ONE HIT WONDERS

In case you forgot last year’s golden anniversary celebration, here is our Top Ten countdown again. This list originally ran on SERENDIPITY

1970 Edition, by Rich Paschall

Everyone likes to get invited to the party, but imagine getting invited to just one party…ever. That’s how it must have felt for these 1970 rockers who climbed high on the rock and roll charts just one time. They may have had minor successes with other songs, but only one big hit.

In the summertime, when the weather is hot, You can stretch right up and touch the sky

A one-hit wonder is “an act that has won a position on [the] national, pop, Top 20 record chart just once” according to The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders. Some of these one-hit wonders have made a career out of it and are still going. Others have become just a footnote in rock and roll history. In order to celebrate the occasion, we have decided to throw a fiftieth birthday party for the following artists and songs. So come across those White Plains and watch out for those Five Stair Steps when you arrive. O-o-h Child, you will feel like a Mississippi Queen when The Rapper gets going. So, Ma Belle Amie, we want to see you movin’ and groovin’ to my personal Top Ten choices.

10. Tighter, Tighter by Alive and Kicking. Written by Bobby King and Tommy James (Yes, that Tommy James) the song was released in June and reached number 7 by August. Tommy James and the Shondells recorded it years later with little success.

09. Hey There Lonely Girl by Eddie Holman. This was released as Hey There Lonely Boy by Ruby and the Romantics in 1963. It did not chart. This version made it to number 2 on the Billboard 100.

08. All Right Now by Free. These English rockers scored with this one. The story is this was written by bassist Andy Fraser and singer Paul Rodgers after a particularly bad live performance.

Ride captain ride, Upon your mystery ship, On your way to a world that others might have missed

07. Ride Captain Ride by Blues Image. This was the only Top 40 hit for this American band. “As a storm was blowin’ out on the peaceful sea, Seventy-three men sailed off to history.”  That’s sort of like this song.

06. Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) by Edison Lighthouse. The group was basically a studio creation. The song was number 5 in the US but went to number 1 in the UK. It has a similar sound to another one-hit-wonder that year. My Baby Loves Lovin by White Plains may have had the same lead singer. Tony Burrows did studio singing and is often reported as the real voice here. He did work on the song. You decide.

Honorable Mention: We would absolutely be remiss if we failed to mention Rubber Duckie by Ernie (of Sesame Street). Yes, he has been involved in many songs over the years, but alas, this was his only song to hit the charts. It seems the tune was so popular up and down Sesame Street that it was released as a single and climbed the pop charts all the way to number 16 by September of that year.

05. In The Summertime by Mungo Jerry. There actually is no “Mungo Jerry.” The band is named after Mungojerrie from T.S. Eliot’s book, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. The song was written by lead singer Ray Dorset.

04. Montego Bay by Bobby Bloom. The song was co-authored by Bloom. It is written about a Jamaican city of the same name.

03. Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum. The singer claims to have written the lyrics in 15 minutes’ time. It was a popular tune on the AM radio rock stations in Chicago in early 1970. It reached number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

02. Venus by Shocking Blue. The Dutch rockers topped the charts in nine countries with this tune, including the US.

01. Vehicle by Ides of March. The local rock band was a favorite in Chicago. In fact, they still are.  When I was in high school, they were playing “sock hops” at other high schools. When Vehicle hit in 1970 it was on the Big 89, WLS 890 AM on our radio dials ALL THE TIME!

To hear any of the songs above just click on the title. To hear them all, go to my One Hit Wonders playlist here.

See also: One Wonderful Moment, 1968 Edition,” SERENDIPITY, May 13, 2018.
Good Old Rock ‘N Roll, One Hit Wonders of 1969,” SERENDIPITY, March 10, 2019.

4 thoughts on “ONE HIT WONDERS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.