Friday, September 16, 2016

Artists Whose First Hit Was Their Biggest--Part Three

We continue with the third part in a series featuring the artists who scored their biggest career hit with their first single:

Blue Swede
"Hooked On A Feeling"

This artist recorded a different arrangement of a B.J. Thomas hit and scored a big #1 hit in 1974 with it.  

Booker T. & the MG's
"Green Onions"

In 1962, this group of outstanding session musicians at Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee formed their own group.   They largely helped launch the "Memphis sound" and influenced Southern Soul. They were the Stax house band for stars such as Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and the Staple Singers. formed their own group.  Previously, keyboardist Booker T. Jones was in a band with his high school classmate, Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire.  Guitarist Steve Cropper and bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn were in the Mar-Keys ("Last Night").  In 1962, the group debuted with this #1 R&B and #3 Popular smash.  For six years afterward, however, they were a One-Hit Wonder, until they rebounded in 1969 with the title song from the movie Hang 'Em High, and scored another Top 10 hit with "Time Is Tight" later in the year.  Al Jackson, Jr. was the drummer. 

 After disbanding, Jones earned a music degree at Indiana University, married Priscilla Coolidge (Rita's sister) and produced Rita Coolidge, Bill Withers, Willie Nelson and Eal Klugh.  Cropper wrote the songs "(Sittin' On The) Dock Of The Bay" for Otis Redding, "In The Midnight Hour" for Wilson Pickett and "Knock On Wood" for Eddie Floyd, and played guitar and produced for the Blues Brothers.

Debby Boone
"You Light Up My Life"

Here's another of the One-Hit Wonders, who by the way gave us the biggest hit of all-time by a One-Hit Wonder, the song above from 1977.  It went against heavy competition to reach #1 and held on to that spot for 10 weeks.  On the strength of that classic, she won three Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist.  Remarkably, she never hit the Top 10 again, although her follow-up "California" is a worthy song.  She is the daughter of '50s superstar Pat Boone.

Box Tops
"The Letter"

Here's another Memphis group which scored an all-time classic out of the box, another of The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era*, "The Letter".  They also earned the #2 song "Cry Like A Baby" as well as the notable songs "Soul Deep" and "Sweet Cream Ladies, Forward March".

Brass Construction

This Brooklyn, New York band showed a lot of promise with this song, highly underrated at #14 overall but a #1 R&B hit.  But their next biggest hit was #51.   Lead singer and keyboardist Randy Muller went on to form the group Skyy ("When You Touch Me" and "Call Me").

"Make It With You"

This '70's supergroup of amazing musicians soared to #1 with their first release, a Gold record.  Some Bread fans would argue that "If" was a better song, and they hit #3 with "Baby I'm-A Want You" the next year.  But none of those reached #1 and there aren't near enough sales or airplay to rank "If" "ahead of Make It With You".  Bread finished with 13 hits, including six other Top 10 smashes.  

"Hands To Heaven"

Here's a London group that enjoyed three Top 10 hits in their brief career.  But they never topped their first one, a #2 smash in 1988.


This disco-jazz group from Atlanta enjoyed the #3 hit "Dazz", short for disco-jazz, in 1977.  They did hit #18 with their follow-up, "Dusic", but never came close to their first big hit.

Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians
"What I Am"

Here's another of the great One-Hit Wonders.  With their first release, the group showed tremendous promise, but their next best effort was the follow-up "Circle", a #48 song.  Brickell, whose father Eddie was a pro bowler, married superstar Paul Simon in 1992.

Alicia Bridges
"I Love The Nightlife (Disco 'Round)"

The singer who gave us this Top 5 smash in 1978 only reached #86 with a follow-up and was never heard from again.

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