Don't turn around, oh oh! Der Komissar's in town, oh oh!
January 19, 2004 8:01 PM   Subscribe I just discovered a song that I haven't heard in twenty years over there: pac-man fever, by Buckner and Garcia. What long-lost tune do you need to remember?
posted by ashbury (28 comments total)
You bastard, that's gonna be stuck in my head all night.
"I've got a pocket full of quarters and I'm headin' to the AR-CADE!"
posted by keswick at 8:10 PM on January 19, 2004

You bastard, that's gonna be stuck in my head all night.

You think you have it bad? I have it on vinyl..

*begins digging through crates*
posted by rajbot at 8:19 PM on January 19, 2004

I love these songs--thanks ash (and thanks for the help in filling my ipod)
posted by amberglow at 8:21 PM on January 19, 2004

"We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun..."

Damn (and thank) you ashbury!
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:27 PM on January 19, 2004

Yeah, I've got the 45 somewhere. Right next to the Stacy-Q 45 I won on a radio call-in. Ah, the fifth grade....
posted by keswick at 8:28 PM on January 19, 2004

This site is a bit...strange. Amoung the "one hit wonders" they list, are Faith No More, Sinead O'Conner, Gary Numan, Devo, Wall of Voodoo and Gang of Four. How could anyone who is even a minor music fan consider any of these acts "One Hit Wonders"?
posted by Jimbob at 8:37 PM on January 19, 2004

by Dean Friedman
(Tony Levin on Base)
posted by Fupped Duck at 8:44 PM on January 19, 2004

Pacman fever was on the same tape as Bob and Doug McKenzie's 12 Days of Christmas !! Which I can't find anywhere online. :(
posted by tomplus2 at 8:49 PM on January 19, 2004

I just spent a few minutes going through the 70's stuff. It was like being sucked though a vortex of childhood memories. It's weird how I can completely forget about a song for 25 or 30 years, then suddenly - just reading the title takes me back to a specific event during a specific summer, like it happened last week. As I age, my short term memory is seriously failing, yet I somehow retain all these fragments of my life from decades ago.
posted by davebush at 8:52 PM on January 19, 2004

JimBob: Because they never had Top 40 hits? I'm guessing this is the case. Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix were one-hit wonders too, no matter how many of their album tracks are still played on classic rock radio.
posted by raysmj at 8:53 PM on January 19, 2004

Or rather, they never had any other Top 40 hits? I found Janis on there, but not Jimi. But Jimi is featured in Billboard's One Hit Wonders, with a full explanation as to how he showed up. Also, I have a copy of Joel Whitburn's "Top 40 Hits" around, which confirms that "All Along the Watchtower" was his only "hit," technically. (Joplin's was "Me and Bobby McGee," by the way.)

Discussing this means more to me than the Iowa caucus, by the way. It matters about as much too.
posted by raysmj at 9:03 PM on January 19, 2004

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!

(Giles, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) "The Bay City Rollers. Now that's music." (/Giles)

{Good God in Heaven and master of Hell ... I hate that fricken' song. One hit should definately have been NONE!!!!} And this song doesn't make the list ... why?

By the way, why in the hell did Kraftwerk make the list for Autobahn? One hit wonder? Hardly.
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:59 PM on January 19, 2004

Oh, let's not forget Ned's Atomic Dustbin's cover of "Saturday Night" for the So I Married An Axe Murderer soundtrack.
we're english, and we have two bassists. crikey, we'll be the biggest band ever!
posted by keswick at 10:07 PM on January 19, 2004

According to the same Billboard book I referenced above, Kraftwerk was indeed a one-hit wonder, at least in the United States. Or just in the United States, as the case may be.
posted by raysmj at 10:34 PM on January 19, 2004

ashbury, Have you seen the PMF official site?
posted by arse_hat at 10:57 PM on January 19, 2004

fish heads, fish heads, eat them up yum.
posted by PrinceValium at 11:13 PM on January 19, 2004

Godley & Creme's Cry - egad, that takes me back to the early days of MTV - geez I'd forgotten ALL about that one! I remember the video - all of these faces morphing into each other - very clever for the time.
posted by thunder at 11:14 PM on January 19, 2004

Back in 5th grade I had that whole album by Buckner and Garcia -- they did awful songs for Donkey Kong, Defender, Centepede, etc.

Back around the same time I had a 45 of a song called "Stay In Time" by Off Broadway which I was disappointed not to find on the site in question, but some Googling revealed that it wasn't a top 40 hit (only reached #51 apparently).

I wish my younger brothers hadn't destroyed most of my 45s -- I had some fun ones. (I think my love for electronic music began when I got my mom to buy me the 45 of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" when I was 7 or so, after hearing it on the radio.)
posted by boredomjockey at 11:27 PM on January 19, 2004

I didn't realize I had so many 45s...browsing through the 1970s section, I kept saying "I've got that record, I've got that one...."

I have to say, though, that I think the "one hit wonder" status should be expanded a bit to include Top 100 songs. There are several artists on there who hit, say #45 or #50 and got enough airplay where most folks wouldn't count them as a one hit wonder.
posted by Oriole Adams at 12:50 AM on January 20, 2004

Oh, come on! Devo is NOT a one-hit-wonder. They've had several hits other than "Whip It"... hell, the example album they use is their Greatest Hits album!

...Unless my interpretation of "hit" is unclear: Are they talking about Top Ten, Top 40, or Top 100?
posted by Down10 at 1:26 AM on January 20, 2004

That's what I'm thinking, Down10. My definition of "One Hit Wonder" is that the band has one song which makes it high in the charts (and maybe an album accompianing it), but have no other songs of note and are quickly forgotten afterwards. Therefore, any artists who have (a) multiple well-known songs, or (b) a large fan base or (c) have influenced other artists shouldn't make it in, should they? Devo probably fits in all three categories.
posted by Jimbob at 3:22 AM on January 20, 2004

Excellent post.
posted by insulglass at 4:33 AM on January 20, 2004

More one hit wonders - many more - from a previous metafilter post. Gary Numan, Dean Friedman and The Bay City Rollers all had at least three hits in the UK. A list of British one hit wonders might be too horrible to contemplate.
posted by liam at 6:16 AM on January 20, 2004

I don't know the answer to the Toip 100/40 question, but if anyone wants to buy me the Billboard Top 100 book for future reference, that would be cool.
posted by raysmj at 7:36 AM on January 20, 2004

It's a cool site, but I have to wonder (ba-bum-bump) who would buy the album from they link to. It's a site about people who only had one hit.
posted by Yossarian at 8:19 AM on January 20, 2004

I think their definition of one-hit-wonder is flawed. They are defining it as someone who had only one top 40 hit, whereas most people consdier a OHW to be a performer or group that has one really huge top 40 hit, and then breaks up and/or disappears from the radar entirely. Bruce Cockburn and Roseanne Cash are *not* OHWs.
posted by kayjay at 11:27 AM on January 20, 2004

no mention of Brandy, you're a fine girl, what a good wife, you would be

i always hated that song
posted by Danf at 12:43 PM on January 20, 2004

Why should the definition of "hit" change to meet retrospective judgements, or popularity in later years, or success in a particular market or formidable segment of a much larger mainstream market? Plenty of great bands and performers were no-hit wonders (far too many to get into), actually, but that doesn't necessarily make their work any less valuable. I know the term has become a put-down in many circles, and is associated with cheeseball VH-1 shows and whatnot. But getting a hit means your music - or at least one representation of it - has been accepted into the mainstream, with all that implies, good and bad. Devo was not particularly mainstream, but that doesn't make the group cheesy. Maybe it's time to rethink the concept, however. Plenty of those one hits listed here were dynamite.
posted by raysmj at 1:04 PM on January 20, 2004

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