One-Hit Wonders by One-Hit Wonder Artists? Maybe. Or Maybe Not Part 1
Lately, I’ve thinking about songs I grew up with and wondered why I really hadn’t heard other songs by the artist/band or why there were only a couple of releases from them. The term; “One-Hit Wonder” went through my mind. Were they a really a One Hit Wonder or were they only a One Hit Wonder here in North America? I had to find out. Through the help of the internet, here’s what I found. . .
Chanson – Don’t Hold Back
If you’re familiar with the Sound of Motown, then you know the name “James Jamerson.” One of the most iconic bassist of the 20th Century. Well, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree with his son; James Jamerson, Jr. who with along fellow studio musician; David Williams, founded the group “Chanson” in the 70′s. They released “Don’t Hold Back” and are considered a one-hit wonder even tho they had two more hits w/their singles; “I Can Tell” and “Jack De Nimble.” Releasing two albums in 1979 and 1980 with no real movement, the guys returned to their careers of studio session work, which included David Williams infamous strumming on Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” Sadly, David passed away in 2009. James Jr. as far as I can tell, continues to play his bass. This is such a song! Totally reminiscent of the disco era.
“Somebody’s Been Sleeping” by 100 Proof (Aged in Soul)
Another group with that “Sound of Motown” was 100 Proof (Aged in Soul). Formed in Detroit in 1969, they were put together by the famous Motown songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland. They were not a One Hit Wonder, tho. In fact, 100 Proof had several hit singles between 1969 and 1972. It seems that the one most remembered tho is “Somebody’s Been Sleeping, ” which reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song sold over one million copies, and received a gold disc awarded by the R.I.A.A. 100 Proof broke up in 1973, but then for a short time was formed with a different line-up of musicians and wound up breaking up for good in 1977. But while the original guys were together, they sure knew how to make you groove with their sound of funk and soul.
William DeVaughn – Be Thankful For What You Got
This tune is a Lowrider’s theme song! The story behind this classic is probably even better than the song!
William DeVaughn was a drafting technician for the government and also a part-time singer. In 1972, he wrote a song called “A Cadillac Don’t Come Easy,” which was an early version of “Be Thankful for What You Got.” William spent 900 dollars towards getting the song recorded. The record’s producer John Davis, who was a member of the group; MFSB, came up with the signature smooth arrangement, and then recorded the song at one of the top studios in Philadelphia, used by Philadelphia International Records. The record featured members of the group MFSB. Remember their famous song; TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)? Anyways; after it hit the airways, it sold nearly two million copies in 1974, reaching #1 on the U.S. R and B charts and #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
DeVaughn quit his government job thinking he would make his career as a R and B artist, but within a year, he became bored, left the music industry and went to work in a record store and then a draftsman. The song remains a classic!
First Choice – Armed and Extremely Dangerous
Also from Philadelphia was the girl group; “First Choice” which included Rochelle Fleming, Annette Guest, Ursula Herring and Joyce Jones. In 1973, they had a hit with “Armed and Extremely Dangerous.” I can still remember my mom racing home from work with two brand new 45 singles to play on our stereo. This was one of them.
They are considered a One-Hit Wonder even those they also had hits with “Smarty Pants,” “The Player,” “Love Thang,””Let No Man Put Asunder” and “Dr. Love,”
I wouldn’t consider them a One-Hit Wonder. Especially since their single; “Let No Man Put Asunder” was covered by Mary J. Blige on her 1999 album Mary.
This song sounds just as good as they did back in the day.
Fuzz – I Love You For All Seasons
Another girl group, Fuzz were from the Washington, D.C. area. Their single “I Love You for All Seasons” was a Top 10 on Billboard’s R and B charts and 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970.
I Love You For All Seasons is so timeless in it’s sound and also somewhat haunting. It is said that Barry White’s female singing group “Love Unlimited” were greatly influenced by Fuzz and songwriter of the group; Shelia Young.
Sadly, this is one of those groups that although had a moderate hit with “Like An Open Door,” broke up in 1972. I would kind of call them a One-Hit Wonder.
As far as I’m concerned tho, this song has a very special meaning to me. It’s one of those tunes that is etched in the soundtrack of my life. Every time I listen to it, I am transported to my old barrio in East L.A., recalling the life we, as kids had. Those were hard times, I’ll tell you. At the same time, they are my most treasured.
Frankie Smith – Double Dutch Bus
I had to put this one in. This song was so different than others songs released on Pop radios at the time. It may be considered a One-Hit Wonder, but it has sparked several hits by other artists, especially those of the Hip-Hop genre from Missy Elliot to Snoop Dog. The rhythm of the tune is perfect for Double Dutching. For you younger people. . . look that up. Search under “Jump Rope.”
The groove is super smooth, you can’t help but wanna sway your hips back and forth.
Well I didn’t plan it this way, but with all the songs I found, I think we need to continue this next time.
Do you have a favorite One-Hit Wonder song?
I’d love to know what song it is.
Loretta Sassaman a freelance writer, music reviewer and an all around music enthusiast as well as a vocalist and musician. Her reviews and thoughts on music can be found on her website Spin That 45. She has contributed to Inside MusiCast and manages other websites as well as groups & pages on Facebook.