Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

iTunes' "69-Cent One-Hit Wonders" Ranked By Relative Tolerability

16. Baha Men, "Who Let The Dogs Out"

15. Katrina and the Waves, "Walking On Sunshine"

14. The Vapors, "Turning Japanese"

13. Vanilla Ice, "Ice Ice Baby"

12. Kajagoogoo, "Too Shy"

11. Bruce Channel, "Hey! Baby"

10. The Proclaimers, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"

9. Dr. John, "Right Place, Wrong Time"

8. The Honeydrippers, "Sea of Love"

7. The Heights, "How Do You Talk To An Angel"

6. Wall of Voodoo, "Mexican Radio"

5. Go West, "King Of Wishful Thinking"

4. Cutting Crew, "(I Just) Died In Your Arms"

3. Biz Markie, "Just A Friend"

2. Jesus Jones, "Right Here Right Now"

1. EMF, "Unbelieveable"


Maura Johnston would probably be able to tolerate this album-which supposedly proves that iTunes' dynamic pricing did actually result in a handful of songs prices being lowered-more if VH1 clip shows and wacky movie montages never existed.

88 Comments / Post A Comment

petejayhawk (#1,249)

True story: my dad owns a Go West CD.

I have never understood how or why.

Maybe he thought he was buying a Pet Shop Boys maxi-single?

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

"King of Wishful Thinking" is my go-to karaoke song. I'm still amazed at how universally loved it is.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Well now, We Close Our Eyes was a fine example of 80s bummerpop.

deepomega (#1,720)

Wait, Cutting Crew was a one-hit wonder? Now I'm regretting my tattoo decision!

djfreshie (#875)

Tell me about it.

"Toad the Wet Sprcoket Tattoo" across back, unintentionally misspelled.

jayem (#3,809)

Jesus Jones was a *two*-hit wonder. Remember "Real, Real, Real"? Cracked the top 10!

Dude all of "Doubt" is UFW! ("International Bright Young Thing" was the true jam.) I have much commentary on the odd, fact-hostile nature of "one hit wonder" deeming, but that would not be RESPECTING THE FORM.

Mr. Praline (#7,361)

And while not a hit, "Zeroes and Ones" is a phenomenal song. AND with a tremendous Prodigy remix to boot.

jayem (#3,809)

"Welcome Back Victoria"? What a record! I have to dig my copy of Doubt out of my dad's basement. It doesn't deserve to be down there next to Grave Dancer's Union and Pocket Full of Kryptonite…

Bittersweet (#765)

Saw them in concert with Ned's Atomic Dustbin, circa summer 1992. Good times.

Matthew Lawrence (#4,252)

Because hello, did all these people forget "Play That Funky Music"? Jesus Mary and Joseph.

@Bittersweet: SHUT UP! I saw Ned's Atomic Dustbin that year, too!

hman (#53)

@Bittersweet – at The Academy??

cinetrix (#47)

Kill Your Television! I saw Jesus Jones play MIT's spring weekend. "IBYT" is the jam, and I still wish I had an "Air Jesus" shirt. Worse still, we booked Ned's on their off night to play our campus while [whilst?] Jesus Jones appeared on some late night chat show in NY.

Of course, I also saw EMF "live" around the same time [they played "Unbelievable" during the set AND as the encore], and caught Ride at a big cynical back-to-school vendor event in a convention center. so I am obviously untrustworthy. I blame NME & the "You'll mosh to anything" [including, yes, EMF] moment.

Still, where is Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine in this list? I call shenanigans!

Bittersweet (#765)

@hman, no in DC, I forget where…Smith Center at GWU, probably.

Yes, that was always my favorite. Of course I was young and wasn't really aware of the Beatles yet… Still, a fairly solid album.

(in reference to "Welcome Back Victoria")

MikeBarthel (#1,884)

Hey, I have a gold record for that Baha Men song, I'll have you know.

Matt (#26)

Nice try but the answer is always Biz Markie. It doesn't matter what the question is.

Matt (#26)

Also, LOL what if it were the rap-rock version of "Ice Ice Baby"?

Josh Michtom (#6,069)

Every song in Biz Markie's catalog is a hit – if not commercially, than in terms of its ability to transcend cultural barriers, bring people together, and make America stronger and more prosperous. Especially "Pickin' Boogers."

Matt (#26)


saythatscool (#101)

Oh Wall of Voodoo, nobody understands you but me.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

@STC: Billy, Don't Be a Hero

Van Buren Boy (#1,233)

#4,587: Lou Bega – Mambo No. 5

It's 99 cents though!

scroll_lock (#4,122)

"A little bit of scrolly in my life.."

This is a good song for cardio playlists- LIKE MY OWN, THANKS.

Chazerim (#532)

Mac Rebbenack a "One Hit Wonder?" Gay kocken offen yom.

iantenna (#5,160)


Slava (#216)

My faves are Len's "Steal my Sunshine" and New Radical's "Get What You Give" or whatever..

Alex Balk (#4)

The New Radicals tune is called "The Minivan Song."

Both those songs are great. Both of them cost $1.29 at iTunes!

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

I'm listening to "Steal My Sunshine" RIGHT NOW!

garge (#736)

I always thought the music video for "Steal My Sunshine" was a little Flowers in the Attic, if you know what I mean.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

@garge: That comment can't be unread. Thanks.

saythatscool (#101)

@garge and boy: and now it all clicks. Yeesh.

iantenna (#5,160)

it pains me to think that anyone, even the faceless ding dongs at itunes, could possibly consider dr. john a "one-hit wonder". it also pains me to not see him at #1 on this list.

It pains me to see him. He raises the murder quotient in my soul by many degrees.

LondonLee (#922)

At least you didn't mention Madness, Soft Cell or Dexy's Midnight Runners who always pop up on those VH1 one-hit wonder shows and lead me to shout at the telly "BUT THEY ALL HAD LOADS OF HITS IN ENGLAND!!!"

scroll_lock (#4,122)

England has music now? When did this happen?

saythatscool (#101)

@scrolly: Agree. Just not buying it.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

@STC: I mean, if they'd ever produced anything memorable or noteworthy besides the Benny Hill theme then OK.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

But "Yakety Sax" is an American song!

saythatscool (#101)

Yakety Sax was a haunting melody. It was perfect stuff for Hill's Angels.

Beyond that, I don't Englishmen know shite about music.

saythatscool (#101)


dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

@Lee: And one of Madness's hits, if I recall, consisted of a sample of Michael Caine saying "My name… is Michael Caine."

scroll_lock (#4,122)

@dntsqz: HA!

LondonLee (#922)

I assume you are just trying to get a rise out of me but that was a classic single.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Somewhere in one of these storage spaces I will one day locate my copy of Madness's Greatest Hits and not a day before then will I know whether you are serious.

But I loved Yesterday's Men (Bummerpop extraordinaire!), One Step Beyond, Wings of a Dove, and that one they kept playing every day of 1983, the CSNY cover, what was it called…

Art Yucko (#1,321)

@London: Inspiral Carpets: Loads of hits Kingdomside or no?

LondonLee (#922)

A couple I think. I couldn't name one of them though, I was too busy clubbing to take notice at the time.

6h057 (#1,914)

Nick Sylvester hopes you remember Lou Bega

Mexican Radio should be No. 1.

Fact that will Interest No One But Me: I saw two of these acts perform their one-hit-wonder tunes live in concert: Jesus Jones and the Proclaimers.

The Proclaimers are identical twins who both looked like Buddy Holly. They were very energetic.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

There was a Proclaimers musical.

That song and the Fruit Stripes' My Doorbell will forever own the 4-8 demographic.

Hip, I once saw an "Eighties Reunion" concert that featured (among other bands I don't remember) Gary Numan and Gene Loves Jezebel! I win.

(Also, Gary Numan sang no fewer than three versions of "Cars.")

scroll_lock (#4,122)

@Dorothy: He had the compact, sedan and luxury versions.

iantenna (#5,160)

the scottish everly brothers. i lose 1/2 of my few remaining hip points every time i say this but their first two records, especially the first one, are FANTASTIC. as evidence i submit this and this.

@scrolly: This was about 10 years ago, so I'm relatively certain that at least one of the versions was called "Cars 2000."
("In the year 2000…")

Also! PLEASE tell me you weren't seriously calling The Pet Shop Boys OHWs in your comment below!!

LondonLee (#922)

I agree, 'Letter From America' is wonderful.

LondonLee (#922)

That was referring to The Proclaimers by the way.

iantenna (#5,160)

@lee: yes, yes, yes. i just couldn't find the dang acoustic album version anywhere online. only the full band single version, which is good but not as good.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

@Dorothy. Yes and no- but it was the bicyclist cap reference that made me think of them. I loved that song.

Jen Simmons (#7,741)

Dr. John? Remind me why I use eMusic, iTunes.

6h057 (#1,914)

I can't wait for the day when someone goes, "What ever happened to the band that did My Girls?"

Screen Name (#2,416)

Thanks for this list, Maura, as well as the reminder that there are still bargains to be had in life. And here I am, .69 cents later, sitting in a chair and drinking a can of beer as my neighbor pounds on the door while Technotronic encourages me to Pump up the jam, pump it up, A pump it up, yo pump it. I am pumping it up! I can no longer even hear the door pounding because I am pumping it up so much. I am going to see if I can pump it up for a full hour.

6h057 (#1,914)

And to be fair, I believe EMF was formed just to tell you you're unbelievable.

City_Dater (#2,500)

Wow. I would pay 69 cents to never hear most of these songs again. Maybe that's really what iTunes meant?

Multiphasic (#411)

What I really can discern from this list is that Maura is drawn to those very Britishy proto-bicyclist-caps.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

Speaking of which, whither "West End Girls"?

LondonLee (#922)

Please don't tell me they were one-hit wonders in the US too. You people have no taste.

scroll_lock (#4,122)

Pronounced "West End Gulls".

Mindpowered (#948)

I blame "Arbys".

Hey, Maura! I know The Honeydrippers qua Honeydrippers may be described as One Hit Wonders, but with their provenance, doesn't that distort the true meaning of the term, somewhat?

the original list, i mean

So you're with me on this being a gross perversion of the sanctity of One Hit Wonder-dom. Yay!

scroll_lock (#4,122)

Does this mean "I'm Too Sexy" costs at least 99 cents?

Wasn't EMF set up for life after the Crumbelievable ad?


I'm concernned that Maura ranks Cutting Crew so highly.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Errm, yes. What's next, Johnny Hates Jazz? Mike and the Mechanics??????

But more seriously, how do we understand Edwyn Collins? Genius/sellout? or just an eccentric who tried to play it straight.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Looking at his Wikipedia page I am inclined to revise to genius/heroic inspiration.

LondonLee (#922)

Now, Orange Juice were one-hit wonders in the UK (sadly) and the few times I saw them Edwyn used to introduce 'Rip It Up' by saying "this is our one-hit wonder"

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Yeah, but what a hit.

Bittersweet (#765)

I'll always love 'Unbelievable' because it reminds me of a dear friend from college who died of intestinal cancer 12 years ago. He had the "OHH!!" on his voice mail.

(RIP, Cameron.)

Multiphasic (#411)

Wow, a buck twenty-nine for "Under the Milky Way". I think I'll just listen to Go West TWICE.

Bittersweet (#765)

Saw the Church opening for Echo & the Bunnymen, circa 1986. Good times.

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