Another little series this one about one hit wonders. It is surprising to note that all of these songs are memorable but just had their one shining moment for the artists and no other great hits followed. This is the fifth post in this series. I will add the links below as I go along.
Rhythm of the Rain
I don’t know how many of you remember this rainy day song but I always enjoyed it. I could imagine a rainy day as the song began and for a while it was played often on oldies radio. “Rhythm of the Rain” was performed by The Cascades in 1962. It quickly became a hit charting on the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Easy Listening charts. The version by this group was included in the 1979 film “Quadrophenia”. What I really liked about this song was the sound of the rain and thunder are both at the beginning and ending of the song.
What is interesting is that the song has a French version titled “En ecoutant la pluie” sung by Sylvie Vartan and became a number one hit in France. For The Cascades it was their one-hit wonder.
“Rock On” is a song that was written and recorded by the English singer David Essex in 1973. The song was a great success and became an international hit. It charted on the UK Singles chart and was a Top-Ten Hit of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It turned out to be Essex’s only Billboard Top 40 song. “Rock On” was the title track of Essex’s debut studio album in 1973 and his version was featured on the soundtrack of the film “That’ll Be the Day”. The song is a standard of classic rock and oldies radio stations. Essex was among the singers of that day that had the striking features and looks that made them many women fans.
Seasons In the Sun
This song is among my top favorites. It did not matter how often it came on the radio I always sang along and enjoyed it, “Seasons in the Sun” is an English-language adaption of the Belgian song “Le Moribond” (The Dying Man) by singer and songwriter Jacques Brel from 1961. In 1963 American singer and poet Rod McKuen wrote the English lyrics. The version by Canadian singer Terry Jacks became a worldwide hit. The song charted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and rose to number one and was on the Easy Listening charts. This song remains Jacks’s only major solo hit in the US. He also released a German-language version in Germany titled “In den Garten der Zeit”.
Spirit in the Sky
“Spirit in the Sky” has lyrics you want to sing along with and music you want to jump to and dance to. The song was written and recorded by the American singer and songwriter Norman Greenbaum. It was released in 1969 and is on his album of the same name. The single was certified Gold and it charted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it at number 333 on the list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It has also gained the reputation for being one of the top one-hit-wonders of all time at least Greenbaum’s version.
“Teen Angel” is a song among other songs known as teenage tragedy songs. It was written by Jean Dinning and her husband, Red Surrey. The song was recorded in 1959 by Dinning’s brother Mark Dinning. The song slowly climbed the charts and finally reached the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also charted on the UK Singles chart but the BBC banned it from being played.
It was a song often played on oldies radio and soon I knew every word. However, being a song about tragedy, I thought I heard it once too often. For Mark Dinning it became his one-hit wonder. His version was featured in the film “American Graffiti” in 1973. He died of a heart attack at the age of 52.
I wonder how many of you remember this song “Tell Him” recorded in 1962 by The Exciters. It is a song written and composed by Bert Berns. I remember it was a catchy tune with words that stayed on your mind. The Exciters version made it on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and is the song they’re most remembered by. This version was included in the 1983 film “The Big Chill”, in the Canadian drama “Something About Love”, and in the 1997 film “My Best Friend’s Wedding”.
Even though it counts as a one-hit-wonder for The Exciters the song has been remembered all through the years and was featured in the animation film “Monsters vs. Aliens” in 2009 and also in the thriller film “10 Cloverfield Lane in 2016.
“Tequila” is a Latin-inspired surf instrumental. It was written by Chuck Rio and recorded by American rock group The Champs. Throughout the entire tune the word “tequila” is mentioned three times otherwise it is all instrumental. It has a catchy beat and became very popular reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. For The Champs this became their one-hit wonder. They did try for a sequel to this song “Too Much Tequila” but never had the same impact. Perhaps, it should have been called “No More Tequila” since no one was listening. They did record 12 new tracks for an album titled Tequila Party and included a party version of “Tequila”.
The Book of Love
I’m sure there are at least some of you who remember the song “Book of Love.” It was a rock and roll/doo-wop song originally recorded by The Monotones. You might remember the catchy melody and the words from the song "I wonder, wonder, wonder who, who wrote the book of love". It was recorded in 1957 and became so popular that it was on both the Billboard and R&B charts. However, it also became a one hit wonder for The Monotones and their only song that became a well-liked hit.