5 One-Hit Wonders Who Deserve Your Respect
There is no bigger double-edged sword when it comes to a music career than being labeled a one-hit wonder. Sure, it's embarrassing to have that kind of label attached to your name, placing you squarely in the same league with such luminaries as Young MC and Vanilla Ice. But it's better than being a no-hit wonder, right? Of course, the answer to that question is a resounding ... "sometimes." See, in a lot of instances, the bands you know as one-hit wonders are actually much more than that. So much so that having that one gigantic hit probably did more harm to their reputations than good, because it completely overshadowed all of the other great things they accomplished. Like who? Glad you asked! Here are five one-hit wonders who deserve your respect ...
You Know Them As ...... the band with that half pencil-drawn/half live-action music video that people still fawn over to this day as one of the most innovative of all time. The video in question is for the song "Take on Me," which you probably pretend to hate. You're just lying to yourself, though, because it's pretty damn wonderful. The sooner you accept that, the sooner we can be friends again. In the meantime, here's the video, in case you don't remember it:
They Are Also ...
... one of the 50 highest grossing musical acts in the world. At least they were in 2010. No, seriously, you can read all about it here, provided you don't mind running an entire article through Google Translate. Why the lack of English language sources to back up the claim? Because, to put it bluntly, the U.S. doesn't give two shits about a-ha anymore. But, much like soccer, the rest of the world thinks they're quite entertaining. Over the course of a career that started in 1982 and has been going strong ever since, a-ha has sold more than 36 million albums and 15 million singles worldwide. Love for a-ha is especially strong in their native Norway, where the band has racked up an impressive 10 Spellemannprisens. I know, you're all like, "Come on, Adam, that's a lot of Spellemannprisens for just one band, you must be lying."
Who even has room for 10 of these?
Dexys Midnight Runners
You Know Them As ...... three words: "Come on Eileen." It's one of those songs that people either love or hate. There's not much middle ground. I don't think it's particularly awful, but I have friends who could probably be talked into starting a bar fight with the person bold enough to play "Come on Eileen" on the jukebox. If you've never heard the song, here's hoping the cave you live in has enough Internet connectivity to watch this video:
They Are Also ...
... not nearly as awful as you think. I know, that's not the greatest argument of all time, but hear me out. See, it's not like Dexys Midnight Runners always wore those ridiculous get-ups. What they did do is make the ill-fated decision to change their "look" to reflect the musical direction of each of their albums. So, they weren't really the band of British hillbillies that most people take them for; they just happened to record an album with a bunch of fiddles on it and decided that the only logical next step was to dress up like they hailed from the furthest reaches of the Appalachians. In fact, on their first album (that's right, they had more than one), they just kind of looked like every other British band of the late '70s. In other words, they looked like the Clash.
You Know Them As ...... those weirdos in the red plastic hats who made that "Whip It" song in the '80s and then promptly vanished. I can't imagine how you would have lived your life in complete ignorance of this song, but just in case, here's the video:
They Are Also ...
... massively influential. To be completely honest, when I was researching this article and saw Devo on a list of the Top 100 One-Hit Wonders, I was kind of perplexed. Sure, they only had one big hit, but do they really deserve to be lumped in with the likes of Rockwell and Gerardo?
But, you know, they did just kind of have that one hit, so I guess the title fits. But seriously, these guys are revered among alt-rock and industrial music types. Kurt Cobain cited them as one of his favorite bands and even included a cover of a Devo song called "
That's Rico Suave to you.
Which makes for a nice segue into this tidbit. Devo founder Mark Mothersbaugh is also responsible for like every movie soundtrack ever. Seriously,
Faith No More
You Know Them As ...Alright, this band might be a little bit harder for some of you to remember. Their only "hit" was 1989's "Epic." You might remember it as one of the first times white people with electric guitars decided to rap on MTV.
They Are Also ...
... one of the few bands on earth who can be credited with inventing an entire genre of music. For real, Faith No More is often credited as literally having invented alternative metal. Whether that's completely true or not is open for debate, but I promise you this, there are plenty of people out there who would likely have to be restrained from punching you if you dismissed Faith No More as a one-hit wonder. Granted, that's mostly because the kind of people who listen to "alternative metal" are also the kind of people who like to solve disputes with punches to the face, but still, it should give you some indication of the band's influence. And that claim didn't arise from the one song that briefly made them household names. They were around in one form or another as far back as 1981. Unfortunately, their influence doesn't end with "alternative metal." There's also something out there known as "nu-metal" that describes the Limp Bizkit rap/rock types of the world. Where do you think Fred Durst got the idea that subpar rapping and loud guitars were a great idea? Go watch that video posted above if you haven't already and you will find your answer.
Pictured: Fred Durst's first good idea.
You Know Them As ...... the ridiculously named U.K. band who has doomed us all to a lifetime of hearing the following lyrics every time people gather to drink alcohol in large quantities:
They Are Also ...
... one of the most raucously political bands of the last 30 years (they've also been releasing albums for well over 30 years). However, describing Chumbawamba as merely a "political" band would be like describing the ocean as merely "moist." No, that shit is wet, moist doesn't begin to explain it. And "political" doesn't begin to describe Chumbawamba. If you're looking for a better one-word description, you'd be a lot closer to the truth if you used the word "anarchists." Remember Live Aid? It was a massive concert that spanned several continents, all for the benefit of victims of famine in Ethiopia. Who could possibly take issue with that? Chumbawamba could, that's who. In their opinion, Live Aid was all a corporate sham designed to deflect attention from the real causes of world hunger. So, in protest, they released an album called Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records.
Pretty ballsy, right? Awesomely, their antics only got more insane after "Tubthumping" made them (in)famous. First, they saw their albums pulled from the shelves of Virgin Records stores after they appeared on Bill Maher's
Can anyone confirm if this is true? I'm working on an album as we speak.
Adam hosts a podcast called Unpopular Opinion that you should check out right here. You should also be his friend on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.
For more from Adam, check out 6 Musicians Who Predicted Their Own Death in Song and 6 Famous Songs That Don't Mean What You Think.