Friday, September 16, 2016

Artists Whose First Hit Was Their Biggest--Part Four

While this list is not all-encompassing, we showcase a lot of great music in this series.  Here are 10 more artists:

Brooklyn Bridge
"Worst That Could Happen"

Lead singer Johnny Maestro was previously with the Crests ("16 Candles" from 1959), and the group Brooklyn Bridge also included Patricia Van Dross (older sister of Luther Vandross), although Patricia left before this song.  They took this Jimmy Webb song to #3 and sold over one million copies, but the best they could do after that was #45.

Brothers Four

This group formed when its members were Phi Gamma Delta fraternity brothers at the University of Washington in Seattle.  They recorded this great cover of the song originally done by Terry Gilkyson & the Easy Riders and released it as their first single.  It went all the way to #2 in 1960 and remained there for four solid weeks.  But after "Greenfields", the best the Brothers Four could do was #32.

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

This indeed was a crazy act, which in addition to Arthur Brown, also included drummer Carl Palmer, who went on to form Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Asia.  Brown had a vocal range that spanned four octaves, and one of his props was a burning metal helmet, which led to some problems.  For instance, at the Windsor Festival in 1967, Brown wore a colander on his head soaked with methanol.  The fuel poured over his head by accident and caught fire.  Fortunately for Brown, two bystanders poured beer on Brown's head, putting the flames out and preventing serious injury.  The group's only Top 100 song was "Fire", #2 in 1968.

"The Three Bells"

This vocal trio from Arkansas adapted the 1946 French song "Les Trois Cloches" into this #1 smash in 1959.  They never matched it, although they did reach #5 in 1960 with "The Old Lamplighter".

"Kind Of A Drag"

Here's an act from Chicago, Illinois that hit the top in 1967 with this song.  They would also reach the Top 10 with "Don't You Care" and "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" and had other good songs with "Hey Baby (They're Playing Our Song)" and "Susan", but their first hit was their biggest.

Buffalo Springfield
"For What It's Worth"

As great as the musicians in this L.A. band were and as great as their first release is, they were a One-Hit Wonder.  Formed in 1966 by Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Richie Furay, Dewey Martin and Bruce Palmer, they released this classic song after observing unrest between young people protesting Sunset Strip curfew laws and the police.  On November 12 of 1966, several L.A. Rock radio stations announced that a rally would be held outside the Pandora's Box club.  As many as 1,000 young people demonstrated that night, including movie stars Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda, who were both handcuffed by police.  But trouble broke out, and the unrest continued the next night and occasionally throughout the next two months.  Buffalo Springfield recorded the song on December 5, and it reached #7 early in 1967.  Although they released other worthy songs such as "Bluebird" and "Rock 'N' Roll Woman", the Springfield never reached the Top 40 again.

"Video Killed The Radio Star"

This British duo of Geoff Downes and Trevor Horn recorded the song that was the first video played on MTV, which back then stood for Music Television.  You'd never know it now, but MTV was once something "back in the day".  The Buggles never hit the Top 40 after that.  Both members joined a later reincarnation of Yes in 1980, while Downes was with the group Asia in 1981.  Horn also became a respected producer, winning a Grammy Award for Seal's "Kiss From A Rose" and also producing "Owner Of A Lonely Heart" for Yes, as well as Paul McCartney, Tina Turner, Genesis, the Pet Shop Boys, Simple Minds, Charlotte Church and Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

Bobby Caldwell
"What You Won't Do For Love"

This multi-instrumentalist was a percussionist with Johnny Winter and Rick Derringer and also wrote songs for the New Mickey Mouse Club television show, commercials, and in 1986, penned the #1 song "The Next Time I Fall" for Peter Cetera and Amy Grant.  He scored a #9 hit in 1978 with "What You Won't Do For Love", but never reached the Top 40 again.

C & C Music Factory
"Gonna' Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)"

One of the great songs of the early '90s was the first single release from this dance group.  Their Platinum song hit #1 on both the Popular and R&B charts.  They followed that smash up with the Top 10 songs "Here We Go" and "Things That Make You Go Hmmmm...".

Captain & Tennille
"Love Will Keep Us Together"

This popular married duo met when both toured with the Beach Boys.  Their cover of the Neil Sedaka song "Love Will Keep Us Together" was a #1 song of four weeks in 1975.  They posted five other Top 10 songs, including the #1 "Do That To Me One More Time", but their biggest career hit was their first.

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