Another instrumental one-hit wonder for you today. Well, maybe it’s not a “pure” instrumental one-hit wonder because you hear vocals in the mix. But nearly all the vocals are samples from other records. So I’m considering them “instruments” instead of “vocalists.”
The people behind the Grammy Awards clearly agreed since they nominated “Pump Up the Volume” by M/A/R/R/S for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. It lost to sax player David Sanborn.
But “Pump Up the Volume” remains a hugely influential one-hit wonder.
Influential, you ask? What’s so influential about “Pump Up the Volume.”
One word: samples.
The song is filled with samples and depending on which version you purchased, you’ll hear everything from James Brown to Eric B. and Rakim to the Bar-Keys to Graham Central Station (Featuring Larry Graham, a one-hit wonder for “One In a Million You” in 1980) and Public Enemy (who are also one-hit wonder artists for their 1994 hit “Give it Up”).
“Pump Up the Volume” was the first British house music hit to become a hugely popular mainstream hit, reaching #1 in multiple countries. As for the United States, “Pump Up the Volume” reached #13 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1988 making M/A/R/R/S a one-hit wonder.
Listen to Pump Up the Volume by M/A/R/R/S
(video may no play on iPad or iPod but works on your computer)
They would stay that way forever since the recording was supposed to be a collaboration between reggage band Colourbox and alt-rock band AR Kane and that collaboration was doomed from the beginning. Utlimately, the only recordings from the intended collaboration was a double-A-side single with “Pump Up the Volume” on side A and “Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance)” on the flip side.
No one remembers “Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance).”
But “Pump Up the Volume” remains a beloved track that not only influenced bands all around them to start sampling old-school records and new-school sounds, but Eric B. and Rakin who released the hugely influential hip-hop record, Paid in Full and also collaborated with Jody Watley on her single “Friends” which is considered a one-hit wonder when listed as “Friends” by Eric B. and Rakim.
Once again, one-hit wonders are all amazingly connected. Even when they’re instrumental one-hit wonders.
Filed under: 1980s, Hip Hop · Tags: 1988, dance hit, dance one hit wonder, Eric B. and Rakim, Grammy Award, Hip Hop, hip hop one hit wonder, Instrumental, instrumental one hit wonder, James Brown, Jody Watley, Larry Graham, Marrs, Mars, One in a Million You, Paid in Full, Pump Up the Volume