Were there more one hit wonders in the 1980s than other times?
Any list must include quirky, bizarre Devo with their lone hit single, Whip It, which for all its air time only reached #16 on music charts. Never did a baby boomer group that virtually disappeared overnight get so much television exposure. This was due to baby boomer-inspired MTV (Music Television), which debuted in 1981 and whipped Whip It seemingly non-stop.
Actually, Devo never disbanded, just fell into obscurity. More than just a fad, Devo maintains a cult pop culture following among baby boomers and their children. What could be better for your image than having Paris Hilton embrace you?
In 1982, Mickey climbed to #1 worldwide, again aided by continuous grinding on MTV. The bouncy 45rmp earned Platinum for its 2 million sales in the U.S. The video was by young dancer/singer Toni Basil, who had a notable career behind the scenes as a choreographer, but her few attempts at releasing records after Mickey were flops.
Toni wore her Las Vegas High cheerleader uniform in the video
Then, there’s the theme song for the 1988 George Bush campaign. It was Bobby McFerrin’s one big hit and a huge MTV favorite. Are we seeing a pop culture pattern here? Could any of these songs been so popular without the video exposure? This one was helped by a Robin Williams guest appearance. McFerrin protested the use of Don’t Worry, Be Happy by the Republicans, declared he’d never vote for Bush, and even temporarily dropped the song from his performance repertoire.
McFerrin is one talented dude. He has won 10 Grammys for jazz performance, and is an accomplished arranger and symphony conductor. Just no more “hits.”
Here’s the infamous Devo video→ WHIP IT
Related Post→ Baby Boomers Want Their MTV!