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Musicians who flummox

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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Kenneth Burns » Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:09 pm

I've watched a lot of VH1 shows about one-hit wonders and am here to tell you, there's little agreement on what that term means.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Stebben84 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:50 pm

Kenneth Burns wrote:I've watched a lot of VH1 shows about one-hit wonders and am here to tell you, there's little agreement on what that term means.


VH1 had DEVO listed as a one hit wonder. Sure, on the charts, but nearly every one of their songs kick ass.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Kenneth Burns » Fri Oct 19, 2012 1:59 pm

VH1 cited Kris Kross as a one-hit wonder on the strength of "Jump." "Warm it Up"?????
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby christopher_robin » Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:31 am

Seems like a pretty easy term to define: your hits, that charted on Billboard, were there more than one of them?



Next up: Sting.

The Police came ripping out of the gates with some classic albums, but Sting's less exemplary tendencies were there all along.

There were some bad moments on "Ghost," "Synchronicity, " and "Zenyatta," moments that look awfully like harbingers of ghastly excess in retrospect. And there are some fine moments from his solo career.

And the story of Sting is at least 1/2 the story of the Police, so it's not as simple as "solo Sting sucks."

But at some point the guy who wrote "Walking On The Moon" unleashed "Russians" as a *pukes* SINGLE.

How do we resolve the contradictions? Were the Police actually only interesting because of Stewart Copeland's drumming? Did Sting become a complete jerk after he got famous, or did he forget how to write a good song? How about that turn in DUNE? Was Sting actually way ahead of us with his move in Adult Contemporary, and we just haven't caught up to this master? Or did he only have 20 good songs in him?
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Marvell » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:06 pm

christopher_robin wrote:Were the Police actually only interesting because of Stewart Copeland's drumming?


Yes, actually.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:17 pm

christopher_robin wrote:Seems like a pretty easy term to define: your hits, that charted on Billboard, were there more than one of them?
By that definition, all of the following are One Hit Wonders: XTC, Hole, King Crimson, Vangelis, Adrian Belew, Michelle Shocked, Big Maybelle, Marshall Crenshaw, The Tom Tom Club, David Gilmour, and Rockpile. Does that really make sense to you?

And what do you mean "charted on Billboard" anyway? All of the above artists had exactly one song make it onto the Hot 100, but most people stop caring after the Top 40. So if you define One Hit Wonder using only the Top 40, some of the above don't qualify at all (King Crimson never had a Top 40 hit, for example) while dozens more artists achieve the distinction: Frank Zappa, Rush, Squeeze, Merle Haggard, Count Basie, Shirley Bassey, Charley Pride, Mott The Hoople, DEVO, Carl Perkins, The Youngbloods, and on and on.

More distressing is that artists who I think should be considered One Hit Wonders often technically aren't. Sly "Let's Go All The Way" Fox comes to mind, but apparently they had a minor follow-up hit with "Stay True". Anyone remember that one? Kajagoogoo followed
"Too Shy" with the #78 smash "Hang On Now" which disqualifies them from the title. Giuffria had three Hot 100 hits, but I'll bet most people don't even remember their sole Top 40 song, "Call To The Heart". Did you know Deee-Lite had a hit that wasn't "Groove Is In The Heart"? And who can forget the timeless "Dancing In The Shadows", After The Fire's charting followup to their smash "Der Kommissar"? What about someone like Jeff Beck? He's charted twice, kinda: Once getting equal billing with Rod Stewart for "People Get Ready" and earlier The Jeff Beck Group got a credit as the backing band for Donovan's "Barabajagal" but he's never had a hit on his own. Is he a One Hit Wonder, a Two Hit Wonder, or a No Hit Wonder?
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Kyle Motor » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:41 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Giuffria had three Hot 100 hits...

What.

How?
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:42 pm

Kyle Motor wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Giuffria had three Hot 100 hits...

What.

How?

I know. Amazing, ain't it.
And GTR had two.

What a world!
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby christopher_robin » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:46 pm

I get the problem with the edge cases, which is why once you start playing around with variations on "well, but nobody remembers that other song" you're in trouble. For example, that Kajagoogoo album was huge, internationally. The #1 hit was just the tip of a giant smash.

So I keep it simple. If you notched two songs in the Billboard top 100 (or your country's nearest approximation), you don't have to be a one hit wonder anymore. I realize that the VH-1's of the world get all fanciful with this term here, but that's their problem, not mine.

And none of it has any bearing on quality. Without checking, I feel pretty confident that the Minutemen never charted.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby wack wack » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:47 pm

Doesn't "one-hit wonder" suggest a lack of substance to the rest of the artist's career? Having one "hit" doesn't necessarily make one a one-hit wonder; the operative word is wonder, not hit.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Kyle Motor » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:55 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Kyle Motor wrote:
Prof. Wagstaff wrote:Giuffria had three Hot 100 hits...

What.

How?

I know. Amazing, ain't it.
And GTR had two.

What a world!

I'm guessing cocaine payola.

Music is terrible.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Walter » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:18 pm

I remember that GTR record when it came out. From the Wiki, for the non-nerds out there:

J.D. Considine's infamous review of the album (in Musician magazine[4]) read simply, "SHT".[5] (Considine later said it was the most famous thing he'd ever written in his three decades as a critic, while Hackett claimed the review actually helped sales of the album.)
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Kenneth Burns » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:32 pm

On VH1, one-hit wonders are always asked how it feels to be a one-hit wonder. A common response: I'm not a one-hit wonder. Another common response, and a more attractive one: Better that than a no-hit wonder.
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby john_titor » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:14 pm

ilikebeans wrote:
fennel wrote:I never got the Smiths.

Big ditto here. Could a fan please explain the allure?


For me, it has always been about the sound. Granted it is an acquired taste not for everyone, but there was nothing like it before or after. And he is an unabashed dandy.

Get ya a nose full of whippits and turn her up:

The Smiths- How Soon Is Now? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrvRlI4hlBE
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Re: Musicians who flummox

Postby Kenneth Burns » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:19 pm

christopher_robin wrote:Next up: Sting.

The Police came ripping out of the gates with some classic albums, but Sting's less exemplary tendencies were there all along.

When I saw the Police at Wrigley Field in 2007, I was impressed at the way certain early tunes like "Can't Stand Losing You" transformed into gigantic sing-along stadium anthems. Very effective and wonderful. And I was struck that later, political Police tunes like "Walking in Your Footsteps" aren't holding up as well.
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