Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Top 500 One-Hit Wonders of the Rock Era: #200-176

We're all set to present the best 200 One-Hit Wonders of the Rock Era*, based on the popularity of the song, both then and now, the talent, experience and level of musicianship of the artist, and in short, the "surprise factor" that the artist never had another hit.  We started April 1, and we're now about to dive into The Top 200*...

If you were listening in the spring of 1975, you'll remember this song:

#200:  Chevy Van--Sammy Johns 

Johns received his first guitar at age nine and formed his own band, the Devilles, as a teenager. The group performed in local clubs and recorded a few records that received regional airplay.

After moving to Atlanta, Georgia in 1973, Johns signed a recording contract.  In 1975, the single "Chevy Van" was released, which rose to #5 and sold over a million copies.  Although Johns never would enjoy further recording success, he has written songs for other artists, including John Conlee, Waylon Jennings and Conway Twitty.  

This former lead singer of the Dovells enjoyed his own solo hit:

#199:  1-2-3--Len Barry

Barry's inspiration in school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was to be a professional baseball player.  Upon entering military service, however, Barry sang with the U.S. Coast Guard band at Cape May, New Jersey and decided to pursue a musical career.

After his discharge, Barry joined the Dovells as lead singer.  With that group, Barry enjoyed hits such as "You Can't Sit Down" and "Bristol Stomp".  The latter sold over one million copies.  Barry and the Dovells appeared on The Dick Clark ShowShindig and Hullabaloo.

Barry left the Dovells and recorded the solo single "Lip Sync".  In 1965, Len recorded "1-2-3", which hit #2 in the United States, also made the Top 10 in the U.K. and sold over one million copies.  "Like a Baby" just missed the Top 20 at #27 in the U.S.  Barry co-wrote both songs.  He also recorded a remake of Roy Head's song "Treat Her Right".

In 1969, Barry and John Madera co-produced The Original Version:  Journey to the Moon album for Buddah Records.  The album used actual conversations with the astronauts and U.S. President Richard Nixon, among others, mixed with original music.  The band included Daryl Hall, later to join Hall & Oates, and the album was approved by NASA.

Barry went on to write "Keem-O-Sabe" and was a key contributor to the Philadelphia disco sound. 

This artist started a musical "project" that resulted in a #1 record:

#198:  Pop Muzik--M   

Robin Scott enrolled at Croydon Art college in a London suburb.  While at Croydon, he began writing songs which he performed on radio and television, which led to his debut album, Woman From the Warm Grass.

After this initial foray into the music business, Scott began singing his own songs and accompanying himself on guitar. He played folk music clubs, sharing bills with emerging artists such as David Bowie.  Scott conceived of a multimedia project called "The Voice" which aired on BBC Radio 3.  

In 1972, Scott won the Search For A Star national talent contest, but refused a recording offer from EMI because they would not include his backing band.  In 1973, Scott wrote a musical called "Heartaches & Teardrops".  Scott then began working with the band Roogalator, producing their album and releasing it on his own Do It Records.

While in Paris, France, Scott began working on a project he called "M" with a group of session musicians.  The single "Pop Muzik", which he wrote and produced, reached #1 in the United States and #2 in the U.K.

A follow up called "Moonlight and Muzak" was released and reached #33 in the U.K.

All told, Scott released four albums and nine singles, but none approaching the level of "Pop Muzik".

Up next, one of the most promising newcomers of the 1980's:

#197:  Key Largo--Bertie Higgins        

Bertie was born in Tarpon Springs, Florida.  Higgins played drums in a band known as the Romans as a teenager, changed to the Roemans when Tommy Roe became the lead singer.  The group released three singles between 1964 and 1966, which received some airplay but did not chart.

Higgins achieved his only hit with "Key Largo"  in 1981, a song which referenced the Humphrey Bogart movie of the same name.  "Key Largo" reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and was #8 overall and sold over one million copies.  

Higgins did achieve success in Japan and China with his song "Casablanca", continuing the theme of Bogart movies, but his only worldwide success was with "Key Largo".

This gospel-rock band hit paydirt in 1971:

#196:  Put Your Hand in the Hand--Ocean

Ocean was a gospel-rock band formed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1970.  They consisted of Greg Brown on vocals and keyboard, Jeff Jones on bass and vocals, Janice Morgan on guitar and vocals, guitarist Dave Tamblyn and Chuck Slater on drums.

In 1971, they struck gold with the million-seller "Put Your Hand in the Hand", which reached #2.  The single was recorded on Yorkville Records, picked up for distribution by Kama Sutra.

Ocean had a hit in their native Canada with "We've Got a Dream" but couldn't achieve further worldwide success and broke up in 1975 after two albums.

This talented singer was discovered by Paul Revere & the Raiders:

#195:  Angel of the Morning--Merrilee Rush   

Merrilee Gunst is from Seattle, Washington and studied piano at an early age.  In 1960, she became the lead singer for the Amazing Aztecs.  She soon married saxophone player Neil Rush and the two performed covers as Merrilee and Her Men before joining the R&B group Tiny Tony and the Statics.

Merrillee and Neil then formed Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts, which became popular at dances in the Northwest.  The great group Paul Revere and the Raiders discovered her during this time and invited Merrillee to open for them on tour.  Mark Lindsay, the lead singer of the Raiders, introduced Rush to producer Chips Moman, and her career was born.

Rush recorded "Angel of the Morning" in 1968 and the single was released on Bell Records.  Songwriter Chip Taylor, brother of actor Jon Voight  and uncle of actress Angelina Jolie, wrote the song.  Merrilee made a great impression with listeners and the song rocketed up to #7 in the United States and was a worldwide hit.  "Angel of the Morning" went gold and earned Rush a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Pop Female Vocalist of the Year.

Merrilee appeared on numerous television programs including American Bandstand, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, The Everly Brothers Show and Happening.  Rush and the Turnabouts released "That Kind of Woman" in 1968, while the rest of her releases were solo singles.  Her next best effort came in 1977, when Merrilee reached #54 with "Save Me".  

Merrillee was discovered by the great 60's group Paul Revere  & the Raiders.  Her next best effort came in 1977, when Merrilee reached #54 with "Save Me".  

Two talented session musicians teamed up to form this group:

#194:  No Time to Lose--Tarney Spencer Band 

Alan Tarney and Trevor Spencer met while playing in two Australian groups: Johnny Broome and the Handels and the Vectormen. In 1969, both emigrated to the U.K along with Kevin peek and Terry Britten. The four formed the band Quartet and released two singles on Decca Records.

In 1973, Tarney and Spencer backed Cliff Richard in the Eurovision Song Contest and became session musicians for artists such as Richard, Olivia Newton-John, Bonnie Tyler, the New Seekers, John Farrar and Hank Marvin.  Spencer joined the Shadows from 1973-1977, while Tarney appeared on albums by Cliff Richard and the Shadows from 1970-1979.

Tarney and Spencer formed a duo in 1975 and released their debut album in 1975.  Their first single "I'm Your Man Rock and Roll" was a minor U.K. hit and Tarney and Spencer appeared on the television show Top of the Pops.  

In 1978, the Tarney/Spencer Band signed a recording contract with A&M Records.  The single "Takin' Me Back" was Top 10 in South Africa.  Then the duo released Three's a Crowd and the album received airplay from AOR stations in the United States, while the single "It's Really You" reached #86.

But it was in 1979 that the Tarney/Spencer Band recorded their top song, "No Time To Lose".  It was featured on the album Run For Your Life and reached #84.  But A&M cut their 10-album contract short and released them, and shortly after this time, the duo broke up.

Two years later, MTV (which used to stand for music television for all you young people!) began, and "No Time To Lose" began to get played.  This led A&M to reissue the song and it fared slightly better, hitting #74 in 1981.

Tarney began producing and was largely responsible for Cliff Richard's resurgence in the United States with "We Don't Talk Anymore" and he also produced A-Ha for three albums, as well as Leo Sayer, Squeeze, the Dream Academy and Charlie Dore.

This group from Great Britain landed a #1 song in 1974:

#193:  The Night Chicago Died--Paper Lace  

This group first formed in 1967 as Music Box, but changed to Paper Lace, choosing their name from lace products created from a special grade of high quality paper manufactured in their hometown of Nottingham, England.  The band originally consisted of Dave Manders (guitar and lead vocals), Philip Wright (drums and lead vocals), Mike Harper (lead vocals), Mick Baughan on lead and rhythm guitar, lead guitarist Roy White and bassist Cliff Fish.  The group played small clubs, but their career didn't take off until a win on the television show Opportunity Knocks.

The win drew the attention of songwriters/producers Mitch Murray and Peter Callender, who signed Paper Lace to a contract.  "Billy Don't Be a Hero" was #1 in the U.K., but Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods had the hit in the United States with that song, relegating Paper Lace to #96.  

The follow-up in 1974, however, was a worldwide smash.  From the instant the single "The Night Chicago Died" was released, it shot up to #1 and sold over three million copies.

Paper Lace released two albums but quickly faded from the public mind as they could not produce another popular song.

This artist got his big break when his song about the 1981 Brixton riots caught on:

#192:  Electric Avenue --Eddy Grant 

Born in Guyana, Grant and his parents emigrated to London, U.K. when he was young.  Eddy went to the Acland Burghley Secondary Modern at Tufnell Park.  He was the lead guitarist and songwriter for the Equals when they recorded the #1 U.K. hit "Baby, Come Back".

Grant reached #1 in the U.K. with "I Don't Wanna' Dance", but the song was ignored in most countries.  It was "Electric Avenue" that hit #2 in both the U.K. and the U.S. and sold over one million copies.  "Electric Avenue" was #2 in the United States for five weeks in 1983.

Grant had a minor hit with the title song from the movie Romancing the Stone, which hit #26.  "Gimme Hope Jo'anna" was a #7 song in the U.K. and a few other European countries but again Grant could not command a worldwide audience. 

Grant has released 14 albums and 14 singles in his career.  
Eddy set up his own recording company, Ice Records and has produced Sting, Mick Jagger and Elvis Costello.

An artist with an amazing voice graces our special next:

#191:  Hey There Lonely Girl--Eddie Holman 

Holman learned the piano and guitar at an early age. At first, he mostly only sang at church. But in 1956, at the age of ten, Eddie appeared on Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York and "wowed" the audience with his great voice. 

Soon, Holman performed at theaters on Broadway and Carnegie Hall.  He learned the technical aspects of music at the Victoria School of Music in Harlem before Holman and his family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  After graduating from high school, Eddie graduated from Cheyney State University with a degree in music.  

Holman recorded his first song "This Can't Be True" in 1965.  He sang with the groups the Delfonics and the Stylistics before releasing "Hey There Lonely Girl" in 1970.  The song reached #2 in the United States and #4 in the U.K. and sold over one million copies.

Eddy became an ordained Baptist minister and uses his singing to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ.  Holman started his own record label, Agape Records, and the Schoochiebug Music Publishing company. 

This group generated one of the surprise #1 songs of the time, then more surprisingly, didn't have a follow-up:

#190:  Come On Eileen--Dexy's Midnight Runners   

Kevin Rowland (vocals and guitar), who at the time was going by the pseudonym Carlo Rolan, and Kevin Archer (vocals and guitar) founded Dexy's Midnight Runners in Birmingham, England in 1978.  That pair was joined by Jim Paterson (trombone), Geoff Blythe (saxophone), Steve Spooner (alto sax), keyboardist Pete Saunders, bassist Pete Williams and Bobby Ward on drums.

Dexy's Midnight Runners recorded the single "Dance Stance" in 1979.  The song reached the Top 40 in their native U.K., and the follow-up single, "Geno" hit #1 in Britain.  The latter featured new members Andy Leek on keyboards and Andy Growcott on drums.  Neither single was able to enjoy worldwide success, however.

The group released their debut album, Searching for the Young Soul Rebels, in 1980.  Shortly afterwards, most of the members quit the band, upset with personality problems with Rowland, including his imposed press embargo on the group.  Patterson stayed with Rowland and the group added Billy Adams (guitar and banjo), Seb Shelton on drums, keyboardist Micky Billingham, Brian Maurice on alto sax, Paul Speare on tenor saxophone and bassist Steve Wynne.

The group released the single "Show Me" in 1981, which reached #16 in the U.K.  Rowland soon took the group in another direction.  He recruited fiddle players Helen O'Hara, Stevve Brennan and Roger MacDuff and bassist Giorgio Kilkenny.

With this lineup, Dexy's Midnight Runners recorded the album Too-Rye-Ay in 1982 with the band dressed in dungarees, scarves and leather waistcoats.  The first single from the album, "The Celtic Soul Brothers", reached #45, but the follow-up, "Come On Eileen", hit #1 in the U.K. and finally gave the group a hit in the United States, where it topped the charts and became the #1-selling single of the year.

The group released "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)", their remake of the Van Morrison tune, that hit #5 in the U.K., but their worldwide success was gone.  The brass section (Paterson, Speare and Maurice) left to form the TKO Horns, which recorded with Howard Jones and Elvis Costello.  Billingham left the group to join General Public.

Dexy's Midnight Runners continued to tour until 1983.  Then, after a two-year break, the group returned with the album Don't Stand Me Down.  But the magic was gone and soon the band broke up.   

Curtis Mayfield helped this group get off the ground:

#189:  O-o-h Child--the Five Stairsteps                     

This group from Chicago, Illinois was called the "First Family of Soul".  They were a teenage five-member brothers and sister group consisting of lead singer Clarence Jr., Alohe, James, Dennis and Kenneth.  The older members of the quintet attended Harlan High School.  

The father, Clarence Sr., played bass guitar, co-wrote songs and managed the Five Stairsteps, so named because they resembled steps when they were lined up by age.  After winning a talent contest at the Regal Theater, the group received several recording offers.  The group signed with Curtis Mayfield's Windy City label and their first single "You Waited Too Long" was a minor R&B hit.

 Buddah Records picked up national distribution for the group's second album Family Portrait.  In 1970, the Five Stairsteps released "O-o-h Child", which hit #8 and sold over one million copies.  The group had a few other minor hit songs and found some success on the R&B chart, but they had set a standard with "O-o-h Child" that couldn't be matched. 

After the group broke up, Keni recorded as a solo artist on George Harrison's Dark Horse Records and his bass playing can be heard on everyone from the Four Tops to Diana Ross, Sly & the Family Stone, Dusty Springfield, Natalie Cole, Billy Preston, Gladys Knight, Bill Withers and the Emotions.

We feature a pair of brothers next:

#188:  Sleep Walk--Santo & Johnny 

Brothers Santo & Johnny Farina hail from Brooklyn, New York.  The pair began taking steel guitar lessons.  When Santo was a teenager, he had a local music store modify an acoustic guitar so he could play it like a steel guitar.

When he was a teenager, Santo performed in amateur shows and was writing songs.  He formed an instrumental trio with a guitarist and drummer.  The trio performed at local dances and parties.  When Johnny was twelve, he began playing with Santo.  The brothers soon formed a duo and recorded a demo they sent to local New York City record companies.

In 1958, Mike Dee & the Mello Tones (Santo, Johnny and their uncle Mike Dee on drums) recorded an instrumental called "Deep Sleep". 
A music publishing company contacted the brothers and signed them to a songwriter's contract.  Santo & Johnny then signed a recording contract with Canadian-American Records.  "Deep Sleep" became "Sleep Walk", which Santo & Johnny turned into one of The Top 100 Instrumentals of the Rock Era*, a #1 song for two weeks in 1959 that sold over one million copies.

After touring Europe, Mexico and Australia, Santo & Johnny signed an Italian recording contract.  The duo had some European hits, including the theme to the movie The Godfather, which went to #1 in Italy.  But Santo & Johnny could never manage another worldwide hit after "Sleep Walk".

Johnny is the president of Aniraf Records. Santo & Johnny were inducted into The Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 2002.

Our next artist gave a great singing performance featured on her big hit:

#187:  I Know--Dionne Farris   
Farris sang on three songs with the group Arrested Development, before beginning a solo career.  In 1995, the single "I Know" reached #4 and was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.  Her song "Hopeless" was included on the "Love Jones" Soundtrack.

Farris released three albums and six singles in her career.

This artist not only found fame in his adopted country but worldwide with his big hit:

#186:  Love is in the Air--John Paul Young  

Born in Scotland, Young and his family emigrated to Australia in 1962 when John was 11.  After school, Young began an apprenticeship as a sheet metal worker.  John formed his first band in 1967 with schoolmates.

Elm Tree recorded a single (a cover of Marmalade's "Rainbow") on Du Monde Records in 1970.  The following year, the group entered the New South Wales Battle of the Sounds and reached the Sydney finals.  After one Elm Tree performance in Newcastle, producer and manager Simon Napier-Bell signed Young to a solo contract with Albert Productions, the same firm that produced the group the Easybeats.  

Young recorded his first solo single, "Pasadena", co-written by George Young and Harry Vanda of the Easybeats.  The song was released under the name John Young; later releases used John Paul Young.  "Pasadena" reached #16 in Australia.  

Young hired manager Dal Miles, who helped John Paul land a role in the Melbourne production of The Jesus Christ Revolution.  This in turn led to a role in the Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar, which Young starred in for two years, as the production broke attendance records.

After these roles, Young returned with Albert Productions, and Vanda & Young resumed writing songs for him.  "Yesterday's Hero" gave Young a Top 10 hit in Australia.  From 1974-1987, Young was the guest host on the Australian Broadcasting Company television series Countdown.  It is this exposure credited in making Young a teen pop success in Australia.

Young went on a national tour in 1975 to promote his debut album Hero.  He enjoyed a series of hits in Australia including "Love Game", "I Hate the Music" and "I Wanna' Do It with You".  "I Hate the Music" was also a hit in Sweden and the latter two were hits in South Africa.  But still, worldwide success eluded him.
That success would finally come in 1978, when Young released "Love Is in the Air".  The song was #2 in Norway, South Africa and Sweden, #3 in Austria, Australia and Germany, #5 in Switzerland and the U.K. and #7 in the United States.  

Beyond "Love Is in the Air", Young enjoyed other Top 10 songs in Germany, the Netherlands and South Africa.  He released nine albums and 20 singles in his career.  In 2000, he performed at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.  But he would never again release a song as universally popular.

This next artist with the super voice gave us a standard:

#185:  Cry Me A River--Julie London

London and her family moved to Los Angeles when she was 14.  She began singing under her birth name of Gayle Peck in her teens.  Shortly afterwards, she began appearing in movies, and graduated from the Hollywood Professional School in 1945.  Julie enjoyed a singing career in the 1950's and an acting career of more than 35 years. 

In 1954, London met jazz composer and musician Bobby Troup at a club on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles.  London embarked on a singing career in 1955 that spanned 32 albums.  Her first live performance was at the 881 Club.  London made her first recordings on Bethlehem Records.

"Cry Me a River" was written by her high school classmate, Arthur Hamilton, and was produced by her husband.  The song reached #9 and sold over a million copies.  Despite this being her only charting single, Billboard Magazine named her the most popular female vocalist of 1955, 1956 and 1957.   

London also starred in over 20 movies and was a pinup girl prized by GI's during World War II.  One of her greatest roles was in Man of the West in 1958 starring Gary Cooper.  London starred in several variety series and dramatic shows on television, including The Big Valley and Adam-12, but her most prominent role was as nurse Dixie McCall in the show Emergency!

London was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

We're up to one of the legendary songwriters of the Rock Era:

#184:  Who Put the Bomp--Barry Mann  

Mann signed on with Don Kirshner's and Al Nevin's Aldon Music, where he was a staff songwriter.  Mann's first songwriting success was "She Say (Oom Dooby Doom)", a Top 20 hit for the Diamonds in 1959.  In 1961, he co-wrote "I Love How You Love Me", a #5 song for the Paris Sisters.
Later that year, Mann recorded "Who Put the Bomp", which reached #7 in the United States.  But rather than concentrate on becoming a solo artist, Mann continued to focus on his songwriting.  He formed a partnership with Cynthia Weil, another of the songwriters at Aldon Music.  The two married in 1961, and became one of The Top Songwriting Teams of the Rock Era*.

Together, Mann and Weil wrote "We Gotta' Get out of This Place" for the Animals", "Kicks" and "Hungry" for Boise, Idaho's Paul Revere & the Raiders, "On Broadway" for the Drifters, "Blame It on the Bossa Nova" for Eydie Gorme, "Walking in the Rain" by the Ronettes, "Uptown" for the Crystals" and "Magic Town" for the Vogues in their early years.  Mann and Weil teamed with Phil Spector to write the #1 classic "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" for the Righteous Brothers, which became the most-played song of the 20th century.  Mann and Weil also wrote another huge hit for the Righteous Brothers--"(You're My) Soul and Inspiration".  

Mann and Weil also wrote "Somewhere Out There" for Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram.  The song reached #2, sold over one million copies and won two Grammy Awards.  Ronstadt and Aaron Neville turned Mann and Weil's "Don't Know Much" into another huge hit.  The two also wrote "You Take My Breath Away" for Berlin for the movie Top Gun.  

Other Mann-Weil hits include "Just Once" by James Ingram & Quincy Jones, "Never Gonna' Let You Go" by Sergio Mendes, "I Just Can't Help Believing" and "Rock and Roll Lullabye" by B.J. Thomas, "Here You Come Again" by Dolly Parton and "Make Your Own Kind of Music" by Mama Cass Elliott. 

Mann has now written over 635 songs.  He has received 56 awards from BMI and 46 of his compositions have gone over one million airplays.  In 1987, Mann and Weil were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and in 2011, the two received the Johnny Mercer Award, the highest honor from that organization.  In 2010, Mann and Weil received the Ahmet Ertegun Award from the Rock and Roll Hall of fame.  Today, Mann and Weil own their own publishing company called Dyad Music.  

While Mann may have been a One-Hit Wonder as a recording artist, he has made monumental contributions to the Rock Era as one of its top songwriters.

At #183, yet another award-winner featured in our special:

#183:  Knockin' Da Boots--H-Town

Twins Kevin "Dino" Conner and Solomon "Shazam" Conner sang in talent shows and plays before a local producer sent a demo tape to Luther Campbell. The brothers joined Adrian Washington and Darryl Jackson and formed H-Town in 1992.  The group named themselves from the local nickname for the city of Houston, Texas in which they grew up.  After an audition, Campbell signed the group to the label Luke Records. 

H-Town's debut album Fever for Da Flavor was released in 1993 and featured the single "Knockin' Da Boots".  The song hit #1 on the R&B chart and was #3 overall and helped the group win the Soul Train Music Award for Best New Artist.  They performed on the Coca-Cola Summerfest tour, which also included SWV, LL Cool J, Shai, Jade and Silk. 

But the best track on their second album Beggin' After Dark was "Emotions", which reached #51.  H-Town did not reach the Top 20 again, with the best attempt being the remake of the Persuaders' "A Thin Line Between Love and Hate", which reached #37.

H-Town released six albums and 10 singles in their career.

He could have been a lawyer but his fate was entwined with rock and roll history:

#182:  Chantilly Lace--Big Bopper  

J.P. Richardson graduated from Beaumont High School in 1947.  He studied pre-law at Lamar College and was a member of the band and chorus.  Richardson also played with the Johnny Lampson Combo.

Richardson worked part-time at KTRM radio in Beaumont before behind hired full-time in 1949.  He was drafted into the United States Army in 1955, and served as a radar instructor in El Paso, Texas.  

After his discharge in 1957, Richardson returned to KTRM, where he did the afternoon shift from 3 to 6 and began to call himself "The Big Bopper".

Richardson played guitar and began his career as a songwriter, writing "White Lightning" for George Jones and "Running Bear", a song that became #1 for Johnny Preston. Harold "Pappy" Daily of Mercury Records signed Richardson to a recording contract.  Richardson's first single, "Beggar To A King" flopped.  He then recorded "Chantilly Lace" as the Big Bopper, which was released in 1958.  The song reached #6.  

Through the success of "Chantilly Lace", Richardson was invited to join Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Dion and the Belmonts for the Winter Dance Party, a tour that took the artists all over the Midwest.

Richardson died on the 11th night of that tour on February 3, 1959, a day that we know as The Day the Music Died, killed in a plane crash in Iowa along with Holly and Valens.

Another Tony Burrows project is up next:

#181:  Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)--Edison Lighthouse 

Edison Lighthouse originally consisted of lead singer Tony Burrows, Stuart Edwards on lead guitar, David Taylor on bass, drummer George Weyman and guitarist Ray Dorey.  Burrows had the distinction of singing lead on four songs that were out nearly at the same time:  "My Baby Loves Lovin'", "Gimme Dat Ding" by the Pipkins and "United We Stand" from Brotherhood of Man.  

"Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) was #1 for five weeks in the U.K. and #5 in the United States, selling over one million copies.

Burrows left to pursue other projects and the rest of the group could not play live.  Another group of musicians was assembled to record using the name.  But the best this second edition could do was the Top 50 in the U.K. with "It's Up to You, Petula".  

Burrows also sang lead on "Beach Baby" in 1974, a hit for the First Class.  

They may call it "Alternative Rock", but this group hit the Mainstream with this song:

#180:  Closing Time--Semisonic 

After the breakup of the group Trip Shakespeare, lead singer and guitarist Dan Wilson and bassist John Munson joined with drummer Jacob Slichter to form Semisonic in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1995.  The group released the EP Pleasure that year on CherryDisc Records and then released their debut album Great Divide on MCA.

Two years later, Semisonic's second album, Feeling Strangely Fine, contained the single "Closing Time".  The song reached #11 overall and #1 on the Alternative Rock chart in the United States and #25 in the U.K.  The album Secret Smile reached #13 in the U.K. but did not even make the Top 100 in the United States.  Future efforts were not as successful despite extensive tours.  

There are two "Show Me Love"'s in our special.  Both are unique and both are great:

#179:  Show Me Love--Robin S.  

Robin S. signed a recording contract with Big Beat Records in 1994.  Her debut single "Show Me Love", the title track on her album, was a #1 Dance song, #7 R&B and #5 overall in the United States and #6 in the U.K.

After taking time off to write songs, Robin began working on her album From Now On.  "It Must Be Love" was another #1 Dance song but only #91 overall.  "Midnight" was yet another #1 in the dance music genre but failed to make the Top 20, only reaching #35.  

Robin S. released nine singles in her career.

This group formed the foundation for one of The Top Soul Groups of the 1970's*:

#178:  Bend Me, Shape Me--American Breed 

This group first formed as Gary & the Nite Lites in Cicero, Illinois.  The original members were lead singer Gary Loizzo, bassist Charles Colbert, Jr., Al Ciner on guitar and Lee Graziano on drums.  Gary & the Nite Lites released one single and built a local following.

The group underwent several changes, signing with Acta Records and changing their name to the American Breed.  

Their single "Bend Me, Shape Me" in 1967 was a remake of a song done by the Outsiders the previous year.  The American Breed reached #5 in the United States and #24 in the U.K. with the song and promoted it by appearing on American Bandstand.  "Bend Me, Shape Me" sold over one million copies.

The group charted four other singles besides their One-Hit Wonder, but nothing that approached it in success.  In years to come, they shortened their name to the Breed, then Smoke, before evolving into the group Ask Rufus.  They then added singer Paulette McWilliams, who was later replaced by Chaka Khan, and the group became Rufus.

This song not only led to our next group signing a recording contract but gave them their one big hit:

#177:  The Promise--When in Rome              

When some members of the Manchester, England group Beau Leisure left, vocalist Clive Farrington recruited keyboardist Michael Floreale and vocalist Andy O'Connell.  Floreale and Farrington began writing songs and later invited singer Andrew Mann to join the group.  When O'Connell left the group, the remaining trio began recording demos.
The band signed with 10 Records, a subsidiary of Virgin.  Ben Rogan (Sade's producer) and Richard James Burgess were interested in a song called "The Promise".  When the 12" single hit #1 on the Dance chart, Virgin ordered an album.  "The Promise" was released as the first single from When In Rome's debut album and reached #11.  

However, #95 was the best the group could do after that with "Heaven Knows" and subsequent singles were not successful.  In 1990, When In Rome broke up over musical differences.  

By listening to this song, you'd think the outlook was miles ahead of other groups out right now, and you'd be right:

#176:  You Always Get What You Give--New Radicals 

Lead singer Gregg Alexander organized the New Radicals in Los Angeles in 1997 after releasing two unsuccessful solo albums.  The following year, the group signed with MCA Records.  wrote and produced all of the group's music.  The New Radicals was essentially Alexander and a revolving door of musicians.  Former child actress Danielle Briseboi (All in the Family) was the background singer and percussionist on their album and at live performances.  The New Radicals released just one album, Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too, in 1998 that went platinum as a result of their one hit.
The single "You Get What You Give" reached #1 in Canada and New Zealand, the Top 5 in the U.K., and #36 in the United States.  The group toured extensively in the United States until Alexander broke up the group in 1999 to focus on writing and producing songs for other artists.  Alexander worked with Rod Stewart and Enrique Iglesias and wrote and produced "The Game of Love" for Santana and Michelle Branch. 

And if you think these 25 artists are pretty good, wait until to see tomorrow's edition!

1 comment:

  1. Keep them coming! Nice, short histories and videos without ads at the beginning!!!


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