Sunday, September 25, 2016

Artists Whose First Hit Was Their Biggest--Part 18

Inside The Rock Era is featuring big "first hits", debut singles so powerful that they overcame everything that the artist released after that.  Be sure to catch up on the previous 18 segments--some great music in this feature!  Here are 10 more:

Clint Holmes
"Playground In My Mind"

The talented Clint Holmes was born in Bournemouth, England but moved to the U.S. and served in the Vietnam War.  After that, Holmes became a popular local entertainer in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C.  He released his first single in 1972, but it didn't catch on until the following year, finally peaking at #2 and selling over one million copies.  In the song, Holmes duets with the son of producer Paul Vance, Phillip. Although Holmes never charted again, he became a fixture on the Las Vegas scene for years.  In 2006, Clint performed for the last time at Harrah's Casino, which renamed its main showroom for him.

"Little Honda"

Members of the Wrecking Crew, including guitarist Glen Campbell and drummer Hal Blaine, played on this Top 10 hit from 1964.  Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys wrote it for the Hondells, who were unable to score a Top 40 hit after that.

"Have I The Right?"

This English beat group started in 1963 by hairdresser Martin Murray, his salon assistant Honey Lantree, her brother John and two friends.  Originally, they were known as the Sheratons.  While playing at the Mildmay Tavern in London, the group met songwriters Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley.  This led to the group auditioning the duo's song "Have I The Right?" for producer Joe Meek.  The song features Lantree's drums, enhanced by group members stomping their feet on the wooden stairs in the studio.  Meek used five microphones affixed to the banisters with bicycle clips to capture the effect and then had someone beat a tambourine directly into one microphone.  The group renamed themselves the Honeycombs and that debut single reached #5.  They worked magic on that one, but the Honeycombs were never able to reach the Top 40 again.

Mary Hopkin
"Those Were The Days"

This artist was one of those signed by Apple Records, the Beatles' label.  For her first single, Hopkin recorded this song with a melody based on "Dear For Me", a traditional Russian folk song.  It became one of The Biggest #2 Songs of the Rock Era*, and seems to hold up today as well as any from the period.  Hopkin was able to reach #13 with her follow-up, "Goodbye", written for her by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, but nothing came close to this great song.

Johnny Horton
"The Battle Of New Orleans"

This artist showed incredible promise with this #1 song of six weeks.  He chalked up two more Top 10 hits, "Sink The Bismark" and "North To Alaska" before dying in an auto accident in 1960 at age 35.

"Angel In Your Arms"

Here's another of the great One-Hit Wonders, an interracial trio who landed a Gold record on their first try in 1977.  Despite the singing talent, they didn't write their own songs and were never able to find the right material to score a big hit again.

Adina Howard
"Freak Like Me"

Adina Howard landed a #2 smash in 1995 with her first big hit, but the best she could do after that was #32.

"Knockin' Da Boots"

Houston's H-Town scored a Platinum single in 1993, but would not enter the Top 20 again.

Human Beinz
"Nobody But Me"

This band started out of the garage in Youngstown, Ohio as the Premiers, but they soon changed their name to the Human Beingz.  They signed with Capitol Records and recorded their first single; however, Capitol misspelled their name on the record.  Capitol promised the group they would correct the mistake if the single was unsuccessful.  However, it became a big hit in 1968.  Beinz or Beingz, they never reached the Top 40 after that.

Human League
"Don't You Want Me"

This English group enjoyed a #1 hit of three weeks with their debut hit in 1982.  They went on to reach the Top 10 two other times, including another #1 ("Human"), but nothing topped their first.

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