Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Artists Whose First Hit Was Their Biggest--Part 11

Inside The Rock Era continues our look at the artists of the last 60 years who set quite a standard for themselves with their first release, because they could never top it.

Carl Douglas
"Kung Fu Fighting"

An engineering student in both the U.S. and England, Jamaican-born Carl Douglas rocketed to #1 in 1974, but never returned to the Top 40.

Joe Dowell
"Wooden Heart"

If you're from Germany or are familiar with German music, you probably know the folk song "Muss I Denn".  Joe Dowell based his first release on that song and rose to #1 in 1961 with it.  But the best Joe could do after that was #23.

Dream Academy
"Life In A Northern Town"

This group wanted to blend instruments such as strings, woodwinds, timpani and synthesizers to form a unique sound.  When they began, they were known as the Politics of Paradise.  They recorded a demo but were rejected by every record label before Warner Brothers finally signed them.  Their first single highlighted that unique sound and music fans loved it.  "Life In A Northern Town" went to #7, but even though the follow-up "The Love Parade" was a high-quality song, it stalled at #36, and the Dream Academy faded as quickly as they began.

Sheena Easton
"Morning Train (Nine To Five)"

This Scottish superstar used her first single release, which went to #1, to earn the Best New Artist Grammy Award.  She chalked up 20 hits, including seven Top 10's, but nothing matched her debut.

Edison Lighthouse
"Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)"

You could say lead singer Tony Burrows knew his way around a recording studio.  In addition to singing lead for this act, he also fronted the Brotherhood of Man, First Class, the Pipkins and White Plains.  Edison Lighthouse scored a Gold record with this Top 5 song in 1970.

Dave Edmunds
"I Hear You Knocking"

This artist reached #4 with this one in 1970.  He recorded some quality music over the next 15 years, including "Almost Saturday Night" in 1981, but never reached the Top 40 again.  He became a producer, working for the Stray Cats, Shakin' Stevens and Brinsley Schwartz.

Jonathan Edwards

When Jonathan Edwards started out, he opened for the Allman Brothers Band and B.B. King.  His first release was a big hit in 1971.

Tommy Edwards
"It's All In The Game"

Here's another artist who achieved one of the biggest hits early in the Rock Era, a #1 song for six weeks.  He got as high as #11 after that.

"Little Star"

Prior to striking it big, the Elegants performed near their homes on Staten Island, New York.  Their first release was a #1 smash in 1958, but that would be all the group could accomplish.


This group's first release was a major hit across the world, going to #1 in 1991 and selling over one million copies.  Their follow-up, "Lies", hit #18, meaning EMF isn't a One-Wonder, but they fit nicely in this feature.

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