10 funky, folky one-hit wonders from 1971
The pop charts were filled with Canadians, hippies, soul and mining tragedies 45 years ago.
There is no shame in being a one-hit wonder. Breaking into the pop charts is more than millions of other musicians can muster. Some of these fantastic songs from 41 years ago still hit hard. They are funky, heavy, pretty, deep and pleasantly dusty. Oh, and surprisingly largely Canadian.
We picked through Billboard's Hot 100 Singles of 1971 for acts that struggled to duplicate their success. Half a decade later, many of these names would be merely a memory. Speaking of which, check out the one-hit wonders of 1976, too. Could you name these tunes?
Five Man Electrical Band "Signs"
Billboard 100 peak: No. 3
Year end rank: No. 24
The Canadian quintet has the most familiar tune on this list, as the anti-establishment sing-along broke into the top ten two decades later with Tesla's cover version. The hair-metal band even called their record Five Man Acoustical Jam in tribute.
Ocean "Put Your Hand in the Hand"
Billboard 100 peak: No. 2
Year end rank: No. 33
Christian pop went mainstream in 1971, with songs like Murray Head's "Superstar," from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, soaring on the charts. The Canadian gospel-folk act successfully sung their praise with this gentle number.
Daddy Dewdrop "Chick-A-Boom (Don't Ya Jes' Love It)"
Billboard 100 peak: No. 9
Year end rank: No. 34
What rhymes with "Last night I had a crazy dream about a chick in a black bikini"? Why, "she must be a magic genie," of course. Daddy Dewdrop was the alias of Dick Monda, a Saturday morning cartoon composer who penned this novelty tune for Sabrina and the Groovy Goolies. Ted Knight of Mary Tyler Moore would later cover it!
The Fuzz "I Love You for All Seasons"
Billboard 100 peak: No. 21
Year end rank: No. 45
This D.C. soul trio cut a deep groove on this romantic ballad. Weeping strings and Oooo-ing harmonies are drenched all over this lush love song.
The Bells "Stay Awhile"
Billboard 100 peak: No. 2
Year end rank: No. 57
Yep, Canadians again. The Montreal fivesome sold millions of this pillowy duet across the globe. The high, delicate vocals of Anne Ralph would be echoed decades later in '90s twee pop like the Cardigans.
8th Day "She's Not Just Another Woman"
Billboard 100 peak: No. 11
Year end rank: No. 64
The brilliant Motown songwriting team of Holland–Dozier–Holland was the puppetmaster behind several great forgotten soul groups, acts like 100 Proof (Aged in Soul). This was another of their funky creations.
The Beginning of the End "Funky Nassau"
Billboard 100 peak: No. 15
Year end rank: No. 75
Has there ever been a one-hit wonder with a name more prescient than the Beginning of the End? The Bahamian trio of brothers got the dance floor in a sweat with this busy Caribbean groove.
Matthews' Southern Comfort "Woodstock"
Billboard 100 peak: No. 23
Year end rank: No. 79
Iain Matthews was a singer for Fairport Convention before splitting from the British folk giant to go solo. He gave this Joni Mitchell tune a melancholy air, proving that people were still waxing nostalgic about the music festival two years later.
The Buoys "Timothy"
Billboard 100 peak: No. 17
Year end rank: No. 87
Yes, the man who wrote "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" is responsible for a hit song about cannibalism. Rupert Holmes penned this dark rocker for Pennsylvania act the Buoys. The punchy cruising tune, which is not too far off from Blood, Sweat & Tears, climbed into the Top 20 before people realized it was about men trapped in a mine who turn to eating poor Timothy. It was banned by the radio, as the label tried to convince people Timothy was a mule. Though it's pretty obvious from listening to the lyrics.
Wadsworth Mansion "Sweet Mary"
Billboard 100 peak: No. 7
Year end rank: No. 96
This Rhode Island combo kept the sound of the 1960s alive with its bluesy pop, which was not too far off from a bubblegum Stones.