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Valley Girl – Frank Zappa

Valley Girl – Frank Zappa

With a sharp sense of humor that skewered everything from politics to TV commercials to Beatles’ album covers and song titles such as “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow,” “Stevie’s Spanking” and “I Don’t Want to Get Drafted,” Frank Zappa was one of the most unlikely artists to put a song anywhere near, much less in, the hallowed Top 40. But there it was in 1982 when “Valley Girl” made it to Number 32 on the Billboard … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1980s

Tane Cain – Holdin’ On

Tane Cain – Holdin’ On

Today’s one-hit wonder is another example of marriage helping result in a Billboard Top 40 hit. Tane Cain was a journey-woman singer with middling success in Los Angeles and San Francisco-based bands. It was her marriage to Jonathan Cain that helped her secure a solo record deal back in 1982 and her only Top 40 hit. While you may not know Jonathan Cain’s name, I’m willing to bet you a dozen bagels you recognize his keyboard … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1980s, Pop

Forget Me Nots – Patrice Rushen

Forget Me Nots – Patrice Rushen

You may not remember “Forget Me Nots” by Patrice Rushen from 1982. But if your ears were attached to your head and working properly in 1997, you definitely know the melody of “Forget Me Nots.” That’s because “Forget Me Nots” is the basis of “Men in Black” by Will Smith. Simply replace “Sending me forget me nots / I want you to remember” with “Here come the Men in Black / they won’t let you remember” in … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1980s, Pop

New World Man by Rush

New World Man by Rush

Editors note: Here is Jim Barton’s take on “New World Man” by Rush. You can also read Michael Waterman’s thoughts on the one song that made Rush a one-hit wonder. Featuring three of the most amazing musicians ever to walk the planet, Rush have been a fixture on the album chart and concert stage for more than 35 years, selling millions and millions of albums and tickets. Their specialty is highly intellectual lyrics set to … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1980s, Rock

Fantasy – Aldo Nova

Fantasy – Aldo Nova

A quick joke for you… Q: There were 10 copycats sitting on a fence, and one jumped off. How many were left? A: None. They were all copycats. That basic joke leads us to this very marginal entry in our look at heavy metal one-hit wonders, but “Fantasy” by Aldo Nova deserves a quick mention because the first time I heard it in 1982, my jaw dropped to the floor: It was such a blatant ripoff of the … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1980s, Rock

Stone Cold – Rainbow

Stone Cold – Rainbow

Get out your air guitars: Featuring “The Mother of All Riffs,” Deep Purple’s most famous song “Smoke on the Water” was one of those songs that took a while to show up on the Hot 100; in this case more than a year after its parent album Machine Head was released. “Smoke on the Water” shot to Number 4 in 1973 (I was eleven then and thought it was the greatest song ever written; nearly 40 … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1980s, Rock