Will One-Ders Never Cease?!
Fav One-Hit Wonders from my life, Vol. 2, 1965-69

This is the second installment of a series, you can find the first post here: http://seattlesportsinsider.com/blogs/will-one-ders-never-cease

If you want to read about the intent and content of the series, they are explained in that initial post.

The second half of the sixties, though fed by the seeds of the first half, we far, far different as these one-hit wonder songs will attest.

This offering is much, much longer. By all means, let's proceed right to it.

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The Boy From New York City, The Ad Libs


Cast Your Fate To The Wind, Sounds Orchestral

The decade saw several instrumental become hits. This jazz piano and orchestra number rose to number 10 on the charts.

Baby, The Rain Must Fall, Glenn Yarbrough

Written collaboratively by Elmer Bernstein as the title song to a movie starring Steve McQueen and Lee Remick, I personally really like this song, though I don’t strictly adhere to it’s theme.

Concrete and Clay, Unit 4 Plus 2

Sounded better on a transistor radio back then than it does now with full audio fidelity.

The Eve of Destruction, Barry McGuire

The very real nightmares of nuclear war, the Vietnam War, and racial and social strife are captured by the raspy McGuire in a way that later became an anthem of the protest movements of the late sixties.

Liar Liar, The Castaways

All I can say is, as a ten-year-old I REALLY did “dig” this song when it came out.


Flowers on the Wall, The Statler Brothers

Unique harmonies and amusing lyrics in 1966. And that bass voice comes in at just the right time. And any song that references watching Captain Kangaroo simply HAS to be something special.

Lies, The Knickerbockers

Beatles sound-alikes came along a couple of years late, but a great hit.

No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In), The T-Bones

Aw, c’mon! An Alka-Seltzer commercial jingle that became a popular sensation? Yup!

Hey Joe, The Leaves

The epitome of sixties garage band music.

Oh How Happy

Just a great, positive, sing-along type song

They're Coming to Take Me Away, Napoleon XIV

Once in awhile a song came on the radio that was literally like nothing you’d ever heard before. Boy did this one fit that profile! Silly. Stupid. Strange. Weird. Crazy. Berserk. And it worked for this guy, becoming an overnight sensation.

Psychotic Reaction, Count Five

Garage band music in the year that saw psychadelica begin to invade popular music, art and culture.

WInchester Cathedral, The New Vaudeville Band

The vaudeville sound meets sixties pop rock.

But, It's Alright, J.J. Jackson

What can I say. Nothing special. I just liked it.



We Ain't Got Nothin' Yet, The Blues MaGoos

Nobody ever said good grammar was needed in the song titles.

Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye, The Casinos

Extraordinary early sixties Doo-Wop, seemingly out of place in the year of psychedelic rock. Peaceful, wonderful. Sigh-inducing in the good sense.

Sit Down I Think I Love You, The Mojo Men

Way better version than the more famous original by Crosby, Stills and Nash. Great harmonies done smoothly.

Friday On My Mind, The Easybeats

Lots of “can’t wait ‘til the weekend” songs in the sixties. Note the experimental intervals and chords. The sense of clash and disjointedness mirrored what was going on in society.

Come On Down To My Boat Baby, Every Mother's Son

No real comment. Just decided to include it.

Back On The Street Again, The Sunshine Company

I gotta admit, I just love this song. Still do. Love the harmonies.

Happy, The Sunshine Company

Okay, I cheated. This group is a two-hit wonder. This second hit isn’t as good, but the one who makes the rules gets to break them once in awhile.


1968 – One Hit Wonders Simply EXPLODE Upon The Scene

Green Tambourine, The Lemon Pipers

Psychedelic carryover from 1967.

Nobody But Me, The Human Beinz

A song about ‘60’s dance moves that wasn’t really a dance song, of which there were plenty in the decade.

Summertime Blues, Blue Cheer

Heavier psychedelic-rock style cover of a late-50’s song. IMO done better than would be done by The Who in 1970.

MacArthur Park, Richard Harris

Camelot’s Arthur (from the 1967 movie musical) turned vocalist. I confess I was captured by this song the first time I heard it. I still don’t comprehend all the words, but it is a beautiful and wonderful blend of vocals, orchestra, piano and rock.

Reach Out In The Darkness, Friend and Lover

In the new era of peace and love introduced in the hippie movement, songs like this abounded. In these years, you really did hear hip cats use the word “groovy” a lot.

Tiptoe Through The Tulips, Tiny Tim

Oh, come on. How can you do one-hit wonders from 1968 without including this ridiculous overnight sensation that literally took over TV and radio for a couple of months.

Grazing In The Grass, Hugh Masekela

The original instrumental version,  covered the following year with a vocal version by the Friends of Distinction. How many songs do YOU know that start with a steady cowbell beat?

Classical Gas, Mason Williams

Another instrumental (I skipped over Paul Mauriat’s “Love Is Blue” also from 1968), and perhaps the best of them all from 1968.

Pictures of Matchstick Men, Status Quo

A classic example of psychedelic pop-rock. Liberal use of the Wah-Wah pedal and other effects. I was particularly fond of this song.

Harper Valley PTA, Jeannie C. Riley

One of a number of country music crossover hits from the era. This one caused a sensation. The late sixties were all about challenging the staid traditions and hypocrisies of the establishment culture.

Indian Reservation, Don Fardon

Way better than the later 1971 version done by the more famous Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Fire, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown

It is hard to describe the shock when first hearing this song. “I am the god of hellfire!” That’s how the song STARTS! In a time when it seemed like society and the whole world was literally burning down around us (the threat of nuclear war, race riots, political riots over the draft and the Vietnam war, drugs, free love, etc.), this wild ride of a song captured a dread felt by many and an ethic embraced by some).

In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Iron Butterfly

Okay, I won’t say this was one of my favs. But it was a significant song, in that it was one of the first apperances in mainstream pop music of what was considered at the time the dark side of rock. This is the single version, the album cut was much longer.

Piece of my Heart, Big Brother and the Holding Company (Janis Joplin)

Janis Joplin takes this song to an emotional edge nobody had ever heard before. The ultimate case of leaving it all on the stage. Again, note the the sense of being unhinged in the vocals and the guitar riffs. Very 1968.


1969 - The explosion continues

Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero, Rene and Rene

Alongside the world shaking music that was coming out in this era there were simple love songs like this one, which was exceptional on the pop charts in that it’s title and initial verses were done completely in Spanish.

Worst That Could Happen, Brooklyn Bridge

I guess I just like this song.

Will You Be Staying After Sunday, The Peppermint Rainbow

Good music. Endorsement of the music doesn’t mean I endorse it’s ethos, but that’s true of a lot of songs.

Love Can Make You Happy, Mercy

All was not strife and chaos. This song is a beautiful and relaxed celebration of lifelong love.

Israelites, Desmond Dekker

Music and lyrics born out of the poor streets of Jamaica, sometimes even described as reggae or ska.

In The Year 2525, Zager and Evans

Science fiction comes to sixties pop music with religious themes. People were questioning just where the world was headed, and this song painted a bleak picture if man’s course was not altered, a popular theme of the late sixties.

Color Him Father, The Winstons

I always loved this song. It is the heartwarming expression of a young man’s respect and gratefulness for the stepfather who saved his mother and himself, teaching him the value of responsibility, education, hard work and sacrifice in the process.

Polk Salad Annie, Tony Joe White

Rural Looosiana comes to the pop charts.

Get Together, The Youngbloods

An anthem of the era.

When I Die, Motherlode

Another song I truly love. A noble song about a young black man’s plea for his woman’s patience and love as he tries so hard to make it in a tough word.

Baby, It's You, Smith

A terrific late-60’s rock rendition of a song originally written by Burt Bacharach and performed by the early Beatles among others. This gal approaches Janis Joplin-level with her vocal intensity.

Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye, Steam

Familiar to more modern sports fans as a chant to mock the losing team. This was a huge song at the time.



Some good stuff here!

Eve of Destruction is a classic.  Green Tamborine was too bizarre for my 9-10 year old tastes.  I remember Harris releasing this version.  Always loved Classical Gas, even as a wee kid.  In-a-gadda-da-vida was terrible.  Too weird for my kiddy tastes then.   Zager and Evans are the poster children for one and done bands, aren't they?  Harper Valley PTA was clever, with just the right finish.  How many times did she sing that on '60's variety TV shows?  A goody.

You're taking me back, Daddy!


i have fond memories of waking up to deliver Seattle PIs with this song playing on my radio. As a 12 year old, never having been exposed to reggae, I simply had no idea what this song was, but I really dug it. In my mind it was a couple of quirky Jewish comedians singing it. A couple years ago I turned my son onto it, and he tried to talk his band mates into covering it.

Here's their one hit wonder, incidentally: http://youtu.be/1IQ6aSxpMP0


Yeah, I had the same reaction. Didn't really know what to make of it, but I liked it a lot. You remember how it was, when you listened to the radio there were three kinds of songs, all based on your reaction to the opening bars. The ones you instantly looked forward to hearing again, the ones that made you want to turn the radio off, and the rest of them that were somewhere in between. Most songs you knew what was coming within a few seconds, and I always wanted to hear "Israelites." 


There was a lot of great music back then. But for me, to be honest, there was one thing about Top 40 radio (which was all I listened to in the 60's, unfortunately. FM and album rock came later for me): Radio was something to listen to while waiting for the next Beatles release. They were always doing something new and interesting: Yesterday-Ticket to Ride-Day Tripper/We can Work it Out-Paperback Writer-Norweigan Wood/Michelle-Eleanor Rigby/Yellow Submarine-Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever-All You Need is Love-I am the Walrus/Hello Goodbye-Lady Madonna...building to their great masterpiece of 45rpm vinyl: Revolution/Hey Jude. Music was a scattered collection of songs until I made enough money to buy albums, and the Beatlles loomed over the AM radio scene. Whenever a new Beatles release came out, the DJs made a big deal about announcing it: "Stayed tuned until 3 PM when we play the new Beatles song!"



People who didn't live it have no idea of the breathlessly swift PACE of Beatles hits in those days. They literally tumbled out on top of each other, as if from an overfllowing cup of dice as compared to other artists the best of whom only had three or four dice at the time in their cups. The only ones remotely close to them in this respect in musical history were Bach, Mozart and Chopin.


Agreed on Ferdon and Indian Reservation, which was for many of us the initial exposure to the oppression of our nation on the Native Americans. It was more powerful when it sounded as if it were sung by an actual Cherokee ( which until now,always thought it was), and I wish they played his version of Indian Reservation as much as The Raiders's (featuring Mark Lindsay). It is interesting how some instrumentals became huge hits. "Love is Blue" dominated the airwaves in '68, to be followed by Yummy, Yummy, Yummy and the bubble gum rock explosion, during which the Ohio Express and 1910 Fruitgum Company fought for dominance until Don Kirschner's The Archies topped them all, putting bubble gum rock safely into Hanna Barbara Saturday morning cartoons, where it belonged (something to listen to while Shaggy and Scooby ran from ghosts).

That "I am the God of Hell fire!" song - I remember hearing an extended version once or twice in which the singer Arthur Brown explains the story behind the proclamation in poem. If you know and dig the song but never heard the prelude, you must do,so. Here it is: go to 3:49 http://youtu.be/OQEmvXFBY78


Thanks for the heads up. Never heard more than the radio (single) version of Arthur Brown. Listened to the album cut at the 3:49 point, it did give the song some kind of surrealistic context. Clearly a drug-scene experience, which was true of a number of songs in that era.

I'm really thankful I was not a drug scene participant. In the words of a Paul Revere and the Raiders lyric "that road goes nowhere" (from the song, "Kicks").

It's interesting, but I was pretty much limited to radio versions of songs until my last two years of high school, which were 1970-71 and 1971-72. My first albums were "Donovan's Greatest Hits," "The Doors," and the first two Three Dog Night albums, "Three Dog Night" and "Suitable For Framing."


My friend's sister had that album. I think Jennifer Juniper is just about the prettiest little song I've ever heard on the radio. I was a little too young to appreciate the "long version" of Light my Fire. Of course now it angers me when they play the shortened Top 40 version, like it probably did you back in '67.

"Kicks" for me meant the ABC Sports NBA Game of the Week was starting. Of course, it was always the Celtics, Knicks, 76ers or Lakers. Never the Sonics (when the Sonics finally made it, it was a home game and blacked out, naturally).

We were sufficently scared away from LSD by the anti-drug films they showed us in school, always of teenagers on bad trips, and thinking they could suddenly fly. Then Joe Friday and Dragnet came on TV and strengthneed the message. And of course, at my age, (coming back full circle here) Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man was simply a Hurdy Gurdy Man.


Re: Jennifer Juniper, totally on board with you on that. A lovely song in the truest and best sense of that adjective. To this day I have the entire album of Donovan's Greatest Hits in my music library and listen to it. How did you reacti when you first heard "Hurdy Gurdy Man," was it not unique and amazing?!

Re. NBA Game of  the Week, I lived in SoCal back then and was a huge Lakers fan, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor, then they added Wilt. Oh what fun it was.

Re: the messages given to teenagers back then, DEFINITELY stronger and more effective. In Drivers Ed we would get "blood and guts" movies much more graphic than any war movie of the era, and it truly WAS effective for many, though not for all. 


I was a big fan of that song. Donovan was quite the hippie troubadour. The song was also a harbinger of things to soon come: Studio professionals Jimmy Page and John Bonham played on it.


I'm about 10 years behind you, so I'm hoping you'll continue into the songs I was old enough to remember when first issued.  As it is, I'm enjoying your trip through time as you recount those which I only heard as re-runs.  Keep up the good work old man!  *ducks*


Thanks, Tuner, will do. No need to duck! Quack!

Listening right now to a song from James Taylor's first album, a bit of fun, funky rock called "Steamroller." I'd say Mr. Taylor was pretty big in the 1970's, by no means a one-hit wonder!


The original was not CSN - I believe it was an earlier group that included Stephen Stills (and Neil Young and Jim Messina) - the Buffalo Springfield.


You're absolutely right. Brain cramp here. The "supergroup" Crosby, Stills and Nash formed shortly after Buffalo Springfield broke up, adding David Crosby from The Byrds and Graham Nash from The Hollies.


Somehow I missed "They're Coming to Take me Away."  I remember it soon after the release (via juke box) but I really associate it with Dr. Demento's radio show. 

Good times.....

And Winchester Cathedral was on my Hit Parade as a 9-10 year old.  Man, I dug it.

Good times....


I couldn't get enough of this.  I had the album it was on and played it for 4 or 5 years. 

Man...this takes me back.  The Royal Guardsmen did a couple of other Snoopy themed popular songs (Snoopy's Christmas and Return of the Red Baron), nothing came close to this one.  I loved the beginning as a kid.  Haven't listed to in in 30 years, likely...and I still love it.


And here is Snoopy's Christmas.....I still love it:  Merry Christmas mein friend


And Return of the Red Baron:



Definitely remember that one, rick82.

I had to limit this list to a selection of "favs" because there's so many. It does look like the source list I used was incomplete, though. I have a couple of "pickups" from the 1960's I'm going to include in my next installment covering the first half of the 1970's.

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