Most one-hit wonders from the 80’s were cheesy and disgustingly colorful. These hand-picked one-hit wonders below have a little more substance and importance than the others.
WARNING: You may suffer from 80’s disease after viewing the below videos.
Beds Are Burning – Midnight Oil
Something about the creepy lead singer makes this song (and video) memorable. Right when he starts the first verse with, “Out where the river broke…”, you’re immediately hooked and wondering if you’ve just been sucked into a horror film. Good stuff.
Axel F – Harold Faltermeyer
The Beverly Hills Cop theme is still one of those beats that still gets people hyped up. It makes you want to go out and investigate something, kick some ass and maybe shoot a few bad guys along the way. The beat has been remixed many times because it’s still dope.
Pump Up The Volume – M/A/R/R/S
Still fresh after all these years. Even people who loved hip hop back then loved this track. It’s always going to be considered a distinctive track since nothing like it has been done since. Actually, DJ Shadow would be the only guy nowadays who I could see making this song.
It Takes Two – Rob Base & DJ E Z Rock
What would a one-hit wonder list from the 80’s be if I didn’t include this hip hop classic? Everyone used to get down to this whenever it played. Even old people would shake their creaky bones to this jam. After all, “It takes two to make everything go right/It takes two to make it outta sight.”
We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister
The ultimate FUCK YOU song from the 80’s. Sung by a drag queen with a terrible perm and scary enough to make you listen to the song. That’s the legacy of Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” That and it keeps playing on hit radio stations to this day. Go figure.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin
If you heard this song in the 80’s (or today), and it doesn’t make you smile, you’re lying. If it doesn’t make you whistle along, you’re lying again. If it doesn’t make you happy, well, then you might not be lying but it will at least cheer you up for a few minutes.
What I Am – Edie Brickel & New Bohemians
This is just one of those songs that is easy to remember, was very original although nobody knows exactly why and has some Janis Joplin/stoner chick singing her version of the blues meets folk music. Or maybe not. Obviously, it’s hard for me to explain why this song was popular or why it’s still being played but it’s extremely catchy without sucking.