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The Wonderful World of One Hit Wonders #47 The Kalin Twins

My dog’s learning to speak a foreign language.”
“Español?”
“No, he’s a labrador.”

photo courtesy of youtube.com

The Kalin Twins (born February 16, 1934), also known as Hal and Herbie, were an American pop singing, songwriting and recording duo, formed in 1958 by twin brothers Harold Kalin and Herbert Kalin. The duo is best remembered for their number one 1958 hit When, which was a chart-topper in the UK Singles Chart for five weeks, #2 in Canada, and #5 in the US Billboard Hot 100. In French 1958 single charts it spent 18 weeks as number 1, and in the Netherlands the song charted for 30 weeks and was also a number one for 5 weeks.

Their second single, Forget Me Not, reached Number 12 in the US Billboard chart later in 1958 but did nothing in the UK, and after two further stateside low-ranking entries in 1959, they never reached the charts again.

The Kalins were the first set of twins to reach number one in the UK as a duo, followed years later by The Proclaimers.

The first time I heard When, was a cover by retro 50’s act Showaddywaddy in 1977 and I always enjoyed that version. The Kalin Twins version is even better; the vocals are great, the finger snapping is on point, and it just bounces along like a good’un. Two thumbs up.

The Wonderful World of One Hit Wonders #46 Midge Ure & Mick Khan

I just received a ‘save the date’ card. I didn’t know that they were endangered.

photo courtesy of Pinterest.com

Midge Ure OBE, a Scottish musician, singer-songwriter and record producer (who found chart success with Slik, Thin Lizzy, Rich Kids, and Visage, and as the frontman of Ultravox), teamed up in 1983 with Andonis Michaelides, better known as Mick Karn, (an English-Cypriot musician and songwriter who rose to fame as the bassist for the art rock/new wave band Japan, and later Dali’s Car, and Rain Tree Crow. His distinctive fretless bass guitar sound and melodic playing style were a trademark of the band’s sound), and released the single After A Fashion which got to #39 in September.

Despite being quite chart-savvy around this time, I have absolutely no clue about this record or even that these two guys made a one-off collaboration together. It’s an OK slice of early eighties pop, and without Karn’s basslines this would come across as more of a bland Midge Ure solo track; it’s Karn’s input that elevates this. I don’t hate it but I’m in no rush to listen to it again.

The Wonderful World of One Hit Wonders #45 Althea & Donna

My friend just received his PhD for years of research into the history, development and usage of palindromes.

Say hello to Dr. Awkward.

photo courtesy of dangerousminds.net

Althea & Donna were a Jamaican reggae vocal duo, consisting of teenage singers Althea Rose Forrest (17) and Donna Marie Reid (18) and are best known for their 1977 reggae single Uptown Top Ranking, which was a number-one hit in the United Kingdom in February 1978.

They released the album of the same name in 1978, backed by The Revolutionaries, on the Virgin Records subsidiary Front Line, and was produced by Karl Pitterson . The duo recorded several more singles with little success. In 2001, Caroline Records reissued the full-length Uptown Top Ranking.

Another great song from when I was growing up. I love the beat of the song, and for a while I couldn’t understand the lyrics but I didn’t care, as I’d go around the horse singing “in my khakis, pants and ting” and annoying my mum and dad. Still a great song and it still sounds fresh after all these years. Two thumbs up.

The Wonderful World of One Hit Wonders #44 Zager and Evans

While Karl Marx was working on the Communist Manifetso his sister Onya was inventing the starting pistol.

photo courtesy of express news.com

Danny Zager and Rick Evans were an American rock-pop duo active during the late 1960s and early 1970s, and are best known for their 1969 #1 hit single In the Year 2525, which topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, and earned them one-hit wonder status.

Written by Evans, In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus) warned of the dangers of technology, portraying a future in which the human race was destroyed by its own technological and medical innovations. The last stanzas of the song suggest mankind undergoes a continuing cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Although it was originally written in 1964, it was not recorded or released until 1968 on the Truth Records label.

The song topped the charts at the time of two major cultural events: the first moon landing on July 20, 1969 and the Woodstock Music Festival a month later. The record sold over four million copies by 1970 and was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in July 1969.

The duo released four more singles after In The Year 2525 but none of them threatened the UK charts.

As of 2019, the duo remains the only act to have a chart-topping hit on both sides of the Atlantic and never have another chart single in Billboard or the UK.

One of the earliest record playing memories I have is looking through my uncle’s singles collection, putting this song on (because the title was cool) and being genuinely sacred by it! The song painted a very bleak future to this 6 year old, but it was also oddly fascinating to listen to all the different ways mankind would ruin itself. Still a favourite of mine after all these years, I just can’t help singing along to it whenever it comes on. Two thumbs up.

Artists With Self-titled Songs (AWSTS) #1

Whilst trawling t’internet for new ideas for this blog, I came across a ‘Rate Your Music’ list of artists with self-titled songs and was surprised to discover that there are a shedload of them, over 800 of the bleeders! Now, I’m not doing the entire list of entrants from RYM because:

a) life’s too short to waste on listening to self-proclaimed neo-nazi bands,

b) the same goes for shock/goregrind/edgelord shite

c) there may not be a video if it on Youtube

and instead of doing a post for each song (cos we could be ’til freaking doomsday) , I’ll feature a few songs at a time with a small blurb, a video of the song (where possible) and a grade between A-F. Hopefully we’ll discover some great ‘new’ music as well as reacquaint ourselves with some old favourites. Our first batch of 5 involves bands with numbers or punctuation in their names

1. =LOVE =Love (2017)

=LOVE (pronounced “equal love”) are a Japanese idol group composed of voice actors from the Yoyogi Animation Academy, are produced by former AKB48 and HKT48 member Rino Sashihara (who created the 12 piece group), and released the self-titled single on 6 September 2017, where it reached 8th on the Oricon Singles Chart and 14th on the Billboard Japan Hot 100. It a poppy, upbeat, bright pop song that sounds like it’s the theme tune for a Japanese sitcom/drama/anime. Big too much for my ears, not really my kinda thing but it’s well produced. C-

2. 2 Bad Mice – 2 Bad Mice (1992)

Next up is 2 Bad Mice, an English breakbeat hardcore group composed of Sean O’Keeffe, Simon Colebrooke, and Paul Rhodes, that formed in 1991 and had their first chart success with Hold It Down which reached number 48 in February 1992. They are credited as among the first UK hardcore acts to begin incorporating breakbeats into their style and were part of the early to mid-1990s hardcore scene, and instrumental in the music’s steady mutation into jungle/drum and bass. Incredibly catchy dance/rave number with a great beat and incessant hook that will get you moving. C+

3. 2GetHer – 2GetHer

2gether (usually stylized as 2ge+her, 2Ge+Her or 2GE+HER; pronounced “Together”), an American fictional boy band, do to boys bands such as New Kids on the Block, ‘N Sync, and Backstreet Boys what The Rutles did to The Beatles, or Spinal Tap did for heavy metal – parody them with songs that wouldn’t seem out of the place in the aforementioned bands’ repertoire. They were part of a self-titled MTV TV movie and spin-off television series that is very well done but if you don’t have a real affinity or affection for this style of music (and I don’t), then the joke is funny maybe once or twice but soon gets tiresome. C-

4. 4 Hero – 4 Hero (1991)

Up next is 4hero an electronic music group from Dollis Hill, London, comprising producers Mark “Marc Mac” Clair & Denis “Dego” McFarlane and are known for being pioneers of breakbeat hardcore, jungle/drum and bass, broken beat and nu jazz music. I only knew of 4Hero due to their remixes of Inner City Life (Metalheadz), I Am The Black Gold of the Sun (Nuyorican Soul) , and I Seen A Man Die (Scarface) and this is the first time hearing them as a band. This is an ok jungle/d&b track, not my area of expertise, but there’s better songs to be found on this album. C

5. 8:588:58 (2015)

Orbital, the techo/trance Overlords, were one of my favourite acts of the 90’s; Snivilisation was one of my go to albums I’d listen to walking home from a night shift, so I was stoked to find out that the guy behind 8:58 was Paul Hartnoll (one half of Orbital) and this would be a continuation of his work with Orbital. The album (also called 8:58) features contributions from actor Cillian Murphy, folk band The Unthanks, singer-songwriter Ed Harcourt, Lisa Knapp, Robert Smith, Lianne Hall and Fable. I was really looking forward to hearing this but I have to admit I feel a little deflated with the song. It starts off quite slow and quiet, with Cillian Murphy reciting some Dave Allen lines about a clock, and the track doesn’t really kick in until around the three and a half minute section, then it becomes very Orbital-ish and lovely. I may need more time with this one, but for now it’s another C.

The Wonderful World of One Hit Wonders #43 Warm Sounds

I know it’s a long shot but does anyone know what a trebuchet is?

photo courtesy of Discogs.com

Warm Sounds were an English musical duo, consisting of Denver Gerrard and Barry Younghusband, and later adding John Carr. Their one hit was Birds and Bees, which reached #27 in March 1967; and although they had an “airplay hit” with the follow up Sticks and Stones in August 1967, the track did not make it into the BBC Top 40 chart and the group disbanded in 1968.

Toward the end of their career, the duo mixed heavily overdubbed and experimental psychedelic tapes and Carr and Husband later joined the band, Hapshash and the Coloured Coat.

I’m not too sure what to make of this one: on the one hand it’s a very nice slice of 60’s British psychedelic pop, the jolly tempo and the strings are quite lovely, and it bops along ever so quaintly; on the other hand the vocals are very ‘English’-sounding, almost to the point of pastiche or parody. In fact it’s about a step and a quarter away from something the Bonzo Doo-Dah Dog Band might have done, and done better. Enjoyable, but I’m not too sure whether they’re being serious or not. Mild like.

The Wonderful World of One Hit Wonders #42 Twice As Much

Whilst Alexander Graham Bell was inventing the telephone his Mexican cousin Taco, was also changing the world.

photo courtesy of pinterest.com

Twice as Much was a British musical duo, composed of Dave Skinner and Andrew Rose, harmony singers who, despite writing much of their own material, had their only UK Top 40 success as performers with a cover of the Mick Jagger / Keith Richards composition Sittinon a Fence which got to #25 in 1966. The Stones’ version of the song, recorded in December 1965 during the Aftermath sessions, was not released on a Stones’ album in the US until 1967 (Flowers) , and not in the UK (Through The Past Darkly: Big Hits Vol 2) in 1969. Twice as Much probably got first dibs on this song as they were managed by Andrew Loog Oldham (manager of the Stones). Songs that were composed by the duo were recorded by Del Shannon, Chris Farlowe and P. P. Arnold.

In 1972, Skinner joined Uncle Dog, a group including vocalist Carol Grimes,where he penned most of the tracks on their album, Old Hat. In 1977/8, Skinner toured as the keyboard player with Roxy Music and also contributed to albums by Phil Manzanera and Bryan Ferry.

Of all the great and good Stones covers, this one is just ok. It’s follows the original very closely and the harpsichord is nice, but I find the horn section very Radio 2 (sixties edition) and the vocals, whilst pleasant, are a little twee and there’s something about their singing style that doesn’t sit right; it’s too clean, too precise. It lacks the Jagger sneer and disdain of the original vocals. I don’t hate this version but I’m in no rush to listen to it again. Mild dislike.

The Wonderful World of One Hit Wonders #41 Coverdale Page

I want to organize a hide and seek tournament for next month, but I’m finding it tough going. Good players are hard to find.

photo courtesy of discogs.com

Taking a break from the usual husband/wife, male/female duos, today’s post features the 1993 collab between David Coverdale and Jimmy Page. Following the disbandment of Coverdale’s band Whitesnake and a failed reunion attempt by Page’s band Led Zeppelin, John Kalodner proposed the idea of the musicians working together. After meeting each other, they began writing and recording songs over the course of 1991 and 1992, and the subsequent results were released on the album Coverdale • Page on 15 March 1993 by EMI in Europe, 16 March by Geffen Records in North America and 18 March by Sony Music Entertainment in Japan. A single, Take Me For A Little While, reached #29 in July 1993.

A rather slow and melanchoic number from the chaps here, with Coverdale’s voice being quite restrained and gravely on the chorus, and Page’s guitar sound and riffs raise this song above the usual sensitive ballad number often found on hard rock albums. I was surprised at liking this as much as I did, I never checked the album out at the time but I might rectify that soon. A big like and two thumbs up.

The Wonderful World of One Hit Wonders #40 Les Paul/Mary Ford

I was walking in the garden when a decorative statuette starting lecturing me about oppressive capitalism.

It was Gnome Chomsky

photo courtesy of kingfm.com

Lester William Polsfuss (June 9, 1915 – August 12, 2009), known as Les Paul, was an American jazz, country, and blues guitarist, songwriter, luthier, and inventor. He was one of the pioneers of the solid-body electric guitar, and his prototype, called the Log, served as inspiration for the Gibson Les Paul. Paul taught himself how to play guitar, and while he is mainly known for jazz and popular music, he had an early career in country music. In the 1950s, he and his wife, singer and guitarist Mary Ford, recorded numerous records, selling millions of copies.

Mary Ford (born Iris Colleen Summers; July 7, 1924 – September 30, 1977) was an American vocalist and guitarist, comprising half of the husband-and-wife musical team Les Paul and Mary Ford. Between 1950 and 1954, the couple had 16 US top-ten hits, including How High the Moon and Vaya con Dios, which were number one hits on the Billboard charts. Vaya con Dios also reached #7 in the UK charts in November 1953. In 1951 alone they sold six million records. With Paul, Ford became one of the early practitioners of multi-tracking.

Probably the oldest one hit wonder record I’ve featured so far on here and it’s absolutely delightful. From Mary Ford lovely voice, the Tex-Mex waltz of the song, to Les Paul understated guitar playing, this song is just really lovely and makes me feel all mellow inside. Honestly, I’d have to have a heart of stone not not enjoy this. Two thumbs up!

The Wonderful World of One Hit Wonders The Duos #39 R+J Stone

Growing up, whenever my parents swore they would say “excuse my French”. So when the French teacher at my school asked the class if anyone knew any French, I raised my hand…

photo courtesy of Discogs

R&J Stone were the English/American husband and wife musical duo, Russell Oliver Stone and Joanne Stone, and the pair were originally members of James Last’s British Choir for a number of years. They had a hit single in the mid 1970s with their self penned song We Do It, which reached #5 in February 1976. Some time after their hit, Russell Stone decided that he did not want to remain as a singer, and preferred to concentrate on producing and writing for his wife; their second album did not do well and a third album, although recorded, was never released.

Joanne Stone died of a brain tumour in 1979. Russell Stone later went to Munich to work with the Icelander Thorir Baldursson. Stone, a recovered alcoholic, has released three solo albums – Love Aspects (2013), Groove Aspects (2014) and Devotional Aspects (2016) – after spending years out of the music industry.

It’s inevitable that doing so many of these posts that there’s always going to one or two songs that just don’t do it (ha!) for me, and I’m afraid that this is one of them. The vocals are nice, the melody is pleasant, but it’s just too saccharine for my taste, and I have a sweet tooth! A mild dislike.