Did you know Sept. 25 was National One Hit Wonder Day? Because I didn’t until someone suggested it as a column topic. It was kinda a busy news week so I was preoccupied with… everything.
I also don’t know who declared it as such, or why they did that, or for that matter, why anyone who doesn’t have a column that needs a new topic every week cares. Some of these ridiculous holidays I get. The National Kumquat Council has a financial interest in International Kumquat Week being a thing, so they throw money at it in the hopes anyone notices, assuming that’s a thing. It’s almost definitely a thing; everything else is.
But who stands to benefit from National One Hit Wonder Day? Are the Baha Men behind this? They have to be. The Baha Men are basically the Illuminati; they’re behind everything.
Anyway, far be it from me to look a gift horse in the mouth. So here’s the best one hit wonder per decade, or at least the best song I don’t remember using in a previous column. I’ll also include my likely ridiculous reasoning for each, so be forewarned.
The Monotones — “The Book of Love” (1958)
I am all about doo-wop, and it’s a genre with a very deep bench of one hit wonders. So why this one? I mean, it’s a deep enough cut that literally nobody has searched for the band on Google this year.
Well, because it was recently stuck in my head, and that’s as good an excuse as any. And that’s enough.
While this was The Monotones’ only hit, the various members kept reuniting to perform it into the ’90s, which is impressive when you think about it. Even if they can’t make a living off it, that’s a pretty nice thing to have in your back pocket if you need to pay some bills.
Thunderclap Newman — “Something in the Air” (1969)
My reasoning behind this one is two-fold. First, I recently heard the song on SiriusXM Classic Vinyl and hadn’t heard it for ages, and remember thinking it was better than I remembered. Second is that the name “Thunderclap Newman” is objectively hilarious.
The band, named after pianist Andy “Thunderclap” Newman, was actually started by Pete Townshend of The Who. It was not started as a side project, though he did play bass on their sole album under a pseudonym, but because he liked Newman and John “Speedy” Keen and thought they needed a band.
The band broke up in 1971 after its sole album because they just didn’t like each other.
Wild Cherry — “Play That Funky Music” (1976)
This one makes the list because you thought it was by KC and the Sunshine Band. In fact when you saw the header for this section you opened a new browser tab to look it up. But it was neither KC nor the Sunshine Band.
Wild Cherry actually released four albums and two greatest hits albums, which is impressive for a band whose only song you know you thought was by KC and the Sunshine Band. Also impressive is that they broke up in 1978, but their final album was released in 1979. It’s possible that they realized they were going to release a song called “Keep On Playin’ That Funky Music” and decided it was probably time to just stop.
Wall of Voodoo — “Mexican Radio” (1982)
This selection is because it was the last song legendary Bay Area radio station KSJO played as a rock station in 2004 before becoming La Preciosa, a Mexican oldies station. I was furious; even without Lamont and Tonelli it was still the last rock station in the Bay Area that played a mix of new and old stuff.
Becoming Mexican radio didn’t stick for KSJO, so they went back to being rock, but for some reason they decided to be alternative rock of the ’70s, ’80s and ’00s. Being extremely from the ’90s and an alt-rock fan, I was confused and displeased. That didn’t stick either so it became a Chinese-language station, then a dance station, then a station that was variously Chinese, Persian, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese for some reason, then alternative again, then country, and now it’s Bollywood.
Meanwhile I have satellite radio like everyone else.[Gokhman note: What is this satellite radio you speak of? It’s all about
Everything but the Girl — “Missing” (1996)
The reason for this one is pretty straightforward: As I mentioned earlier, I’m extremely from the ’90s, so I’ve used pretty much every other song from the decade in this column at least once.
In fact, I’m even kinda cheating for it to count. This was their only hit in the United States, but they had six gold and one platinum album in the U.K. Also I included the techno remix (EDM was techno back then) that came out later than their sole U.S. gold record. But it’s my column, and I reserve the right to change the rules as I see fit.
What are you gonna do, ask for a refund?[Gokhman note: Are you shocked, surprised or mad that this column is missing the last two decades? Click the link below and let Willis hear about it].
Follow editor Daniel J. Willis and tweet column ideas to him at Twitter.com/BayAreaData.