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.
One of my best friends, Hope, got this song stuck in my head the other day and I thought, in order to get it out of my head (and into the heads of other folks!) is to highlight it as the (real) one-hit wonder of the week. So, here you are!
The Timex Social Club was an R&B / Post-Disco band from Berkeley, California, formed in 1982 as the Timex Crew. They stayed that way until 1986, when lineup changes prompted the band to call themselves the Timex Social Club.
The band released just one album, VICIOUS RUMORS, in 1986, which included R&B hits “Thinkin’ About Ya,” “Mixed Up World” and the first single, “Rumors.” And it was “Rumors” that, for many months in 1986, made Timex Social Club a household name and a hit on the dance floor and then some.
“Rumors” debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 in mid-June 1986, and made a steady climb up the chart before spending two non-consecutive weeks at No. 8 in August 1986. It stayed on the Hot 100 for 19 weeks, was ranked as one of the 100 biggest songs of 1986 here in America, and was the only Hot 100 hit the band would have.
On BILLBOARD’s R&B chart, “Rumors” spent two weeks at No. 1, and three weeks at No. 1 on BILLBOARD’s Dance chart. Around the globe, “Rumors” was a Top 10 hit in Holland, Ireland, Italy and New Zealand, and a Top 20 hit in the U.K., Belgium, Germany. In Canada, “Rumors” spent five weeks at No. 2.
With the success from “Rumors,” Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons hired the Timex Social Club as the opening act on Run-DMC’s RAISING HELL tour for 38 dates in 1986. Other acts performing on that tour included Beastie Boys and LL Cool J. The band also opened up for acts like New Edition, Kool & The Gang and Jermaine Jackson. But, it didn’t last.
Not long after the success of “Rumors,” the Timex Social Club broke up, and the band’s producer, Jay King, went on to form Club Nouveau, a Sacramento, California Pop / Dance / R&B band. That band’s debut album, LIFE, LOVE & PAIN, was released in December 1986, became a Platinum-selling album, and gave the band a No. 1 song in March 1987 with a funky cover of Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me.”
That album’s first single, “Jealousy,” a No. 8 hit on BILLBOARD’s R&B chart, was released in response to “Rumors” and references the split of Timex Social Club. (“I tried to help some friends / To help themselves / To get their lives intact / They came out spreading rumors / Now I have to come out spreading facts…”) Even the font of the Club Nouveau album and singles titles and artwork are similar to that of the Timex Social Club.
You know, when it comes to rumors, I don’t care to hear anything about Trump or the fake news nonsense that’s polluting the airwaves. The only rumors (or rumours, depending on where you’re reading this) that I want to hear about are either by Fleetwood Mac, Graham Parker And The Rumour, “Blasphemous Rumours” by Depeche Mode, “Rumour” by Bel Canto, “Rumours Of War” by Billy Bragg, Adele’s “Rumour Has It” or “Rumors” by Timex Social Club! Stop…spreading…those…rumors around!