9 hustlin', dynomite one-hit wonders of 1975

Oh-ho-ho, they're magic!

The Pet Rock may have been the biggest fad of 1975, but when it came to pop music, people wanted to dance. Disco exploded, as the Bee Gees began their "Jive Talkin'." The Captain and Tennille promised "Love Will Keep Us Together." Even David Bowie got funky with "Fame."

Naturally, this being the Seventies, novelty songs and dance crazes led to some pretty kooky one-hit wonders. Carl Douglas continued to dominate dance floors with his late-'74 smash "Kung Fu Fighting." Let's take a look at some other fleeting successes that still make us sing along.

1. Ace - "How Long?"


This is one of those acts and tracks you look at on paper and think, "Hmm, do I know that one?" And then you hear it and go, "Oh, right, that song." This tranquil rock groove reached No. 3 around Memorial Day, kicking summer off with a cool sea breeze.

Image: Anchor Records / Discogs

2. Sammy Johns - "Chevy Van"


If you did not live through the '70s, it's hard to grasp just how wildly popular vans were. Yes, we're talking about the large family vehicles. People airbrushed wild scenes on the sides of their Chevys, lining the inside with shag carpeting. Though it was originally released in 1973, Sammy Johns' easy-cruisin' ode to a one-night stand in a van motored to No. 5 in May of '75. It proved to be so popular that it inspired a film, 1977's The Van, the preeminent film in the strange, only-in-the-Seventies "vansploitation" microgenre. Of course, Johns recorded the soundtrack.

Image: GRC / Discogs

3. Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony - "The Hustle"


See, even the musicians were named Van! This is the track that released a pandemic of boogie fever on the global population. It went all the way to No. 1 on Billboard and spent 19 weeks on the charts.

Image: Phillips / Discogs

4. Major Harris - "Love Won't Let Me Wait"


The Delfonics crooner struck out solo, soaring to No. 5 with this rather PG-13-rated slow jam. The sound effects might be a touch NSFW.

Image: YouTube

5. Pilot - "Magic"


"Oh, ho, ho! It's magic!" This track by the Scottish rock quartet was produced by studio wizard Alan Parsons. It reached No. 5 in July, providing the soundtrack to many hot dog cookouts.

Image: Wikipedia

6. Bazuka - "Dynomite"


Jimmy Walker's catchphrase was enough of a craze to send this novelty song into the Top Ten. Bazuka was the moniker of disco producer Tony Camillo, which provided some nifty, funky studio flourishes to a rather functional dance cut.

7. Carol Douglas - "Doctor's Orders"


Not long after Carl Douglas scored a one-hit wonder, Carol Douglas (no relation) came along with a tune that blended the girl-group pop of the 1960s with the modern disco shuffle. It peaked at No. 11. Douglas was the cousin of Sam Cooke and went to high school with Patty Duke.

Image: RCA / Discogs

8. Minnie Riperton - "Lovin' You"


Riperton could hit notes that few could hit (until Mariah Carey came along). The chorus of "Loving You" soars so high, it's technically in the "whistle register" of the human voice. The single similarly soared to No. 1. It would be her only hit.

Image: Epic / Discogs

9. Johnny Wakelin & The Kinshasa Band - "Black Superman - Muhammad Ali"


Inspired by Ali's Rumble in the Jungle against George Foreman, Wakelin cut this odd tribute, which forcefully rhymed "Clay" with "Ali" in the first verse. Ali himself was not thrilled by the song, which punched its way to No. 21. Yet, it was enough of a hit to inspire DC Comics to publish a Superman vs. Muhammad Ali clash in 1978.

Image: Pye / Discogs



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