Saturday, 15 February 2014

Two-Hit Wonders On The Australian Charts - The 80s

JUMP TO: Part 1 II Part 2 II Part 3 II Part 4


A week ago, I decided to set the record straight on one-hit wonders in Australia. Over three posts (Part 1: one number 1, no other hits; Parts 2 and 3: one top 10, no other hits), I looked back at 95 bona fide one-hit wonders in this country during the 1980s. Now, as promised, it's time for the two-hit wonders (with at least one of those hits coming during the '80s)

Feargal Sharkey: a classic two-hit wonder

As the description suggests, a two-hit wonder is an artist that landed two massive hits then was never heard from again. In other words, it's an act with two top 10 hits (sometimes including a number 1) and no other top 50 entries. Let's get to it...


Murray Head
Given his two hits were from stage shows, you'd be excused for thinking Murray was a musical theatre star - but his recordings of the Jesus Christ Superstar and Chess tunes were taken from albums released before either production made it to the stage. Fun fact: the actor/singer is the older brother of Anthony Head from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Merlin.

Hit 1: "Superstar" (with The Trinidad Singers)
Entered the Australian chart: January 5, 1970
Peak position: number 5



Hit 2: "One Night In Bangkok"

Entered the Australian chart: January 21, 1985
Peak position: number 1




Deniece Williams
Her first Australian chart hit came from her duet album with Johnny Mathis (with whom she'd later record the theme tune to Family Ties, "Without Us"), while her second was taken from the Footloose soundtrack. Following the success of "Let's Hear It For The Boy", Deniece moved more into the gospel genre.

Hit 1: "Too Much Too Little Too Late" (with Johnny Mathis)
Entered the Australian chart: May 29, 1978
Peak position: number  6




Entered the Australian chart: May 28, 1984
Peak position: number 3




Kelly Marie
The Scottish singer formerly known as Jacqueline McKinnon (her birth name) and Keli Brown (her first stage name) was signed after appearing on British TV talent quest Opportunity Knocks. Opportunity almost only knocked once for Kelly, with "Feels Like I'm In Love" failing to chart upon release in 1979 and taking until late 1980 to connect with record buyers.
Entered the Australian chart: October 30, 1978
Peak position: number 5

Entered the Australian chart: October 20, 1980
Peak position: number 7




Dan Hartman
Besides the two Australian chart hits under his own name, Dan was also the original performer of "Relight My Fire" (later covered by Take That featuring Lulu) and the songwriter of "Love Sensation" (later sampled by Black Box on "Ride On Time"). Dan passed away in 1994.
Entered the Australian chart: January 22, 1979
Peak position: number 6

Entered the Australian chart: July 9, 1984
Peak position: number 3





Rocky Burnette
Despite featuring some fantastic music, the early '80s was also a time when Shakin' Stevens and Dr Hook were massive on the Australian chart. Rockabilly performer Rocky Burnette fit right into that throwback craze with his two massive hits from 1980 - the former of which was later covered by Shaky.

Hit 1: "Tired Of Toein' The Line"
Entered the Australian chart: March 31, 1980
Peak position: number 1



Hit 2: "Fallin' In Love (Bein' Friends)"
Entered the Australian chart: July 21, 1980
Peak position: number 6




Juice Newton
Decades before Taylor Swift did a Shania, Dolly Parton and Juice Newton perfected the art of crossing over from the country scene to the pop charts. Juice (real name: Judy) did it with these two cover versions. Neither song was that well known before Juice got her hands on it - but both certainly were afterwards.

Hit 1: "Angel Of The Morning"
Entered the Australian chart: April 6, 1981
Peak position: number 2



Hit 2: "Queen Of Hearts"
Entered the Australian chart: August 3, 1981
Peak position: number 8




Time Bandits
This Dutch band was so popular in Australia for a brief period of time that they even filmed the video for their second hit single here. Both songs are pure pop perfection.

Hit 1: "I Am Only Shooting Love"
Entered the Australian chart: October 22, 1984
Peak position: number 9



Hit 2: "Endless Road"
Entered the Australian chart: September 9, 1985
Peak position: number 5




The Power Station
When one half of Duran Duran went off to form Arcadia, John Taylor and Andy Taylor teamed up with Robert Palmer (who was in between solo albums), and Chic's Tony Thompson and Bernard Edwards for this side-project. Their first hit was an original track, while "Get It On" was a cover of the T. Rex single from 1971.

Hit 1: "Some Like It Hot"
Entered the Australian chart: April 8, 1985
Peak position: number 4



Hit 2: "Get It On (Bang A Gong)"
Entered the Australian chart: June 24, 1985
Peak position: number 8




The Hooters
Like fellow soft rockers Mr Mister (who narrowly miss out on this list - see below), The Hooters had one hit I liked much better than the other. While "All You Zombies" was all moody (like "Broken Wings"), "And We Danced" is a triumphant pop moment (like "Kyrie"). The band isn't named after the well-known American chain of restaurants, but instead the colloquial term for the melodica (that keyboard instrument you can blow into).

Hit 1: "All You Zombies"
Entered the Australian chart: August 5, 1985
Peak position: number 8
 
Entered the Australian chart: September 23, 1985
Peak position: number 6
 



Feargal Sharkey
The first artist who springs to mind when I think of two-hit wonders, Feargal had been the singer for punk group The Undertones (who never hit the Australian top 100) as well as the vocalist on "Never Never" (which reached number 95 here) by The Assembly, Vince Clarke's post-Yazoo, pre-Erasure project. So, after missing the top 50 twice previously, it was only fair that Feargal have a double whammy with his solo recordings.
Entered the Australian chart: November 18, 1985
Peak position: number 1
 
Entered the Australian chart: February 18, 1986
Peak position: number 4
 



Stacey Q
Hitting number 7 on two separate occasions was as lucky as Madonna-lite singer Stacey Swain got with her music career. Her post-fame CV features the fantastically bizarre achievement of having a "special non-sexual appearance" in a gay porn film.
Entered the Australian chart: October 13, 1986
Peak position: number 7
 


Hit 2: "We Connect"
Entered the Australian chart: March 2, 1987
Peak position: number 7
 



Glenn Medeiros
He debuted as a fresh-faced 17-year-old balladeer from Hawaii before kind of successfully sexing up his image three years later with "She Ain't Worth It", which featured a rap from bad boy Bobby Brown for good measure. Like "The Greatest Love Of All", "Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You" had originally been recorded by George Benson.
Entered the Australian chart: September 21, 1987
Peak position: number 10
 


Hit 2: "She Ain't Worth It" (featuring Bobby Brown)
Entered the Australian chart: August 5, 1990
Peak position: number 8




The Proclaimers
I've already remarked on my weekly ARIA chart recaps that Scottish twins Craig and Charlie Reid were one of my least favourite things about music in 1989 - and that was largely because their success wasn't limited to just the one inescapable, massive single. No, Australia had to go and make a hit out of follow-up "I'm On My Way" as well - something that didn't even happen in the UK.

Hit 1: "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"
Entered the Australian chart: November 21, 1988
Peak position: number 1



Hit 2: "I'm On My Way"
Entered the Australian chart: March 6, 1989
Peak position: number 3




Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers
And so, the '80s ended just as they began - with awful medley records dominating the top 10 and old school rock'n'roll back in the charts. Jive Bunny were the new Stars On 45 and "Swing The Mood" was the type of song that appealed to people who never otherwise bought records (or hadn't since the early '60s). The only good things I have to say about the pesky rabbit-fronted project are 1) including the Hawaii Five-O theme in "That's What I Like" was actually not a bad move and 2) at least in this case, Australia didn't have it as badly as Britain, where Jive Bunny landed three consecutive chart-toppers.

Hit 1: "Swing The Mood"
Entered the Australian chart: October 2, 1989
Peak position: number 1



Hit 2: "That's What I Like"
Entered the Australian chart: November 27, 1989
Peak position: number 4




Honourable mentions
Here's a list of acts with one top 10 single, one top 20 single and no other top 50 entries - many of them are often mistakenly referred to as one-hit wonders:
  • Angry Anderson ("Suddenly" - number 2, "Bound For Glory" - number 11)
  • Art Of Noise ("Peter Gunn" (featuring Duane Eddy) - number 11, "Kiss" (featuring Tom Jones) - number 8)
  • Communards ("Don't Leave Me This Way" - number 2, "Never Can Say Goodbye" - number 13)
  • Dynamic Hypnotics ("Soul Kind Of Feeling" - number 5, "Gotta Be Wrong (Way To Love)" - number 20)
  • Falco ("Der Kommissar" - number 7, "Rock Me Amadeus" - number 15)
  • Jerry Harrison: Casual Gods ("Rev It Up" - number 3, "Man With A Gun" - number 16)
  • Tone Loc ("Wild Thing" - number 15, "Funky Cold Medina" - number 8)
  • Loverboy ("Turn Me Loose" - number 3, "Working For The Weekend" - number 19)
  • Mr Mister ("Broken Wings" - number 4, "Kyrie" - number 11)
  • Alan O'Day ("Undercover Angel" - number 9, "Skinny Girls" - number 11)
  • The Romantics ("What I Like About You" - number 2, "Talking In Your Sleep" - number 14)
  • Toto Coelo ("I Eat Cannibals" - number 4, "Dracula's Tango (Sucker For Your Love)" - number 19)
  • Traveling Wilburys ("Handle With Care" - number 3, "End Of The Line" - number 12)
  • Underworld ("Underneath The Radar" - number 5, "Born Slippy" - number 20)
  • Bill Wyman ("(Si Si) Je Suis Un Rock Star" - number 5, "Come Back Suzanne" - number 12)

Since these four posts were a pretty massive undertaking, it'll be a little while until I get around to the 1990s one-hit wonders - but, have no fear, I will get there!

4 comments:

  1. Fun fact about Feargal Sharkey's two hits: 'A Good Heart' was written by Maria McKee, after breaking up with Benmont Tench (a member of Tom Petty's band)... who then wrote 'You Little Thief' about her in response.

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    1. When I read you comment, I thought, "Didn't I write that?" and then realised I was thinking of the 25 Years Ago post with Deacon Blue in it. Who knew Maria McKee inspired so many songs!

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  2. Somewhat tangentially, this answers a question I was going to go searching for answers to... I was going to ask whether the Undertones had charted here. Apparently not, then.

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    1. Indeed not. The chart book goes straight from Undercover to Underworld.

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