Saturday, April 20, 2013

This Date in Rock Music History: April 21

1956:  Andy Williams debuted on the chart with his first career single, "Walk Hand In Hand".
1956:  Eydie Gorme debuted with her first career single on this date--"Too Close For Comfort".
1958:  The Champs ruled the R&B chart for a fourth week with "Tequila".
1962:  Mr. Acker Bilk moved to #1 on the Easy Listening chart with "Stranger On The Shore".

                                   Another of the fun songs of the early Rock Era...

1962:  Elvis Presley had his 17th #1 song, his 29th Top 10 and his 54th hit in seven years with "Good Luck Charm".  Shelley Fabares slipped with "Johnny Angel" while Dee Dee Sharp edged up with "Mashed Potato Time".  The Shirelles had the highest new Top 10 song, as "Soldier Boy" moved from 11-6, while Joey Dee & the Starliters were at #9 with "Shout" and Mr. Acker Bilk moved from 19 to 10 with "Stranger On The Shore".
1963:  The Rolling Stones performed at the Crawdaddy Club as part of an eight-month residency at the Station Hotel in London.

1965:  The Beach Boys performed "Do You Wanna' Dance?" on the ABC-TV show Shindig.
1967:  The Beatles completed recording for the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.  They recorded a short section of noise that would follow "A Day In The Life".
1969:  Yes and Janis Joplin appeared at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
1970:  Elton John, T. Rex and Spooky Tooth were in concert at the Roundhouse in London.  It was Elton's first concert and tickets were 25 shillings, or approximately $1.25 in today's dollars.

                                                     "D'yer Maker" from Led Zep...

1973:  Billion Dollar Babies by Alice Cooper moved into the #1 slot on the Album chart.  The previous #1, Lady Sings the Blues by Diana Ross from the Soundtrack to the movie of the same name, fell to #2.  The rest of the Top Ten:  An album called The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd moved up to #3 in its third week in the Top 10, Aloha from Hawai'i via Satellite from Elvis Presley was #4, War remained at 5 with The World Is a Ghetto, The Best of Bread entered the Top 10 at #6, Masterpiece from the Temptations was at #7, Elton John slipped to #8 after a long run in the upper part of the list with Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player, Dueling Banjos from Eric Weissberg & Steve Mandell was #9 and Houses of the Holy climbed from 85 to 10 for Led Zeppelin.

1973:  "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree", the true story of a prisoner writing to his girlfriend, reached #1 for Dawn featuring Tony Orlando.  War closed to #2 with "The Cisco Kid" but that was as high as they would get.  The rest of the Top 10:  "Sing" from the Carpenters, Vicki Lawrence fell with the former #1 "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia", Sweet had their first hit "Little Willy" at #5, Stevie Wonder was shooting up the charts with "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" at #6, the Temptations were at 7 with "Masterpiece", Donny Osmond reached #8 with "The Twelfth of Never", Stealers Wheel owned #9 with "Stuck In The Middle With You" and the Four Tops completed the list with "Ain't No Woman (Like the One I've Got)".
1977:  Jesse Winchester performed in the U.S. for the first time in 10 years (at Burlington, Vermont), after moving to Canada to avoid the draft.
1977:  John Denver and Natalie Cole were guests on the ABC-TV show Frank Sinatra & Friends.

1978:  Sandy Denny, a member of Fairport Convention and a solo performer as well, died at the age of 31 in Wimbledon, London, England, the result of a traumatic mid-brain hemorrhage.  Denny had fallen down a staircase at her parents' home in Cornwall, England and a month later, collapsed at a friend's home.  She died four days later.  Denny sang on the track "Battle Of Evermore" on the album Led Zeppelin IV.

1979:  Amii Stewart had a #1 record with "Knock On Wood" while Gloria Gaynor held at #2 with her former #1 "I Will Survive".  Blondie moved from 8 to 3 with "Heart Of Glass" and Frank Mills reached #4 with "Music Box Dancer".  The Doobie Brothers fell from the top spot to #5 with "What A Fool Believes".  The rest of the Top 10:  Peaches & Herb had #6 with "Reunited", Suzi Quatro teamed with Chris Norman for the #7 song "Stumblin' In", the Bee Gees were at 8 with their former #1 "Tragedy", Chic moved into the Top 10 with "I Want Your Love" and Dire Straits found themselves at #10 with "Sultans Of Swing".

                                 "Water of Love" from the hot new group Dire Straits...

1979:  Spirits Having Flown, the best studio album the Bee Gees ever put out, reached #1 on the Album chart, taking the place of the Doobie Brothers' Minute by Minute.  Dire Straits' dazzling debut was at #3 with 2 Hot! by Peaches & Herb at #4.  The remainder of the Top 10:  Blondes Have More Fun from Rod Stewart, Desolation Angels by Bad Company at #6, Livin' Inside Your Love from George Benson edged up to #7, Blondie had their first Top 10 album with Parallel Lines, Enlightened Rouges from the Allman Brothers Band was at 9 and Love Tracks by Gloria Gaynor fell to #10.
1979:  "Crazy Love" spent a seventh week at #1 for Poco on the Adult Contemporary chart.
1980:  Pete Townshend released his very good solo album Empty Glass(Note:  several websites claim the album was released April 14, but 'MTV' pegs the date as April 21.)
1982:  Clash leader Joe Strummer disappeared for three weeks before finally turning up in Paris, France, just getting away from it all.  Strummer's actions forced the group to cancel a tour.

    Annie and Dave with another Top 10...

1984:  Phil Collins had his inaugural #1 with "Against All Odds" with the former #1 "Footloose" falling for Kenny Loggins.  Lionel Richie had a huge hit with "Hello" which was #3 on this date.  The rest of the Top 10:  "Hold Me Now" from the Thompson Twins, "Miss Me Blind" by Culture Club at #5, the Pointer Sisters down to 6 with "Automatic", Rockwell was at 7 with "Somebody's Watching Me", song #8 was a good mover for Rick Springfield, the rocker "Love Somebody", the Eurythmics had #9 with "Here Comes The Rain Again" and Tracey Ullman had a Top 10 song with "They Don't Know".
1984:  "Hello" by Lionel Richie spent a third consecutive week at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

1984:  The album that very likely could be one of The Top Soundtracks of the Rock Era* was Footloose, and it reached #1 on the Album chart on this date, besting the Michael Jackson album Thriller which fell to #3.  The move ended Thriller's run of 37 non-consecutive weeks at #1.  1984 from Van Halen was at #2 and Can't Slow Down, the second album from Lionel Richie, was #4.  The rest of the Top 10:  The great album Sports by Huey Lewis & the News, Colour By Numbers from the Culture Club was #6, Touch by the Eurythmics was at 7, the Scorpions had the #8 album with Love At First Sting, the Cars were back in a big way with Heartbeat City at #9 and Cyndi Lauper held on to #10 with She's So Unusual
1990:  Amy Grant brought a law suit against Marvel Comics for including a likeness of her in a Dr. Strange comic.

                            McCartney was still setting records...

1990:  Paul McCartney set a new world record when he played for 184,000 fans at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, the largest crowd to ever attend a paid rock concert.  Of course, over 600,000 saw Simon & Garfunkel in a free concert in New York City's Central Park in 1981.
1990:  Fleetwood Mac posted another U.K. #1 album with Behind the Mask.

"Thing Called Love", from the album of Bonnie's career...

1990:  Bonnie Raitt remained at #1 on the Album chart for the third week in a row with Nick Of Time.  Sinead O'Connor was at #2 with I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got and Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 edged up to #3.  The rest of the Top 10:  The former #1 Forever Your Girl by Paula Abdul, Soul Provider by Michael Bolton was #5, Alannah Myles' debut was at #6, Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em from M.C. Hammer moved up to #7, Aerosmith remained at #8 with Pump, Phil Collins was at 9 with his album ...But Seriously and Depeche Mode moved into the Top 10 with Violator.

                    O'Connor had a huge worldwide hit...

1990:  "Nothing Compares To You" reached #1 for Sinead O'Connor; it was also #1 in 18 other countries.  Jane Child remained at 2 with "Don't Wanna' Fall In Love", Lisa Stansfield was at #3, Calloway had #4 with "I Wanna' Be Rich" and Tommy Page's former #1 "I'll Be Your Everything" was down to #5. 

1990:  "This Old Heart Of Mine" by Rod Stewart and Ronald Isley took over the #1 spot on the Adult Contemporary chart.
1993:  Former Rolling Stone member Bill Wyman entered his third marriage, marrying 33-year old Suzanne Accosta in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France.
1993:  Drummer Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead saved the life of a young surfer from a riptide in the Pacific Ocean near Mendocino, California.
2000:  Neal Matthews of Elvis Presley's vocal supporting group the Jordanaires died of a heart attack in Brentwood, Tennessee at age 70.  Matthews, who sang on "Don't Be Cruel" and Hound Dog", among others, also sang for Ricky Nelson, Patsy Cline, Johnny Horton, Marie Osmond and Tom Jones.

2002:  Oasis reached #1 for the sixth time in the U.K. with "Hindu Times".
2004:  In today's episode of Dangerous Inmates Run Rap Music, Rapper T.I. was sentenced to three years in jail.  And now back to music.
2004:  Gary Barlow of Take That ("Back For Good") announced that the group would get back together for one show at Christmas.

2008:  Al Wilson ("Show And Tell") died at the age of 68 of kidney failure in Fontana, California.
2011:  Joe Pennell, lead guitarist of the Rivieras ("California Sun") died at the age of 66.

Born This Day:
1947:  John Weider, bassist of the Animals, was born in London.  (Note:  some websites insist on reporting that Weider was born in Shepherd's Bush, London, England.  Shepherd's Bush is an area, not a city, and Shepherd's Bush will never be shown on an official birth certificate.  Weider was born in London.)
1947:  Alan Wagner of the Foundations ("Build Me Up Buttercup")
1947:  Iggy Pop was born in Muskegon, Michigan.

1948:  Paul Davis was born in Meridian, Mississippi; died of a heart attack in his hometown April 22, 2008.
1951:  Nicole Barclay of Fanny ("Butter Boy")
1958:  Mike Barson, founding member and keyboardist with Madness ("Our House"), was born in Edinburgh, Scotland.  (Note:  some websites claim that Barson was born on May 21, but he was born April 21, according to the books 'Ska:  An Oral History' by Heather Augustyn and 'House of Fun:  The Story of Madness' by John Reed.) 1959:  Robert Smith, vocalist and guitarist for the Cure, was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England.  (Note:  some websites claim Smith was born in Sussex.  Blackpool is in the county of Lancashire, not Sussex.)
1963:  Johnny McElhone, songwriter and guitarist of Altered Images and Texas, was born in Bearsden, Scotland.  (Note:  some websites report McElhone was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, or Bearsden, Scotland.  According to 'Billboard' magazine, Johnny was born in Glasgow.)

The Top 500 One-Hit Wonders of the Rock Era: #25 to #1

In constructing The Top 500 One-Hit Wonders of the Rock Era*, we looked at initial and current popularity of the song and the artist, complexity of the song, number and quality of future releases.  Other factors taken into consideration include how much input the artist had into the One Hit Wonder:  songwriting, instrumentation, production, etc.  In other words, the more talented the artist, the more complex the song, the more popular the song, then and more importantly now, and the better their subsequent releases were, the higher the ranking.

To be eligible, an artist must have either had only one Top 100 hit or they scored a big hit and either never hit the Top 20 before or after that or never had more than one other Top 40 hit.  Some organizations who construct similar One Hit Wonder lists eliminate an artist if they had two Top 40 or Top 100 hits.  However, these songs are only minor "hits" that the majority of the people do not ever hear.  By setting the bar at Top 20 hits, this list includes artists who essentially never tasted widespread success after their "One Hit Wonder".  

This does exempt groups like EMF ("Unbelievable"), which is not eligible to be called a "One-Hit Wonder" because "Lies" was a hit in 1991, reaching #18.  Similarly, A-Ha, which has enjoyed great worldwide success, landed the Top 20 hit "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." in addition to their smash "Take on Me".  Michael Murphey ("Wildfire" in 1975) was headed for status as having one of The Top One-Hit Wonders of the Rock Era* until he landed at #19 with "What's Forever For" in 1982.  

Then you have an artist such as Berlin, which had the minor hit "No More Words" before their #1 "Take My Breath Away", and then nothing after that.  They are a judgement call.  In Berlin's case, "No More Words" was a big enough hit, in fact one of The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*, that they are classified as having two hits.  Stephen Bishop never hit the Top 20 after his Top 15 song "On and On".  But he had three other Top 40 hits, enough success to be excluded from One Hit Wonder status. 

Some artists, while perhaps having only one "hit" as defined by the industry, are nonetheless recognized as major stars and contributors to the Rock Era or to music in general, and can hardly be defined as One Hit Wonders.  One example would be Getz & Gilberto, who combined for one of the landmark albums of all-time, Getz/Gilberto.  Stan Getz did hundreds of albums in his career and won multiple Grammys.  Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez and Janis Joplin are others.  The inability of an organization to gauge popularity of an artist or their music doesn't make them "One Hit Wonders".  

Artists who were part of a successful group and only had one Top 20 solo hit are also a judgement call.  Essentially, if the artist in question did an album occasionally away from the group, then continued on with the group does not fit the category.  An example here is Ace Frehley of Kiss, who had the Top 20 hit "New York Groove".  Marty Balin of Jefferson Airplane and Starship only had one Top 10 hit, "Hearts".  But obviously, his contributions to one of the best groups of the Rock Era are so great that he doesn't fit the category.  Len Barry's only solo Top 20 hit was "1-2-3", but he scored a big hit as lead singer of the Dovells with "You Can't Sit Down".

An artist who only had one big hit in collaboration with another separate artist isn't eligible as a One Hit Wonder.  Brooklyn Dreams comes to mind.  They scored a Top 5 song with Donna Summer with "Heaven Knows" in 1979 and were never heard from again.  The group reached the Top 5 largely because of Summer, and without her, they couldn't maintain that success.   There are numerous other examples of artists whose only big hit was largely the result of collaboration with and major contributions made by an established star.

There are several cases where an artist would classify as a One Hit Wonder in the United States or Great Britain, Canada, or another country.  But if they exhibited significant worldwide success, to include them as a One Hit Wonder would not only be incorrect; it would be offensive.  Shirley Bassey only had one big hit in the U.S.--"Goldfinger", but certainly great success in England and with her exposure in other James Bond movies.  Take That, which only had one major hit in the United States, have nonetheless been superstars in Europe. 

Similarly, Stanley Clarke & George Duke, teamed for three albums with one big hit--"Sweet Baby".  But each is a significant success on their own in the field of jazz and cannot be called a One Hit Wonder.

If an artist that had only one big hit isn't here, it doesn't mean they're not a One Hit Wonder--just that their song wasn't good enough to rank among The Top 500 One-Hit Wonders*.

We've done our best to present clear, quality videos without any commercials.  If one appears, please click on "Skip Ad" after 5 seconds... We've gone over the ground rules again.  We've saluted artists from #500 to #26.  Now let's get on with The Top 25*!

With a crazy frontman and a psychedelic sound, this group scored big in 1971:

#25:  Bang a Gong (Get It On)-- T. Rex  

Singer-songwriter, guitarist and crazy man Marc Bolan formed T. Rex in 1967, or Tyrannosaurus Rex as they were originally known.  The group released four folk albums under the latter name, before going electric and shortening their name.  A key collaborator was producer Tony Visconti.  The group was a modest success in their native England, with Bolan now writing dramatic songs with lush melodies and surreal lyrics.

By 1971, the group had gone electric, hence the album title Electric Warrior.  "Get It On" was a song written by Bolan, but the song was retitled to "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" to avoid confusion with a song of the same name by a group called Chase.  Elite keyboardist Rick Wakeman, who was desperate for work at the time, played a piano glissando on the record.  Blue Weaver, who would later play keyboards for the Bee Gees, played the grand piano while Ian McDonald of King Crimson played saxophone.  

The song hit #1 in the U.K. and Ireland, #3 in Switzerland, #6 in Norway and #10 in the United States. The Power Station covered the song in 1985 and became a Top 10 hit. 

T. Rex released 12 albums and 28 singles.  An additional five singles were released since the breakup.   The group scored 11 Top 10 hits in their native Great Britain, including four #1's, but "Telegram Sam", which reached #67 in 1972, was the best the group could come up with besides "Bang a Gong".

You may have noticed several psychedelic rock artists in the special, and we continue the theme at #24 with yet another:

#24:  Incense and Peppermints--Strawberry Alarm Clock

This group was originally called Thee Sixpence, but renamed itself in homage to the Beatles' hit "Strawberry Fields Forever".  The group consisted of lead guitarist Ed King, lead singer Michael Luciano, Lee Freeman on rhythm guitar and harmonica, drummer Gene Gunnels, bassist Gary Lovetro and guitarist Steve Rabe.  Randy Seol (drums and percussion) and keyboardist Mark Weitz replaced Gunnels, Rabe and Lovetro.  The group signed with Uni Records.
Strawberry Alarm Clock released "Incense and Peppermints" as their first single in 1967.  Songwriter John Carter did not impress the group with his singing, so Greg Munford, a 16-year-old friend of the band, stepped in to sing lead.  "Incense and Peppermints" reached #1 and sold over one million copies.

Seol brought in songwriters George Bunnell (who also played bass and rhythm guitar) and Steve Bartek and the group recorded their first album Incense and Peppermints.  The group toured with the Beach Boys and Buffalo Springfield in 1968.  Strawberry Alarm Clock released the album Wake Up...It's Tomorrow and the single, "Tomorrow", was only a minor hit (#23).  Two other singles--"Sit with the Guru" (#65) and "Barefoot in Baltimore" (#67) failed to make progress for the band.

Bunnell and Seol left the band in late 1968 as the band was finishing their third album, The World in a Seashell.  Holmes was fired by the remaining members and he retaliated by putting together a fake Strawberry Alarm Clock with Bunnell & Seoul and beginning a tour.  The group filed a lawsuit but the damage was done as promoters were afraid to hire either group.     

Strawberry Alarm Clock toured in 1970 and 1971 with Lynyrd Skynyrd opening for them, but broke up shortly thereafter.  

Bartek later joined Oingo Boingo while King was invited to join Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Strawberry Alarm Clock has reunited several times and is still performing today.

This group helped integrate American blues and gospel with modern psychedelic rock:

#23:  Time (Has Come Today)--Chambers Brothers 

This group got their start as members of the choir in their Baptist church.  Brother George served in the United States Army before moving to Los Angeles, and soon the other siblings settled there as well.  The brothers (George on washtub bass, Joe and Willie on guitar and Lester on harmonica) began performing folk and gospel songs throughout Southern California as early as 1954, but they didn't become well known until appearing in New York City in 1965. 

Initially, the Chambers Brothers played at places like The Ash Grove in Los Angeles.  It was there that they met people like Hoyt Axton and Barbara Dane.  Dane took them on tour with her and introduced them to Pete Seeger, who helped get the Chambers Brothers into the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.  Festival goers went nuts upon hearing this unique sound.  They loved it, and the Chambers Brothers were on their way.  That was the year drummer Brian Keenan joined, and George swapped his washtub bass for a bass guitar, as the group went electric.

Shortly afterwards, the group recorded their debut album People Get Ready.  But it was a song on their third album that drew widespread attention.  "Time Has Come Today" reached #11; in fact it was one of The Top Songs Not To Reach the Top 10*, as it spent five consecutive weeks at #11.
Later incarnations of the group included session guitarist Steve Hunter, who had played for Alice Cooper.  But dishonest promoters and managers ruined the group's reputation, and they split in 1972.  The Brothers did get back together two years later to release two more studio albums and they have toured irregularly since.

They may have only one hit to their credit, but it was a huge one, and one of The Most Important Songs of the Rock Era*:

#22:  Get Together--Youngbloods 

Jesse Colin Young (vocals and bass), guitarist Jerry Corbitt, Lowell Levinger on guitar and electric piano and Joe Bauer on drums made up the Youngbloods.  Colin Young was a folk singer who had already recorded two albums when he met Corbitt.  The two initially performed as a duo in Canada under the name the Youngbloods.  Corbitt introduced Young to Levinger, and Lowell and drummer Bauer soon joined to make the group a quartet.

The group began playing clubs such as Gerde's Folk City in Greenwich Village and before long, the Youngbloods were the house band at the Cafe Au Go Go and had signed a recording contract with RCA Records.  RCA, however, promoted the group as a bubblegum act, and this would severely limit their success.

The Youngbloods released the single "Grizzly Bear" in 1967, and it hit #52.  The group released their self-titled album, later retitled Get Together, to critical praise.  The single "Get Together" was released, but it only reached #62.  The Youngbloods followed that later in the year with the album Earth Music and, after Corbitt left for a solo career, Elephant Mountain in 1969.
Then, Dan Ingram recorded a brotherhood promotion for WABC-AM using "Get Together".  The National Council of Christians and Jews subsequently picked up the song as their theme on television and radio commercials.  "Get Together" was re-released, and this time, it reached #5 in one of the most competitive times in the Rock Era.  The single also sold over one million copies, by far the biggest success of the group's career.

Levinger took over at lead guitar and the group became known for lengthy improvisations in concert.  In 1971, bassist Michael Kane came aboard and the Youngbloods released two more albums before splitting.  The group produced an output of eight studio albums and nine singles.

At #21, the Spanish group who own one of the top foreign-language songs to ever chart in the United States.  But it isn't the top one (stay tuned for that):

#21:  Eres Tu--Mocedades

Mocedades is a Spanish singing group consisting of three sisters, Amaya, Izaskun and Estibaliz Uranga, from the Basque Country.  Other brothers and sisters joined and before long, they were an eight-person group.  They originally called themselves Voces y guitarras (Voices and Guitars) with folk and spiritual music and the Beatles as influences. The group sent a demo tape to producer Juan Carlos Calderon in Madrid, who was immediately interested and renamed them Mocedades.  They represented Spain in the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Eres Tu", written by Calderon.  

"Eres Tu" took second place in the contest and was released as a single.  In 1974, "Eres Tu" became one of five Spanish language songs to reach the Top 10 in the U.S., peaking at #9.  It is the only Top 10 song sung entirely in Spanish in the Rock Era.  An English version called "Touch The Wind", which featured a completely different set of lyrics, was released on the "B" side but programmers preferred the Spanish version.

The great song has been covered by over 100 artists; Eydie Gorme had a minor Adult Contemporary hit with it.  Here are but a few of those who have recorded "Eres Tu":  Mr. Acker Bilk, Bert Kaempfert, Bing Crosby, Charo, Floyd Cramer, Johnny Mathis, the Lettermen, the Mantovani Orchestra, Pandora, Percy Faith, Perry Como, Petula Clark, Ray Conniff and Sonny James.

The song has been sung in numerous languages, including Spanish, English, German, French, Italian, Basque, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Czech, Finnish, Vietnamese, Afrikaans, Brazilian Portuguese, German and Korean.

A guitar instrumental version of "Eres Tu" was used in an advertising campaign in the 1990's by the Bank of New Zealand.  Chris Farley and David Spade sing the song in the movie Tommy Boy.

Mocedades released 22 albums and one other single, "Dime Senor", which failed to reach the Top 40.

At #20, a group that had to keep the accidental misspelling of their name because this song was so popular:

#20:  Nobody but Me--Human Beinz

This group originally was known as the Premiers in 1964, forming in Youngstown, Ohio with John "Dick" Belley and Joe "Ting" Markulin on vocals and guitar, bassist Mel Pachuta and drummer Gary Coates.  Mike Tatman later replaced Coates.  In 1966, the group changed their name to the Human Beingz and recorded covers of songs by Bob Dylan, the Who, the Yardbirds and Them.

The group signed with Capitol Records in 1967, but the label misspelled their name, leaving out the "g".  The understanding was that the name would be changed if the debut single was not successful.  But it was.  "Nobody but Me" reached #8 in the United States and the Human Beinz released an album of the same name.

The band only reached #1 in Japan with "Turn On Your Love Light", but the song only reached #80 in the United States.  The Beinz released the album Evolutions in 1968, which contained another #1 Japanese song, "Hold on Baby".  But once again, success did not spread worldwide and the group broke up in 1969.  

We're up to the singer-songwriter from Texas whose song has only become more popular since its release:

#19:  My Maria--B.W. Stevenson

Stevenson was born in Dallas, Texas and attended W.H. Adamson High School along with other future musicians such as Michael Martin Murphey.    B.W. co-wrote this song with Daniel Moore.

"My Maria" became a big hit in 1973, reaching #9.  The song was later recorded by the country duo of Brooks & Dunn and it became a hit in that much smaller genre.  Stevenson had several other chart singles, including the original version of "Shambala", which Three Dog Night would turn into a classic. Stevenson released 13 albums and 11 singles in his career. However, Stevenson never again regained the success he had with the release of "My Maria".

This artist never gave up on her dream and it paid off with one of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*:

#18:  Black Velvet--Alannah Myles

Miles was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the daughter of famous Canadian broadcaster William Douglas Byles.  After Alannah decided to pursue a career in music, she changed her last name to Myles.  She spent ten years filled with numerous rejections from record companies, making ends meet by modeling and acting in television commercials.

Finally, Atlantic Records signed Myles to a recording contract in 1987.  Alannah went to work co-writing and recorder her first album with collaborator Christopher Ward and producer David Tyson.  Miles released her self-titled debut album and toured around the world for 18 months.  "Love Is" was released as a single and reached #12 in Australia, #16 in Canada and #36 in the United States.  But it was the second single that made Myles a household name.  
"Black Velvet" became a smash hit, reaching #1 in the United States, #2 in the U.K. and Canada, and #3 in Australia and The Netherlands.  Myles earned the Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female, for the song.  The album sold over one million copies in her native Canada, and eventually reached six million worldwide.  

"Lover of Mine" reached #2 in  Canada but the best she could do outside the country with the song was #47 in Australia.  "Rockinghorse" was nominated for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female, in 1992 but few people knew about the song, since it was the flip side of the single "Song Instead of a Kiss".  That song became a #1 song in Alannah's native Canada but was little played elsewhere.

Myles released a total of five albums and 16 singles in her career.

A friendship with the leaders of K.C. and the Sunshine Band paid off when this artist recorded what would become the #1-selling record of the 70's:

#17:  Rock Your Baby--George McCrae

McCrae formed his own group, the Jivin' Jets, before joining the United States Navy in 1963.  After his release from the Navy, McCrae teamed with his wife Gwen as a duo.  Gwen then won a solo contract and George acted as her manager and did some session work.  George was set to return to college to study law enforcement when Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch of K.C. & the Sunshine Band invited him to sing the lyrics for a song they had written.  The original intention was for Gwen to record the song, but when she was late for the session, George recorded it alone.
"Rock Your Baby" became a #1 smash and the top-selling worldwide song of the 1970's.  It reached #1 in the U.S., U.K. and 80 other countries.  McCrae was nominated for a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocalist for his performance.  The classic has now sold an estimated 11 million copies, one of fewer than 30 all-time singles to have topped the 10-million mark.  Clearly, one of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*.   

George had some success on the segmented Black chart and in the U.K., but the highest he got with the mass audience after "Rock Your Baby" was when he hit #37 with "I Get Lifted" in 1975.  But after 14 albums and 14 singles, George could never continue the success born by "Rock Your Baby". 

The #16 artist wrote this smash as an ode to runaways:

#16:  Hot Child in the City--Nick Gilder

Nick Gilder first came to prominence as the frontman for the band Sweeney Todd.  
Gilder's group, Sweeney Todd, scored a #1 song in Canada in 1975 ("Roxy Roller") but the success was confined to that country.  Gilder and guitarist and songwriting partner James McCulloch left the band and signed a recording contract with Chrysalis.  Gilder's single from his second album City Nights ("Hot Child in the City") was an ode to runaways and specifically the pain that Gilder felt watching young girls flee their home environments for something worse, child prostitution.  It topped charts in both the U.S. and Canada.  At the time, "Hot Child in the City" set a record for taking the longest time to reach #1.  The song earned Gilder Juno Awards for Single of the Year and Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year and a People's Choice Award as well.  Sex and the City named an episode after the song.    

Gilder traveled throughout Europe, North America and the Orient, opening for Journey, Foreigner, the Cars, the Babys and Peter Gabriel.

Although Gilder has been successful as a songwriter, penning songs for Scandal ("The Warrior"), Pat Benatar, Bette Midler and Joe Cocker, he never could come close to the success he enjoyed with "Hot Child in the City".  He released nine albums and 22 singles--"Hot Child in the City" was the fifth.  Although he has had some success in his native Canada, the best Gilder could do outside his own country was "Here Comes the Night" (#44 in 1978).

Members of this group were on the verge of superstardom.  Twice:

#15:  Lady Marmalade--Labelle

Labelle formed when two Philadelphia girl groups, the Ordettes and the Del-Capris, formed as a new version of the former group, first changing their name to the Blue Belles and then the Bluebelles.  Sixteen-year-old Patti LaBelle (real name Patricia Holt), Sundray Tucker, Nona Hendryx (16 years old) and Sara Dash (14) were the original members, although Cindy Birdsong (20) replaced Tucker before the group cut their first record.

The group soon became known as Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, and they were successful with doo-wop songs, and landed at #15 with "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman" in 1962.  However, that song was actually recorded by the Starlets, who happened to be on tour and unable to promote it.  So the record company billed it as the Bluebelles.  The Bluebelles did have two Top 40 hits of their own in the early 60's, which, coupled with their big hit later technically would make them ineligible as a One-Hit Wonder.  This, like many other situations, was a judgement call and it was decided that the group that recorded "Lady Marmalade" and recorded as Labelle was vastly different than the one that recorded "I Sold My Heart to the Junkman" 13 years earlier.

Thanks to two well-received shows at The Apollo, Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records.  The group released the album Over the Rainbow, with the title song becoming a big R&B hit.  The group began touring outside of the United States, opening for the Rolling Stones in the U.K. and touring with Reginald Dwight's (Elton John's) band Bluesology.  The Bluebelles  began singing backup for artists such as Wilson Pickett ("634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A.)").  

The group seemed destined for stardom after the release of the album Dreamer, which gave them moderate success.  However, promotion of the LP ceased when Birdsong, who had spent months as a fill-in for Florence Ballard in the Supremes, left the Bluebelles to become a full-time member of the Supremes.  Tucker filled in briefly for Birdsong on tour, but girl groups began to fall out of favor with the dawn of psychedelic rock.  

The group struggled in their recordings and concert offers became limited.  In 1970, the Bluebelles were dropped from Atlantic.     

The group then changed managers, deciding on Vicki Wickham, a woman recommended by Bluebelles fan Dusty Springfield.  Wickham suggested not only a move to London, but a complete change in look, musical direction and style, and a name change to Labelle in 1971.  Funk Rock replaced doo-wop in their repertoire, and the group became known for outlandish space-age and glam-rock costumes and phenomenal live performances.

After a year in London, Labelle returned to the U.S. and signed with Track Records and a distribution contract with Warner Brothers.  They went out on the road as the opening act for the Who, then released their debut album in 1971.  They also sang for Laura Nyro on her acclaimed album Gonna' Take a Miracle, and toured together into 1974.

Labelle released the album Moon Shadow in 1972, with Hendryx emerging as the primary songwriter.  The album featured Labelle doing gospel-influenced versions of songs such as the title by Cat Stevens and "Won't Get Fooled Again" by the Who.  But sales weren't there and Warner Brothers dropped Labelle.  

The group was able to get a one-album contract with RCA for the album Pressure Cookin'.  But despite Hendryx's development as a songwriter and the presence of Stevie Wonder on "Open Your Heart", the album was a failure.   

Allen Toussaint offered to produce Labelle's next album in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The group became reacquainted with Elton John, who had originally backed the former Bluebelles, and the group was influenced by both Elton and David Bowie.  They had even wilder outfits designed with each member adapting their own flamboyant style.  Labelle began to attract a cult following thanks to their performances as the opening act for the Rolling Stones.  This new attention led to a record contract with Epic. 
After the release of the album Nightbirds in 1974, Labelle went out on tour and became the first black group and the first popular group to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.  This concert drew rave reviews and the single "Lady Marmalade" took off.  The song hit #1 on both the popular and R&B charts in the United States and #17 in the U.K., sold over one million copies, and has since become a classic.  The record's success led to the album Nightbirds becoming Platinum and Labelle became the first black group to be featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.  The group was now a headline act.

Labelle had caused a sensation and once again, the group seemed on the verge of greatness--what would they do for a follow-up?  "What Can I Do For You?" was released as a single, and although it was a Top 10 R&B song, it only reached #48 overall.  The group recorded the albums Phoenix and Chameleon, but nothing came close to "Lady Marmalade".  

Group members were not satisfied with their music, and gradually the group imploded as they couldn't agree on a musical sound.  Hendryx and LaBelle both went out on solo careers, with LaBelle sporting another #1 in the duet with Michael McDonald ("On My Own").  LaBelle earned two Grammy Awards as a solo performer and eventually was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Dash collaborated with artists such as Keith Richards and released several dance songs. 

All three members contributed to the solo projects of each member in the years to follow.  They reunited several times, including an album and a triumphant return to the Apollo Theater in 2008.  The group's legacy has been long-lasting, influencing other girl groups such as Destiny's Child, En Vogue and the Pussycat Dolls.

As Labelle, the group released eight albums and nine singles in their career.     

Live performances were this group's forte':

#14:  (Don't Fear the Reaper)--Blue Oyster Cult

This group began in Long Island, New York under the name Soft White Underbelly.  The group's lineup has changed often, but originally, it included  lead guitarist and vocalist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, lead singer and guitarist Les Braunstein, drummer Jules Radino, Richie Castellano on keyboards and guitar and bassist Kasim Sulton.

Sandy Pearlman, producer and songwriting contributor for the group, was instrumental in many ways for getting the group off the ground.  He helped them get gigs in their early days, provided his poetry for use in their songs, and helped them get recording contracts with Elektra and Columbia.  Writer Richard Meltzer also has provided lyrics for the group throughout their history.  

Although the group didn't write much of their own lyrics, they were talented musicians.  They recorded an album for Elektra, but the company cut the project when Braunstein left in 1969.  Acoustic engineer Eric Bloom replaced him, but a bad review of the group's performance at Fillmore East led Pearlman to change the name of the group--first to Oaxaca, then to the Stalk-Forrest Group.    

The band recorded another album, but Elektra released just a single ("What Is Quicksand?").  The album was eventually released as St. Cecilia:  The Elektra Recordings in 2001.  The band changed names a few more times before deciding in Blue Oyster Cult in 1971.  They recorded a demo, and Columbia Records executive Clive Davis signed them to a contract.  After recording material for their first album, Winters left and was replaced by Joe Bouchard.

Blue Oyster Cult released their self-titled album in 1972 and toured with artists such as the Byrds and Alice Cooper.  The group then released Tyranny and Mutation in 1973, which included "Baby Ice Dog", the first of many collaborations with Patti Smith.  Blue Oyster Cult then released Secret Treaties in 1974 which featured "Astronomy".  They began to get positive reviews, but few people had heard of them.

The live album On Your Feet or on Your Knees attracted attention, and the album went gold.  Then came the album Agents of Fortune in 1976.  Finally, the group had a song good enough to be released as a single, and it gave Blue Oyster Cult the public awareness they needed to be successful. 

"(Don't Fear) The Reaper" reached #7 in Canada, #12 in the United States and #16 in the U.K. but in reality, is one of The Top Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*.  The group began to be known for their great laser shows in concert.  

Spectres was the follow-up album, and although "Godzilla" received some airplay, the LP lacked a hit and thus sales were not as strong.  The live album Some Enchanted Evening showcased the group's strength, which was not songwriting but rather live performances.  The LP became the biggest of their career, selling over two million copies.

Pearlman left to manage Black Sabbath, with Tom Werman taking over.  Blue Oyster Cult released two more albums before recording Fire of Unknown Origin in 1981.  "Burnin' for You" became yet another Top Underrated Song, reaching #40 and helping the album go Platinum.  After their one big hit, "Burnin' for You" would be the next-best song the group would do.

Blue Oyster Cult went through numerous lineup changes, and went one period of 11 years without recording an album, but doing what they did best, performing live.  The group released a total of 14 albums and 9 singles in their career.

This French conductor came up with the #1 Instrumental of the Rock Era*:

#13:  Love Is Blue--Paul Mauriat

Born in Marseille, France, Mauriat began playing music at the age of four and enrolled in the Conservatoire in Paris at the age of 10.  By the time he was 17, Paul longed for a career in jazz and popular music.  During World War II, Mauriat began his own dance band and toured concert halls throughout Europe.  In the 1950's, he was the music director for French stars such as Maurice Chevalier and Charles Aznavour.

Mauriat released his first EP in 1957.  Between 1959 and 1964, Paul released several albums on Bel-Air Records under the name Paul Mauriat et Son Orchestre, as well as using pseudonyms of Richard Audrey, Nico Papadopoulos, Eduardo Ruo and Willy Twist.  He also recorded and did the vocal arrangements with Les Satellites.  Mauriat wrote the music for several French movie soundtracks including Un Taxi Pour Tobrouk, Horace 62 and Faits Sauter La Banque.

Mauriat and Andre Pascal won the prize at the Coq d'or de la Chanson Francaise with "Rendez-vous au Lavendou".  Mauriat scored an international hit when he co-wrote "Chariot".  The song was recorded in the United States as "I Will Follow Him" by Little Peggy March and became a #1 song.  Between 1967 and 1972, Mauriat wrote numerous songs for Mireille Mathieu, such as the million-selling "Mon Crédo", "Viens dans ma rue" and "Géant" to name a few, and 130 song arrangements for Charles Aznavour.
In 1965, Mauriat started his own orchestra, and released hundreds of recordings on Philips Records over the next 28 years.  But it was his 1968 cover of "L'Amour Est Bleu" ("Love Is Blue") that made the world take notice.  It was #1 for five weeks in the United States, #1 for 11 weeks on the Adult Contemporary chart and reached #12 in the U.K., sold over one million copies and became The #1 Instrumental of the Rock Era*.  

After the huge success of "Love Is Blue", Mauriat and his Grand Orchestra toured the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Brazil and other Latin American countries.  For many years, Mauriat's songs were the background tracks for television programs and short movies in the Soviet Union.

Mauriat retired from performing in 1998.  He was awarded the Grand Prix (Grand Prize) from the French recording industry and won the prestigious Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres in 1997 from the French Ministry of Culture.  Mauriat released 10 singles and 108 albums in his career. 

The #12 Artist* owned the longest-running #1 song of the Rock Era for several years:

#12:  You Light Up My Life--Debby Boone

Boone was the third of four daughters born to singer-actor Pat Boone.  When Debby was 14, she began touring with her parents and her three sisters.  The sisters first recorded with their parents as the Pat Boone Family and later as the Boones or the Boone Girls.  

"You Light Up My Life" was written by Joe Brooks and originally recorded by Kasey Cisyk for the soundtrack to the film of the same name.  Later, Boone recorded the single and it became a monumental success, becoming the most popular song in the United States for ten consecutive weeks.  It was a Rock Era record at the time, although a few songs have since remained at #1 for longer periods.  The single was certified platinum and also hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and even #4 on the Country chart.  Brooks won Song of the Year honors at both the Grammys and Oscars.  Boone captured Best New Artist at the Grammys and was nominated for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female.  She also won an American Music Award for Favorite Pop Single.

After "You Light Up My Life", Boone turned to country music and Christian music and won two Grammys for this segmented work.  She released 12 albums and 20 singles but after her classic #1 song, the best Debby could do with mass audiences was #50 with "California".

The highly-talented artist at #11 was the lead singer of a great Canadian group before embarking on a solo career:

#11:  Life Is a Highway--Tom Cochrane  

Cochrane purchased his first guitar at age 11 in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada and attended Martingrove Collegiate Institute in the late 1960's.  After graduating, Cochrane performed in coffee houses throughout Canada.  He then moved to Los Angeles but after one job writing theme music for a movie, he moved to Toronto, Ontario, where he drove a taxi and then worked on a Caribbean cruise liner. 

Cochrane met with members of the group Red Rider at the El Mocambo Tavern in Toronto and joined as lead singer and their main songwriter for more than ten years.  Cochrane recorded six studio albums with the group, best known for their great song "White Hot" and "Lunatic Fringe". 

In 1991, Cochrane began a solo career with the release of "Life is a Highway".  The huge worldwide popularity of the song (#1 in Canada and #6 in the United States) led to the album Mad Mad World, which has topped six million in worldwide sales.  Cochrane released seven albums and 23 singles in his career.  He enjoyed seven Top 10 hits in his native Canada, but the best he did elsewhere was #88 with "Washed Away" in the United States.

Cochrane has won seven Juno Awards in Canada, is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, an Officer of the Order of Canada, has an Honorary Doctorate from Brandon University, is an Honorary Colonel in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was inducted onto the Canadian Walk of Fame.  

Cochrane reunited with Red Rider and still performs with them today.  Tom is one of Canada's best-loved artists of all-time for his work and his energetic live shows.  

We enter the Top 10* with the artist that scored a monumental worldwide smash:

#10:  Missing--Everything but the Girl

Thorn and Watt met while both attended the University of Hull in Great Britain, and both had contracts with Cherry Red Records as solo artists.  Thorn had released the 1982 album A Distant Shore while Watt's album was called North Marine Drive.

They formed a duo and adopted their name from the slogan of Turner's Furniture in Hull.  The store had originally built a window sign that read "for your bedroom needs, we sell everything but the girl."     
Thorn and Watt wrote the song "Missing" and Watt co-produced it.  It reached #1 in Germany, Canada and Italy and #2 in the United States, Australia, France, Switzerland, Belgium and Denmark.  Prior to this One Hit Wonder, Everything But the Girl had released eight albums.  They did have a #3 U.K. song in 1988 ("I Don't Want to Talk About It") but were virtually unknown in the United States.  At the time, the duo scored a Rock Era record when "Missing" remained on the popular chart for 55 weeks.  The song now stands 11th in longevity, but it still holds the record for spending an uninterrupted year on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

After the immense global success of "Missing", Everything But the Girl became more of an electronic group with their next albums.  They released a total of eleven studio albums and 31 singles.  The duo had four #1 songs on the much less relevant Dance Chart, but never could reach the #40 overall either before or after "Missing".

The wizardry of producers Chapman & Chinn helped this group score one of The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era*:

#9:  Kiss You All Over--Exile

They were originally known as the Exiles, founded in Richmond, Kentucky.  They began playing local shows and then toured with Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars in 1965, opening for major rock artists of the time.  In 1973, the group shortened their name to Exile.
 The group changed styles often throughout the late 60's and early 70's and had a few regional hits.  Exile released their eponymous debut on Wooden Nickel Records in 1973.  Singles were unsuccessful, and it would be five years before the group released a follow-up album.  Exile shocked the world with their release of "Kiss You All Over", which was a smash #1, one of the top songs of 1978, and became one of The Top 100 Songs of the Rock Era*.

The group was helped immensely by emerging producer Mike Chapman, who took the group's sound and molded it into a classic.  Chapman co-wrote the song with songwriting partner Nicky Chinn.  "Kiss You All Over" was #1 for four weeks and was a best-seller for over six months.  Exile was on top of the world, touring with Heart, Aerosmith, Boston, Seals & Crofts and other top acts throughout the United States, Europe and Africa.   

Several follow-ups, however, brought little success, so in 1983, they aimed for the much smaller and easier country music market.  The group did well in that genre, but never could come close to success with the mass audience as they had in 1978.  Several of their songs were covered by other artists, including "The Closer You Get" and "Take Me Down", both recorded by Alabama.  Pennington's songwriting talent was recognized as BMI Writer of the Year and he was named as one of BMI's Top 100 Writers of the Century.  

"Kiss You All Over" was included in the movies Happy Gilmore and Employee of the Month.  The song has been remade several times, including a 1997 version by No Mercy.

Exile released 12 albums and 38 singles in their career. But other than "You Thrill Me" (#40 in 1978), the group could never come close to their classic smash with the mass audience.

This heavy metal band gave us an epic masterpiece for the ages:

#8:  In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida--Iron Butterfly

Here's a group formed in San Diego, California in 1966.  They rehearsed in the garage of the parents of tambourine player Darryl DeLoach on a near-nightly basis.

In 1968, Iron Butterfly released "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" on their album of the same name.  At over 17 minutes, the song takes up the entire second side of their album.  The lyrics are heard only at the beginning and end of the song.  The song reached #30, itself not a huge hit at the time, but the song remains one of the most popular of the Rock Era, essentially discounting the ranking of the song by those not knowing how to gauge the popularity of songs.

As evidence of the above, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is among the world's 40 best-selling albums, selling more than 30 million copies.

"In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is significant in that it was released at a time when psychedelic music began to form heavy metal. The song has been featured numerous times in pop culture, including the television shows Home Improvement and That 70's Show.

Iron Butterfly has released six albums and 13 singles but the highest they could get after "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" was with "Easy Rider" in 1970, which only made it to #66. Despite the complex musicianship obvious in the song, Iron Butterfly could never come close with subsequent efforts.

This innovative and hugely-talented band gave us this great song from 1967:

#7:  Pictures of Matchstick Men--Status Quo  

The group had its origins in 1962 as Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster formed the Spectres.  After several lineup changes, the band became the Status Quo in 1967.  

In November, Status Quo released "Pictures of Matchstick Men" as their first single.  It hit #7 in the U.K., #8 in Canada and #12 in the United States.  The song was several in the 60's to feature audio effect phasing.  The "matchstick men" in the song refers to paintings of L.S. Lowry.

"Pictures of Matchstick Men" was featured in a television ad for Target stores and in 2012, the original version was played in Men in Black 3.

Status Quo has released 29 albums, many of which have done very well in their home country of Great Britain. They had 76 hits in the U.K., but they found out that the United States is a tough nut to crack, even if you've already had a big hit like "Pictures of Matchstick Men". The best Status Quo could do after their debut was when "Ice in the Sun" reached #70 in 1968.

At #6, the artist who had the what was at the time the fastest-selling song in the history of Warner Brothers Records:

#6:  Vehicle--Ides of March

The Ides of March released their first single, "Like It or Lump It", on their own Epitome record label in 1965.  The group changed their name to the Ides of March in 1966, taken from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.  They released "You Wouldn't Listen" on Parrot Records and reached #42 in the spring.  The Ides of March released six singles prior to signing with Warner Brothers.  Their third single on Warner, "Vehicle", was written by lead singer Jim Peterik, who would later form the group Survivor.
"Vehicle" went to #1 and sold a million copies, the fastest-selling single in Warner Brothers history in 1970.  The Ides of March toured extensively that year, opening for many top acts including Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.

The Ides of March released four more albums and a total of seven singles. "You Wouldn't Listen", their debut single, reached #42. Despite the huge success of "Vehicle", the Ides of March could only manage to get as high as #64 with "Superman" in 1970 and "L.A. Goodbye" (#73 in 1971).

"Vehicle" is featured in the movie Lock Up with Sylvester Stallone.

With a #1 song, immense songwriting ability, great vocals and harmonies, a Grammy for Best New Artist, and their own television show, this group seemed destined to be superstars:

#5:  Afternoon Delight--Starland Vocal Band

Members of the group originally backed John Denver. Danoff and Taffy Nivert co-wrote "Take Me Home, Country Roads" with Denver.  Denver subsequently signed them to his label Windsong Records.  Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert began as a husband/wife duo called Fat City. Jon Carroll (keyboards and vocals) and Margot Chapman (vocals), also married, soon joined.
Starland Vocal Band began with one of the best debut albums in history.  "Afternoon Delight" led the way, reaching #1 in the summer of 1976.  The group was nominated for four Grammy Awards and won two of them--for Best New Artist and Best Arrangement (vocals).  Starland Vocal Band was also nominated for Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for "Afternoon Delight".  

The group was flying high, and hosed their own television variety show on CBS in the summer of 1977.  David Letterman was a writer and regular on the show.

The group's follow-up album Rear View Mirror was a disappointment, and the band broke up in 1981 after a total of four studio albums, a Christmas album, and seven singles, unable to match the lofty success of "Afternoon Delight".  The next-best song they had was "California Day", which peaked at #66.  The members each pursued their own solo careers.   

This group was the foundation for some of the greatest music of the Rock Era:

#4: For What It's Worth--Buffalo Springfield

Stephen Stills and Neil Young first met at the Fourth Dimension in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.  Young was the leader of the Squires from Winnipeg while Stills was on tour with the group the Company.  Although they wouldn't hook up for another year, the two knew they wanted to work with each other.  

After the Company broke up following the tour, Stills moved to California, where he worked as a studio musician and auditioned unsuccessfully for the Monkees.  Producer Barry Friedman indicated to Stills that his prospects were good if he could assemble a band.  Stills invited Richie Furay and former Squires bassist Ken Koblun to join him.  Both agreed, though Koblun soon left for other opportunities.

Meanwhile in Toronto, Young met Bruce Palmer, whose band the Mynah Birds needed a lead guitarist.  Young accepted, but just as the Mynah Birds were about record an album, lead singer Ricky James Matthews (later known as Rick James) was arrested by the United States Navy for being AWOL and the record company canceled the record deal.  Young and Palmer decided to go to Los Angeles in hopes of meeting up with Stills.

A week later, disappointed at being unable to find Stills and ready to leave for San Francisco, they were stuck in traffic when Stills, Furay and Friedman recognized Young's black 1953 Pontiac hearse, which happened to be passing by in the opposite direction.  Furay made a quick u-turn and after some shouting and much excitement, the four musicians connected.  Drummer Dewey Martin, who had played with the Standells, was added to the lineup less than a week later, and Buffalo Springfield was born, with the name taken from the side of a steamroller, made by the Buffalo-Springfield Roller Company, that had been parked outside Friedman's house.

Buffalo Springfield made their live debut on April 11, 1966 at the Troubadour in Hollywood and a few days later, they began opening for the Byrds in concert.  Following the tour, Chris Hillman of the Byrds urged the owners of the famous Whisky a Go Go to give Springfield an audition.  The group became the house band for seven weeks from May to June. These performances caused a buzz with the group giving sensational live shows and several record companies became interested.  The band signed with Atlantic Records and began recording in Hollywood.

Buffalo Springfield released the single "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing", but the song was essentially only a hit in L.A.  The group was so dissatisfied that they reworked some of their early recordings for the rest of their self-titled album.

In November 1966, Stills composed "For What It's Worth" after witnessing police actions against young people who had gathered on the Sunset Strip to protest the closing of a nightclub.  Springfield performed the song on Thanksgiving night at Whisky, recorded it in the next few days, and it was on the air at legendary L.A. station KHJ soon after.  By March of '67, they had a #7 song, the popularity of which has grown immensely since then.  Atco, which handled distribution, replaced the song "Baby Don't Scold Me" with "For What It's Worth" and re-released the album.  "For What It's Worth" went on to sell over one million copies.  

In 1967, Buffalo Springfield traveled to New York to perform, but Palmer was arrested for possession of marijuana and was deported back to Canada. The group moved between recording sessions and live appearances on both coasts, using several different bassists. Work on the next album was tense. Young and Stills distrusted their producers and argued amongst themselves, with each insisting on producing the songs that they had written.

By the time Palmer returned, Young had left before the group performed at the famous 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. The group used guitarist Doug Hastings and guest David Crosby in their performance. Young eventually returned in October and the group convinced their management to release their producers. The band continued to play live shows while putting the finishing touches on their second album, Buffalo Springfield Again.

The group released "Bluebird", which reached #58, and "Rock 'N' Roll Woman", which peaked at #44. The studio version of "Bluebird" wound down after the instrumental break, but in live performances, the opening verses served as a springboard for an extended jam session, during which Stills, Young and Furay intertwined guitars for minutes on end. It wasn't a hit, but it's the one you want to hear.

Strong reviews poured in all over the country, not only for the live shows but for their second album. But in 1968, Palmer was once again deported for drugs. This time, the group fired him and replaced him with Jim Messina. Young became disinterested, and often didn't appear for concerts, with Stills left to handle all the lead guitar parts by himself. The group finished recording material for a third album when Young, Furay, Messina and Eric Clapton were all arrested for drugs.

This was the final straw for the group. They gave their final concert in Long Beach, California on May 5, 1968. After playing their best songs, including a 20-minute version of "Bluebird", Buffalo Springfield officially broke up. Despite their popularity, the Springfield was never highly successful, other than their big hit. The group's legend grew stronger after their breakup, fueled by the later successes of its members.

Stills and Nash went on to solo careers as well as forming the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Furay and Messina were founding members of Poco, Furay joined J.D. Souther and Hillman in the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, while Messina also teamed with future superstar Kenny Loggins in the duo Loggins & Messina.

Unfortunately, the group was plagued by infighting, drugs, arrests, and line-up changes that forced their breakup after just two years. What might have been.

Springfield was a springboard for the careers of Stills, Young and Furay. They combined rock, folk and country into their own unique sound, and "For What It's Worth" helped change the world. Buffalo Springfield spawned the supergroup of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, as well as Poco and Loggins and Messina--an immense array of high-quality music for the world to enjoy for generations. The group was recognized for its influence with induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Buffalo Springfield released three albums and nine singles
in their career.

With prophetic lyrics and the amazing imagination it took to write one of the biggest songs in history, it seemed the sky was the limit for this duo:

#3:  In the Year 2525-- Zager & Evans

Rick Evans wrote this song in 1964 and the duo Zager & Evans released the song on the small regional label Truth Records in 1968. One year later, a radio station in Odessa, Texas popularized the song, and RCA Records pounced on it for nationwide distribution.
"In the Year 2525" reached #1 for six weeks in the United States and also was #1 in the U.K. It was nominated for a Hugo Award that same year. By 1970, the song had sold over four million copies and the total sales of the song, the album and compilations are now over 10 million.

This classic has been covered at least 60 times in 7 different languages. One key version is by the U.K. group Visage; another by Greek singer Takis Antoniadis in the 1970's.

The duo released two more albums and three more singles.  Mr. Turnkey" (a song about a rapist who nails his own wrist to the wall as punishment for his crime), failed to hit the popular charts on either side of the Atlantic.  And Zager and Evans' meteoric rise to the top of the charts was over without an encore.

This group’s #1 smash was so popular everyone wanted to record it:

#2:  Venus--Shocking Blue

Robbie van Leeuwen, guitarist for the Shocking Blue, wrote both the music and lyrics of this great song.  Van Leeuwen also played sitar, sang background vocals, and co-produced the record along with Jerry Ross.  Mariska Veres sings lead on the song released in 1970.  "Venus" was remixed and released in 1990 and gave the group a Top 10 hit in the U.K. and Australia 20 years after the original.

"Venus" hit #1 in the U.S. and in five other countries in 1970.  Bananarama remade the song in 1986 and took it to #1 as well.  The classic has been featured in numerous films, television shows and commercials and covered dozens of times by artists around the globe.  It has been featured in Remember the TitansThe Brady Bunch Movie and Grumpier Old Men just to name a few.  

"Venus" was certified gold shortly after release and has now sold over 7.5 million copies.  And yet the group could never follow it up.    They released 11 albums in their career and ended up selling over 13 million records.  The Shocking Blue released 25 singles ("Venus" was the fifth single). "Mighty Joe" at #43 in 1970, however, was the highest they could get besides "Venus".

Up next is the German band whose worldwide hit featured some of the most poignant lyrics ever written:

#1.  99 Luftballons--Nena   

Gabriele Susanne Kerner was born in Hagen, West Germany.  She spent her early years in Breckerfield and later lived in Hagen.  She acquired the nickname of "Nena" (little girl) while on a vacation to Spain. In 1979, guitarist Rainer  Kitzmann offered Nena a position as lead singer in the Stripes.  The group had a minor hit with "Ecstasy" but soon disbanded.

In 1981, Nena and then-boyfriend Rolf Brendel moved to West Berlin, where they met guitarist Carlo Karges, keyboardist Uwe-Fahrenkrog-Petersen and bassist Jürgen Dehmel.  Together, they formed the band Nena in 1982, and their first single, "Nur getraumt" (Only dreamt") became an instant hit in Germany after the group performed on the German television show Muiskladen.  "Nur getraumt" reached #2 in Germany, but success was contained to their home country.

In 1983, Nena released their self-titled album, which contained the singles "Leuchtturm" ("Lighthouse") and "99 Luftballons".  Fahrenkrog-Petersen wrote the music while  Karges wrote the original German lyrics.  While attending a Rolling Stones concert in West Berlin, Karges noticed that balloons were being released.  As he watched them move towards the horizon, he noticed them shifting and changing shapes, where they looked like strange spacecraft.  Karges thought about what might happen if they floated over the Berlin Wall to the Soviet sector. 

Nena first recorded the song in German, then in English.  "99 Luftballons" hit #1 in West Germany, Canada, Australia and Ireland and #2 in the United States.  The English version was a #1 song in the U.K. and was a smash hit the world over.

Nena released five international singles and had 14 hits on the German charts but they were never heard outside of Germany again.  

We hope you enjoyed The Top 500 One-Hit Wonders of the Rock Era*.  Please feel free to catch up on episodes you may have missed, and to revisit the special often.  We'll provide you with a handy link to do just that, and you can always find links to this and all other Inside The Rock Era specials by clicking on the "Charts and Lists" link at the top of the website.  Have a great day!