We're featuring artists who spent years writing songs in the hopes of getting a recording contract, and once that finally came, they scored a big hit. But lest anyone thinks that initial success was easy, these artists could never match it:
Climax Blues Band
"Precious And Few"
The L.A. group that gave us one of The Top Love Songs of the Rock Era* only reached the Top 100 one time after that, a #52 song later that year. Lead singer Sonny Geraci was once with the Outsiders "(Time Won't Let Me").
"Couldn't Get It Right"
This group from Stafford, England formed in 1968, but it wasn't until 1977 that their first worldwide single struck it big. They continued to record for several years afterward, and had an underrated hit at #12 with "I Love You" in 1981.
"Lean On Me"
This Sacramento, California group remade the 1972 Bill Withers smash "Lean On Me" into a #1 song in 1987. Lead singer Jay King owned King Jay Records and started Club Nouveau after founding the Timex Social Club ("Rumours") the year before. Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy of Club Nouveau became a successful songwriting and production duo, writing for Madonna, En Vogue, Swing Out Sister, Tony! Toni! Tone!, Regina Belle and Alexander O'Neal.
"Life Is A Highway"
The former leader of Canada's Red Rider (check out the great song "White Hot" when you get the chance), Tom Cochrane struck out on his own in 1992 and landed a huge Gold record with this one. As great as that is, he never came close to following it up.
"Wondering Where The Lions Are"
Another Canadian singer-songwriter enjoyed a Top 40 hit with this one in 1980, but his next-best effort was #88.
"Walking In Memphis"
Carly Simon discovered this talented artist, and Cohn played at the wedding of Caroline Kennedy. His first release was a great song that nonetheless was underrated at #13. It led to him winning the Best New Artist trophy at the Grammy Awards and he showed enormous potential. But Cohn's biggest hit after that peaked at #63.
Speaking of underrated, this Georgia quintet may be the most underrated of the Rock Era. They've sold millions of records, have dozens of high-quality songs and are fantastic in concert, but after this Gold record on their first try, they never were able to get into the Top 15 again.
"Thunder And Lightning"
This Wisconsin artist belted out great vocals on this first hit in 1972, but it was her one and only Top 100 song.
Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
"Hot Rod Lincoln"
"Hot Rod Lincoln"
Boise, Idaho's George Frayne led this group that reached #9 out of the box in 1972. They remained popular for several years but never came close to matching "Hot....Rod....Lincoln".
"Sweet Soul Music"
Otis Redding discovered this Atlanta, Georgia artist in 1965. His adaption of the Sam Cooke song "Yeah Man" went to #2 in 1967 but even though Conley continued to do well on the R&B chart, his next-best Popular hit was "Funky Street" at #14 in 1968.