BBC4 is, I hear, under attack in the same way that BBC 6Music was a few years ago.
To me, BBC4 is an absolute treat on a Friday night. For Friday night is music night, and from 19:00 onwards we are given a whole load of music documentaries through to the early hours of Saturday which make the channel worthy of retaining in itself.
As an aside, on the same channel the other day, I found myself fixated with one of those “no verbal commentary” shows, where a camera had been strapped to various animals (a turtle, a cheetah) so we could see what they see as they go about their daily lives. It was absolutely mesmerising, and would have a home on no other channel as far as I can see.
Friday just gone began as it always does, with a couple of old Top of the Pops repeats. They’ve got up to 1990, so the chances of any of the discredited hosts are no longer likely to make an appearance, so we’re getting unfettered nostalgia.
This has it’s downside, of course: we’ve had to sit through two weeks of Bombalurina – a collaboration between Timmy Mallet and Andrew Lloyd Webber – stinking out the No #1 slot, but what has been interesting is to see Deee-Lite’s Groove is in the Heart sneaking up the charts with The Steve Miller Band’s The Joker right behind it – and we know how that ends – along with a reasonable sized dollop of the rave culture which was taking over at the time, coupled with the promise of more baggy/Madchester type tunes, with the mention of The Farm’s Groovy Train debuting at #40 this week. Tune in next week, pop pickers! (If you’re on Twitter, I can heartily recommend following @TOTPFacts who tweets info about the acts on each repeated show.)
Anyway, after that was a program featuring performances by One Hit Wonders.
To me, that phrase means this: an act who had one hit in the UK, and that is all. It does not include acts who had one very big hit, and then one very small hit. They have had two hits, in my book.
Cue the credits and a caption comes up which reads: “Welcome to the wonderful world of the one-hit wonder, featuring performances of songs that are an artist’s single significant chart moment.”
Well, that’s pretty clear.
But by the second song – Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) by Peter Sarstedt – the criteria seems has softened, as a caption came up which reads: “Although many only remember this Number 1 hit, the follow-up Frozen Orange also went Top 10.”
Hang on a minute! Forgive me for being a pedant, but if he had two Top 10 hits, then he’s not a One Hit Wonder, is he?
So perhaps we need to adopt a formula which decides what is and what is not considered a hit. At which point, I’ll hand you over to Dave Gorman to clarify this (the bit I’m talking about happens at around 07:05, but the whole thing is such a well constructed thing of beauty, I won’t begrudge you watching all 45 minutes of it, as I have, many times):
And so it continued: The Simon Park Orchestra – one hit, check! You’re in.
Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas. Apart from a re-release of Kung Fu Fighting in 1998, which reached #08, he had hits in 1974 with Dance The Kung Fu (#35) and Run Back in 1977 (#25). So, not a One Hit Wonder.
Streets of London by Ralph McTell. Yes, it reached #2 in 1974, but Dreams of You reached #36 in 1975. So, not a OneHit Wonder.
Yeh, you know I can’t resist posting this:
Next up: Uptown Top Ranking by Althia & Donna. No other UK hits, check! You’re in!
Next: Pop Muzic by M. Apart from Pop Muzic resurfacing in 1989 and hitting #15, the band also had a #33 hit in 1979. So, not a One Hit Wonder.
Next: Scotland’s favourite, Kelly Marie and her utterly wonderful (no, I mean that) Feels Like I’m In Love. Turns out Kelly had hits in 1980 (Loving Just For Fun – #21) and in 1981 (Hot Love = #22). So, not a One Hit Wonder.
I could go on through the rest of the programme, but you get the giste.
What I’d much rather do is draw your attention to a genuine One Hit Wonder by a band who never had another UK hit, and that band is Pussycat, who I remember having a #1 hit in 1976, which I loved then and love now, and who I never heard of again. A perfect example of a One Hit Wonder:
Imagine my despair, having written and researched all of that to find out they had a follow up hit in 1976, Smile, which reached #24 and my whole argument is shot to pieces.
I may never recover from this.
I do still love Mississippi though; before he got acquainted with the joys of streaming, every year or so I used to compile a mix CD for my Dad of country tunes I remembered from when I was a kid.
“Why do you keep putting this on there?” he asked me once as we listened to it.
Because it’s a great, forgotten record, even if they did have more than one hit, that’s why.