Great Rock One Hit Wonders of 1982 and Other Significant Singles
My limited exposure to commercial radio during 1982 could be considered either a blessing or a curse depending on how you look at it. While I didn’t think commercial radio totally sucked back then, there were some things played on it that I wasn’t totally impressed with. Sorry but “Tainted Love” only met with a lukewarm response from me and that was only because there was a dancer at the Driftwood who could work the song to her advantage. I suppose the best way to examine this is by looking at the one hit wonders from that year.
As soon as I returned to the US in June after my second and final deployment to the Mediterranean, I was aware that all the bars were playing “Jenny- 8675309” by Tommy Tutone on their jukeboxes. I can’t say that I really rocked out to the song but the melody was very catchy and when the title was sung, it stuck in your mind. The melody is going through my mind right now. I once heard a live version of this song and it did sound a bit harder rock and if Tommy had recorded the song that way, I would have liked it even more.
All right already, I know that The Pretenders were not one hit wonders nor did they release an album in 1982. However, they did release one song and it was a killer one. “Back on the Chain Gang” is most definitely my all time favourite Pretenders song. This is the song where lead guitarist James Honeyman Scott really shines. He just riffs through the entire song and of course I won’t take anything away from Chrissie. Her vocals are as good as ever on this one. Maybe with a great song like this one, The Pretenders believed they didn’t need to make an entire album. Who’s to know?
Okay, it’s not really a rock song, more of a comedy parody. But the single “Take Off” by the Canadian Comedy duo Bob and Doug McKenzie did break the top 40 in the US and I believe it went to number one in Canada! Maybe one of my Canadian followers can verify that for me. That fact alone qualifies them as one hit wonders in my reckoning although their version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is fourth favourite Christmas song. Another reason this qualifies as a rock song is the fact that none other than Geddy Lee sings the backing vocals on “Take Off.” That makes the single that much better. Saying that, the McKenzie Brothers do have me on the floor with laughter when I hear it, so take off you hoser!
Having spent the better part of four years in North Carolina, I could not help developing a little appreciation for country music. When asked who are my favourite country artists I answer that one is David Allen Coe and the other is Hank Williams Jr. While, I like a lot of Hank’s material the song I like best came out in 1982. “A Country Boy Can Survive” is just brilliant! From the lyrics all the way to the small but noticeable hard rock vibe to it. In fact, Kid Rock puts his own metal spin on it but I still prefer the original.
There you have, four great singles from 1982, two from one hit wonders, one from an established great band and a country song that thrills this metal head. So, maybe commercial radio didn’t suck then.
Next post: The Soundtrack to The Wall
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