Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Artists Whose First Hit Was Their Biggest--Part 23

We're featuring artists who scored big hits with their first song to chart and finished their career with that first hit being their biggest:

Nicolette Larson
"Lotta' Love"

This singer from Helena, Montana sang backing vocals on recordings by Linda Ronstadt, Van Halen, Neil Young and others.  Young gave permission for Nicolette to record a song he'd written, "Lotta' Love".  It went to #8 on the Popular chart but was hugely popular with adults, going to #1 in that genre.  Larson's next-best song reached #35 before she died in 1997 at the age of 45 from cerebral edema brought on by liver failure.

Vicki Lawrence
"The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia"

A regular on Carol Burnett's television series on CBS for 12 years, Lawrence went into the recording studio to record a song written by her husband, Bobby Russell.  The smash #1 from 1973 went on to become one of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*.  Lawrence never reached the Top 40 again.

Left Banke
"Walk Away Renee"

This group formed in New York City and scored a Top 5 hit with this one in 1966.  A follow-up, "Pretty Ballerina", was moderately successful but the group never came close to matching "Walk Away Renee".

Lemon Pipers
"Green Tambourine"

This group from Oxford, Ohio enjoyed the second #1 song in 1968, giving way to the classic "Love Is Blue".  The Lemon Pipers never found the Top 40 again.

Ketty Lester
"Love Letters"

This artist from Hope, Arkansas aced in several movies and television shows, including Little House On The Prairie and Days of Our Lives.  She took a Dick Haymes song and remade it into a #5 hit in 1962.  But Lester's next-best effort stalled at #41.

Level 42
"Something About You"

This English act set up their career in 1986 with the #7 hit "Something About You".  They had another quality song, "Lessons In Love", a #12 hit the following year, but nothing they released topped their first hit.


Sean and Gerald Levert of this group were sons of Eddie Levert of the O'Jays.  They landed a #1 R&B hit and #5 song "Casanova" in 1987, which sold over one million copies.  But the group finished their career with no other Top 40 hits.

Barbara Lewis
"Hello Stranger"

This artist began writing songs at the age of nine, and as she perfected that craft, she also became efficient on multiple instruments.  She reached #3 with "Hello Stranger" in 1963.  She went on to chart 10 hits, with "Baby, I'm Yours" in 1965 reaching #11.

Bobby Lewis
"Tossin' And Turnin"

This artist grew up in an orphanage, and was adopted by a family in Detroit, Michigan at the age of 12.  He began recording in 1952, but landed his first hit in 1961 with this #1 song of seven week.  His follow-up, "One Track Mind", got as high as #9 but he never reached the high bar set by his first hit.

Donna Lewis
"I Love You Always Forever"

Here's another of The Top #2 Songs of the Rock Era, a bridesmaid for nine weeks in 1996.  Lewis never reached the Top 40 again.

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