I have to be honest; I’ve never quite understood the mentality that disses a one-hit wonder. You know what I mean by one-hit wonder: a band or artist primarily defined by one well-known, often irritating (and usually chart-topping) song. For some odd reason, these musicians - some of whom are actually quite talented - are the object of ridicule, derision, scorn, spontaneous street pantsings, and, from time to time, unprovoked drive-by’s with acid-filled super-soakers.
But seriously, what’s the point of making fun of a one-hit wonder? That’s one more hit than most of us will ever have. Krist, at least the one-hit wonders have accomplished SOMETHING with their lives, even if it’s just giving dads everywhere an excuse to get drunk and wipe out on the dance floor at weddings. I have literally heard guys who live in the subterraneous cavern below their mom’s basement mock on one-hit wonders for being “losers,” right before they enter their 348th straight hour of playing Guitar Hero: Pretending Aerosmith Is Still Relevant Edition.
Isn’t mocking on a one-hit wonder sort of like saying, “Awww, dude, you only had hot, sweaty, all-night sex with Halle Berry ONCE??? You’re so LAME!!!” You might as well tell a lottery winner, “What, you only hit the 100,000 dollar New Jersey Powerball once in 1986? How come you haven’t won the lottery since then? Are you some kind of LOSER?!!!” Or, why don’t you just tell the doctor who ends up curing cancer, “Yeah, that’s nice. Now let’s get cracking on AIDS, big brain!!!” (Ok, that last one might be stretching the analogy a bit.)
My point is simple: If your greatest accomplishment in life is knowing when to pull the nachos out of the 7-11microwave before they burn, or remembering the names of every actor to ever play Doctor Who (and the years they played him), then you should probably think twice before razzing the guy who got a pretty sweet payday for singing “Rock Me Amadeus.” (Besides, that guy’s dead. Hasn’t he got enough problems without worrying about you?)
Heck, even if you’re amazingly successful in your field, you should back off the one-hit wonder. All you’re doing by mocking these pop culture punchlines is revealing your own insecurities and petty jealousies. Look, we all KNOW you’d give biker Satanists handwritten directions to your mom’s nursing home if you could somehow be the guy who sang “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off,” so don’t even try to deny it! What’s that? You’re denying it??!?. You f&#%ing liar.
Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that we as a culture shouldn’t strive for rapturous strokes of transcendent artistic achievement and BLAH BLAH BLAH all that happy horse pucky. I’m just saying we should appreciate the one-hit wonder for what it is and be brave enough to admit that we kinda dug A-ha’s “Take on Me” long before it became all ironic and hipster cool to do so. Also, we shouldn’t assume that a band has no musical value just because their record company made them put out one cheesy single way in the day. In other words, respect the one-hit wonder!
Except for “Break My Stride,” of course. That song blows.
*Note: I reject the definition that classifies legendary rock bands or famous cult bands as one-hit wonders based on their failure to crack the top 40 charts more than once. A true one-hit wonder’s song should almost be “bigger” than they are. For example, Right Said Fred is a one-hit wonder. Jimi Hendrix is not.