Between late 1979 and the end of 1989, there were nearly 500 (real) one-hit wonders of the 80s that reached the BILLBOARD Hot 100 just one time, a list that includes Soft Cell, Gary Numan, Timbuk 3, The Church, Bronski Beat, Nik Kershaw, The Buggles, The Waitresses, Ultravox and two different bands named The Silencers. Once a week, I’ll highlight a (real) one-hit wonder for you.
London Alt-Rock / Pop-Punk suburbanites Transvision Vamp were around for 5 years, starting in 1986, and didn’t catch my ear until many years later. They released 3 albums, and between 1987 and 1991, they had 10 U.K. chart singles, led by 1989’s “Baby I Don’t Care” (No. 3) and 1988’s “I Want Your Love” (No. 5; not to be confused with the 1979 Chic hit).
From their debut album, POP ART, “Tell That Girl To Shut Up” was actually a cover of a 1980 song by Holly And The Italians, written by Chicago’s Holly Beth Vincent, a musician / songwriter / actor and then some, who did a 1982 cover of Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe” with Joey Ramone (I’ve GOT to hear that!), who filled in as lead singer of The Waitresses for a few weeks in 1984, and who worked on the side project Vowel Movement with Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano in 1995. SIDE NOTE: Holly Vincent was also the subject of the excellent 1980 Dire Straits song, “Romeo & Juliet.” That song was about the failed relationship between Holly Vincent and Mark Knopfler.
“Tell That Girl To Shut Up” was the POP ART’s second single, and just missed the Top 40 in the U.K. and in Australia. Here in the U.S., it was their only BILLBOARD Hot 100 single, spending 3 weeks on the chart, stopping at No. 87 in October 1988. Over on the then-new BILLBOARD Modern Rock chart, “Tell That Girl To Shut Up” fared much better, reaching No. 9.
This song is a lot of fun, and I enjoy listening to it and playing it on the show whenever I can…