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Ah! Leah! – Donnie Iris

back on the streets by donnie iris features Ah Leah that reached #29 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1980“Ah Leah” has to be one of the greatest examples of nerd rock from the 1980s.

It’s like Bill Nye the Science Guy was miraculously merged with one-part Buddy Holly and two-parts Elvis Costello to create the persona of Donnie Iris and the Cruisers.

Watch the video for proof.

But if you just listened to the song, you might get hooked and peg this band as a Loverboy-like ’80s rock band with big guitars and harmonies. Remarkably, Donnie Iris a multi-hit artist who is directly connected to two other one-hit wonder bands. Two of those hits come from the 1970s and the third from 1980. Can you name the hits?


Ready for the answer?

  • One-hit wonder #1 is “The Rapper” by The Jaggerz. Written and sung by Iris, the song reached #2 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1970.
  • One-hit wonder #2 is “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry. Iris doesn’t appear on this hit but joined Wild Cherry soon after “Play That Funky Music” shot to the #1 position on the Billboard Top 40.
  • Hit #3 is “Ah Leah” from 1980.

Listen to Ah! Leah! by Donnie Iris

Video may not work on iPod or iPad but WORKS on a computer. Watch it there.

Listen to a live version of Ah! Leah! by Donnie Iris

Donnie Iris and the Cruisers released Back on the Streets in 1980 and saw “Ah Leah” hit #29 on the Billboard Top 40. Iris had a few more hits, “Love is Like a Rock” hit #37 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1982, which technically disqualifies Iris from one-hit wonder status…at least as Donnie Iris.

But it is amazing that you can connect Iris to three Billboard hits in two decades. Who knew?

Written by

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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5 Responses to "Ah! Leah! – Donnie Iris"

  1. hminsulators says:

    I was living in Hawaii when “Ah! Leah!” was a hit; one of the bands I played drums in over there, called Ariel, played that song.

  2. Joshua says:

    For years I thought the guy singing “Here we go again” in the background during the chorus was Tom Petty.

  3. Amy says:

    Actually Donnie Iris is a 2-hit wonder with “Love is Like a Rock” Reaching #37 in 1981.

  4. Pam Waterman says:


    You are correct. I will update the Donnie Iris listing. Thanks for your eagle eye!

  5. Frank says:

    Donnie Iris also hit #25 in 1982 with “My Girl”.

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