and one that reached number 5. The first massive hit was everybody’s favorite; a song called “Want Ads,” from the album “Sweet Replies,” under “Margate Entertainment Records, released in 1971. The song was an instant hit, and reached #1, and stayed on the charts for 16 weeks. This one single sold well over a million copies after public release. The second number one was “Stick-up.” It hit number on the R&B Charts. But to be honest, I never cared for it too much for this song. However, the girls sang their *sses off this song. The third massive hit was a song called “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show.” I used to play this song so much, it was a shame. I’m surprised that 45 didn’t turn in to dust LOL. This song reached #5 on the R&B Charts. I thought this was a badass song!!
You know, I just love the internet sometimes!! Because there are very few things I can’t find (at least when it comes to American music). I’ve learned something new today. For many years growing up, I just naturally assumed that “Inner Life,” was actually another music group. However, upon researching I discovered that they were actually a music project. But then again, it was really hard to keep track of that stuff; because it was very common for performers to literally change groups like their clothes. Sometimes many of them would decide to go solo, then if it doesn’t work out, they come right back to their old groups as if nothing ever happened. LOL
Inner life was only active for about 5-6 years. If I remember correctly, they disbanded sometime in 1986. For most (if not all) of their albums, Jocelyn Brown has been the lead singer. The biggest hit that Jocelyn sang for the group was a song called “I’m Caught Up (In a One Night Love Affair),” released in 1979. The song hit #7 on the U.S. dance charts, and it also hit #22 on the R&B charts. I was kind of shocked to see such a low number for R&B, considering just how popular the song was in the Black community. Other than that, the project didn’t produce any more big hits really. I have to be honest, I re-listened to several of their old albums after the “Caught Up” album, and their music really sounded like the same ol’ regurgitated disco albums that everyone else was putting out. In fact, it’s probably what killed disco in the first place, it was too much repetition. Jocelyn is so talented, I was happy when she broke away from that group.
Here’s a fun song I really loved back in the day. It’s called “I Can’t Wait,” from a 2 person group from the U.K. called Nu Shooz, and the song was released in 1986. The song comes from the album called “Poolside.” This is a fun dance/pop song that always kept me moving. The song peaked @ #3, and stayed 23 weeks on the charts. I just love the beat to this song, it’s so unique, I really can’t think of another song right now to compare it too. The song was so popular, I’ve seen it on just about every compilation CD advertised, and I think that included “Time Life.” There was also another hit from this same album (which is also cute I think), and it’s called “Point Of No Return.” “Point Of No Return” peaked at #28, and stayed on the charts for 22 weeks. The title “Point Of No Return,” sounds like it could be a movie theme doesn’t it? LOL..
Now, Michel’le is not a favorite artist of mine, but when her song “No More Lies” came out in the very later part of 1989, it was as though it went viral. Does anybody remember it? My opinion is that, the song became a hit because of its catchy phrase “doo doo doo doo.” She didn’t have a whole lot of vocal control (in my opinion); on a lot of her songs it was almost like listening to Minnie Mouse’s sister. She was just one of those lucky performers that got their hands on a good producer, that gave her great lyrics and good music to back it up. This is one of those situations where having a “good beat” paid off in the long run. Yet, the song did seem to appeal to a lot of young people then, and like many teenage songs in that era, they were often in response to the “playa” mind set. In 1990, the song peaked at #7, and stayed within the top 100 for 29 weeks. Oh, I almost forgot, there was another song I really liked, which she actually sang the best out of all the songs in this album. The song is called “Something In My heart,” and she really showcased all the power and potential of her voice. The sad part was, this song’s highest peak was only at 31 on the music charts. I think it was then, I started to have an awareness that people started to care more about the beat, than the lyrics and quality. There were a couple of cute & danceable songs on this same album though. Check out her entire album on Spotify’s web player here. It’s kinda cute.
I love Rita Coolidge. I love her singing voice, it’s so smooth and so relaxing. She has one of those voices you can listen to while relaxing on a beach somewhere. I know I really shouldn’t have her under the “One Hit Wonders” category. However, there isn’t an album that she’s produced where I’ve like nearly the entire album either. But, when she got a hit, I usually loved it! The one song that has always stuck in my head, was a song called “We’re All Alone (1976),” and it remains one of my favorite songs from her throughout her career. Now, there are a few other songs I love from her. “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher And Higher,” which I believe was first song by the legendary Jackie Wilson. The next song is another interpretation she did of a song called “Fever,” which was first song by Little Willie John in 1956. I also love the song she did called “All Time High,” which was the theme song to one of the James Bond movies, called “Octopussy.”
Rita was born 1945 in America, and she’s is both singer and songwriter. Although she’s a decent songwriter, unfortunately she hasn’t had a hit since the 1980s. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, her last truly big hit was in 1977 when “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher” hit number 2 on the American pop charts. She was married to Kris Kristofferson, and has actually written a lot of songs with him to my understanding. You may remember Kris Kristofferson, from the movie “A Star Is Born (1976),” co starring along side Barbra Streisand.
Lipps Inc. was a very popular dance musical group during the early 80s. They were a hit all over the world including Hong Kong and Australia. You may remember them by one of their biggest hit of their career called “Funkytown (1979).” The song “Funkytown” catapulted their carer in the same way that “Rapper’s Delight” did for “The Sugar Hill Gang.” The beautiful thing about those two songs is that, both are remembered, and both are likely to drive guests crazy at any old school party! And unfortunately, both songs were so popular that they overshadowed any other work they have done. It’s so sad, this was yet another group I would have loved to see where their career would have gone. Culturally mixed groups that played disco music was so difficult back in the day on so many levels; not that it’s not difficult now, but the landscape has changed.
The song I would like you to draw your attention to, is a song called “All Night Dancing (1979),” it was on the “B” side (45) of “Funkytown.” This is sch a nice song, and it did not get nearly as much attention as “Funkytown.” It has a great beat, danceable pace, and a great melody. It kind of reminds me of the ethnic dance movie themes that exploded all over the 80s. You know, movies such as “Flash Dance,” “Beat Street,” and “Breakin’.” When you listen to the lyrics, it’s about having a good time on the dance floor, however, the whole feel of the song still reminds me of a young innocent girl who has positive dreams of stardom in the industry. Definitely an 80s period song, pointing to a specific era. This is the 12 inch version, I think it’s a little bit too long in my opinion for this type of song, but it’s still a really nice one. Take a listen with Spotify.
Not sure if anyone remembers this group from back in the day. They were called Klymaxx. I have to be honest, I never did like a lot of there music. However, there was one song that as far as I’m concerned, was their biggest song throughout their career. It’s called “I Miss You (1984). The original album was released in 1984, however, Wiki has it as 1985 and I’m not sure why? The only thing I can think of is that the song was re-released on a separate bonus album? Also, “Meeting In The Ladies Room” is cool also, but, that’s about it for that album. They’ve been performing off and on for a little over 20+ years collectively. Listen to “I Miss You” on Spotify.