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Nashville Teens

This Week’s One-Hit Wonder (OHW) is ‘Tobacco Road’ (#4 1964) by English band ‘The Nashville Teens’. Despite the geographically challenged name the band were actually from Surrey and were active from 1962-1973. In 1964 the played backing band to Jerry Lee Lewis on his album ‘Live at the Star Club’ (Hamburg), the venue that made the very young Beatles famous.

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Norman Greenbaum

This Week’s One-Hit Wonder (OHW) is ‘Spirit in the Sky’ (#2 1970) by Californian Norman Greenbaum (79). Considered to be a classic OHW the song has remained famous and has been used in many films and advertisements. A cover version by another OHW ‘Dr and the Medics’ was even more successful (#1 1986). The elaborate recording techniques employed in the recording made it difficult to perform on stage. Norman had a narrow escape in a car accident in 2015 but has since returned to performing.

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Kermit the Frog

This Week’s One-Hit Wonder (OHW) is ‘The Rainbow Connection’ (#16 1979) by Kermit the Frog, well actually it was Jim Henson, the late great creator of the Muppets. Written by master songwriters Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher and featured in ‘The Muppet Movie’ (1979). The song opens the movie with Kermit sitting on a log in a swamp playing the banjo. In 2020 this song was deemed “culturally historically significant” by the U.S. Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry.

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The Stone Poneys

This Week’s One-Hit Wonder (OHW) is ‘Different Drum’ (#2 1967) by American folk rock trio ‘The Stone Poneys’. The group included vocalist Linda Ronstadt who at 21 years old had just relocated from her home in Tucon. The Stone Poneys would go on to make three albums and Linda (now 76) would go on to become one of the most successful artists of her era. The song was written by Mike Nesmith of the Monkees.

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Stealers Wheel

This Week’s One-Hit Wonder (OHW) is ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’ (#13 1973) by Scottish band Stealers Wheel (1972-1975) that consisted of Gerry Rafferty & Joe Egan who came from Paisley. Their self-titled first album was produced by music legends Leiber & Stoller and contained this hit. Supposedly about their dread in attending a record company event the song has become very famous over the years and this was greatly assisted by Quentin Tarrantino using it in a gruesome torture scene in his 1992 film Reservoir Dogs. Gerry went on the have a very successful AOR career before his passing on 2011.

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KT Tunstall

This Week’s One-Hit Wonder (OHW) is ‘Suddenly I See’ (#6 2007) by Scottish singer-songwriter and brilliant musician KT Tunstall. She has released six albums internationally which have met with great success. She was adopted at 18 days old by the Tunstall family and had a very happy youth. She tracked down her birth-mother some years ago but needed the help of the British TV show ‘Long Lost Family’ to find details of her birth-father who had sadly passed away. This process did however reveal two step-sisters who were already big fans and regularly attended her concerts. This series is highly recommended.

 

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Gnarls Barclay

This Week’s One-Hit Wonder (OHW) is ‘Crazy’ (#1 2006) by American soul duo Gnarls Barclay. Active from 2003-2010 the group is composed of singer-songwriter/producer CeeLo Green and producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton). Gnarls Barclay represents a side-project for both of these tremendously talented musicians. They have released two very successful albums, St. Elsewhere (2006) and The Odd Couple (2008). There is hope for a third album but work on that has been affected by the CoVid pandemic.

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Fischer-Z

This Week’s One-Hit Wonder (OHW) is ‘So Long’ (#16 1980) by English band ‘Fischer-Z’. The band is a creative project for singer, songwriter and poet John Watts. There have been several line-ups of the band over many years and Watts has simultaneously pursued a solo career. Fischer-Z found success across Europe and has sold more than two million albums. Here in Australia ‘So Long’ went to number 16 in 1980 and only one other song charted, ‘The Perfect Day’ (#24 1988). The band’s name is a pun on “fish’s head” a slang term for members of the Navy or young men from the Plymouth area. John is 67 (exactly one year older than me) and lives in Surrey.

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Thunderclap Newman

This Week’s One-Hit Wonder (OHW) is ‘Something in the Air’ (#6 1969) by UK Band ‘Thunderclap Newman’. The band was formed at the instigation of Pete Townshend to showcase the talents of former Who chauffer John ‘Speedy’ Keen. Also in the band were Andy ‘Thunderclap’ Newman (who provided the band a name) and Scottish multi-instrumentalist Jimmy McCulloch who would later join Paul McCartney in ‘Wings’.

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Europe

This Week’s One-Hit Wonder (OHW) is ‘The Final Countdown’ (#1 1987) by Swedish band Europe. Although enjoying great success during their career they were a genuine OHW here in Australia. Many thanks to Pt Pirie journalist Christian for his selection.