UK ONE HIT WONDERS OF THE 80S

Imagine, if you can, having a major chart hit and feeling on top of the World. Then it all comes crashing down around you, as no matter what you do, you can't replicate that success. The artists on this page certainly know that feeling, and there were so many one hit wonders back in the eighties, that I am still stumbling across songs I had forgotten about and adding them to this page.

Please also visit the Worst Songs of the 80s page as this features many songs which were just too dreadful to feature on this page, although some of the videos below nearly went on that page - it's a very thin line!

You can watch all of the videos in the playlist above, or select them from the thumbnails below to see extra info and photos with the video - the choice is entirely yours. 

 

Alphaville - Big in JapanAlphaville - Big in JapanAneka - Japanese BoyAneka - Japanese BoyAshford & Simpson - SolidAshford & Simpson - SolidBaltimora - Tarzan BoyBaltimora - Tarzan BoyBlue Zoo - Cry Boy CryBlue Zoo - Cry Boy CryBoy Meets Girl - Waiting For A Star To FallBoy Meets Girl - Waiting For A Star To FallBruce Hornsby and the Range - The Way It IsBruce Hornsby and the Range - The Way It IsCharlene - I've Never Been To MeCharlene - I've Never Been To MeClassix Nouveaux - Is It A DreamClassix Nouveaux - Is It A DreamClive Dunn - GrandadClive Dunn - GrandadDenise Lasalle - Don't Mess WIth My Toot TootDenise Lasalle - Don't Mess WIth My Toot TootDesireless - Voyage VoyageDesireless - Voyage VoyageDouble - The Captain Of Her HeartDouble - The Captain Of Her HeartFiction Factory - Feels Like HeavenFiction Factory - Feels Like HeavenFlash And The Pan - Waiting For A TrainFlash And The Pan - Waiting For A TrainHarry Enfield - LoadsamoneyHarry Enfield - LoadsamoneyHaywoode - RosesHaywoode - RosesHollywood Beyond - The Colour Of MoneyHollywood Beyond - The Colour Of MoneyIndeep - Last Night A DJ Saved My LifeIndeep - Last Night A DJ Saved My LifeIt Bites - Calling All The HeroesIt Bites - Calling All The HeroesJane Wiedlin - Rush HourJane Wiedlin - Rush HourJohn Farnham - You're The VoiceJohn Farnham - You're The VoiceKissing The Pink - The Last FilmKissing The Pink - The Last FilmLaurie Anderson - O SupermanLaurie Anderson - O SupermanLipps Inc. - Funky TownLipps Inc. - Funky TownMaria Vidal - Body RockMaria Vidal - Body RockMARRS - Pump Up The VolumeMARRS - Pump Up The VolumeMatthew Wilder - Break My StrideMatthew Wilder - Break My StrideMental As Anything - Live It UpMental As Anything - Live It UpMen Without Hats - The Safety DanceMen Without Hats - The Safety DanceMezzoforte - Garden PartyMezzoforte - Garden PartyMorris Minor and the Majors - Stutter RapMorris Minor and the Majors - Stutter RapMurray Head - One Night in BankgkokMurray Head - One Night in BankgkokOllie and Jerry - Breakin... There's No Stopping UsOllie and Jerry - Breakin... There's No Stopping UsOran Juice Jones - The RainOran Juice Jones - The RainOwen Paul - My Favourite Waste Of TimeOwen Paul - My Favourite Waste Of TimePebbles - GirlfriendPebbles - GirlfriendPeter Cetera - Glory Of LovePeter Cetera - Glory Of LovePhyllis Nelson - Move CloserPhyllis Nelson - Move CloserPseudo Echo - Funky TownPseudo Echo - Funky TownRenee and Renato - Save Your LoveRenee and Renato - Save Your LoveRockwell - Somebody's Watching MeRockwell - Somebody's Watching MeRyan Paris - Dolce VitaRyan Paris - Dolce VitaSly Fox - Let's Go All The WaySly Fox - Let's Go All The WayStan Ridgway - CamouflageStan Ridgway - CamouflageStarlight - Numero UnoStarlight - Numero UnoThe Look - I Am The BeatThe Look - I Am The BeatThe Maisonettes - Heartache AvenueThe Maisonettes - Heartache AvenueThe Mobiles - Drowning In BerlinThe Mobiles - Drowning In BerlinThe Reynolds Girls - I'd Rather JackThe Reynolds Girls - I'd Rather JackThe Timelords - Doctorin The TardisThe Timelords - Doctorin The TardisTimex Social Club - RumorsTimex Social Club - RumorsToni Basil - MickeyToni Basil - MickeyTrans X - Living On VideoTrans X - Living On VideoVanessa Paradis - Joe Le TaxiVanessa Paradis - Joe Le TaxiWax - Bridge To Your HeartWax - Bridge To Your HeartZodiac Mindwarp - Prime MoverZodiac Mindwarp - Prime Mover

 


Martha & The Muffins

"Echo Beach" (1980)

Now this truly is one of my top ten favourite songs from the 80s. It sounds quite similar to Blondie to me, although the band had nowhere near the amount of success, of course!

This Canadian New Wave/Synthpop band (who formed in Toronto during 1977) actually had two members named Martha! Lead singer Martha Johnson is still performing today with her husband Mark Gane as Martha & The Muffins, and they released an album in 2010 entitled Delicate. The other one is Martha Ladly (playing keyboards in the video above) who is now a Professor of Interactive Design, believe it or not!

Echo Beach was an International one hit wonder (the band had several hits in their home country), reaching #10 in 1980 and #5 in Canada. The song featured on the album Metro Music. The closest the band got to another hit was in 1984 with Black Stations/White Stations which peaked at #46, although it performed better in Canada reaching #26.

Interestingly, the song was covered by Toyah in 1987, although she wasn't very successful with it, stalling at only #54 in the UK singles chart.


Nu Shooz "I Can't Wait" (1986)

Here in the UK this act is best remembered for this 80s one hit wonder, although the duo were deservingly more successful in their home country. Nu Shooz were husband and wife John Smith and Valerie Day from Oregon in the U.S. and their third album Poolside reached #32 in the UK during June 1986 and #27 in the U.S. bringing the pair their first commercial success.

Poolside
featured eight synthpop/freestyle songs produced by John Smith and Rick Waritzsold, and sold 500,000 copies in the U.S. Three singles were released from the album, the most successful being I Can't Wait which peaked at #2 in the UK, #3 in the U.S. and #1 on the U.S. Dance Chart. The follow-up single Point Of No Return was another U.S. hit, reaching #28 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the dance charts, but it failed to break the Top 40 in the UK, peaking at #48. The third and final single, Don't Let Me Be The One peaked at #39 on the U.S. Dance Chart but failed to chart in the UK.

The duo were active between 1979 and 2002, but reformed again in 2007 as the Nu Shooz Orchestra, and now have a more cinematic style. The band released an album,
Pandora's Box in 2010 and are still performing.


"WEIRD AL" YANKOVIC "EAT IT"

This song was, quite obviously, a parody of the Michael Jackson hit Beat It. The song peaked at #36 in the UK in April 1984, but reached #1 in Australia and #12 in the US.

Eat It was the first single to be released from the comedy singer's second album "Weird Al" Tankovic in 3D Other singles released from the album were King Of Suede (#62 US) and I Lost On Jeopardy (#81 US).

The singer released six studio albums during the 80s and has released 13 albums so far in his long career. He has also released 43 singles and 9 compilation albums.

On April 20th 2011, "Weird Al" released his parody of Lady gaga's Born This Way, entitled Perform This Way online.

Eat It single sleeve


THE VAPORS "TURNING JAPANESE" (1980)

The clip in the playlist is from BBC Top Of The Pops in March 1980, and the band is introduced by a very eccentric-looking DJ Steve Wright - check out the striped jacket!

It seems that anyone who pens a song about the Japanese only manages to get a one hit wonder!  This song came out in 1980 (before Aneka's Japanese Boy) and reached No.3 in the UK singles chart.

Taken from the album "New Clear Days", the song's lyrics mainly consist of the singer talking about pictures of his lover on the wall of his prison cell. The term "turning Japanese" is controversial, as it apparently refers to the face a man pulls whilst pleasuring himself!

MAN 2 MAN MEET MAN PARRISH "MALE STRIPPER"

Subtlety doesn't play a part in this euro dance track from 1987. If the guy wearing mirror shades, moustache and a leather hat, together with the lyric "I was a male stripper in a go-go bar" repeated 48 times doesn't convince you that the song was a gay anthem, then nothing will! 
I remember most straight men dancing rather awkwardly to this one, or leaving the dance floor altogether to hide their embarrassment! Man 2 Man teamed up with the cult electro producer Man Parrish to create their best-known hit. The single was originally released in 1986 and was only a minor hit. However, after becoming a big club hit, the single re-entered the UK charts in 1987, peaking at #4 for two weeks.