Saturday, September 24, 2016

Artists Whose First Hit Was Their Biggest--Part 17

We're enjoying those big first hits of Rock Era artists that set such a high bar that the artists could never attain again:

Jeff Healey Band
"Angel Eyes"

Blind since age one and a guitarist since three, Jeff Healey led this Toronto, Canada group to a #5 hit in 1989.  They managed a #91 song after that, so "Angel Eyes" was by far their best.

"Boogie Nights"

This interracial group formed in Germany and exploded on the scene in 1977 with this #2 smash, a Platinum song.  Two other Gold hits followed, but the best Heatwave could do after "Boogie Nights" was #7 with "The Groove Line".

Heavy D & the Boyz
"Now That We Found Love"

If you're a fan of the great movie Hitch starring Will Smith, you'll recognize this as the song played at the end of the movie.  Heavy D & the Boyz stalled at #11 but sold over one million copies of this song.

Bobby Hebb

This song was written by Bobby Hebb after two tragic events--the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and the death of Hebb's brother Hall.  He was devastated, but chose to be optimistic with this #2 hit.  Hebb reached #39 after that, so he isn't a One-Hit Wonder, but his first single shines above everything else he did.

"I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)"

This '90s group enjoyed seven hits, including three Top 10's, but this debut single led the way at #1.

Bertie Higgins
"Key Largo"

This artist from Florida once was a drummer with Tommy Roe from 1964 to 1966.  He and his girlfriend were big movie buffs, and so when the couple split, Bertie wrote this song about the great Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall movie Key Largo in an appeal to win her back.  It may not have done that, but it did win Bertie Higgins some fans, giving him a Gold record.  He had several other good songs, but nothing approached his first single.


This folk group adapted the 19th-century folk song "Michael Row The Boat Ashore" for this #1 hit in 1961.  Their next effort reached #13, the closest they would get after that.

Al Hirt

This great trumpeter once toured with both Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, among others, prior to releasing this solo single in 1964.  It's another of the great instrumentals of the Rock Era, a #4 hit that he found impossible to top.

Brenda Holloway
"Every Little Bit Hurts"

Brenda Holloway never reached the Top 10, but she stopped just short at #13 with this great first hit.  Brenda only got as high as #25 with future releases and later became a backup singer for Joe Cocker.

Buddy Holly & the Crickets
"That'll Be The Day"

We'll never know if this super-talented artist could have topped this great first #1 single, because Holly and two others (Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper) were killed in a plane crash near Mason City, Iowa when Holly was 22 years old.  Holly and the group scored 13 hits, three of them posthumous ones.  They hit the Top 10 two other times, including the great #3 song "Peggy Sue", but that first single forever set the pace.

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