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Wonderings of the “One Hit Wonder”

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My teenage-hood seems to be a complete experience for the one-hit wonder. You are inevitably going to see the title of a 90’s song on a late night c.d.-selling infomercial and audibly say “Yeeeeaaahhh!”. Your mind is instantly transported to being a freshman with no car so you hung out in the backyard of your friend’s house with the cool mom who let you blare the music. Who can EVER get over Vanilla Ice and his “Ice, Ice Baby”!!? We were all doing that dance in the backyard and dreaming of boys that were wearing his white-boy fade hair-cut.

So where is that dreamy Vanilla Ice now? (I sooooo badly want to answer that with something like “Has he melted into the sun-scorched desert of the past?”…but I’ll withhold). It’s that time. A breezy walk down Memory Lane. Oops…big mistake. A rehashing of “One Hit Wonders” isn’t usually considered breezy. Or is it? Perhaps I’m jumping to conclusions.

My mind begins to concoct horrible stories of delirious rises to instant fame with a song teenagers make out to all summer and then, in an instant, hideous crash, the artist plummets into obscurity with a needle in their arm and a colon full of ding-dongs (please don’t push me for details on where I got the ding-dongs putrifying in the colon…too many Elvis stories of an overweight colon, I suppose). It got me curious. Where are the artists now from the 90’s that had one-hit wonders? Let’s see if my Stephen-King-esque predictions are correct.

1. “Epic” by Faith No More—Oh my golly gosh! Do you remember this band? This video being played incessantly on MTV (when it still played videos)! The fish flopping out of the fish bowl! The lead singer had that long hair he whip-lashed out of anger and angst of a one-hit wonder! Truly a catchy, great song that led them to perform at the 1990 MTV Music Awards and do SNL. Soooo…where are they now?

Faith No More released two more albums after the first album with “Epic”. They had reasonable success in other countries (such as Germany and Austrailia) despite replacing guitarists twice. The band cancelled their support tour for Aerosmith on April 20, 1998, stating that the members would be parting ways after 15 years. Each member has gone on to his own projects. No tragedy here…a band with 15 years under their belt is a band well-done!

2. “Just a Friend” by Biz Markie—ooooooh baby, you got what I neeeeeed! Classic, right? Still a jam on old-school hip-hop night at the club. And who could forget the unattractiveness yet odd charm Biz held upon us? We sang that song for ages it seemed. It was 1989 and we loved it. And the brother was beat-boxing? It was all fresh. But we didn’t hear much from him musically afterward. Soooo…where is he now?

The Biz had a hard time getting back in with the crowd after his second album got bad publicity for a song on the album that had an unauthorized sample. The other party won the suit and Biz’s reputation was a bit marred. He did appear on a few shows throughout the early 90’s, like “In Living Color”. But his charm won out…throughout the past 10 years, Biz has appeared on artist’s songs (like the Rolling Stones), played an alien parody of himself in Men In Black II, Nick Cannon’s Wild N’Out season 1 and 3, and numerous other T.V. appearances. He proves ugly and beatboxing can last you a while in Hollywood. Get it Biz!!

3. “Groove is in the Heart” by Deee-Lite, Crazy fun, 60’s amped music! We needed this in the 90’s! It was funkily different. And the lead singer, Lady Miss Kier, was rivoting with her beehive hair and loud make-up. This song STILL never gets old!

The group continued to have success—not in mainstream radio—scoring 6 number one hits on U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. After the release of their 3rd album, member Towa Tei exited the group and was replaced rapidly. The band was able to tour up to a year after the replacement and have all gone on to successful DJ club careers. “Groove in the Heart” was even licensed for use in a Sega game (a.k.a. still making mula). So far, it 3/3…all successful stories so far.

4. “Knockin’ Boots” by Candyman—“Ooh boy, I love you so, never, ever, ever gonna let you go once I get my hands on you!” (background vocal in sexy male voice “Giiirl, I know”). I was totally jammin’ to this. Yep, bought the tape and played it on my bright yellow walkman.

Candyman got his start with Tone Loc (I had the raddest t-shirt with huge red letters on the back saying “Wild Thing”. Wow…good job, parents). After his initial success, he never could connect with the audience again. His most recent attempt to reconnect was the album “Knockin’ Boots 2001…A Sex Odyssey”. It was a complete flop. His remake was slightly embarrassing. This is the closest we have come to a needle in the arm and the ding-dong thing. Candyman is still an artist and hangin’ in there…not too tragic.

5. “Ice, Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice—I’m not going to be ashamed to admit that Vanilla Ice was rockin’ my world (to redeem myself, I WAS listening to N.W.A and Easy E, too!). This song was the first hip-hop single to top the Billboard charts. This video rocked our world too. Sooo…where is Robert Van Winke now?

Right before releasing his first album, Vanilla Ice signed with SBK Records. Someone was obviously not helping him guide his choices—his new label made him adopt more of a commercial appeal and even printed fabricated biographical information without his knowledge. This began a downward spiral—a suicide attempt followed. Yet, this prompted him to get back to his passion of music, how he wanted (a more rock sound). He has a sincere underground following and even began hosting a show on the DIY network. Ice is still cool, baby.

P.S. Vanilla Ice is from south Dallas and is friends with a guy I know. The dude wanted to hook me up…he got his phone out and wanted to call Vanilla Ice!! Ummm…just couldn’t do that one. True story!!

I was wrong. I admit it. These people survived and didn’t have melt-downs after fading from the limelight. One-hit wonders aren’t truly one time…the wonders continued—just not with us all in their “biz”.