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The Late Movies: One-Hit Wonders

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They’re the songs you can’t get out of your head, no matter how hard you try. Even though you know every word by heart, you can’t remember the name of the band. Some one-hit wonders are a result of passing fads — Rick Dees’ “Disco Duck,” for instance — while others represent careers cut short by untimely death (Blind Melon’s “No Rain”). Most of the time, however, one-hit wonders are bands that hit the top of the charts once but could never recapture the magic.

Cornershop: “Brim Full of Asha”

Simple, catchy and maddeningly repetitive, this is a song that won’t leave your head for days after you hear it.

Four Non Blondes: “What’s Goin’ On”

Little-known fact: Four Non Blondes founding guitarist Shaunna Hall joined George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic in 2007.

Derek and the Dominos: “Layla”

It’s a question of definition: “Layla” is credited to Eric Clapton, but it was released by his band Derek and the Dominos — and it was their only hit. What do you think, does “Layla” count?

Right Said Fred: “I’m Too Sexy”

Right Said Fred had another song or two that placed on the dance music charts, but can you name any of them? I think they count. And check out this awesomely cheesy video!

Dee-Lite: “Groove is in the Heart”

I remember this song being passed around as a MIDI file back in the early 90s. Ahh, the early days of music piracy …

Falco: “Rock Me Amadeus”

Falco is the only artist ever to score a #1 hit in the U.S. with a German-language song.

The Vapors: “Turning Japanese”

Rumor has it the song a veiled reference to masturbation, like Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop.”

The Baha Men: “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

The Baha Men are from the Bahamas, and were honored in 2000 with a Grammy Award AND a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award for their indelible hit:

The Rembrandts: “I’ll Be There for You”

Insipid pop at its most annoying, this song was, famously, also the theme to Friends. I do, however, like the Rickenbackers they play.

The Kingsmen: “Louie, Louie”

Finally, let’s end with a classic. It’s hard to believe now, but “Louie, Louie” was the subject of an FBI investigation into its supposedly subversive and obscene lyrics. (Ultimately, the investigation didn’t result in any action being taken against the Kingsmen.)


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