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.
As Eurythmics, Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart charted 15 singles on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 between 1983’s No. 1 hit, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” and 1989’s Top 40 hit, “Don’t Ask Me Why” (a recent “song of the day” on this very blog). Well, would you believe they were involved with one of the (real) one-hit wonders of the 80s here in the U.S.? It’s true.
In 1975, five years before Eurythmics was formed in 1980, Annie and Dave met in a London restaurant where Annie was working at the time. In 1976, they played together in a Punk Rock band called The Catch, released a single in 1977, and then, later that year, the band formed into the London New Wave / Synthpop band, The Tourists.
The Tourists also featured singer / songwriter / guitarist Peet Coombes, bass guitarist Eddie Chin and drummer Jim Toomey. Between 1977 and 1980, The Tourists released three albums and six singles, four of which were U.K. Top 40 hits. The biggest of those hits came in the form of a cover (from their second album, REALITY EFFECT) of a popular 1963 Dusty Springfield song, “I Only Want To Be With You.”
The original version of “I Only Want To Be With You” was a big global hit, reaching No. 4 in the U.K., No. 6 in Australia and No. 12 here in America. In 1976, the Bay City Rollers also had a big hit with their cover, which reached the Top 10 in at least seven countries, and the same No. 12 peak here in America.
Three years after the Bay City Rollers version, The Tourists would release their own version, and yet again, it became a Top 10 U.K. hit, reaching No. 4, and in the process, matching the peak of each of the previous versions. It also reached No. 6 in Australia and No. 13 in Ireland.
The Tourists took their time reaching the American shores, but “I Only Want To Be With You” finally landed here in the Spring of 1980. It debuted on the Hot 100 in mid-May 1980 at No. 87, and stayed there for two weeks, before climbing to its peak position at No. 83 in its third week on the chart. It left the Hot 100 after just four weeks.
The song has been covered many times in over 50 years. Back in the 80s, it was also covered by the late, great Nicolette Larson (No. 53, 1982), Scottish vocalist Barbara Dickson (1982), The Flirts (1983), Southside Johnny & The Jukes (1986), and Samantha Fox even had a U.S. Top 40 hit with it in 1988.
Around the same time of its short American singles chart run, there was tension among The Tourists, and it was in an Australian hotel where Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart decided to part with the band and form as a duo. And the rest, as they say, is history, as was The Tourists.
Part of the tension within the band and for Annie and Dave involved creative differences between them and Peet Coombes, who, after the breakup of The Tourists, had years of alcohol and drug problems, and died at the young age of 45 in 1997. By that time, Annie and Dave had disbanded Eurythmics (and their friendship) for seven years, and in a way, maybe the death of their former Tourists bandmate brought Annie and Dave back together, and the result was their wonderful, critically-acclaimed and final album (so far), 1999’s PEACE.
I know, with their successful history as Eurythmics, it’s hard to think about Annie Lennox and David A. Stewart as (real) one-hit wonders, although David was actually a (real) one-hit wonder here in America in 1991, when he teamed up with Jazz saxophonist Candy Dulfer on the sweet No. 11 instrumental, “Lily Was Here” (originally released in late 1989).
But, for four (vacationing?) weeks on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 in 1980, the future Eurythmics were truly American (real) one-hit wonders…as Tourists…