Saturday, 13 February 2010

Music Ramblings 5

One of my lesser known obsessions (I'm not even sure a lot of my friends now about this, well that's another cat out of the bag) is one hit wonders. I don't know why I love them so much, but I really do! There is a fine line in the world of one hit wonder, and I think I need to clarify the line, from my point of view, first.

On one hand we have the pop one hit:

I've used the Cheeky Girls, because at their 'prime' they did get paid £2500 (!!!) to come out on stage, mime the above song, say hello to everyone, get a few audience members up on stage, teach them a silly dance and then play the song again. Over inside 15 minutes, £2500! I wish I was joking, but I'm not.

The pop one hit, can be easily brushed aside as novelty rubbish that captures a time, mood, whatever...but the song/tune has little basis in musical genius. Whilst it is a skill to produce such a song, the artist/performer is easily discarded. For further examples start looking up Christmas number one's! Don't get me started on the Crazy Frog! So as such many of theses songs are only meant to be one hit, rather than a career.

This brings me to the band/musician one hit wonder.

I have never understood why many of these capable and talented bands have the ability to capture peoples imagination with a song, yet don't manage to capture the populous with a bevi of songs/album.

I offer my first example, and one which is close to my heart:

The Spin Doctors. Yes we all remember that long summer of 1992 (maybe we don't, but you probably know the song) when the radio waves were capture by the awesome slice of funk rock.

Close to my heart I said earlier, and they are, I remember not buying the single and buying the album on tape, which cost me a pricey £11.99 (I still have the price sticker on it!), and I feel in love with it. Main reason being, the album was full of similarly groovy tunes!

Jimmy Olson blues, what a tune! I won't keep posting the songs from this album, but trust me there are some great tunes on there! Litte Miss Can't Be Wrong, also an absolute gem....

They had a live album 'The Homebelly Groove', which effortlessly captured the vibe and feel of their songs, whilst giving them the embellishment of a live performance. There second major album 'Cleopatra's Cat' was a successful album, but single success eluded them beyond "Two Princes".

I was lucky enough to get to see them in London in 2005, and I am really happy to admit that, because I really love this band, yet I have never understood why they fell out of favour with pop culture so easily. On a sunny afternoon their records still go on in my house and make the world seem a little brighter.

Just to clarify how big this song was, I have to share this:

They were on Seasame FREAKING Street, reworking it just for Elmo!!!

Next...Nizlopi, yes you read that right!

Remember this? Yes? No? This was an example of the almost Christmas number one, loosing out to X-factor.

But what are we faced with this song? It was a real internet success story, the above video got emailed around offices, universities, schools...and became a cult hit. So are they a novelty? Hell no! They are/were two folky kids from Lemmington Spa who got lucky with a song, whilst it is an honest reflection of their music, again their other offerings did not capture the imagination of the masses.

I offer you a live version of this song as well, as it is more what they were about, if you ever see their album for sale, I doubt it will cost you a lot and you enjoyed JCB, then buy it for other songs like 'Call it up' and 'Love Rage On', you might be pleasantly surprised. There aren't many bands in the world who you can say had a beat boxing double bass player! So they deserve your time for that alone!

Here is a random favourite of mine:

4 Non Blondes - What's Up, perhaps this would be more fitting in my previous blog about then and now, because this is more about their singer Linda Perry, but I'll come back to that in a second. Once again, album very similar, lost of Linda's signature warbley vocal styling, but one song sparks interest and nothing else...or was it...

Linda Perry, front woman of a one hit wonder, yet has been behind so truly classic slices of girl fronted pop!

She worked on Sheryl Crow's 'Tuesday Night Music Club', played some solo shows but here are a few gems you may or may not know she wrote.

I don't care what anyone says, it can cost me cool points with who ever cares about those sorts of things, but that is an amazing and beautiful (pseudo pun) song.

Oh yes! Pink's 'Get the Party Started', nerd fact, she is behind the bar in the club scene....

How things come full circle...

Oh it keeps coming...

Yep, that too!

She has also written songs for Kelly Osbourne, Alica Keys, Britney Spears...

How can someone this talented can not make a success of herself, yet be behind all of this and more is a complete mysetery!

Did MC Hammer deserve a career after 'Can't touch this' and those dam trousers? Probably not. How is Vanilla Ice still a house hold name? Surely miracle is the best thing to say. Why do I own 2 Unlimited's ablum 'No Limits'? Curiosity. I wish I could get in touch with them, to give it back. Should I speak about the New Radicals? Sadly they were a good band who couldn't get past one song! Toploader...well the less said about them the better, except that their 'hit' wasn't even their song! It was a cover of a b side of 70's disco hit....Should anyone ever speak about Billy Ray Cyrus? Maybe if we are talking about his daughter! Do you remember Babylon Zoo? If the answer is no, then DO NOT remind yourself. Why did Right Said Fred try to make a comeback? Perhaps they were too sexy for obscurity...If the Baha Men's dogs had not escaped, would I have been less annoyed? Probably not. What was with Dexy's Midnight Runners clothes? Lord only knows! Why did Meredith Brooks think she was a bitch? Perhaps she was mean to her cat. What was the name of the Rembrants hit? Just ask one of your friends (oh, why the pun?). Would it have sounded the same if there were more Red Balloons? Depends what language the song was in. What in the name of any god, was the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band about? I doubt they knew. Does anyone else remember Lou Bega? Probably best forgotten everywhere except Germany.

I hope next time a 'One Hit Wonder' comes along, you might give them a little more time, you might be pleasantly surprised.


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