Tuesday questions, Wild Flower edition

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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115 Responses

  1. Kazzy says:

    The correct answer is Skee-Lo.Report

  2. LeeEsq says:

    He was never exactly Top 40 popular but I always felt that British folk rocker Richard Thompson should have been more popular in a just world.Report

  3. Mike Schilling says:

    This is such a charming song that you’d expect them to have had many more. Never happened.


  4. Sam says:

    The thing about one-hit wonders is that the hit is usually at such odds worth the rest of what they’re doing. You’re listening and thinking, “This is great!” and then hear the album and realize, “Oh, that was everything they had, like literally, all of it.” So I’m not sure there is an answer for me, if only because if they’d had more hits, they would have been a different band/singer/whatever.

    That said, if I had to pick, maybe Fired Mob? “Sick of Bein Lonely” is an incredible track, hinting at such a unique worldview, but the album want great and they disappeared forever. Still, describing something attractive as “more gooder than a plate of neckbones neckbones, tendorized and yummy…” might be one of my favorite lyrics ever written.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Sam says:

      I’m having trouble coming up with an answer for a slightly different reason. Growing up an Anglophile means I liked many UK bands that may have only had one hit here – but whether that hit was their “best” or not, I don’t have a clear sense of them as “one-hit-wonders”, since A.) I probably tracked down the rest of their output and B.) They were often quite successful hit-wise on the other side of the pond.Report

      • Saul DeGraw in reply to Glyph says:

        Do you have a penchant for tweed?Report

      • Russell Saunders in reply to Glyph says:

        I’ll allow answers that only had one US hit but were more successful back in their home countries.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Have you ever listened to rock music – ON TWEED?Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Well, then that makes it easy. I wrote a whole post on how sad it is that Americans pretty much only know the Furs for “Pretty in Pink” (and not even the superior original version!), they were a lot more than that.

        And the Bunnymen were never gonna be big here with that ridiculous name, but “Lips like Sugar” off the s/t, while pretty good, can’t touch any of their first three or four records, which improbably meld Joy Division and psychedelia to great effect.

        “Kiss Them for Me”, by the Banshees? Decent tune, terrible album, but they were a fierce band for a long time prior to that.Report

      • Russell Saunders in reply to Glyph says:

        I love “Kiss Them for Me.” Looooooooooove. It used to be my “getting dressed before going out” song.

        But I came upon it well after Souxsie & the Banshees were in vogue, and I was pretty out of touch with most popular music until high school, so I have no perception of their success. I never thought of them as a one-hit wonder, since I’ve heard so many of their songs on the radio and had their “greatest hits” album back in the day.Report

      • Saul DeGraw in reply to Glyph says:


        I have and it was quite quaint.

        To me “Kiss them for Me” was the stage where Siouxsie Sioux decided that she was in her 30s and was going to “buy in” by performing a song that was very much of the time period. The song came out in 1991 according to Wikipedia and my first thought upon hearing it (which I only did recently) was “this song is from the early 1990s.” It is very different than Christine, the Strawberry Girl.

        The Furs had some other hits in the US like Love My Way.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        Yeah, that’s why I was having trouble. I think to most Americans they would be one-hit (AFAIK, the songs I listed were the only ones that hit the mainstream pop charts/radio stations), but to me…

        Did Dream Academy ever do anything aside from “Life in a Northern Town”? I might have liked another one of those….Report

      • Saul DeGraw in reply to Glyph says:


        I take it you have problems showing up places in a timely manner.Report

      • Saul DeGraw in reply to Glyph says:


        According to Wiki, they were around from 1983-1991 and released three albums. Their second album reached 181 on the US charts and did not chart in the UK.
        The third album charted nowhere.

        I like that song a lot too. It reminds me of taking the train from New York to Boston. Every time I have done this, it has always been overcast and gray.Report

      • Russell Saunders in reply to Glyph says:

        @saul-degraw It took me an appalling amount of time to figure out what the hell you meant. Because my brain is apparently not functioning properly today.

        And in reality, I have exactly the opposite problem. I am always right on time for social occasions because I’m super paranoid about missing anything fun, despite the fact that never in the history of human parties has the most fun at one occurred right at the very beginning. But still, I have to work to arrive even slightly late, and have shown up at soirees while the host was still doing things like cubing cheese.Report

  5. Patrick says:

    Can we pick somebody that was never even a one-hit wonder?Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Patrick says:

      I think this sort of goes against the spirit of the question. There are tons of super talented people who just never made it. That happens. I understand this question to be, “Who did you immensely enjoy — who made it!!! — but somehow didn’t stick?” That is something else entirely.Report

      • Russell Saunders in reply to Kazzy says:

        Yeah, that’s more where I’m going with the Question. (But this is a Tuesday Question we’re talking about here, so it’s not like pestilence will descend on the nation if you violate the rules.) I’m mainly interested in people who managed to make a mark, but didn’t last as popular performers.Report

      • Saul DeGraw in reply to Kazzy says:

        The Doc promised there would be no pestilence descending on the nation and I am holding him to it!Report

  6. Saul DeGraw says:

    I think think of more bands that I wish stayed around for longer than I can for one-hit wonders that fizzled.

    I wish the Ailers Set had a better career than they did but they were probably not fitting well into the zeitgeist of the time. They would be more popular now. I saw them open up for Belle and Sebastian in 2002:


    The best answer to your question is probably Velocity Girl.Report

  7. Dan Miller says:

    Harvey Danger had two albums after their hit (plus the lead singer released a solo album that was also very good), but I’d still love to have more material from them. Fantastic songwriting.Report

  8. Jaybird says:

    Shakespeare’s Sister’s “Stay With Me” was one of those beautiful, ethereal songs that struck me as something that would totally turn into something *HUGE*.



    • I like approximately half of that song. The weird bit about hoping and praying to get back to your own world… confuses me.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to Jaybird says:

      Yeah, I always liked that one too and thought it was a shame they could never follow up on it. One of the singers was from Bananarama, right?Report

    • gingergene in reply to Jaybird says:

      That song is odd. The first couple times I heard it, I didn’t pay close attention to the lyrics and thought it was your standard love song- “I’ll go anywhere with you”, etc., etc. On closer listening, there’s some creepy borderline-abusive stuff in there- “You must think of only me / there can be no in between / when your pride is on the floor / I’ll make you beg for more.”

      Checking the lyrics just now, the first verse makes me think it might be about a suicidal friend or lover – “If this world is wearing thin / and you’re thinking of escape / I’ll go anywhere with you / just wrap me up in chains / but if you go alone / don’t think I’ll understand”.

      Hmm. Either way, it’s a beautiful song.Report

  9. Mad Rocket Scientist says:


    They were big in the UK, but only had one real hit in the US, but I still love it, makes me want to get up & dance.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      Slade is a good case, because two of their other songs are fairly well-known here (but as covers).Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Glyph says:

        I have a few of their albums, and overall they were just fun 80s rock. I think they just got lost amidst the wash of all the US glam rock & heavy metal hairbands, which is too bad. They deserved a better following.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Glyph says:

        And yes, I am aware of the Quiet Riot covers, but strangely enough, that was not how I found Slade.

        I saw the video for Run Runaway on MTV/VH1 one day & the tune got stuck in my head long enough I was able to track it down & learn who they were (which was a lot more work in the mid-80’s than it is today). I figured out Quiet Riot covered them many years later.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Glyph says:

        “Run Runaway” got played in dance clubs a lot. It makes a good two-fer with “In a Big Country” (also 1983 and also not a bad choice for this list).Report

    • Darwy in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      I remember that video (and song) – I always enjoyed it 😀Report

  10. My original thought was Nada Surf. They had a hit back in the 90s, “Popular”, which was good in an angsty, grunge-era, high school kinda way:

    I saw them many years later and they were touring off their album “Let Go” which was immensely better, immensely different, and deserved far more attention and success:

    Then I remembered that they covered “If You Leave” for The O.C.:

    So I don’t know if that qualifies as a hit and disqualifies them.Report

  11. Tod Kelly says:

    I’m going to pick a band that I’ve only ever heard the One-Hit-Wonder from: Chumbawumba.

    That song is so awesome it deserves a followup hit — even it it’s terrible — just on the credit earned by Tubthumping. How many songs can you think of that, when you hear it in your kitchen, you can’t NOT dance and sounds like it was sung by Peter Capaldi? Exactly.

    Now that I think about it, they should be allowed two terrible hit records for that song.Report

  12. dhex says:

    watching my peers become obsessed with nostalgia for their mid teens is, if nothing else, a sobering reminder of incoming death.Report

  13. Pinky says:

    Split Enz. “I Got You” was the definitive New Wave song. It was “Stairway to Heaven” times “Freebird” among New Wavers. Now, the New Wave movement had a lot of different threads, a lot of genres mixed together (sometimes in the same song), so maybe I’m wrong to say that there was one pinnacle song, but that’s how I remember it. The band had more success outside the US, and a couple other hits. The weird thing to me is that not only were they a one-hit wonder in the US, but the magnitude of their hit has faded over time. Somewhere along the way, “I’ll Melt with You” supplanted “I Got You”.Report

  14. Tod Kelly says:

    WTF is going on with the threads in this post?Report

  15. @glyph reminds us that Canada, is indeed, a whole ‘nother place, so here are some more goodies:

    The Inbreds:


    Sandbox (featuring Anne Murray’s nephew on vocals and “Bubbles” from “Trailer Park Boys” on guitar):


  16. Burt Likko says:

    Maybe I’m in my own private Idaho on this one, but I always liked T’Pau and never understood why they (she) never caught on here other than that one song. The title track from that album was fantastic:

    Alsotoo, there was another British group that I thought showed tremendous promise. Really, all they needed was a little seasoning on the road to polish up their act:

    Those guys could have been great.Report

  17. Anne says:

    Ssss Aaaaaa Ffffff Eeeee Tttttt Yyyyyy


  18. Brandon Berg says:

    Scott McKenzie. The “San Francisco” guy. He had a spectacular voice, and several songs that were as good or better, but all anyone remembers him for is that damn hippie anthem.

    Which, to be fair, was actually a pretty good song apart from the lyric.Report

  19. Jaybird says:

    A question for Chris:

    Would Mike Jones count?

  20. Patrick says:


    First, a tangent… bands with two hits… where the wrong hit is the more popular hit:

    Falco is better known for “Rock Me Amadeus” than for “Der Kommissar”, which is the superior song.
    A Flock of Seagulls is better known for “I Ran” than for “Space Age Love Song”, which is the superior song.

    Second, candidates on topic:

    Thomas Dolby, who really only had “She Blinded Me With Science” as a hit.
    Blues Traveler, who really only had “Run Around” as a hit.
    Luscious Jackson, who really only had “Naked Eye” as a hit.
    Nena, who really only had “99 Luftballoons” as a hit.Report

  21. Chris says:

    Oh, I just heard Real Life’s “Send Me an Angel.” I’m not sure they need to be resurrected, but that song brought back memories.Report