7 smooth and synth-heavy one hit wonders from 1987
A TV star… and a band named after Star Trek! You know the tunes, but do you remember the groups?
Image: The Everett Collection
Bruce and Swayze on the Top 10? It could only happen in '87.
Here are more one-hit wonders from the Billboard pop charts. One of them took their name from Star Trek — another was from "M|A|R|R|S."
Let's take a listen!
1. Patrick Swayze - "She's Like the Wind"
Immediately associated with Dirty Dancing, "She's Like the Wind" was written years earlier for another film. Swayze co-wrote the song with Stacy Widelitz for his rather forgotten flick Grandview, U.S.A. The "she" who was "like the wind" was Jamie Lee Curtis' character, not Baby. Sorry to ruin the romance, folks. Swayze's smooth croon took this ballad to the top of the Adult Contemporary chart — and No. 3 on the Hot 100. Fun MeTV fact: Sherwood Schwart'z son-in-law plays guitar on the track. That would be Laurence Juber, who married Hope Schwartz, daughter of the Gilligan's Island and Brady Bunch creator.
2. Bruce Willis - "Respect Yourself"
Willis was on top of the world (if not yet Nakatomi Tower) thanks to his clever romantic mystery series Moonlighting. The show was tied with L.A. Law for No. 12 in the Nielsen Ratings. But here's one thing Corbin Bernsen couldn't do — become a pop-blues sensation. "Respect Yourself" climbed to No. 5 on the Hot 100. Oddly, the American action hero was more successful as a musician in the U.K., where he scored another hit. But we're only counting the States, Bruno.
3. Gregory Abbott - "Shake You Down"
This is one of those tracks where the title and artist make you scratch your head — until you hear it. Right! That one! It's probably better known for working "Eenie Meenie Miny Moe" into the lyrics. This slick slow jam was everywhere in 1987. Especially waiting rooms and grocery stores.
4. T'Pau - "Heart and Soul"
Someone must have been watching "Amok Time." After all, it is one of the greatest Star Trek episodes of all time. You know, the one where Kirk fights Spock. Overseeing that fight to the death (well, not really) with lirpa was T'Pau, a Vulcan elder. This British act borrowed her name. "Heart and Soul" would be their only song to chart in America, though eight tracks cracked the Top 40 back home. We also love its use in "San Junipero," the best Black Mirror episode.
5. Living in a Box - "Living in a Box"
Here's a rare case of an act with a self-titled hit. Yes, it is indeed from the album Living in a Box. The Manchester group was just really into the whole living in a box thing. The song was, in fact, about living in the cramped quarters of government housing.
6. Pretty Poison - "Catch Me"
Philly ensemble Pretty Poison (no relation to Poison, also huge in 1987) hung around in the Top 40 for 14 weeks with this bouncy dance-pop number.
7. M|A|R|R|S - "Pump Up the Volume"
And the Jock Jam era officially kicked off. Lots of things were getting "pumped up" in the late '80s — "the volume," "the jam," Reebok sneakers. "Pump Up the Volume" is in some ways the ultimate one-hit wonder because it was the only single ever released by M|A|R|R|S, a collaboration of the indie acts A.R. Kane and Colourbox. It was a milestone in sampling and house music and still gets blasted in sports arenas today.