Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Artists Whose First Hit Was Their Biggest--Part 22

Our fun feature continues with 10 more artists:

Evelyn "Champagne" King

How many of you would like to get a break so big that it allows you to quit your "day job"?  That's what happened when she worked as a cleaning woman at Sigma Studios.  Evelyn King was just going about her business cleaning up, singing while she worked.  Well, producer Theodore T. Life heard her in the washroom and began coaching her.  That led to a production deal with Life's Galaxy Productions and a recording contract with RCA Records.  A real-life story that is so good you don't have to make it up.  Her first release went to #9 and sold over one million copies.  She collected another Gold record with "I Don't Know If It's Right" and another later hit that reached #17, but "Shame" was her Gold standard.

"Louie Louie"

Although this group didn't record the best version of "Louie Louie", they had a big hit with it, rising to #2 for six weeks in 1963.  They returned to the Top 10 two years later with the #2 song "The Jolly Green Giant", but when people ask them about their career, they don't ask them about "The Jolly Green Giant"--they ask them about "Louie Louie".

Kingston Trio
"Tom Dooley"

This San Francisco Folk trio were so hot that five of their first six albums hit #1 for a combined 46 weeks..  Their first big hit was "Tom Dooley", a #1 smash in 1956.  Through their 17 hits, they wouldn't return to the Top 10 until 1963 when they hit #8 with "Reverend Mr. Black".

"3 A.M. Eternal"

This British duo was previously known as the Timelords.  Their first hit was this 1991 Gold song that hit #5.  They were able to get as high as #11 with "Justified & Ancient", but nothing topped their first.

"My Sharona"

Doug Fieger, vocalist and guitarist with the Knack, may have been obsessed with a girl named Sharona, but it's tough to argue against the masterpiece that resulted from it.  I credit it with going a long way towards saving rock & roll during the period in between the Disco era and the time when Soft Rock ruled.  It shot up to #1 for six weeks and is one of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*.  Their follow-up got to #11, but that is the best the Knack could do after their classic debut.

Jean Knight
"Mr. Big Stuff"

One of The Top 100 R&B Songs of the '70s*, this song got Jean Knight's career going with a Quadruple Platinum selling #2 smash in 1971.  Unfortunately, she never reached the Top 40 again.

Buddy Knox
"Party Doll"

Buddy Knock debuted on the charts with this great #1 song from 1957.  Nine hits later, it was still his best, although he did find the Top 10 again with "Hula Love".

"Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime"

This British pop trio scored a #18 hit with this one, which not only is one of The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era*, but makes the group one of The Top 500 One-Hit Wonders* as well.

La Bouche
"Be My Lover"

Here's a great song from 1996 that went to #6 and sold over one million copies.  The best La Bouche could do after that was #13.

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