Join 3,363 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


One hit wonders of the 1960's.
November 11, 2007 5:35 PM   Subscribe

One hit wonders of the 1960's: Talk Talk. Dirty Water. Psychotic Reaction. Bend Me Shape Me. Hot Smoke and Sassafras. 96 Tears. Wipe Out. My Green Tambourine. Ballad of the Green Beret. San Francisco. Fire. Israelites. You Keep Me Hanging On. Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye. Eve of Destruction. Incense and Peppermints. Liar Liar. Judy In Disguise. Journey to the Center of the Mind. Sukiyaki. Come On Down To My Boat. Double Shot of My Baby's Love.You'll Lose a Good Thing. The Hippy Hippy Shake. They're Coming To Take Me Away. Tiptoe Through the Tulips. In the Year 2525.
posted by flapjax at midnite (107 comments total) 58 users marked this as a favorite

 
Technically one-hit wonders, but the Music Machine, Barbara Lynn, Quection Mark & The Mysterians and the Count Five were very influention on the punk and neo-garage to come. The Amboy Dukes unleased Ted Nugent on the world, and Vanilla Fudge** gave us Carmine Appice*.

And Tiny Tim, well he took the most unlikely concept in history and made a hit out of it. Nice work, you beautiful freak.

**the Fudge created a brief vogue for sludged-up proto-metal soul and pop covers, and spawned imitators like Lexington Ave. Local with their molasses-paced 'Along Comes Mary' cover.

*IIRC, Appice & Nugent worked together at some point, right?
posted by jonmc at 5:43 PM on November 11, 2007


oh man. i LOVE that dirty water.
posted by psmith at 5:47 PM on November 11, 2007


The Dropkick Murphy's do a killer live cover of "Dirty Water," recorded in South Boston on St. Patrick's Day. The response is as rabid as you'd imagine.
posted by jonmc at 5:49 PM on November 11, 2007


Nice post.. I hate to admit that most of these are on my ipod... a disconnect....

As for Tiny Tim... I am willing to bet that I am the ONLY mefit to have actually met the guy.... buy me a beer and I'll tell ya about it! :)
posted by HuronBob at 5:52 PM on November 11, 2007


The Dropkick Murphy's are currently huge in Boston because of that and their other well documented Red Sox tendencies.
posted by psmith at 5:53 PM on November 11, 2007


omg i can't believe i put an apostrophe there. *hangs head in lameness*
posted by psmith at 5:54 PM on November 11, 2007


I hate to admit that most of these are on my ipod

Mine too, and other songs by the same artists. And covers of many of them (In one case twenty different covers). And I'm proud to admit it.
posted by jonmc at 5:54 PM on November 11, 2007


There's some seriously memorable hits in that list. Go through (no, please, really, somebody do it - I'm to lazy) and find similarly relevant/memorable one-hit wonders from the 70's and 80's and I'm not sure you'll find something of the caliber (ahem) of Ballad of the Green Beret, Eve of Destruction, or the Hippy Hippy Shake. To name but three of an excellent list.
posted by Sk4n at 5:55 PM on November 11, 2007


Remember when you ran away and I got on my knees and begged you not to leave because I'd go berserk?? Well...
You left me anyhow and then the days got worse and worse and now you see I've gone completely out of my mind.. And..
They're coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!
They're coming to take me away, ho-ho, hee-hee, ha-haaa
To the funny farm. Where life is beautiful all the time and I'll be
happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats and they're
coming to take me away, ha-haaa!!!!!
posted by growabrain at 5:57 PM on November 11, 2007


No, the apostrophe might be correct. They're named after Dropkick Murphy's, a dry-out facility founded by wrestler Dropkick Murphy. (In my hometown).

Bend Me Shape Me is a favorite of mine. Nice post, thanks.
posted by ibmcginty at 5:59 PM on November 11, 2007


"And I'm proud to admit it."

ok...you're right, the "hate to admit" part was about my age!

jonmc, I'm thinking we could spend an evening together listening to music..
posted by HuronBob at 6:04 PM on November 11, 2007


Nothing beats Laibach's cover of 2525 (flash, live, 9th song down).

Okay, so a lot of things beat it, but it's really fucking hilarious.
posted by item at 6:06 PM on November 11, 2007


Incense and Peppermints

by the Strawberry Alarm Clock who featured Ed King who later joined Skynyrd and co-authored Freebird.
posted by jonmc at 6:11 PM on November 11, 2007


"Tiptoe Thru the Tulips" just doesn't quite cut it without being preceded by the super-creepy "Welcome to My Dream."

And "Sukiyaki": Whoa... Catchy melody, but did the American public understand what it was about?
posted by Reggie Digest at 6:12 PM on November 11, 2007


I'm not going to get into a pedantry argument, but I it's not right.
posted by psmith at 6:14 PM on November 11, 2007


Let's hear it, Huron Bob
posted by growabrain at 6:21 PM on November 11, 2007


Best Lead singer dance move: Question Mark (mysterians)
Worst fake drumming: The American Breed
Best tip of the hat to stonehenge: Zager and Evans
Most fucked up concept: (tie) Arthur Brown, Lemon Pipers
Best use of an ascot: Vanilla Fudge
Most confusing shoe choice: Barry Macguire
Best hat: Arthur Brown
posted by greenskpr at 6:21 PM on November 11, 2007


find similarly relevant/memorable one-hit wonders from the 70's and 80's

99 luftballoons by nina
safety dance by men without hats
brother louie by stories

Bend Me Shape Me is a favorite of mine.

there were a lot of different people in "the american breed" - and some of them went on to become rufus, with chaka khan

ed king, lead guitarist for the strawberry alarm clock, went on to join lynyrd skynyrd
posted by pyramid termite at 6:22 PM on November 11, 2007


All the hatred I usually feel for YouTube linkdumps has been paved over by that John Fred clip.
posted by ardgedee at 6:25 PM on November 11, 2007


Wait, the Dropkick Murpheys and the Red Sox are from Boston?

Didn't the Sox get the original Dirty Water band together to play at Fenway in the 2002 Series? Didn't that band have no idea their song was so popular?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:29 PM on November 11, 2007


ed king wrote the guitar intro to sweet home alabama when he was with skynyrd. he has said that put all his kids through college.

*IIRC, Appice & Nugent worked together at some point, right?

surely you are not confusing ted nugent and jeff beck, are you jonmc? because, well, i'd have to kill you.
posted by quonsar at 6:37 PM on November 11, 2007


here comes the judge - 1968 - it seems like a silly novelty record and at the time, that's all it was

now it sounds like the first hit rap record, doesn't it?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:37 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Western Union
posted by mds35 at 6:38 PM on November 11, 2007


Whoa, pt, how'd I miss the Judge? I knew that song (I guess you can call it a song...), and remember it from my childhood! Thanks for linking to it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:40 PM on November 11, 2007


Question Mark & Company. Mr. Mark's house burned down not too long ago, and, rejoice, I say, this is a CURRENTLY WORKING BAND.

I saw them just shy of a decade ago by surprise in Bloomington, IN, and they put the generations who opened for them to shame. It was a genuinely great rock and roll experience and it was a shocker to have it handed to me by Hispanic auto workers old enough to be my granddad. They rock, and Mr. Mark has apparently only gone by his nom de rock lo these forty-plus years.

If you get a chance, GO SEE THEM.

(On the day before I recieved my first tattoo, I was graced by the chance to see Tiny Tim among others at Navy Pier in Chicago. Mr. Tim had the good grace to kiss my hand. THe others who performed were, in fact, nostalgia acts. But Mr. Tim was as weird and committed to his schtick as he had, by all evidence, ever been.)
posted by mwhybark at 6:40 PM on November 11, 2007


catsup in the morning, raving for pretzels,
so that every mom can be fred. oooohhh ooohh the ears are allright.

-- 1st You Tube post on Israelites.
posted by wfc123 at 6:41 PM on November 11, 2007


And nice spotting on Western Union, mds35. Gotta love the bikini-girl intro to that clip.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:42 PM on November 11, 2007


Oh, and HuronBob: My hand remained unwasheed for at least a day. In all probability, my forearm tat has Tiny cooties running up and down it!
posted by mwhybark at 6:42 PM on November 11, 2007


Here's a better video for Israelites (although not the original version): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZlFz9yZ1Fs

and two more Desmond Dekker videos.
posted by mike3k at 6:44 PM on November 11, 2007


ok, growabrain... although I'm sticking with the cheap Shiraz I'm drinking at the moment...

It was 1968, I had moved to Miami to spend the summer working before my Junior year in college... My brother-in-law, who managed a hotel on the beach, had helped me get a job working at a hotel (the Marco Polo, a tier two hotel a bit north of the beach).

I was spending every 99+ degree day parking cars for the guests at the hotel.

There was a club on the strip, and Tiny Tim was booked for a weekend gig and the group was staying at the hotel.

Of course, everyone knew who Tiny Tim was, we had all seen him on Johnny Carson.

I was standing at my usual spot at the entrance to the hotel, when a car pulled up. I walked up, opened the driver's door, said "Welcome to the Marco Polo." and then opened the rear door. There, in 99 degree heat, in Miami, sitting between two other guys in the back seat of a rented 1968 Chevy Impala, was Tiny Tim, wearing a suit and a trench coat.

Let's face it, there was no one else in the world that looked like that.

Hell, I was impressed. I was a 19 year old kid from Jackson, Michigan, and here I was in the presence of Tiny Tim.

I reached in the back seat, past the big guy sitting by the door, and said, "Mr. Tim, I'm honored to meet you!" and shook his hand.

A couple of nights later I was at the club he was playing at, and was able to hear, in person, live..."Tiptoe Through the Tulips"...

Two weeks later, after I had managed to run two customer's cars into the support posts in the parking garage, the Valet manager suggested I find another job. That moved me up to being a Bellboy at the Fontainebleau Hotel during the Republican Convention... I managed to meet John Wayne, who was attending the convention... I didn't give a rat's a** about Tiny Tim once I had met the Duke.
posted by HuronBob at 6:44 PM on November 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


surely you are not confusing ted nugent and jeff beck, are you jonmc? because, well, i'd have to kill you.

No, I know Appice worked with Beck, but I think he worked with Nugent, too.
posted by jonmc at 6:47 PM on November 11, 2007


mwhybark , was his hand as sweaty as it was when I shook it?

Damn...this is fun!
posted by HuronBob at 6:47 PM on November 11, 2007


you're gonna miss me - and even though all you see is the album cover, i have to link to their classic song, slip inside this house
posted by pyramid termite at 6:54 PM on November 11, 2007


He did work with the Nuge, apparently. Which doesn't surprise me, really, I kind of thought of him as one of those hired gun, Joe Lyn Turner types.
posted by arto at 6:58 PM on November 11, 2007


I know greenskpr already pointed it out, but that's some seriously amazing fake drumming on Bend Me Shape Me. Not to be missed.
posted by freem at 7:01 PM on November 11, 2007


'Disguise!' Dang. I thought she and Lucy were sky-dwellers together.
posted by jinjo at 7:05 PM on November 11, 2007


Me three, Huron Bob! But working on an unreleased comeback album with a washed-up prima donna in the 80's just wasn't as glamorous as meeting the guy back in the day when he was an icon. Meanwhile, TT was gloriously namechecked in Dylan's autobio, making him ten times hipper than I, for one, ever suspected.

As for the post: some of these artists actually had other hits!
posted by bonefish at 7:07 PM on November 11, 2007


+ The Left Banke
posted by dhammond at 7:12 PM on November 11, 2007


Didn't the Sox get the original Dirty Water band together to play at Fenway in the 2002 Series? Didn't that band have no idea their song was so popular?

Why, yes. This is precisely correct.
posted by psmith at 7:12 PM on November 11, 2007


If you listen to all of those in a row it kind of sounds like a lost Coral album.

ps Desmond Dekker was most definitely not a one-hit wonder.
posted by fshgrl at 7:17 PM on November 11, 2007


Ya know, I felt sorry for the Lemon Pipers before, when I heard the psychedelic snot-rock gems "Through With You" and "Fifty Year Void" at the very end of side two of their first album, then read that they'd been saddled with "Green Tambourine" because their label would have dropped them had they refused, but watching them smirk their way through that "Green Tambourine" bit - complete with rotating kiddie carousel and oversized robot - is just heartbreaking.

Tonight, before you go to bed, shed a tear for the Lemon Pipers - a hard-rocking bluesy psychedelic rock band smothered by their label's insistence on forcing them to record syrupy bubblegum hits written by other people. If you ever get a chance to listen to "Through With You," you'll know what I mean.
posted by mediareport at 7:20 PM on November 11, 2007


I kind of thought of him as one of those hired gun, Joe Lyn Turner types.

He's a journeyman, but of a higher order than Turner, and the stuff he did with the Fudge was truly inspired, in a goofy sort of way.
posted by jonmc at 7:27 PM on November 11, 2007


I saw ? and the Mysterians about a decade ago in Austin. It was terrible - generic garage/bar rock. 96 Tears, though, is deserving of the label 'classic' - it's the embodiment of the perfect rock song. Unfortunately, ? basically rewrote it over and over and over again after it hit, and nothing else the band recorded reached past mediocrity.

I wish I could find an online version of Suicide's 96 Tears cover. I once saw a film of it live circa 1978 and it was perfect - confrontational, evil, mindblowing.

Speaking of which, if you ever get the chance to see Suicide play, don't bother unless you're in the mood for a depressing laugh. Their 2000 show in Austin ranks up there with one of the most pathetic things I've ever seen on stage - and I've seen the Mike Love led Beach Boys at the State Fair.
posted by item at 7:27 PM on November 11, 2007


Desmond Dekker was most definitely not a one-hit wonder.

The term "one hit wonder" is used to indicate an artist who charted once (or very nearly only once) on pop radio. It doesn't mean said artist didn't have many other recordings, a long career in music, whatever. It's just about the pop charts of mainstream radio. Now, as concerns Dekker, can you popint to another US chart hit of his? It could be there was one, but I'm unaware of it. And apologies for the US-centric slant of this FPP. I think Dekker may well have charted in England with other songs, since reggae was a bit more out there in the UK as far as popularity and radio play.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:27 PM on November 11, 2007


96 Tears, though, is deserving of the label 'classic' - it's the embodiment of the perfect rock song.

Oh yeah. Just that opening organ bit is enough to put a smile on my face for a whole day.
posted by jonmc at 7:29 PM on November 11, 2007


He's a journeyman, but of a higher order than Turner, and the stuff he did with the Fudge was truly inspired, in a goofy sort of way.

You know, for the past few decades I think Appice's main gig has been as a product endorser in advertisements for drum sticks, heads, pedals and whatnot. I've seen his picture a zillion times in rags like Modern Drummer, pitching this cymbal or that drum key... I think he does a lot of those drum clinic gigs, too. Several years back I had a gig at Amsterdam's Paradiso club, as part of a drum/percussion festival. Appice was there, and he did a show with some pickup group of Dutch "classic rockers", and it was about as bad as you might imagine. Pretty embarrassing, really.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:34 PM on November 11, 2007


Oh yeah. Just that opening organ bit is enough to put a smile on my face for a whole day.

Agreed. It's a shame that the song's long been delegated to "oldies radio" status. It's such a weird thing to hear it bookended by Teen Angel and Duke of Earl.
posted by item at 7:35 PM on November 11, 2007


Thank you for the link to Ballad of the Green Berets. That song brings back memories of when I was 14 and had dreams of growing up to be in the Army, and was obsessed with anything related to Special Forces.

Turns out, asthma killed any chances of military service so now I'm just 33, overweight, and making money in computers. Guess things worked out for the better...
posted by mrbill at 7:44 PM on November 11, 2007


Flapjax,
/derail, He had a successful instructional book for years called 'Realistic Rock'. It was basic nuts and bolts beats. But for the time (early 80's), it seemed okay. 'Hi-hat integration' by Jan Prins was the real shit though.
posted by greenskpr at 7:46 PM on November 11, 2007


It's such a weird thing to hear it bookended by Teen Angel and Duke of Earl.

Well, Teen Angel is tripe, but Duke Of Earl is capital doo-wop, son.

You know, for the past few decades I think Appice's main gig has been as a product endorser in advertisements for drum sticks, heads, pedals and whatnot....Appice was there, and he did a show with some pickup group of Dutch "classic rockers", and it was about as bad as you might imagine. Pretty embarrassing, really.

Eh, he had his moments of glory. Man's got to make a living and I imgine doing drum ads and the occasional pickup gig beats being out of the music biz entirely. So, I try not to judge old fossils like that too harshly.
posted by jonmc at 7:47 PM on November 11, 2007


Excellent post, thanks! The Bubble Puppy are one of my favorite one-hit wonder bands from the psychedelic sixties. For a thoroughly modern (and in my opinion, amazing) music video version of Hot Smoke & Sassafras (quite possibly one of the most kick ass songs ever), be sure to check out Paper Rad
posted by FuturisticDragon at 7:49 PM on November 11, 2007


HB, yeah, it was sweaty, but on the other hand, he'd just come offstage doing a set of 1920's best loved hits of the 1960s for an audience in 1989. He was gracious and weird as hell. I was there with a recording engineer and producer who was hoping to work with him - a pal of mine from high school - and Tiny unerringly zeroed in on the one guy in our group who had no financial interest in developing our relationship. I had been tremendously impressed by the fearlessness and direct comittment he showed to the material he was performing, some of it the same that you saw over 20 years prior. My own interest in and appreciation of pre-war US pop stems directly from that show, from the sense that great music is pproduced by the committed, not by the popular.

And item, i think we must have seen Mr. Mark and co. on their first back-in-the-act tour. What can I say? Well, for starters: you are wrong, and I am right. Hope you enjoyed the subsequent Dave Matthews era on your ipod, 'cause I sure wouldn't have. ;)
posted by mwhybark at 7:53 PM on November 11, 2007


Man's got to make a living and I imgine doing drum ads and the occasional pickup gig beats being out of the music biz entirely. So, I try not to judge old fossils like that too harshly.

I wouldn't disagree with any of that. The gig I saw was crap, though, is all I'm saying.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:59 PM on November 11, 2007


I prefer revisionist history. 13th Floor, bb.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 7:59 PM on November 11, 2007


The Strawberry Alarm Clock were two-hit wonders ("Tomorrow," #23, 1967, great song; others charted but below the top 40) and they were a real band that got predictably jerked around by the music business.

And calling Desmond Dekker a one-hit wonder is like calling Bob Marley one. How many hits did Dekker have in the UK? At the very least, "007" and "You Can Get It If You Really Want."
posted by rodii at 8:04 PM on November 11, 2007


Hey rodii, long time no see.
posted by jonmc at 8:08 PM on November 11, 2007


and they were a real band that got predictably jerked around by the music business.

Lots of one hit wonder bands were "real bands".

How many hits did Dekker have in the UK? At the very least, "007" and "You Can Get It If You Really Want."

Okay, okay, rodii, I already apologized upthread for the US-centric nature of the post, specifically in regard to Dekker. So, once more, SORRY!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:10 PM on November 11, 2007


"Hey, those groovy guys are the Standells!" - Eddie Munster
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:15 PM on November 11, 2007


For reasons completely elusive to me, the "San Francisco" video actually made me kind of weepy.
posted by roll truck roll at 8:18 PM on November 11, 2007


I really love that Green Beret song, even though I feel I shouldn't. I had no idea Sgt Sadler met such an unfortunate end.
posted by cazoo at 8:19 PM on November 11, 2007


Hi jon!

Not dissing your post, flapjax, just appreciating the near-Marleyesque stature of Dekker.
posted by rodii at 8:26 PM on November 11, 2007


"They're Coming To Take Me Away"
I owned this. New. Yes, i am older than you.
The trivia that no one mentions is that the flip side (45RPM records had flip sides. Check wikipedia) was the same some.... backwards.
posted by cccorlew at 8:26 PM on November 11, 2007


cccorlew, there's probbly more oldtimers here than you think! But, really? The B-side was the song backwards? That's fuckin avant garde!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:40 PM on November 11, 2007


Ear to ear grin sitting here gawping. What fun! your post has me wrapped up in ecstasy for hours now. Thanks.

This is how I remember Wipe Out, with that insane giggle at the beginning.

Adored and still do, the Israelites. Desmond Dekker & the Aces' song reminds me of reggae mixed with Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Oh mannnn, haven't heard Vanilla Fudge's You Keep Me Hanging On in a gazillion years. God, I did some sizzling slow dancing to that song. *fans face, steam rises from top of head in ancient hormonal buzz.

It's such a passionate video, they're all about to burst into flames.

HuronBob, you're not the only MeFi to have met Tiny Tim. Age 15, I went to his engagement to Miss Vicky party in 1969 at the Inn of the Clock, near the U.N. Weird. A couple of interesting characters where there. George Plimpton in the glow of his fame from Paper Lion and Woody Allen, playing his wallflower nerd role, spoke with him briefly. Incredibly, Tiny Tim had a daughter by Miss Vicky, "Victoria Tulip, is now married and living in Pennsylvania with four children."

Funny to hear how off the predictions were In the Year 2525. lyrics. "In the year 6565
Ain't gonna need no husband, won't need no wife.
You'll pick your son, pick your daughter too.
From the bottom of a long glass tube. Whoa-oh"

These seemed like one hit wonders, although the bands went on...

Blue Cheer - Summertime Blues

Manfred Mann - Mighty Quinn

/derail
Anyone remember Love, Forever Changes? Man, Love was a great band, Arthur Lee was awesome. My Little Red Book.

The first lyrics I ever heard that made it plain to me that none of us were in Kansas anymore was Love's "Oh, the snot has caked against my pants…" from their Forever Changes album.

Now limp with joy, need sleep.
posted by nickyskye at 8:47 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Mighty Quinn" always scared me as a kid. As if it were actually about an Eskimo who was actually going to come get me, and everyone was actually going to be delighted when this happened. It still kind of gives me the heebies.

Someday I'll meet Bob Dylan and we're going to have to have words about this song.
posted by padraigin at 8:52 PM on November 11, 2007


I love "San Francisco" and "Green Beret". Makes no sense, I know.
posted by etaoin at 9:01 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I love "San Francisco" and "Green Beret". Makes no sense, I know.

Sure it does. It's all just data now. ;-)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:04 PM on November 11, 2007


John Fred is a god. He can hyponitze people with his pants.
posted by dzot at 9:17 PM on November 11, 2007


I really dug You Keep Me Hanging On, with Alan Colmes on lead guitar.
posted by dhammond at 9:27 PM on November 11, 2007


Desmond Dekker was most definitely not a one-hit wonder.

I know flapjax has clarified, but there's no shame in the label, especially not for a god like Desmond Dekker. Surely there are plenty of solid, respected artists who wear the name. The Flaming Lips, for one.

(My favorite Dekker tune is "This Woman.)
posted by Bookhouse at 9:37 PM on November 11, 2007


You thought it was a joke and so you laughed you laughed when I had said that losing you would make me flip my lid, right?
I know you laughed I heard you laugh you laughed you laughed and then you left but now you see that I've gone utterly mad.

And.

They're coming to take me away, haha
they're coming to take me away, hoho, hee-hee, hahah
to the happy home
with trees and flowers and chirping birds
and basket weavers who sit and smile
and twiddle their thumbs and their toes
and they're coming to take me away, haha
posted by Afroblanco at 9:39 PM on November 11, 2007


A fan of cheesy TV like Xena and Hercules and whatever that 2525 show was... 'In the year 2525' made my head *ssplode.Thank you.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:14 PM on November 11, 2007


I love "San Francisco" and "Green Beret". Makes no sense, I know.

Both the "Ballad of the Green Berets" and "San Francisco" embodied the highest ideals, if not the realities, of the 1960s.

The decade began with "pay any cost &c. to assure the survival and success of liberty" and ended with the utopian escapism of the hippie subculture. I was growing up in the Bay Area just north of UCB in the mid 1970s and I dimly remember the afterglow of the 1960s & early 1970s was still present there.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:24 PM on November 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I too met Mr. Tim, shortly before he died, when I tagged along with Paul Grant, who was interviewing him for Scram issue #4, which also had an interview with a soon to be late, great Townes Van Zandt. (A cursed issue, perhaps. It's the reason Rod McKuen nixed a formal talk, dang it.)

In any case, Mr. Tim was one of the most charming people I have ever encountered, and we had a blast listening to his funny stories punctuated with ukulele riffs and imitations of his hero, Rudy Vallee. At one point he explained that whenever he had an impure thought, he would wash and moisturize himself with Jergens lotion. He then asked us to touch his hands. They were the softest hands imaginable, clearly the end result of many thousands of gallons of Jergens.

All hail the Music Machine, too. Sean Bonniwell is one of the great rock and roll originals, way too smart for the room even now.
posted by Scram at 11:05 PM on November 11, 2007


Desmond Dekker is not a one-hit wonder.

Ram Jam, on the other hand, is a one-hit wonder.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:17 PM on November 11, 2007


Desmond Dekker is not a one-hit wonder.

fandango_matt has not read the above comments, repeatedly addressing this point.

Or he has, and he's just being a jerk.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:24 PM on November 11, 2007


I think if I had just one song to listen to for the rest of my life it would be Israelites.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:30 PM on November 11, 2007


These seemed like one hit wonders, although the bands went on...

Manfred Mann - Mighty Quinn

I know it was under the "M.M.'s Earth Band" moniker, but 'Blinded By the Light' was an obnoxiously huge hit, and is unfortunately still unavoidable to this day.
posted by item at 11:53 PM on November 11, 2007


Sweet list.

I don't know if it's good or bad, but I recognized each song without actually clicking the link (making the clicking all the better).

I think it says a lot about these songs that they have stuck around so long. I know the amount of pleasure I still get from almost all of them is really a thing. Writing the songs, they probably had no idea how wide it was gonna go.

And hey, Desmond Decker, do you even know ...


I kid, I kid...
posted by From Bklyn at 1:37 AM on November 12, 2007


Thanks for the Tiny Tim stories, folks.. !
posted by HuronBob at 3:19 AM on November 12, 2007


nickyskye, if you haven't already heard them, look up Da Capo and Love, which is where they recorded My Little Red Book.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:11 AM on November 12, 2007


I know it was under the "M.M.'s Earth Band" moniker, but 'Blinded By the Light' was an obnoxiously huge hit, and is unfortunately still unavoidable to this day.

"Blinded was actually a Springsteen song that they ruined.

Manfred Mann - Mighty Quinn

Great song but 'Pretty Flamingo' was far far better, one of teh finest songs of the British Invasion.
posted by jonmc at 5:38 AM on November 12, 2007


I lived in Western Mass. in the 1990s and was invited by a friend to come along and see Tiny Tim up in Montague in 1996. I was all set to go, but then missed my ride because I had to work late. This turned out to be the performance where he suffered his first heart attack onstage (he died a few months later during another performance.) I heard about what'd happened the next day -- "You'll never guess what you missed!" Frankly, I think I'm just as glad I missed it.

In an odd parallel, way back in 1969 my father, who at the time was roughly around the same age I was in 1996, had planned to go along with a bunch of his friends to a music festival in upstate New York. My dad missed his ride because he had to work late. He figured well, there'd be other shows, and hey, now he had a weekend free to hang out and do other stuff.

The thing of it is that my family has a history of being perennially late. While I missed Tiny Tim's heart attack onstage due to being late, my father missed Woodstock. I think he got the better story out of the deal.
posted by Spatch at 6:06 AM on November 12, 2007



Status Quo - Pictures of Matchstick Men

posted by cotterpin at 6:08 AM on November 12, 2007


New Vaudeville Band - Winchester Cathedral Viv Stanshall's project after he left the Bonzos.
posted by Sculthorpe at 8:54 AM on November 12, 2007


Never met Tiny Tim, but I have spoken with ? by telephone several times. At one point, I had his home phone number. Mile-a-minute talker, that guy, but seemed sincerely nice. He seems to have fallen on hard times, recently.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:58 AM on November 12, 2007


Man, flapjax, you yourself certainly are no one-hit wonder. Another incredibly detailed post — you must have some real work you're avoiding there across the sea. (Like I am here.) It's funny to me that these classic songs — most of which I still love — are so familiar, but I never heard of Hot Smoke and Sassafras at all. How'd I miss that one?

most of these are on my ipod...

I don't have this stuff on any iPod; I got it new (HuronBob isn't the only MeFite who was 19 in 1968), and listen to much of it on my turntable. Like the first Music Machine LP —Michael Jackson wasn't the first guy who thought it cool to wear just one glove on stage.

But, really? The B-side was the song backwards? That's fuckin avant garde!

Not just the song (!aaaH-aH yawA eM ekaT oT gnimoC er'yehT) was backwards. The singer was billed as VIX NOELOPAN, and much of the label was printed backwards, too. (The guy was like, you know, completely nuts!)
posted by LeLiLo at 9:45 AM on November 12, 2007


I wish I had a modicum of the style of the original rude boy, Desmond Dekker.
posted by NationalKato at 9:50 AM on November 12, 2007


MrMoonPie, that's so sad about Question Mark, his house burned down and he's penniless with no running water....and still making fun of his situation in the video on his site. Loved his bitter-and-twisted 96 Tears, which John Lennon is supposed to have said was "the best rock and roll song ever".

lelilo, like you, never heard Hot Smoke & Sassafras and now I don't regret it.

Kirth Gerson, that's the album I had, Da Capo. Had totally forgotten what it looked like, ancient artifact. So good to see it again. Thanks :)

etaoin, Your comment gave me a recognition smile, I liked both songs too and, as an anti-war protester, felt guilty about liking the Green Beret one. It was one of the few links I hadn't clicked last night, so I listened now. What a classic. And then I wondered what happened to that guy, was he killed in Viet Nam or what? My God, what an incredible life story. I noticed just now that cazoo posted the link to the Wiki entry about him in referencing his death. Check out this almost surrealist biography page about Sgt Barry Sadler, who sang the song.

HuronBob, So strange that three MeFites in this thread saw Tiny Tim and one almost did. Seems like funny odds, lol.

fandango_matt, oh man that Ram Jam "Black Betty" was goood to hear again. Wonder why they ended up being one hitters? (If they played like that out in the yard maybe the neighbors killed them?)

Spatch, my boyfriend in 1969, bought me a ticket to Woodstock, even though he was on the road and couldn't come and I didn't go because my dad, on the brink of dying of cancer, bought me a ticket to California to visit his childhood friends. The trip to Cali was one of the best times in my life and, naturally, it was also poignant not to be sliding around in the mud, watching some of the greatest bands of my generation.

How about a 2 hit wonder? Pretty Ballerina and Don't Walk Away Renee?

Another 2 hit wonder: Mr. Dieingly Sad and Younger Girl by the Critters.

Even though Lulu had a long career, her wonderful song, To Sir With Love, (one of my all time favorite movies) was a one hit wonder in the US.

Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron, The Royal Guardsmen

Sculthorpe, Do you suppose pinching his nose while singing the song on stage might have had something to do with Winchester Cathedral being a one hit wonder? (That vid was hilariously bad and I loved that song for a few weeks way back then.)

flapjax, That Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto song is really enjoyable. Wonderful lyrics. Wonder what top of the pops in Japan in the 60's were.

And Dekker really wasn't a one hit wonder...
posted by nickyskye at 9:59 AM on November 12, 2007


Sugar Sugar - The Archies. My favorite bubblegum song. (OK, one of my favorite songs of any genre.

nickeyskye - I think he was holding his nose to get the "megaphone" effect (ala Rudy Vallee). Here's a clip from the Ethel Merman show(!) where they lip sinc the song. (Winchester Cathedral is the second half of the clip.) He's "singing" through a megaphone.
posted by Sculthorpe at 11:10 AM on November 12, 2007


Yeah, Sculthorpe, I got he was doing it for that vintage megaphone effect (I think it may have originally been called a speaking trumpet) but the pinched nose thing just looked hilariously bad.
posted by nickyskye at 11:47 AM on November 12, 2007


I met Scott McKenzine once! On the same day that I met Papa John Phillips (and his daughter McKenzie, who was named after Scott). Oh - and Maria Muldaur, too! All on the same day!
posted by Dr. Wu at 12:17 PM on November 12, 2007


"Black Betty" by RamJam holds a special place in my heart...our family was on its annual summer vacation when this was a hit, and for a good portion of the trip we happened to be in a fringe reception area (we didn't have a cassette player; FM radio was a luxury back in the day) and the local radio station apparently had maybe three or four different records, because they played them often enough that my crochety old Dad recognized the opening notes of "Black Betty," and as soon as we heard them on the car radio, he'd launch into his tirade: "Oh, God, here we go. Bam-a-lam. Jee-zus Christ, is that what they call music these days? Bam-a-lam..." And he'd repeat the same mantra every single time that song played.
posted by Oriole Adams at 2:42 PM on November 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


I remember "They're coming to take me away" from listening to the Doctor Demento show late at night when I was a kid. That and the song that went - "you are a fluke of the universe, you have no right to be here"
posted by vronsky at 3:54 PM on November 12, 2007


the song that went - "you are a fluke of the universe, you have no right to be here"

That was National Lampoon's "Deteriorata", a spoof of "Desiderata" (specifially Les Crane's hit recording).
posted by evilcolonel at 5:26 PM on November 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks for all the great links and comments, folks.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:12 PM on November 12, 2007


Here's a Stylus Magazine list of one hit wonders from several decades of pop music. Worth a look.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:26 PM on November 12, 2007


As for Tiny Tim... I am willing to bet that I am the ONLY mefit to have actually met the guy....

Such fun. When I read that, I thought a) hey, me too, and b) no MeFi person should ever bet that he/she is the only one to have done anything. Except maybe nickyskye, I decided, and then she comes in to say she not only met Mr. Tim, she was at his engagement party. Outstanding.

So strange that three MeFites in this thread saw Tiny Tim and one almost did. Seems like funny odds, lol.

Maybe (probably not) I'm the only one here who met him to interview him for publication, backstage (Harrisburg PA; winter 1971-1972) when he was touring with the Roy Radin Vaudeville Revue. They were doing a benefit for the police/firemen in the area, and he was the headliner, by far better known than the performing chimp or any other members of the company.

Yet such a sweet guy. I reiterate what Scram says, a totally polite, regular guy, no freakishness or show-biz cynicism at all. He just loved that old music, and loved performing it — my favorite of the songs he did that night was called (as I remember it) "Three Times a Day I Brush my Teeth."

I always used to say that Alice Cooper was the most normal, down-to-earth guy I ever interviewed; I'd put Mr. Tim in that category as well.
posted by LeLiLo at 7:28 PM on November 12, 2007


Guy Ritchie used Liar, Liar to great effect in Lock, Stock and two Smoking Barrels.
posted by shoepal at 7:31 PM on November 12, 2007


Wow, great post.

This thread has mentioned both Ram Jam and the Lemon Pipers, but no one has yet pointed out that guitarist William Bartlett played in both bands. So I will.

Don't ask why I remembered this.
posted by davetill at 7:55 PM on November 12, 2007


I always used to say that Alice Cooper was the most normal, down-to-earth guy I ever interviewed; I'd put Mr. Tim in that category as well.

Interesting that you should say that, lelilo - just the other night I was watching a DVD of the old BBC music show Old Grey Whistle Test, and first up was Alice Cooper doing a song with his band. It was from right around the time that he was first breaking. And I thought how much he looked like Tiny Tim! Especially in profile, they had very similar noses. And they both had a pretty fuckin radical look and persona for the era they were in. Cooper especially had a look and demeanor that was very clearly and conciosly designed to give people... the creeps. And it went beyond simply (presumably) homosexual allusions into the territory of genuine ewwwww-ness. I think he was some kind of particular genius, actually, ol' Alice. He also had a pretty kick-ass rock vocal ability, a sandpapery voice that could cut through the band with little effort. And I'm not at all surprised to hear you say he was a very nice fellow. I've gotten that impression from interviews I've read with him: seemed quite down to earth indeed.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:18 PM on November 12, 2007


omg lelilo, (love your anecdotes) you met Tiny Tim too??!! This seems amazing. Glad he was a nice guy. To be honest, I was disturbed by the engagement party because of the cynicism of the journalists. It felt like a nihilistic circus. It was an interesting gathering though, even if it felt like the guests came for "the freak show". I never conversed with Tiny Tim, or got to know him at all and before this thread had no idea he was such a likable fellow. Glad my preconceptions were totally wrong.

Thanks for the one hit list flapjax. Loved Honeycombs - Have I the Right? (always thought the female drummer was innovative and made me want to learn the drums. The lead singer was a handsome Aryan looking lad, wonder what happened to him? googled, he died of cancer 2 years ago, aww) That clip is a double feature with the Lovin' Spoonful and by the way they looked, acted on stage, John's bell bottoms above his ankles, the deep geekiness of them, it's a miracle they weren't one hit wonders...except, of course, that John wrote amazing songs and they had a great sound.

/derail

A one hit wonder of the 80's I liked, Musical Youth - Pass the Dutchie
posted by nickyskye at 9:07 PM on November 12, 2007


OK, one more. Bent Fabric - Ally Cat

My parents loved this tune and it won the Grammy for best rock and roll song of 1963.
posted by Sculthorpe at 8:28 AM on November 13, 2007


omg Sculthorpe, hadn't heard Alley Cat since Miss Hinni the gym teacher played it in gym for us to dancercize to (she was a student of Isadora Duncan). Always thought it was a 1930's tune.
posted by nickyskye at 11:40 AM on November 13, 2007


A very down-to-Earth Alice Cooper, engagingly and honestly reflecting on his career, in this Terry Gross interview.

I hadn't known that his father was a pastor, who appreciated and enjoyed what Alice was doing.
posted by ibmcginty at 11:43 AM on November 13, 2007


Nickey, he followed it up with "Happy Puppy" which, of course, woofed. What never ceases to amaze me is that it won that Grammy. A pleasant tune but how anyone could call it rock is totally beyond me.
posted by Sculthorpe at 12:24 PM on November 13, 2007


As often happens, this post has circled around itself in a most engaging fashion. Thanks for the interview link, ibmcginty, which I'd missed; I don't pay much attention to radio any more since my own interview show went off the air about six years ago. (I was a very local, very unknown version of Terry Gross — but much taller — who talked mostly with guests who'd never been on the radio before, instead of famous people.) Anyway, I think she (like most people) couldn't help overthinking Alice like a plate of beans, but she did a much better job of almost getting it than the reporter Bob Greene, whose own Alice book written many years ago is pretty pathetic.

Alice of course was wonderful in the interview, saying he was inspired to start a band because rock and roll was full of Peter Pans, but there was no Captain Hook. And calling his group "the band that drove the stake through the heart of the Love Generation." Even more to the point here, he says that his show biz friends like Frank Sinatra and Groucho Marx got what he was doing, that Groucho even called him "the last hope for vaudeville." Which is why it's so fascinating that flapjax looked at Alice on DVD and saw the classic vaudevillian, Tiny Tim.

I interviewed Alice in 1973, during the Billion Dollar Babies tour, then caught up with him again in 1975 during his Welcome to my Nightmare tour. I saw the July 10th show, only a few weeks after (on June 23), he fallen offstage in Vancouver while climbing out of a giant jack-in-the-box, and broken six of his ribs.

During the concert I was in a spot, half backstage and half out front, where I could see behind the scenes as well. Alice would come bursting onstage, taunting people, stirring everyone up, but every time he moved back out of the audience's sight — between songs, during scene changes — I could see he was definitely in pain, sagging over holding his side, trying to get his strength back. That night he provided a great example of the traditional vaudeville motto that says "No matter what, the show must go on." And a great show it was.

p.s. To spin this post a bit more, in the Terry Gross interview Alice cites Salvador Dali as a big influence, and Dali apparently returned the favor.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:19 PM on November 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


« Older Win a free MRI machine:...  |  38 unreprinted Jack Kirby mons... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments