One Hit Wonders, 1971 edition, by Rich Paschall
It’s another Golden Anniversary and we are here at the SERENDIPITY dance hall and tea room to bring you another top ten list of songs you may have forgotten, or perhaps never knew at all. Come on over in your Hot Rod Lincoln and Get It On. Mr. Big Stuff will be here and claims, “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing.” So have a piece of American Pie as we wait for Layla to show up.
Some lists will show you American Pie as the greatest One Hit Wonder of all time. The song certainly gave Don McLean a long career. I don’t consider it a one-hit-wonder because McLean also scored with Vincent (Starry, Starry Nights), even though it did not crack the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100. It did make number 1 in the UK.
You can also find “Layla” by Derek and the Dominos on the list. Let’s face it, the band was Eric Clapton and friends. Clapton was performing under another name for personal reasons, “We were a make-believe band. We were all hiding inside it.” It didn’t last long and Clapton certainly had more hits, including a slower version of Layla.
Two groups actually scored with “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony).” The Hillside Singers were the ones who appeared in the Coca-Cola commercial singing, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” instead. It’s the real thing! The tune was so popular they released a version without the reference to Coke which became their one-hit-wonder. The New Seekers also released a version of the song. Between the commercials and the radio play, you could not escape this song in 1971.
Now grab a twelve-ounce bottle of your favorite beverage and the countdown will begin.
10. One Toke Over The Line, Brewer and Shipley. If it is 1971, we don’t have to explain this one to you. Apparently, no one explained it to the conservative Lawrence Welk when his group did it. Yes, there is a video that you can find HERE.
09. Help Me Make It Through The Night, Sammi Smith. The song was written and recorded in 1970 by Kris Kristofferson. At the end of the year, Smith released her version which climbed the charts in early 1971.
08. Do You Know What I Mean, Lee Michaels. When you see your girl stepping out with your best friend, it can hurt. Do you know what I mean? The song made it to number 6 on the Hot 100.
07. Funky Nassau, The Beginning of the End. The R&B hit has been recorded by a number of artists over the years and appeared in the 1998 Blues Brothers film.
06. Theme from Summer of 42, Peter Nero. The song was a hit, so was the movie. The score was mostly composed by Michel Legrand, including the hit theme.
And now a word from the sponsor (not our sponsor, just a sponsor):
05. Theme from Love Story, Francis Lai. The movie was a three-hanky weeper and the theme song was a hit. Paramount felt the theme song needed lyrics and many recorded “Where Do I Begin.” Henry Mancini had a bigger hit with the instrumental theme, but we give you the original.
04. Sweet City Woman, The Stampeders. The Canadian rockers topped out at number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 100 but were number one in Canada.
03. Smiling Faces Sometimes, The Undisputed Truth. It may have sounded like a Temptations song to you. In fact, the Temptations released another version earlier in 1971. This version made it to number 3.
02. Signs, Five Man Electric Band. Another Canadian rock group makes the list. This was a big hit in Canada, the US, and Australia. It was originally the B side of another song that did not do as well. Re-released as an A-side, it climbed the charts.
01. I’ve Found Someone Of My Own, The Free Movement. This R&B hit could have made our Breaking Up playlist recently. We will finish with a slow dance, but you may not want to pick your “ex” for a partner.
To hear any of the one-hit wonders, click on the title. To hear the entire playlist, click HERE.