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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo NewsThe Syracuse New Times, Big Stir magazine, and AHOY Comics.  I also wrote the liner notes for the four THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Fake THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO Playlist: Another Side Of The One-Hit Wonders

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl is simply too large a concept to be neatly contained within a mere three-hour weekly time slot. Hence these occasional fake TIRnRR playlists, detailing shows we're never really going to do...but could.

One-hit wonders. It's a very common story.

--Andrew White, Play-Tone Records A& R, 1964

That Thing You Do!'s Mr. White and his boys The Wonders (nee The One-ders) were fictional, but White was right: the one-hit wonder is indeed a very common story. Frankie Ford bristled at the description, but it's not always intended as a pejorative; "Sea Cruise" was Ford's only hit, but it wasn't the only worthy record that he cut, and the same could be said of many other artists whom pop history remembers as one-hit wonders.

For this fake TIRnRR playlist, we've assembled a selection of slightly (or more so) lesser-known tracks by artists whom the general public would probably only associate with one hit and one hit only. To determine who was or wasn't a one-hit wonder here, we're going with a kind of hybrid definition. A U.S. one-hit wonder is generally understood to be an act who scored one single on Billboard's Top 40, and never troubled the Top 40 again. But that definition would include acts like Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Grateful Dead, and Frank Zappa, and no one in their right mind would lump any of those guys alongside your Singing Nun or your Right Said Fred. And then there are acts who may have had more than one Top 40 hit, but the public really only remembers one of 'em. Since this is all in fun anyway, we're playing pretty fast 'n' loose with dem rules, man.

And the general public's memory can be tricky. Many folks recall, say, The Romantics as a one-hit wonder for "What I Like About You," which didn't even make the Top 40; "Talking In Your Sleep" and "One In A Million" were The Romantics' Top 40 hits. Some would argue (with justification) against considering Lulu or Katrina & the Waves, both of whom had minor hits beyond their big smashes, but c'mon--most people only know "To Sir, With Love" and "Walking On Sunshine" respectively, and don't remember Lulu's "Oh Me Oh My (I'm A Fool For You Baby)" (# 22) or "I Could Never Miss You (More Than I Do)" (# 18), nor Katrina & the Waves' fab "Do You Want Crying" (# 37).

The KnickerbockersThe Bobby Fuller Four and The Easybeats are my three favorite examples of one-hit wonders who deserved a string of Billboard smashes instead. But "Lies" was The Knickerbockers' only big hit ("One Track Mind" just missed the Top 40); The Easybeats grazed the low end of the Top 40 with "St. Louis," and the BF4 had a regional hit with "Let Her Dance" and scraped into the Top 40 with a cover of Buddy Holly's "Love's Made A Fool Of You," but "Friday On  My Mind" and "I Fought The Law" were respectively the only Easybeats and BF4 songs as far as the masses were concerned. To honor these three coulda-shoulda-wouldas, we close this phony playlist with an extended set of only The Knickerbockers, The Bobby Fuller Four, and The Easybeats..

(And we further honor one-hit wonders with a spin of a lesser-known track by the greatest fictional one-hit Wonders of all time. It's that thing we do. You're right, Mr. White: It's a very common story.)

This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio with Dana & Carl--y'know, the real one--plays Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse on The Spark WSPJ-LP 103.3 and 93.7, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/

Spark Syracuse is supported by listeners like you. Tax-deductible donations are welcome at http://sparksyracuse.org/support/

You can follow Carl's daily blog Boppin' (Like The Hip Folks Do) at 

Our new compilation CD This Is Rock 'n' Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin' pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe FlashcubesChris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins' BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here.

Fake TIRnRR Playlist: Another Side Of The One-Hit Wonders
[Entry in brackets notes the act's better-known One Hit]

THE FIRST CLASS: Wake Up America ["Beach Baby"]
THE SHOCKING BLUE: Send Me A Postcard ["Venus"]
THE SWINGING BLUE JEANS: What Can I Do Today ["Hippy Hippy Shake"]
THE EQUALS: Police On My Back ["Baby Come Back"]
TONI BASIL: I'm 28 ["Mickey"]
TRACEY ULLMAN: Breakaway ["They Don't Know"]
THE BOBBY FULLER FOUR: Another Sad And Lonely Night ["I Fought The Law"]
THE KNICKERBOCKERS: They Ran For Their Lives ["Lies"]
THE CONTOURS: It's So Hard Being A Loser ["Do You Love Me"]
JIGSAW: Lollipop And Goody Man ["Sky High"]
STEALERS WHEEL: Everyone's Agreed That Everything Will Work Out Fine ["Stuck In The Middle'}
BROWNSVILLE STATION: Let Your Yeah Be Yeah ["Smokin' In The Boy's Room"]
SUZI QUATRO: Tear Me Apart ["Stumblin' In" (with Chris Norman)]
WE FIVE: If I Were Alone ["You Were On My Mind'}
THE DWIGHT TWILLEY BAND: You Were So Warm ["I'm On Fire"]
THE BUGGLES: Living In The Plastic Age ["Video Killed The Radio Star"]
TOMMY TUTONE: Get Around Girl ["867-5309/Jenny"]
ZAGER & EVANS: Cary Lynn Javes ["In The Year 2525"]
THE WONDERS: Little Wild One ["That Thing You Do!"]
FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE: The Girl I Can't Forget ["Stacy's Mom"]
THE EXCITERS: Do Wah Diddy ["Tell Him"]
NAZARETH: Holiday ["Love Hurts"]
BOW WOW WOW: C30, C60, C90, Go! ["I Want Candy"]
CILLA BLACK: Step Inside Love ["You're My World"]
YVONNE ELLIMAN: I Can't Explain ["If I Can't Have You"]
PILOT: January ["Magic"]
KATRINA & THE WAVES: Red Wine And Whiskey ["Walking On Sunshine"]
THE GENTRYS: Cinnamon Girl ["Keep On Dancing]
LULU: I'll Come Running
A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS: Telecommunication ["I Ran"]
STORIES: Please, Please ["Brother Louie"]
THE STANDELLS: Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White ["Dirty Water"]
IRON BUTTERFLY: Unconscious Power ["In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"]
THE FIVE STAIRSTEPS: World Of Fantasy ["O-o-h Child"]
DORIS TROY: I'll Do Anything (He Wants Me To) ["Just One Look"]
TAL BACHMAN: If You Sleep ["She's So High"]
THE VAPORS: Waiting For The Weekend ["Turning Japanese"]
THE CASCADES: Cheryl's Goin Home ["Rhythm Of The Rain"]
THE HUMAN BEINZ: Turn On Your Love Light ["Nobody But Me"]
FRANKIE FORD: Roberta ["Sea Cruise"]
THE CAPITOLS: Ain't That Terrible ["Cool Jerk"]
THE EASYBEATS: Sorry ["Friday On My Mind"]
THE KNICKERBOCKERS: I Must Be Doing Something Right
THE EASYBEATS: Made My Bed (Gonna Lie In It)
THE BOBBY FULLER FOUR: Never To Be Forgotten
THE KNICKERBOCKERS: Rumors Gossip Words Untrue
THE CHANTAYS: Monsoon ["Pipeline"]

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