Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Top 5 One Hit Wonders: 80’s Pop Edition…

Christie is back with another guest post:

Radios have been filled with one-hit wonders pretty much since they started putting music on them.  Vh-1 even did a Top 100 of them a few years back.  So your gracious host Kooz and I decided to do our best to break down these musical gems into categories for our own favorite Top 5 lists.  Here are my Top 5 one-hit wonders—general pop style of the 80’s…

5. 99 Luftballoons (Nena) - I chose the German version vs. the English version because it was more fun to wait for the Captain Kirk line in it.  (However, admittedly, I could sing along better in English but I tried like hell to do it in German.)  This song came about a few years before President Reagan told Gorbachev to "tear down this wall" and was a protest song geared towards the divide between East and West Germany.  Even though we knew the politics behind it, we couldn’t help but sing along and make Captain Kirk even cooler than he already was. 

4. Safety Dance (Men Without Hats) - I’m sorry but "Pop Goes the World" was just not a big enough follow-up (until that damned Tide commercial started using it this year) to knock these guys off the list.  Classic 80’s bizarre video featuring some kind of May Day ritual with people doing a bastardized YMCA thing with their arms while twitching as if their medication just kicked in.  Today, it just seems normal.   Such a catchy song too…  “Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance well they’re no friends of mine.” 

3. Come on Eileen (Dexy’s Midnight Runners) - When this song came out, the “earworm” was born!  Hear this song once and it would continue to go through your head forever!  One of the most simple videos created during the 80’s, for the most part it’s just a group of people singing in overalls on a street corner, they didn’t need fancy storylines to just get Eileen to come along with them.  Also, no one ever remembers Johnny Ray’s part in the song.  Poor, old Johnny Ray. 

2. You Spin Me Round (Dead or Alive) - First thought when we all saw the video for it…what the f is with Boy George?!?!  Then as you watch Pete Burns dance his modified Carlton-dance, you realize how much deeper and cooler his voice is (was).  This song still gets people singing in bars today so a special cheers goes out to its longevity.  But the BEST thing to happen to this song was Adam Sandler singing this at the beginning of The Wedding Singer.  He did it justice and introduced a whole new generation to this 80’s favorite (see the Adam Sandler version).  And because you wouldn’t believe it unless you saw it—Pete Burns before and after

1. Take on Me (A-Ha) - Video for this one aside, this is just an awesome song. 80’s pop all the way.  The classic synths that take it over and the over dramatized high notes of the lead-singer…c’mon!   We sang along with it, still do, and of course had one of the GREATEST videos of that decade.   The video was like Speed Racer on crack along with a simple diner scene.   Nothing could touch this video.   The sketches were amazing and the animation/special effects were astounding.  Remember, this was light-years before HD.  One of the greatest tributes to this song was given by Family Guy.   Recreating the video with a cartoon character was pure-genius and made Chris Griffin even cooler.  So here it is folks, my number one song for the 80’s pop edition list (and it’s tribute)…A-Ha’s Take on Me.  (Here's Chris Griffin's ultra-cool version). 

Of course there are hundreds more songs that could’ve easily made this list.  Again, this was really tough to narrow down to these five—I could easily name about a dozen more I wanted to put here just off the top of my head.  Remember, this is only the first installment.  There will be more to follow, different songs, different genres, etc.  As far as 80’s pop though, what are your thoughts?  Let us know, and don't forget to like the KT5 on Facebook!


  1. I hope everyone is enjoying this trip down memory lane!  :D

  2. Whip it - Devo; Tainted Love - Softcell; Mickey - Toni Basil.... 
    Good Top 5 today!!! !

  3. Christie CartolanoMay 2, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    Thanks!  I actually had Tainted Love and Mickey on the original list--they may still make it on another down the line. :)

  4. Just for variety, I'll toss in "One Night in Bangkok" by the appropriately-named Murray Head, "Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell, and "Life in a Northern Town" by Dream Academy.  

    Too, too many to pick, really.  

  5. "One Night in Bangkok," from the musical "Chess."  Love it when the occasional musical theater song creeps into the pop charts.   

  6. Waaait.
    A-Ha an One-Hit-Wonder?
    Well not here in old Europe

  7. Yeah, I thought that too--but A-Ha's got only one big hit in the States...