NOW “HEAR! HEAR” THIS: The One-Hit Wonders Who Almost Weren’t

Call me a whore for obsessive stats observation, but I can’t help it. As a long-time sports fan, I’ve transitioned that insatiable drive for statistics by diving head-first into Joel Whitburn’s many Billboard Charts Books. While scanning the pages of his 9th edition of the Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits I realized that alongside the one-hit wonders whose sole hit peaked at #1 on the Hot 100, others had hits which peaked way lower on the charts. So I wondered: “how many of those “one-hit” wonders had the fun of their sole hit peaking at #40, never to be heard from again?”

The answer: Twenty-Six. How many could I find on Spotify? Twenty. The others which you won’t get to hear here are available on YouTube, thankfully:

Jim Backus and Friends -“Delicious” (7/14/1958)
The Avant Garde – “Naturally Stoned” (8/31/1968)
Keith Barbour – “Echo Park” (9/27/1969)
Gunhill Road – “Back When My Hair Was Short” (3/31/1973)
Red Sovine – “Teddy Bear” (7/24/1976)
Desmond Child – “Love on a Rooftop” (6/22/1991)

The songs which are on the above playlist are listed in order of their release, which makes for a playlist which starts with skiffle in 1957 (the music which inspired the Beatles) and winds up with Breaking Benjamin’s hard rock metal inflused bluster on “I Will Not Bow,” which made its bow on September 19, 2009. Since the ninth edition of Whitburn’s book only goes through the end of 2010, any tracks which have peaked at #40 since that time will not be reflected here.

Check out the list and let me know which ones stand out … are there surprises on here? I hadn’t realized the Buggles’ video hit “Video Killed The Radio Star’ did indeed do so, since it didn’t make the radio impression the video did. And the Baha Men’s inane “Who Let The Dogs Out” made more of a radio impression than it did on the “CD single” market, since it too peaked at #40.


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