Checkout These 25 One-Hit Wonders Of The 1960s
jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Wednesday 29th September 2021
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
TOP 25 OF THE DAY
So Groovy: TOP 25 One-Hit Wonders Of The 1960s
The 1960s was a decade of change socially, politically, and especially musically. The events that happened in the world of music during the 1960s helped to shape music into what it is today. That decade has also gifted us with some of the best hits of all time, even if they’re now considered oldies. While some bands during that time exploded in popularity, becoming some of the biggest groups in the world, others just managed to sneak a hit track or two onto the U.S. charts before fading into obscurity. Let’s travel back in time to the ’60s to be reminded of some of the greatest songs of the decade and see which ones have stood up to the test of time.
- “Eve Of Destruction” – Barry McGuire
Released in 1964 and written by P.F. Sloan, “Eve of Destruction” is a protest song. However, the best-known recording was by Barry McGuire who recorded the track between July 12th and 15th in 1965. It was released under Dunhill Records with the backup of musicians such as P.F. Sloan, Hal Blaine, and Larry Knechtel.
Although the vocal track was a rough mix, it was leaked and was played by disc jockeys. Regardless, the song was an instant hit and the final version of the song was never even released. The song went on to hit No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 3 on the UK Singles chart.
- “Angel Of The Morning” – Merrilee And The Turnabouts
“Angel of the Morning” was written and composed by Chip Taylor. Over the years, it has been covered and released as a single by countless groups including Evie Snders, Juice Newton, The Pretenders, Mary Mason, The New Seekers, and many others. The song became commercially successful after it was released by Merrilee Rush in 1968.
Encouraged by producer Tommy Cogbill, Rush recorded the song, along with others, to create the album Angel in the Morning. The single was released in 1968 and made it to the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at spot No. 7.
- “Louie Louie” – The Kingsmen
“Louie Louie” was first written as a rhythm and blues song by Richard Berry in 1955. The song became popular after The Kingsmen released their version of the song in 1963. Today, it is referenced as a classic rock and roll and pop track of the decade and is still popular today.
The song is based on the track “El Loco Cha Cha,” demonstrating Latin musics influence on American style. “Louie Louie” has been recognized by many media outlets such as Rolling Stone, VH1, and more for its influence on rock and roll and music as a whole.
- “The Teddy Bears” – To Know Him Is To Love Him
They might have been producer Phil Spector’s first vocal group, but that didn’t ensure The Teddy Bears long-lasting success. The group recorded the Spector-written song at Gold Star Studios 1958, for a mere $75. “To Know Him Is To Love Him” wasn’t an instant hit but it eventually reached the Billboard Hot 100 where it stayed for 23 weeks.
None of the Teddy Bears’ other releases had much success and Spector disbanded the group only a year after “To Know Him Is To Love Him” debuted. Singer Annette Kleinbard went on to co-write”Gonna Fly Now,”the theme song for Rocky.
- “In The Year 2525” – Zager And Evans
“In the Year 2525” was the rock duo Zager and Evans’ only hit during their music career. They released the song in 1968 and it rose to become No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks . it also made it to the No. 1 position on the UK Singles chart for three weeks in the same year.
Zager and Evans wrote the song in 1964 and released it on a small record label for the public in 1968. The duo remains the only group to ever top the charts in both the United States and the UK and never to have another chart single again.
- “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” – Napoleon XIV
“They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” is an unusual title for an unusual song. Recorded by Jerry Samuels in 1966 as a novelty tune, it quickly shot to popularity and eventually reached the number 3 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 popular music singles chart. It was also number 2 in Canada, and overseas it reached No. 4 on the UK Singles Chart.
Following its initial success, “They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!” received the dubious distinction of falling the farthest within the Top 40 in a single week. Samuels wrote two songs for other singers that reached the Top 20 lists.
- “Spirit In The Sky” – Norman Greenbaum
Norman Greenbaum wrote, recorded, and released his hit song “Spirit in the Sky” in late 1969. It quickly became a gold record, selling two million copies between 1969 and 1970. After its release, it reached the No. 3 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970 and stayed on the Top 100 for 13 weeks.
In other countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada, the song managed to reach No.1. It was released on his 1960 album of the same name, with Rolling Stone ranking “Spirit in the Sky” No. 333 on the list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
- “Winchester Cathedral” – The New Vaudeville Band
The British novelty group The New Vaudeville Band released this song in 1966. The band was made up by Geoff Stephens and composed by the same person. Fontana Records released the single as it reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 list.
Stephens wrote the song with a John Carter soundalike singing through his hands. His aim was to imitate a megaphone sound. When the song became an international hit, a band had to come together for it. The band had a #72 hit with “Peek-a-Boo” the following year, but never duplicated the Top 40 success of Winchester Cathedral.
- “Teen Angel” – Mark Dinning
This song is about tragedy. It was written by Jean Dinning, but his brother Mark Dinning went on to perform it. It hit the number one on Billboard’s Feb. 8, 1960 list. Sadly, he never made another hit record again.
He eventually passed of a heart attack in 1986, unfortunately. He was only 52 at the time of his death which took place in Jefferson City, Missouri. Interestingly enough, this song was featured on the soundtrack of the hit movie American Graffiti.
- “Stay” – The Zodiacs
This jam is a doo-wop originally written by Maurice Williams of the The Zodiacs. Stay was first recorded in 1960 by The Zodiacs, but commercially successful versions of the song ended up releasing later by The Four Seasons and The Hollies. The Zodiac’s version made it into the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, which revived its popularity.
The Zodiacs were an interesting group that kept changing their names. At one point they were The Royal Charms. After that, they tried The Gladiolas and then The Excellos. The Zodiacs released an album called May I in 1965. That album eventually sold a million records.
- “Mother-in-Law” – Ernie K-Doe
Ernie K-Doe was a rhythm-and-blues singer who was mildly popular in the ’60s. In 1961, he recorded Mother-in-Law which was written and produced by Allen Toussaint. The song went number one both the R&B charts and the Billboard Hot 100.
The song wasn’t going to happen if it weren’t for Willie Hopper. Hopper was a backup singer for K-Doe and he believed the song was a great one. After some unsuccessful takes, K-Doe was tempted to walk out of the session, but Hopper convinced him otherwise.
- “Wipe Out” – The Surfaris
“Wipe Out” is an instrumental song written by the original members of The Surfaris: Bob Berryhill, Pat Connolly, Jim Fuller, and Ron Wilson. The group wrote the song on the spot while trying to come up with an introduction for a song on the B-side for their “Surfer Joe” single. The song was released in January 1963 and was picked up for national distribution in April of that same year.
“Wipe Out” turned out to be a hit and spent 30 weeks on the Hot 100, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard chart, right behind Stevie Wonder’s “Fingertips.” Since its release, it has been covered endlessly and has been featured in over 20 movies. “Surfer Joe” eventually reached #62 but was never a Top 40 hit.
- “Green Tambourine” – The Lemon Pipers
Psychedelic pop group The Lemon Pipers formed in 1966. The group consisted of students from Oxford, Ohio, who were already familiar with the music scene there, each having been a part of other bands before joining The Lemon Pipers.
They signed on with Buddah Records and eventually recorded an album that didn’t make the charts. Buddah asked their producer, Paul Leka, to write a song for them to record and “Green Tambourine” was born. It reached #1 on Billboard in February 1968 and eventually sold more than two million copies. The band’s only other song to chart, “Rice Is Nice,” peaked at #46.
- “Hey! Baby” – Bruce Channel
In 1961, Margaret Cobb and Bruce Channel wrote the song “Hey! Baby.” Channel went on to record it that same year and it was released on LeCam Records, which was a local Texas label.
For a three week period, the song held the crown as the number one song on the charts. That time period started on March 10, 1962. Delbert McClinton played the harp on this song. And this was also around the time Channel was touring with the Beatles. Channel ended up with four more Billboard hits, but none in the Top 40.
- “MacArthur Park” – Richard Harris
Songwriter Jimmy Webb’s first choice to record this song wasn’t Richard Harris at all. “MacArthur Park” was an unorthodox song about a failed relationship and a cake that was left in the rain. Webb tried to present Harris a different song at first but he rejected it.
Harris, an Irish actor and singer, wanted to make a pop album so he developed a liking for the strange song. The song had four parts to it which made it even more appealing to Harris. It landed at number two on the charts. Fun fact: Harris went on to perform as Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films!
- “Dominique” – The Singing Nun
The song “Dominique” is a French language song from 1963. Jeannine Deckers from Belgium wrote and performed the magical French song. She was also known as Soeur Sourire, or The Singing Nun.
The Singing Nun is a Spanish-born priest who is also the founder of the Dominican Order. The song stayed number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks in December. She would never find that same success again, but she continued to live a colourful life.
- “Harper Valley PTA” – Jeannie C. Riley
Harper Valley PTA was written by Tom T. Hall which became a huge country hit for Jeannie C. Riley (center). The song released in 1968 and grew so large that it eventually became the basis for a TV series.
Harper Valley PTA sold over six million copies. Riley became the first female artist to sit on top of both the Hot 100 and Hot Country Singles charts with the same song, something that wouldn’t be done again until 1981. She had many other successes but no other Top 40 songs.
- “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” – Steam
There were complications behind this hit song because at first it was attributed to a fictitious group called Steam. Gary DeCarlo, Dale Frashuer, and Paul Leka wrote and recorded the song, but when the song made it big, a real band was then formed to tour behind it.
The band Leka formed ended up breaking before the tour could start, so he had to put another one together. The song went number one in 1969 as a pop single. Steam almost reached the Top 40 again with “I’ve Gotta Make You Love Me,” but it just missed.
- “Love is Blue” – Paul Mauriat
The French orchestra leader and conductor Paul Mauriat scored a #1 hit on the charts with his 1968 hit “Love is Blue.” Recorded by Le Grand Orchestre de Paul Mauriat, the song stayed in the spot for five weeks. It was a rendition of “L’amour est bleu,” penned by French composer André Popp.
Mauriat had two other hits that reached the charts but nowhere near the Top 40. These were “Love in Every Room” (peaking at #60) and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (#76). He was also known for “Toccata” and “Penelope.”
- “Judy in Disguise” – John Fred and His Playboy Band
John Fred formed his band when he was only 15. After a decade of hard work, John Fred and His Playboy Band finally made a number one record in 1968. It was Fred and one of his band members, Andrew Bernard, that wrote the song.
It was a bit of a joke song made in response to The Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. The song also knocked the Fab Four off the top spot of the Billboards for two weeks in in January 1968. Another song, “Hey, Hey, Bunny,” made it to #57 on the charts.
- “The Stripper” – David Rose
The Stripper is strictly an instrumental song made by David Rose. Even though it was recorded in 1958, it wasn’t released until four years later, making it eligible for this list. It was a song that became popular among striptease artists.
The song blew up by accident. Rose had recorded a different song as the A-side for the record but MGM wanted to get it out as soon as possible. Because it didn’t have a B-side someone at the record label was tasked to find an unreleased song done by Rose and put it on the B-side. It then went on to reach number one.
- “Stranger on the Shore” – Acker Bilk
Acker Bilk originally wrote this piece for clarinet and originally named it after his daughter Jenny. Apparently, BBC liked it so much that turned it into their theme tune for the BBC TV drama Stranger on the Shore. It was first released in the UK before coming to America and hitting number one on the charts in 1961.
Bilk recorded other albums that achieved success, but none came close to “Stranger on the Shore.” In fact, he called the song his “old-age pension” because of its commercial success.
- “Telstar” – The Tornados
1962 was the first year a British band hit number one on the charts in America. The Tornados were the band to accomplish this milestone with their song “Telstar.” Joe Meek wrote and produced this song and it was named after a recently launched communications satellite.
It was a genius title of a name to lure in young fans who were so fascinated with America’s new-found frontier. The song remained on the charts for 16 weeks, and the group’s only other song to hit Billboard only made it to #63.
- “Venus” – The Shocking Blue
“Venus” was written by Robbie van Leeuwen, a member of the Dutch rock group Shocking Blue. The song was recorded and released by the band in 1969 as a single for the band’s third album Scorpio’s Dance. The song caught on like wildfire and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February of 1970.
That same year, the record went gold after selling one million copies in the United States, and sold 7.5 million copies worldwide. The song is still popular today and is frequently covered and featured in movies and commercials. Neither of the group’s other two hits made it to the Top 40.
- “Denise” – Randy & The Rainbows
Although Randy & The Rainbows never quite made it to a top five spot on the Billboard charts, the group reached an impressive #10 spot with “Denise” in 1963. It held on there for 17 straight weeks.
The doo-wop band hailing from New York had another top-100 hit with “Why Do Kids Grow Up” but it only reached #97. “Denise” was later recorded by, and became a hit for, the pop/punk group Blondie, who released it under the name “Denis.”
REMEMBER: The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
– Nicolas Chamfort
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
“Overcome the notion that you must be regular. It robs you of the chance to be extraordinary.” – Uta Hagen
Happiness is…a a one hit wonder from the 1960s.
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
Childhood is like being drunk, everyone remembers what you did, except you
Love is…a bit different today because it is Love isn’t… before Love is…
Love isn’t something you find. Love is something that finds you.
A time for “Angel Of The Morning” by Merrilee And The Turnabouts…And a time for “To Know Him Is To Love Him “ byThe Teddy Bears.
1650 Henry Robinson opened the first marriage bureau, in England.
1793 Tennis was mentioned for the first time in an English sporting magazine.
1829 The Metropolitan Police of London, later also known as the Met. was inaugurated and was London’s first regular police force, The officers became known as ‘bobbies’ after Robert Peel, the home secretary who founded the modern police force.
1885 The first practical, public electric tramway in the world was opened in Blackpool.
1946 BBC launched the ‘Third Programme’, later to become Radio 3.
1952 British and world water speed record holder John Cobb was killed on Loch Ness in Scotland when his craft ‘Crusader’ broke up after hitting waves at 240 mph close to Urquhart Castle.
2011 Britons basked in record-breaking temperatures of 29C (84F). The mercury peaked in the East Midlands, beating the previous 29th September high of 27.8C (82F), which was recorded in York in 1895.
©2021 Phil M Robinson