8 one-hit wonders from 1989 you probably forgot about except for that Edie Brickell song
When it comes to the topic of pop-music flashes-in-the-pan, the marvelous thing about 1989 is not the number of one-hit wonders (there are not many of them, really) but the sheer number of two-hit wonders. There is an entire list to be made out of musicians who scored two massive hits that year. Acts like Tone Lōc ("Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina"), Young MC ("Bust a Move" and "Principal's Office"), Soul II Soul ("Back to Life" and "Keep on Movin'") and Great White ("Once Bitten, Twice Shy" and "The Angel Song") come to mind.
But today we're talking one-hit wonders. The following songs still get play today, three decades later. Even if you don't recognize the name, the tune probably strikes a familiar chord. Because these songs were pretty huge. Which melody sticks in your head the most?
The Jeff Healey Band - "Angel Eyes"
Patrick Swayze was a secret hitmaker of the 1980s. The actor, of course, belted out his own power ballad, "She's Like the Wind," one of the smash tracks from the blockbuster Dirty Dancing. His follow-up punchfest Road House spawned hits, too. Canadian blues rocker Jeff Healey was featured prominently in the masculine love tale. Healey converted that currency into a hit of his own, "Angel Eyes," which sounds like something from a Swayze movie.
Was (Not Was) - "Walk the Dinosaur"
Before he became the de facto producer of all Rolling Stones late-career albums, bassist Don Was flexed his funk muscles in this quirky act. "Walk the Dinosaur" married synthetic boogie to Flintstones imagery. In this peak era of MTV, girls dressed up as Pebbles probably led to just as much airplay as the infection "Boom-boom-akak-laka-boom-boom" refrain. Was (Not Was) did technically have another chart success at the time, "Spy in the House of Love," but YouTube spins (a measly 127,000) prove that is largely forgotten. "Walk the Dinosaur" was originally released in 1987 but managed to peak in the U.S. in the spring of '89.
Love and Rockets - "So Alive"
With former members of goth pioneer Bauhaus and a band name lifted from a beloved indie comic book, Love and Rockets have underground cred that carried far beyond one-hit-wonderdom. But the fact remains that despite critical acclaim for its first four albums, the English act only briefly crossed over into the mainstream with this midtempo cut, which, er, rocketed all the way to No. 3 on the Hot 100.
Deon Estus - "Heaven Help Me"
How does a session bass player best known for working on Wham! and George Michael albums land a No. 5 hit? It's pretty simple, really. He convinced his pal George Michael to sing backup on the tune. Most probably thought of this as a George Michael release. It wasn't — just another moment in the sun for a studio bass player in '89.
Edie Brickell & New Bohemians - "What I Am"
Nineties fashion begins here. Looking at the video — with its long hair, baggy denim and tie-dye — one could easily confuse it with something from the Seattle scene, circa 1993. Really, "New Bohemians" could describe most of the grunge look. "Choke me in the shallow water before I get too deep," could easily pass for Nirvana or Pearl Jam lyrics. In the mouth of Edie Brickell, however, it was pure cream for coffeehouses. Released at the tail-end of '88, this ditty peaked in March '89, climbing to No. 7. Brickell would later marry Paul Simon.
When in Rome - "The Promise"
If Edie Brickell heralded the arrival of Nineties styles, When in Rome proved the synth-pop Eighties still had legs. There's some reason for the ultra-John-Hughes-iness of this tune — it was originally released in 1987. It would peak on the charts at the dawn of '89, however. Years later, this New Order and Tears for Fears clone appeared at the end of the cult comedy Napoleon Dynamite.
Boy Meets Girl - "Waiting for a Star to Fall"
Not to be confused with the sitcoms Boy Meets World or Girl Meets World, Boy Meets Girl was the songwriting duo George Merrill and singer Shannon Rubicam. This song soared to No. 5 but it was hardly the biggest hit to come from the minds of the pop twosome. Merrill and Rubicam penned the Whitney Houston juggernauts "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)." That would likely explain how they got a record deal of their own.
Sheriff - "When I'm With You"
This Canadian-born power ballad was not particularly weird in and of itself — it got lighters and hair in the air in a manner similar to Whitesnake, Winger and whatnot — but there is one fascinating fact that makes it stand out. "When I'm with You" made all the way to the top of the charts in 1989… without a music video. That was unheard of in the prime of the MTV era. Perhaps they should throw one together on YouTube now.This Canadian-born power ballad was not particularly weird in and of itself — it got lighters and hair in the air in a manner similar to Whitesnake, Winger and whatnot — but there is one fascinating fact that makes it stand out. "When I'm with You" made all the way to the top of the charts in 1989… without a music video. That was unheard of in the prime of the MTV era. Perhaps they should throw one together on YouTube now.
SEE MORE: 10 supersonic, hot-hot-hot one-hit wonders from 1988
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