Motown one hit wonders?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by gmrulz4u, Sep 29, 2004.

  1. gmrulz4u

    gmrulz4u Member

    Location:
    Canada
    I am in the process of re-discovering and newly-discovering a lot of Motown and Philly Soul music and was wondering if anyone knew of some one-hit wonder songs that were performed under either genre/label?

    I mean, obviously I am aware of all the songs by The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Contours, The Spinners, The Stylistics, The Supremes, The Vandellas etc. but with most of them, they all had more than just ONE hit song.

    An example of what I am trying to get at would be the song "What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted" sung by Jimmy Ruffin. I don't think Jimmy Ruffin sang any other "hit" song like this one, so this would be a good example of what I'm looking for.

    These types of songs seem to be hard to find. It seems like almost all the BIG groups, girls and guys, had at least a few hit songs. But I assume there HAS to be some one-hit wonders in there as well that I am missing out on.

    THANKS EVERYONE!:)
  2. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    Location:
    The OC
    Jimmy actually had a few other minor hits. He had 'I've Passed This Way Before' which hit #17 a few months after 'What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted". He also hit # 10 in 1980 with "Hold On To My Love' which was written and produced by Robin Gibb.

    How about Shorty Long. He had 'Here Comes The Judge' which hit # 8 in 1968. He also had 'Function At The Junction', but it only hit #97. It must have done better in LA because I sure remember it.
  3. Mister Kite

    Mister Kite Active Member

    Location:
    Columbia, MO
    I don't know if this qualifies, but how about, "What the World Needs Now/Abraham, Martin & John" by Tom Clay. It was a big "one hit wonder" in its day and it was on Motown. I don't think I would call it "soul" though. :shh: :)

    Gary
  4. Jimbo

    Jimbo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Zero/Zero Island
    "Somebody's Watching Me"--Rockwell ("Obscene Phone Caller" only made #35)
    "In My House"--Mary Jane Girls (2 follow-ups just missed the Top 40)
  5. chip-hp

    chip-hp Cool Cat

    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Needle In a Haystack - - The Velvelettes ... #45 in '64 ... they did have one other chart record (#64) ... but not as good as NIAH ... IMHO ...

    same thing with Eddie Holland's Jamie ... #30 in '62 ...
  6. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Uh Huh

    Location:
    Northeast Ohio
    There is a CD comp called "The Very Best Of the Velvelettes" that absolutely must be heard. I think it contains all of their Motown output. Beautiful stuff.

    Brenda Holloway - another one hit wonder with "Every Little Bit Hurts" - check out "The Very best of Brenda Holloway".

    Tammi Terrell - yes, I know she had plenty of hits with Marvin Gaye but you need to hear her Motown solo work collected on "The Essential Collection"

    Some of the above may be UK imports, I can't remember at the moment. There are also comps of Kim Weston, Barbara McNair, and Barbara Randolph - all UK imports. All wonderful.

    Another must-have is "Cellarful Of Motown" - this is the collection that started my own "Motown Renaissance" a couple years ago. 2 cd's of unrelased songs by Gladys Knight, Barbara McNair, Chris Clark, as well as the heavy hitters. I keep hoping for another volume or two.
  7. Don't have anything in front of me to check...was "When I'm Gone" a hit for Brenda...for some reason, I mentally put that one ahead of "Every Little Bit Hurts" - guess I like the former better...

    How about Carolyn Crawford - "Your Smile is a Frown (Turned Upside Down)" is the only song of her's that sticks in my head (and a wonderful one it is...)

    Barrett Strong might have had a couple more charters, but I can't believe any were as big as "Money". I do enjoy his Millenium Collection.
  8. Jimbo

    Jimbo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Zero/Zero Island
    The Velvelettes other charting record, "He Was Really Saying Something," is perhaps better known by Banarama's cover version, which went Top 5 in the UK and was a new-wave hit in the US.

    Similarly, Kim Weston scored only one Top 20 hit ("It Takes Two" w/ Marvin Gaye), but she originated "Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)", later covered by the Doobie Bros.
  9. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer Well-Known Member

    Location:
    NYC
    Probably not exactly a hit, but, how about "You Haven't Seen My Love" by The Ones.
    (I still have my pitifully pressed Motown 45.)
  10. gmrulz4u

    gmrulz4u Member

    Location:
    Canada
    Thanks for ALL of the input guys and gals!:) Keep the suggestions coming...

    As far as the Velvelettes go, I am well aware of all of their songs, hits or not. I love the song "Needle In A Haystack".

    I've also had the opportunity to listen to Carolyn Crawford's "Your Smile is a Frown (Turned Upside Down)", which for my tastes is just so-so, and I do really like Kim Weston's "Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)".

    I've got pretty much all the girl groups covered...

    One question that I have that is sort of off topic but still about Motown groups is this:

    Why did certain songs get recorded by multiple groups?? Especially within a very short period of time!? For example why did The Chiffons do "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" in 1963 when The Shirelles just recorded it 3 years earlier?? I know this happened more than at least a few times...
  11. toptentwist

    toptentwist Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Houston, TX
    In the late 80s, Motown released three CDs entitled "Hard to Find Motown Classics"
    (vol 1, vol 2, and vol 3).

    I seem to remember them having 20-30 songs each (maybe 20-25)


    These were great CDs to balance out the usual songs by the big names
    (the tempts, the supremes, marvin, etc).

    The songs weren't rarities - just "one hit wonder" kind of stuff... I think most
    of the songs mentioned above were on these sets...


    Personally, I think its fun to search out the stuff where the Funk Brothers
    backed others (frequently on non-Motown labels)...

    Some examples:

    Boom Boom Boom - John Lee Hooker
    Cool Jerk (forget who sang this)
    (Just Like) Romeo and Julliette (forget who sang this)
    stuff by Jackie Wilson (both late 50s and mid 60s)
    stuff by Gene Chandler (Brunswick label era)

    and plenty of stuff Jamerson did in LA after Motown left Detroit

    Show and Tell - Al Wilson
    Rock The Boat - Hues Corporation
    Theme from S.W.A.T.
    You Don't Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show) - Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Junior
  12. Grant

    Grant Forum Resident

    Not quite, she had another one called "When I'm Gone".

    Also, there was:

    Love's Gone Bad-Chris Clark
    Does Your Mama Know About Me-Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers
    Love Power-Willie Hutch
    I've Never Been To Me-Charlene:hurl:
    Indiana Wants Me-R. Dean Taylor
    Respect Yourself-Bruce Willis
    Sugar Don't Bite-Sam Harris
    Syreeta-Haurmor Love (one-hit-wonder on the pop charts, anyway)
  13. Grant

    Grant Forum Resident

    Must not forget "Money" by Barrett Strong!!!
  14. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    Location:
    The OC
    Well I can't answer this specifically, but can tell you that in the 40's this was very common. I guess back in the old days, sheet music was what sold the most. So it was the song that was often more popular than the particular recording or artist.

    In January 1946 there were 3 versions of the same song in the Top 10. The song was 'To Each His Own' and it was done by Eddy Howard, The Ink Spots, and Freddy Martin. Not only that, but all three hit #1 at various times during the year.
  15. bartels76

    bartels76 Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    CT
    Spinners - It's A Shame
  16. Steve Litos

    Steve Litos Active Member

    Location:
    Chicago IL
    Hello All. I'm a first time poster.

    Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers - Does Your Mama Know About Me? (Featuring Tommy Chong on guitar!?!?!?!?! Well at least he was in the group.)

    The Monitors - Greeting This Is Uncle Sam

    Did the Undisputed Truth have more than one hit? (Smiling Faces)

    For those who haven't heard the song...the ultimate one hit wonder (or unreleased hit or maybe big on the Nothern Soul scene) has to be Frank Wilson's "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)". Someone paid thousands for a copy of that record. It really should have been a major hit back in 1965!
  17. Grant

    Grant Forum Resident

    ...in the voice of that annoying AOL voice, "WELCOME"! :)

    I take it you don't like that song?

    Great song! Better than the original by the Validiers. I like the way they incorporated that mean drill Sgt. at the end with the crybaby solidier wailing in the background. :laugh:

    They did have more singles, but they were not hits, at least not in the U.S.
  18. Grant

    Grant Forum Resident

    For Motown, maybe, but in their whole career, no way! :D
  19. bartels76

    bartels76 Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    CT
    Yes. It falls under a Motown artist one-hit wonder.
  20. Jimbo

    Jimbo Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Zero/Zero Island
    "Let It Whip"--Dazz Band
    "Heaven Must Have Sent You"--Bonnie Pointer

    One of the most unlikely artist ever signed by Motown was Kiki Dee, several years before "I've Got the Music In Me." Only had one charting single, peaked at a mere #87.
  21. Jeff H.

    Jeff H. Well-Known Member

    "It's A Shame" wasn't their only hit on Motown. Their first single for Motown "That's What Girls Are Made For" reached #27 on the Hot 100 in 1961.
  22. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer Well-Known Member

    Location:
    NYC
    "That's What Girls Were Made For" by the Spinners, which is available on an Atlantic comp, was on Tri Phi, a label owned by a Fuqua (Harvey I think...)

    How about "Square Biz" by Teena Marie?
  23. Jeff H.

    Jeff H. Well-Known Member


    Yes Tri Phi was run by Harvey Fuqua, but it was bought out by Motown. That's how The Spinners came to be on the label.

    Before hitting it big on the pop chart with "Lovergirl"(on Epic) in 1985, Teena Marie's highest charting Motown single was "I Need Your Lovin" in early 1981. Hit #37 pop/#9 r&b. "Square Biz" charted #50 pop/#3 r&b.
  24. tim_neely

    tim_neely Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Central VA
    Another unlikely Motown charted artist was a male-female duo named Stoney & Meatloaf. Yes, that Meat Loaf. "What You See Is What You Get" hit #71 in 1971.
  25. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden MichiGort Staff

    Location:
    Livonia, MI
    "When I'm Gone" - #12 R&B #25 Pop
    "Every Little Bit Hurts" - #13 R&B #13 Pop

    Those were her only two top 40 pop singles. I'd probably call her a two-hit wonder like CM, but YMMV. :)

    I generally consider a Motown track to be a hit if it was either top ten R&B or top 40 pop, which would include some songs that didn't really cross over strongly, like Kim Weston's "Take Me in Your Arms", which went to #4 R&B, but didn't get past #50 Pop.
    ...actually, the Contours are bordering on one-hit wonder territory. They did not have a lot of chart success beyond "Do You Love Me". "First I Look at the Purse" peaked at #12 R&B and #57 Pop. They had a great reputation as a live act, though, and I like most of their records, hit or not.

    The Stylistics were not a Motown act, even if Michael McDonald confused the issue by including "You Are Everything" on his "Motown" album. :)

    Regards,

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