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1983 One-Hit Wonders

In our opinion, the period of 1982 – 1984 is is one of the most important in the history of popular music. It is during this time that many of the biggest-selling albums of all time were released, including Michael Jackon’s Thriller, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA and Synchronicity by The Police, Madonna and Like a Virgin by Madonna.

We love 1983 because that’s the year breakthrough albums from a number of influential artists were released.

Here’s a short list for you: Murmur by R.E.M., War and Under a Blood Red Sky by U2, Power, Corruption and Lies by New Order, Construction Time Again by Depeche Mode, Texas Flood by Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Hurting by Tears for Fears and Pyromania by Def Lepard.

Some legendary stuff right there.

But there are a few one-hit wonders from 1983 that also left their mark on popular culture and still get airplay today. Arguably the four biggest songs of the year are “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners, “She Blinded Me with Science” by Thomas Dolby, “In a Big Country” by Big Country and “Too Shy” by Kajagoogoo. Along with it we were charmed by neon colors, pink, spicy hair, effeminate-dressing men (see the photo of Kajagoogo above) and masculine-dressing women (see Annie Lennox of Eurythmics).

The mighty Brits broke through in a big way in ’83 as New Wave songs increasingly were played on traditional radio stations.

You also had a couple of heaping slabs of cheese in the mix: “The Clapping Song” by Pia Zadora is awful no matter how you slice it.

And “Puttin’ on the Ritz” by Taco is a disposable one-hit wonder along the same lines as “Mambo #5” by Lou Bega.

We also like to point out that “Far from Over” was recorded by Sylvester Stallone’s brother, Frank. Yep, Frank rocks the Rocky-directed Stayin’ Alive 2. Nepotism does have its priveleges.

Friends, enjoy this list of one-hit wonders from 1983. We love the ’80s.

Hear the One-Hit Wonders of 1983

List of 1983 One-Hit Wonders

Song Artist Top Position Buy
What About Me Moving Pictures 29
Baby, Come to Me Patti Austin and James Ingram 1
The Clapping Song Pia Zadora 36
Pass the Dutchie Musical Youth 10
On the Loose Saga 26
Burning Heart Vandenberg 39
I Know There’s Something Going On Frida 13
Come on Eileen Dexy’s Midnight Runners 1
Whirly Girl Oxo 28
Der Kommisar After the Fire 5
So Wrong Patrick Simmons 30
She Blinded Me with Science Thomas Dolby 5
I Couldn’t Say No Robert Ellis Orrall with Carlene Carter 32
That’s Love Jim Capaldi 28
Too Shy Kajagoogoo 5
The Salt in My Tears Martin Briley 36
It’s Inevitable Charlie 38
Puttin’ on the Ritz Taco 4
Far from Over Frank Stallone 10
Can’t Shake Loose Agnetha Fältskog 29
Just Got Lucky JoBoxers 36
In a Big Country Big Country 17
Major Tom (Coming Home) Peter Schilling 14

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I'm an obsessive music collector, cataloger, commenter and trivia nut. Sometimes I'm even a listener. One-hit wonders have always been a guilty pleasure.

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2 Responses to "1983 One-Hit Wonders"

  1. Matt Thurston says:

    1983 was also the year that the eponymous Violent Femmes album was release by Slash Records.

    Two other personal fave’s are “High Land and Hard Rain” by Aztec Camera and “More Fun in the New World” by X.

  2. Michael Waterman says:

    True, true. The Femmes album is a classic. Couldn’t believe when I heard a new version of “Blister in the Sun” during the NCAA tournament in an HP commerical:

    Aztec Camera’s “High Land and Hard Rain” is nearly as impressive. I’ll always love “Oblivious.”

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