Little things mean a lot

Over the last 10 days, over on my ‘other’ Facebook account, I’ve been enjoying a musical challenge, selecting one hit wonders.

Yes, those artists that have 1 song, that reaches the peak (or very nearly the peak) of the charts, and they never have another song enter the charts again. Some of these are deliberate, either being a charity effort, or where a pair of acts get together, to make one record, and never work with each other again. There are others, like The Archies, who were never meant to have a hit record in the first place, but lo, and behold, they did.

Oh PS, for reference of this piece, I’m talking about artists who are one hit wonders in the UK, as they may, like the Archies, have had more than one hit elsewhere, but for my reference, I’m working on UK lists.

But just think of all the other artists, who dreamt of careers, when their record reaches the Top 5 of the charts, and can never follow up that success, ever again, how it must feel? Yes, I must admit, I’ve had nothing all that modern on my list. The most recent, a song from 1994, which I plucked from the depths of anonymity, simply because it was a ‘jazzed up’ version of the Charleston! They were a Dutch group, Doop, and had a number of hits in their own country, but just 1 in the UK, the same name as the group! Most of mine were from the 60’s, and 70’s, unsurprisingly.

Why nothing very vintage, you may be asking? Well, there was no UK chart until 1953, so it wasnt an option. Which is why I rescued Doop, just to get something from my favorite era. Which means that tonights video artist is a one hit wonder in the UK. The fact that she’d been a major star for nearly a dozen years by then, and would have charted many times, if we’d had a chart, is beside the point. So I guess she never fretted too much that she only had one chart hit in the UK, I’m sure.

So its fair to say that the little thing, of 1 UK hit for her, may not have actually meant a lot. I apologize in advance for the quality of the film, but it is over 60 years old, so…

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The forgotten LA song

A dear Facebook friend started a 10 day, musical one hit wonder challenge, just under a week ago, and it appealed to me totally, to join in. Alright, before my Facebook friends start looking for it on the account this blog its publicized on, give up, its on my personal account. Sorry, and all that, but anyway, you’re getting one of the greatest of them tonight, anyway.

The thing with one hit wonders, is that the list here in the UK would look very different to a US list, or as in my friend, Diane’s case, an Australian one. For example, for my US friends, would you believe Journey were a one hit wonder over here? I know, stunning, but yes, it was the obvious one that was the big hit over here, ‘Dont Stop Believing’. ‘Send Her My Love’ and ‘Who’s Crying Now?’ for example, sunk without trace, over here!

Equally, there are numerous very successful groups over here (Slade, as an example) who were massive over here, but had minimal success in the US. The intriguing thing was, Diane posted a John Kongos song, as his one Australian hit, and it was a different song to his one UK hit!

Oh, right, the blog title. Yes, there are a good number of California related songs, either about the state in general, or a specific city. Unsurprisingly, Hollywood has more than a few of them. My pick, probably the one most wouldnt have heard of, Gerry Rafferty, and ‘Welcome To Hollywood’. Well, if you’ve followed this blog for just over a year or so, you know it, but anyway!

But there is one song, about a certain LA park, that was a one hit wonder, just about everywhere, the original (and best) version of Macarthur Park, by Richard Harris. I’m ashamed to say that the closest I have got so far, in 2 visits, is the Metro station close by, at train level. I know, but even in 5 and a half weeks, I havent got close to seeing everywhere I want to see in that amazing city. But the title means, that anyone that doesnt know, doesnt think of it as a California song, which is a shame.

Oh, fine, the video isnt the Richard Harris original, as I cant find a full length version of him performing it, hardly surprising, given it was nearly 50 years ago, and all that. But this is a live version, sung by someone named Will Lee (may mean more to Americans, than me) is a pretty stunning version of it. Oh, and it includes Jimmy Webb. You could say its so good, they play it twice, so you dont need as much video time as it looks.