One-Hit Wonderama

So, it’s once again National One-Hit Wonder Day. I know it’s a hotly-discussed matter as to what constitutes an act being a one-hit wonder; for the purposes of today’s post, I’m taking the slightly liberal position that it means an act had a single Top 40 hit in Billboard.* I’m noting the occasion by lifting up a song from each of the seven years I was actively paying attention to American Top 40 in late September. To qualify for selection, the song:
–had to be on the Hot 100 during the week containing 9/25;
–hasn’t been previously featured in a PastBlast post here on the blog.

Let’s get the celebration started. I’ll note chart position during the week of National One-Hit Wonder Day, as well as where and when the song peaked.

1976: John Valenti, “Anything You Want” (#63; peaked at #37 on 11/6)
WSAI in Cincinnati promoted this song a decent amount in the late summer, but had dropped it from their playlist well before it appeared on AT40. Seems fitting to pick Valenti today, since it sure feels he’s doing his best to sound like Stevie Wonder.

1977: Paul Nicholas, “Heaven on the 7th Floor” (#24; peaked at #6 for three weeks beginning 11/26)
Only song in this list for which I bought the 45 in real time. A shame of sorts it didn’t top out one position lower. I still like it, but somehow I don’t think it was his appearance in Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band that relegated him to OHW status.

1978: John Paul Young, “Love Is in the Air” (#9, peaked at #7 for two weeks starting 10/14)
Young comes the closest to not being in this post, having hit #42 in early 1976 with “Yesterday’s Hero.” That song, as well as “Love Is in the Air,” were written by former Easybeats George Young and Harry Vanda.

1979: Lauren Wood, “Please Don’t Leave” (#70, peaked at #24 for two weeks starting 11/24)
Some smooth West Coast groovin’ here, complete with Michael McDonald crooning alongside. Additional success wasn’t for lack of trying: members of Toto and Little Feat, as well as Patrick Simmons, contributed to her album.

1980: Amy Holland, “How Do I Survive” (#28, peaked at #22 for two weeks starting 10/11)
Continuing on a bit of a theme: McDonald not only sings backup again, he also produced Holland’s debut album and has been her husband since 1983.

1981: Balance, “Breaking Away” (#22, its peak for two weeks starting 9/26)
This wasn’t singer Peppy Castro’s only Top 40 appearance–he’d been in Blues Magoos in 1967 when they scored with “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet.” By the early 80s, he’d traded psychedelia in for something, well, peppier.

1982: Jennifer Holliday, “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” (#94, peaked at #22 for three weeks starting 8/28)
Our third #22 OHW in a row. I was making an effort to pick tunes that hadn’t already fallen off their high point on the chart, but surprisingly, all five songs on the 9/25/82 chart that fit that bill have already had their moment to shine in this space (the acts are Tané Cain, Sylvia, Toni Basil, Rush, and Moving Pictures). Holliday’s star turn in the Broadway hit Dreamgirls therefore gets the nod.

Here’s to singular success (by one definition, anyway).

*At least as of the end of 2002; I’m using Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 as my source.

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