Friday, September 23, 2016

Artists Whose First Hit Was Their Biggest--Part 16

Enjoy 10 more artists as we salute those artists who landed that first big hit and were never able to match it afterwards:

R.B. Greaves
"Take A Letter Maria"

We heard Sam Cooke earlier in the feature; here is Sam's nephew, who enjoyed a big hit of his own his first try.  R.B. Greaves took this song to #2 and sold over one million copies.

Norman Greenbaum
"Spirit In The Sky"

This song was released at a time when the Baby Boomer generation was discovering God, and Norman Greenbaum had one of the biggest hits of 1970 with it.  

Guns N' Roses
"Sweet Child O' Mine"

Right out of the gate, this L.A. band took their first hit to the top.  Though they would return to the Top 10 five other times, it was their first hit that set the pace for them.

Jan Hammer
"Miami Vice Theme"

One of the only artists every from Czechoslovakia to score a hit in the Rock Era, this artist once toured with Sarah Vaughan as her conductor and keyboardist.  In 1985, he recorded a #1 instrumental for the television show Miami Vice.  It was the only Top 100 hit he would ever have.

Richard Harris
"MacArthur Park"

Here we have another of the One-Hit Wonders in this feature.  Actor Richard Harris recorded this song in 1968, which took off to #2.  He continued to record but never came close to this one.

George Harrison
"My Sweet Lord"

A member of the Beatles, Harrison never got more than a song or two of his own on group albums, so some people were surprised when his first single release became a classic.  It ruled at #1 for four weeks.  In addition to the great Beatles hits, Harrison generated 16 solo hits, including two more #1's and five other Top 10 songs, plus formed the great group Traveling Wilburys.  But Harrison's first solo hit remained far and away his biggest.

Wilbert Harrison
"Kansas City"

We're up to another great '50s song, this #1 from Wilbert Harrison in 1959.  After "Kansas City", Harrison continued to record, releasing his final single in 1971.  His next-best stalled at #32.

Edwin Hawkins Singers
"Oh Happy Day"

This Gospel group landed a #4 song in 1969 that sold over one million singles.  They were part of the Top 10 hit "Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)" by Melanie the next year, but their first remained their biggest career hit.

Bill Hayes
"The Ballad Of Davy Crockett"

Hayes gave us this monster hit, a #1 song for five weeks, just a few months before the Rock Era began in 1955.  It is from the ABC-TV Disneyland series.  Bill reached the Top 40 in 1957, but nothing he did was as good as this one.  Hayes later starred on the television soap opera Days Of Our Lives.

Roy Head
"Treat Her Right"

This artist was more successful with the much-smaller Country market, but he did cross over to #2 in 1965 with this one.  Head posted two other Top 40 hits later in the year.

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