‘If you have to be a one-hit wonder, then ‘San Francisco’ is the one to have’ – Scott McKenzie
One hit wonders are up there with Boybands and Glam Rock when it comes to critical acclaim, although I do believe it was Chumbawamba who said it’s better to be a one hit wonder than a no hit wonder(they would say that though wouldn’t they?). I think the world would be a duller place without the one hit wonder, maybe some people don’t have a lifetime of brilliance in them, they only have enough to hone into one song, then they’re done. Anyway if it wasn’t for one hit wonders we’d have no one to appear on Celebrity Big Brother.
Imani Coppola – Legend of a Cowgirl
I was ob-sessed with this song when it came out in 1997, back when I was a boy-hating angsty 15 year old and eagerly awaited the album that followed hoping this Imani would replace the Alanis Morissette shaped void in my soul. Although the album was decent, Legend… was head and shoulders the best single on there. She came back a few years later as part of duo Little Jackie who released (another great one hit wonder) ‘The World Should Revolve Around Me’ in 2008. So it appears she has a good song in her every 10 years or so. I’m looking forward to 2019 and her next offering
Cornershop – Brimful of Asha
It sounds harsh to say that this song’s success is 98% Norman Cook and 2% Cornershop, considering they did write and record the original but it was Fatboy’s remix that made it stratospheric. I’m sure that the Cornershop boys themselves would say if it wasn’t for his dance beat behind their plinky plonky original, it wouldn’t have been half as successful. Fun Fact: One of the (many) I reasons I fell in love with my husband was that he was one of the 9 people on this earth who could name Cornershop’s second single (the other’s being me, my brother and the 6 members of the band – it was Sleep on the Left Side BTW, and it reached number 23 in the charts).
Charles & Eddie – Would I Lie To You
A Weatherstone family favourite if ever there was one. I don’t think there was a mix tape in the 90’s that didn’t contain this song and it was an international smash when it was released in 1992. Released in the August it seemed the perfect summer tune and the fact I went to an International School at the time meant I had a good 11 weeks off to burn through the ribbon of my cassette single. They did have a (rather good) follow up single called NYC, but I think my dad was the only one who bought it.
Baz Luhrman – Everbody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)
Baz is obviously more famous for his movies rather than his music and there’s some myths and legends surrounding this song, most say it was a graduation speech, however, turns out it was an essay written for the Chicago Tribune. Wherever it came from, the 7 minute long version which is intercut with an acoustic version of Rozalla’s Everybody’s Free makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I’m not a massive follower/believer of religion but reckon these are some pretty solid rules to live your life by.
Skee-Lo – I Wish
This one walks the tightrope between one hit wonder and novelty record but like like Cornershop and Charles & Eddie it was released in the summer, so brings back fond memories of holing myself up in my bedroom trying to learn all the words (I saw myself as quite the rapper in my youth, being 3ft nothing, blonde and blue eyed I felt there was a gap in the market). It took me a long time to figure out what a six four Impala was (in fact, I thought the lyric was ‘six foot father’ – if Mr Lo himself was vertically challenged, it stood to reason Mr Lo Snr was as well!). Still appears on the best RnB hits of the 90’s from time to time as well so obviously still very popular.
Mokenstef – He’s Mine
When I wrote about girlbands a few weeks ago I mentioned Mokenstef and most people who read it and spoke to me about it went ‘eh’? So they may not have made many waves in the UK chart but let me tell you this song was my everything for about two and half weeks in 1995 (taking over from Don’t Take It Personal by Monica – which was my everything the two weeks previous). Again it was a time in my life despite I was only 13, felt I knew EXACTLY how it felt to pen a song to your boyfriend’s side piece. – 13 year old me was full of sass, full of attitude, ignorant of reality.
Paula Cole – Where Have All The Cowboys Gone
I was torn whether to include Jewel (You Were Meant for Me) Shawn Colvin (Sunny Came Home) or this in my list of one hit wonders as all three ladies seemed much of a muchness and were all released around the same time in the late 90’s. I went for Paula Cole though because out of those 3 songs, I think this one is the best. I love the wispery talky verses followed by the ‘belt it out’ chorus. But what about her ‘Dawson’s Creek’ song I hear you cry? Well, yes probably considered a more popular song of hers by most, but chart wise that only got to 43 in the UK chart whereas ‘Cowboys’ reached number 15. Plus other than the 30 seconds ‘I Don’t Want To Wait’ is played as a theme tune, it’s not particularly good!
Harvey Danger – Flagpole Sitta
I don’t think there was a teen movie from the last 90’s that this song didn’t appear on the soundtrack for due to its ‘losers unite’ message in the lyrics. It’s also the theme tune to the last past 5 series of Peep Show. I have a vague recollection that everyone always used to think this song was by Sum 41, so much so that that’s who the listed artist was on Limewire. I bet that became pretty annoying for the band, not only was it their only hit, but everyone was under the impression it was by someone else!
TQ – Westside
A short tale about my purchasing of this song: This was realised at exactly the same time as Baby One More Time and my £5 a week pocket money would only stretch to 1 CD single. After a lengthy discussion with John in our local record shop, who was in two minds as to whether to sell a CD which contained so many uses of the N-word to a 16 year old, I plumped for this, on the basis that I could record Britney off the radio, and wouldn’t lose the CD to my brother perving over the sleeve. TQ never released anything major after this aside from a quasi-catchy single with Another Level and Britney, well she managed pretty well anyway without the help of my pocket money!
Joshua Kadison – Jessie
There’s 3 things I love in life: Afternoon naps, Costco cake icing, and a piano intro to a song. This is one of those songs that I wish I was too cool to like but sadly, I’m not, and I adore this song. I have a long standing fantasy for driving a convertible down the California coastline at dusk listening to this. It’s a cheesy power ballad at its best and anyone lyrically able to include a whole verse about his cat is an absolute genius in my eyes. It was rumoured to be about Sarah Jessica Parker with whom he was having relations at the time however its been revealed to be about an unnamed Jessie. The fate of Moses is still yet to be determined.