Jul 292010

Have you ever heard a second great song by The Lemon Pipers? I don’t think the makers of the fantastic “Green Tambourine” had it in them to crank out even one more great song. “Rice Is Nice” sure ain’t the long-lost, second great Lemon Pipers song!

Recently I checked out some songs by David Essex, other than one of the all-time one-hit wonder smash hits, “Rock On,” a song that still fascinates me as much as it did when I was an 11-year-old boy. Have you ever heard a second great song by David Essex? I thought not. I really wish he’d had it in him to crank out at least one more winner.

What one-hit wonder artist do you most wish could have managed to record at least one more great song? I’m not talking about artists who didn’t manage to have second hits, but those who didn’t have the talent, or whatever, to come close to matching the quality of their lone smash hit.

As a public service, should a Townsperson suggest an artist in this thread that you feel derserves credit for a second great song, please feel free to act on behalf of The Orockle and turn said Townsperson onto a song he or she may not know.


  59 Responses to “One-Hit Wonder That You Most Wish Could Have Managed at Least One More Great Song?”

  1. misterioso

    Never was too big on Green Tambourine. And this performance is not exactly evidence that “you really needed to hear them live.” In this genre (wussy pseudo psychedelica) I would opt for Judy in Disguise. With Glasses. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaWaQBxc0aI&feature=related

    Never had any desire for a second John Fred song, though. On the contrary, I pray there isn’t one.

    Anyway, certainly The Count Five and the Strawberry Alarm Clock come to mind, in that they had landmark hits of a sort and their lps (that is, the lp which was then cobbled together around their hit) are lousy and they never followed the singles up with anything.

    That said, I don’t think I have addressed the question, since I have never pined for more from either group–perhaps because I have heard those crappy lps. Sometimes one song is plenty. As corroborating evidence, I submit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vH0YfZKNW54&feature=related

    But in an attempt to enter into the spirit of the thing, let me submit two 1 hit wonders of a later era: M, whose Pop Musik I loved and still love, and Sniff ‘n’ the Tears, whose Driver’s Seat, from around the same time, I am still terribly fond of.

    Sniff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jr4wGFJrSss

    M: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Avvh5H-EPWU

    (And yet, still, I think probably one hit was enough.)

  2. Exile, singers of “I Wanna Kiss You All Over” should have had a string of hits to match the rock portfolios of Firefall or The Climax Blues Band.

  3. Mr. Moderator

    I once bought a (the?) Strawberry Alarm Clock album, hoping to find a second great song. It wasn’t even close! Good example. Same went for The Amboy Dukes. That album with “Journey to the Center of Your Mind” is horrible.

    Sniff ‘n the Tears’ other songs were also big letdowns. I once hoped to find a great second song by them.

    I know David Essex has a career of some sort in England, but for me, one more great song to go along with “Rock On” would have more or less elevated him to T-Rex status. He had great hair, didn’t he?

  4. Mr. Moderator

    Exile’s lone hit definitely deserved a follow up of worth. Would the lone Nick Gilder hit, “Hot Child in the City” suffice? I get those two songs and artists mixed up. Maybe this is the cure for these one-hit wonders: we package them with a simpatico artist.

  5. Freda Payne – Band of Gold
    Looking Glass – Brandy

    Also, more well known folks who, in my estimation, never came up with a second song came close to their best song:

    Todd Rundgren – I Saw the Light
    Oasis – Live Forever.

  6. Nick Guilder wrote the Patty Smyth hit “the Warrior”. Does that count? Plus, I know I’ve heard another song by him that was pretty deece.

  7. bostonhistorian

    I’ve always wanted more great songs from Eugene Church and the Fellows, who had a hit with “Pretty Girls Everywhere”, which just knocks me out every time I hear it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wb5kX2hzfI

  8. Mr. Moderator

    Looking Glass’ “Brandy,” which combines elements of Neil Diamond and Blood, Sweat & Tears, might be paired with Andy Kim’s excellent “Rock Me Gently,” the greatest song hash brownie-eating Neil Diamond never performed.

    I think Todd Rundgren has a handful of strong songs, but I’m assuming you’ve heard them, cdm, and simply disagree.

  9. I disagree about Oasis. There are a number of really strong songs on their 1st 2 records that rival “Live Forever”.

  10. pudman13

    The reason you feel that way about the Srawberry Alarm Clock is probably that you bought the first album (which was kind of a studio hack job not really done by the band at all) and/or were looking for another song that sounds just like “incense and Peppermints.” That song is not what they really were about. Their second album, WAKE UP IT’S TOMORROW, is absolutely brilliant—arguably the best soft psych album of all, but it has a lot more in common with the a much freakier Association than it does “Incense,” and there’s certainly nothing on it that sounds like it could have been a hit. But I think it’s completely great.

    M and Sniff N’ The Tears were perfect examples, exactly what I would have come up with. Here are more from that era: Diesel’s “Sausalito Summernight,” the Call’s “The Walls Came Down,” The Jags’ “Back Of My Hand,” and Westworld’s “Sonic Boom Boy.” I love those songs to death but find the rest of those artists’ oeuvre to be utterly boring. I really wish any of them had made another song of similar ambition as the hit.

    I’m waiting for someone to mention the Vapors, who will forever be victims of the fact that their hit sounded nothing like anything else they did.

  11. Blues Image of “Ride Captain Ride” fame, of course!

  12. misterioso

    I don’t have my personal collection of Billboard charts of the late 70s at hand, but given that everyone I know associates Hot Child and the City with Kiss You All Over, they must have been hits the same month.

    For fans of Kiss You All Over, this should just about cure you. It’s brutal.


  13. The Dwight Twilley Band — I’m On Fire. I still really love that song.

    Twilley solo had a minor hit with “Girls” in the early 80s, but the Dwight Twilley Band with Phil Seymour got derailed because of a bad record deal.

    Sorry to disagree cdm — but Oasis and Todd Rundgren had a lot of great songs, man. I’ve really been digging their new singles collection “Time Flies” and, geez, Rundgren’s got at least a dozen truly wonderful songs.

  14. Seems there’s going to be a lot of personal taste issues with these 1 hit wonder types. I can’t stand “Rock On”; when that one pops up if I can’t switch stations the radio goes OFF. Sniff n the Tears I love, even when it was overplayed on that Cadillac commerical.

    Two more: Hamilton Joe Frank & Reynolds “Don’t Pull Your Love” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRfHgtPgoQ8&feature=related) always feels right although they might have had one other minor hit. From the 90’s, The Primitive Radio Gods “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth”. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9FDXoYs_fM) Gimmicky, but I wish lightning stuck twice for them.

  15. Mr. Moderator

    As so often happens around here I’m shocked – SHOCKED – that someone/anyone would feel otherwise than I do about some long-held belief. k. says he can’t stand “Rock On” – and who am I to argue – but this reminds me of the time an old music friend declared that he didn’t like pizza!

  16. pudman13

    Twilley had half a dozen songs as good as “I’m On Fire.” They just weren’t hits. The first two albums were excellent and there are a ton of great songs from that era that were in the can until “the Great Lost Dwight Twilley Album” was released in the 90s or so.

    Check out “You Were So Warm,” “Looking For The Magic” and “That I Remember” to start with.

    (check out who’s playing bass)


    I couldn’t find a youtube clip for “That I Remember,” but it’s my favorite.

    Also, you won’t believe the original video for “Girls:”


  17. misterioso

    Yeah, love that 1st Twilley lp and the 2nd is good, too.

  18. Mr. Moderator

    Boy, I’ve never gotten Dwight Twilley, although I enjoyed that “Looking for the Magic” song more than I ever did “I’m on Fire.” That “Girls” video is NSFW, if anyone – as I just did – decides to click on it while sitting in work. Worse than that, the song BLOWS (in my humble opinion, of course:)!

    What’s the deal with Twilley? Is he one of those pop guys who’s really miserable or a recluse or something contradictory to his music? I though there was a story behind him.

  19. 2000 Man

    I liked Dwight Twilley, too. Someone let me know when Oasis does anything worth finding out about. They bore me to death.

    I always wished The Ides of March would have come up with something as cool as Vehicle. Couldn’t they have done better than Chicago or Blood Sweat and Tears? I guess we can find out now. They’re getting back together!


  20. BigSteve

    I’m a big fan of Exile, and I’m not being ironic. They were definitely not one-hit wonders. After Kiss You All Over, they went country, and according to Wikipedia, had ten #1 country hits in the 80s. Woke Up In Love was always my favorite:


    Note that they ditched the creepy long-haired singer. J.P. Pennington, the bearded singer/guitarist, was the main creative force, and he became the frontman. I even used have a solo album by him, in addition to Exile’s Greatest Hits. Those were the good old days of The Nashville Network, before country went totally mega.

  21. Pudman, that “Girls” video is something else. Was Twilley trying to piggyback on the success of the Porky’s movies?

    Actually I looked up the Porky’s soundtracks and they are mostly 50’s and 60’s era oldies with a little Dave Edmunds thrown in for good measure.

  22. “For fans of Kiss You All Over, this should just about cure you. It’s brutal.”

    not even close! it makes me feel even closer to them.

    Thanks for the country heads up Big Steve!
    i just checked out those cuts. not really my thing, but i’m happy to know that they did that, rather than just hang out in LA and become dirtbags.

  23. misterioso

    Mod, you don’t get “I’m on Fire”? Whaddya need, a road map? Those first two records have plenty of good hooks, catchy as hell songs. Anything after that is of no interest, as far as I can tell.

    I just can’t hear Kiss You All Over since seeing that Midnight Special clip. Terrible, and way beyond creepy. And somehow the thought of them goin’ country doesn’t exactly get me all revved up.

    Ides of March and Blues Image are good suggestions, always had a soft spot for Ride Captain Ride.

    This is perhaps not by the book, but I would suggest Spirit, whose I Got a Line on You was a moderate hit, and a flat-killer classic. So good it convinced me that The Family That Plays Together and Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus must be worth buying. Whereas in reality they suck. It’s just possible I bought those the same day as Forever Changes, which would make that One of the Most Disappointing Days Ever.

    Still, I Got a Line on You is tremendous.

  24. ladymisskirroyale

    I’m still stuck on Mr. French introducing the song…Where’s Buffy and Jodi?

  25. ladymisskirroyale

    Love the Band of Gold and Brandy suggestions.

    Mine would be the La’s: “There She Goes.” And NOT all those stupid cover versions.

  26. ladymisskirroyale

    For pudman13 – I loved that Westworld single, and had the (lame) album too. And in the spirit of Westworld, how about Betty Boo – “Doin’ the Do” (Lilly Allen eat your heart out) and Neneh Cherry – “Buffalo Stance.”?

    Sadly, a case also could be made for Dee Lite’s “Groove is in the Heart.”

  27. Mr. Moderator

    “Groove Is in the Heart” was such a good song. I agree that the band should have found it in themselves to come up with one more decent single. No dice!

  28. ladymisskirroyale

    One more – this song makes me weep:

    Ace – “How Long”


  29. ladymisskirroyale

    oops – bad Ace link. Here’s one that actually plays:


  30. I’m glad someone else offered Groove is in the Heart, and I can just safely agree, rather than stick my neck out first. That song is very catchy.

  31. ladymisskirroyale

    More Top Hits of the 70’s One Hit Wonders:

    Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum

    Venus – Shocking Blue

    Jeans On – David Dundas

    Smoking in the Boys Room – Brownsville Station

    I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Nash

    It Never Rains in Southern California – Albert Hammond

  32. Peter Schilling. “Major Tom”

    What if the “one hit wonder” was a one-hitter here, but big in Europe? Are they still a one hit wonder?

    For example, I always liked Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom” which is his one US hit, but as a German artist he probably had some hits in Europe.

    I dig the song.


    (check out that keytar)

  33. Belfegore’s “All That I Wanted”

    This band, again from Germany, should have had more hits stateside. This song is brutal.


  34. I’m with you on most of those, Ladymiss, but I can’t abide by Spirit in the Sky. I find it perplexing that that song gets so much soundtrack/air time. It is a stone cold turd.

    From the 90s, I would have liked to hear a follow up to Get What You Give by the New Radicals or whatever they were called.

    And I will unironically stand up for MmmmBop. Just heard it recently and I think it still sounds great. And that chick was hot!

  35. 2000 Man

    If you haven’t checked out Brownsville Station’s other albums, then I think you’re missing out. Cub Koda’s enthusiasm for Rock N Roll was infectious and genuine, and if you never checked them out further than their big hit, I think you’re missing out on some primo 70’s Detroit garage rock.

  36. ladymisskirroyale

    cdm – Aren’t you thinking of Mmmmbop by Hanson?

  37. ladymisskirroyale

    2000 Man – thanks for the tip.

    And cdm, Spirit in the Sky IS a weird song. I sorta like it, but it is a strange song to have become so popular.

  38. Mr. Moderator

    To pick up on a couple of jazcoleman’s questions, I’m defining “one-hit wonders” by their US charting. David Essex, I’m pretty sure, would be considered more than a one-hit wonder in England. Our Townspeople overseas, however, can define one-hit wonders by their own charts.

    Also – and I don’t think jaz was confused about this – I could give a rat’s ass whether the second great song was a hit or not. That song Nick Gilder wrote for Patty Smyth, for instance, must have sucked because everything she did beside the old Frank’s Soda ad (oldtime Philly brand) sucked, right?

    I’m a sucker for “Spirit in the Sky” – that beat, the fuzz guitars, the ridiculous religious lyrics…it’s very hippified. I have to rethink whether we can still be friends, cdm:)

  39. Yes, Mmmmbop by Hanson

  40. I was thinking the same thing. I consider this a serious personality flaw on your part.

  41. BigSteve

    Regarding Spirit in the Sky, you’ve got to hand it to a Jewish guy writing a gospel song on a lark as a non-believer and getting it into the top ten by adding a dose of psychedelia.

    To me the song is all about the fuzz guitar tone. Today you can dial up a sound like that on any number of outboard devices and software packages, but back then it wasn’t so easy. Whenever that song comes on, I just key on the guitar tone, and it never lets me down.

  42. hrrundivbakshi

    Oh! Oh, oh, oh, oh, OH. This is a first. A Townsman whose judgment, to date, I’ve found *without flaw*, issuing a pronouncement of taste that is just totally wrong. By which I mean, calling out an album that I believe to be one of the Greats in rock album history as a stone-cold turd. By which I mean: “Dr. Sardonicus … in reality (it) suck(s).”

    Misterioso, say it ain’t so! Or at least, say what you mean here. Why do you think that album sucks? It’s one of my faves — by which I mean, of all time. What’s more, I’ve always felt it’s a triumph of “album-ness” — by which I mean: it’s something that hangs together as a unit in a way that makes its sum even greater than its constituent parts — which I also think are great.

    Anyhow… why?

    Your otherwise ardent admirer,


  43. BigSteve

    Something in the Air by Thunderclap Newman.

    Speedy Keen had already written Armenia City in the Sky, so you’d think he’d have more than one other great song in him. Apparently not.

  44. “Montego Bay” by Bobby Bloom. That big, booming soulful voice had to have more hits in it.

  45. Guess I am still wearing my Team Canada manager hat here, but here’s a few Canadian Content one hit Wonders:

    “Rock me Gently” Andy Kim
    “Roxy Roller” Sweeney Todd
    “Hot Child in the City” Nick Gilder

  46. Loser by Beck

  47. Mr. Moderator

    Welcome to the fray, teek! I wasn’t sure if I knew that song and artist you suggested, then I found this AWESOME video:


    I vaguely recall this song, and I’m totally digging Bobby Bloom’s Mike Brady Look, right down to that enviable huge-collared shirt!

  48. Lots of interesting submissions here. “Groove Is In The Heart.” Thanks for reminding me of that gem…

    One of my great pop questions pertains to the perfection of melody and lyric of the song “Melt With You” by Modern English. C’mon Modern English! You made that song…Make another…


  49. “Rock the Boat” – The Hues Corporation
    “Jessie’s Girl” – Rick Springfield
    “Turning Japanese” – The Vapors
    “Ooh Child” – The (5) Stairsteps

  50. Ok, I may regret this but Rick Springfield had a few other decent cuts. A little slick and heavy-handedly marketed but he was a soap opera star at the time. Try this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iu788foYCa8

    Now “Melt With You” is perfect. The rest of that Album (After the Snow?) sucked mightily.

  51. 2000 Man

    I always like this song by William DeVaughn:


    I remember getting up for my paper route and hearing it on CKLW really early in the morning. I don’t know if it was a real big hit, but I never heard him after that.

  52. alexmagic

    I think I’ve previously gone on record as never thinking “Rock On” was anything special and not being able to touch a solid T. Rex number. To my ears, Bolan got a lot more out of his song of the same name than Essex.

    Thunderclap Newman’s “Something in the Air” = my parent’s ‘song’. Go figure.

    Agreed that Dee-Lite expertly accomplished what they set out to do with “Groove Is In The Heart”. Unfortunately for the band, they did not survive the death of The Box, the (relatively) short-lived cable pay-per-video channel that I remember “Groove” dominating. I believe The Box’s demise also hurt the career of Urban Dance Squad, but it’s also possible that they just never found another song to sample with a hook as great as the Ray Baretto original that carried “A Deeper Shade of Soul”.

    I also agree that “I Melt With You” is pretty flawless and don’t think there’s any nostalgia talking there. Anybody want to come forward with beef against that one, or does this earn a pass despite coming right after The Year The Music Died?

  53. Sorry. I’m not a fan of Melt With You. Two strikes: the dumb humming part and the desperation of the multiple versions. I also get associations with either Molly Ringwald or one or both of the two Coreys. Just an impression that it showed up in all those 80s teen flicks though I can’t substantiate that.

  54. misterioso

    LOOOOOOOOVE Spirit in the Sky. Dude was born in Malden, MA, and when I used to live there I would relish the fact that I was living in town that produced the man who gave us the deathless Spirit in the Sky.

    Now, HVB: If you think flattery is going to get you anywhere, praising my (admittedly) flawless taste, well, let me tell you, you couldn’t be more right.

    I was just a TAD more harsh with Dr. Sardonicus than I needed to be. I like some of it. The first few songs, including Nature’s Way and Animal Zoo are very good. I kind of lose the plot after that, for the most part. I like Morning Will Come. I haven’t stopped putting the album on once in a while to see if the rest will click. I pretty much have stopped doing that with The Family That Plays Together. I am not sure I will ever be able to forgive it for not delivering on the promise of I Got a Line on You, which, I emphasize, is one of the greatest songs ever. Back to Sardonicus, I would agree with you that the overall effect of the album is more impressive than the individual songs. So I take your point: “sucks” was too strong.

    Still, I will contend that nothing else I have heard from Spirit (other than, obviously Got a Line) outstrips Jay Ferguson’s solo hit, the marvelously cheesy Thunder Island. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdfyUZUllLI

  55. Mr. Moderator

    I wholly agree with misterioso’s tempered thoughts on that Spirit album! Now, hrrundivbakshi, will you send some props my way? 🙂

    I, too, dug “Thunder Island” in its time, although I can’t for the life of me remember how it went. Let me check it out now. I seem to recall it fitting in nicely with those Jefferson Starship ballads I so dig – “Miracles” and the like. I also recall liking the song the same way I liked the one McGuinn, Clark, and Hillman mini-hit from that period, although I can’t recall a note from that song either.

  56. Mr. Moderator

    Yeah, “Thunder Island” LIVE – complete with band intros!

    Now I’m trying to find the McGuinn, Clark & Hillman mini-hit that I remember kind of liking. Is it this one?


    There’s much I still enjoy about this song in a totally cheesy way, but as I watch this clip I keep thinking it’s a good thing I didn’t go to school with Roger McGuinn when I was a young bully, of sorts. I would have had to give him some shit about something I’d regret years later.

    I’m pretty sure it’s not this one:


    Man, Gene Clark looks like he’s knockin’ on heaven’s door, doesn’t he?

    This MC&H stuff I’m revisiting is fascinating in a how-the-somewhat-mighty-have-not-quite-fallen-but…it’s-hard-to-put-my-finger-on-it way. “Don’t Your Write Her Off Like That” must be the cheesy single I recall liking as a young teen.

  57. misterioso

    Wow, I have no recollection of that McG-H-C song. It’s really not–what’s the word I’m looking for?–good.

  58. hrrundivbakshi

    Misterioso: thanks for that clarification. My faith is restored. And — hey, wotta Fergie clip. Did you notice all the band members look just like Jay Ferguson?

    That “Thunder Road” number is a classic example of the kind of song that proves some artists just enjoyed first musical mover advantage. Only one person could’ve enjoyed the success that came with writing a song around that riff — though any joker could’ve written it. Jay just came first. First mover advantage — see what I mean?

  59. misterioso

    hrrundivbakshi wrote: “That ‘Thunder Road’ number is a classic example….”

    “Thunder Road” is by some other guy, some Jay Ferguson wannabe, probably.

    Your right about the Jay Ferguson band…maybe it’s like that Bugs Bunny cartoon where he’s playing baseball and all the positions are played by Bugs Bunny.

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