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.
On Sunday, 1.29.2017, my awesome and talented WMPG radio neighbor, DJ SHAXX, and I will be teaming up for a second installment in celebrating the 12-inch single, extended remixes and even mash-ups on a show that we are calling 12inchTHROWDOWN Redux!
With outlets like You Tube, mash-ups are becoming more commonplace than ever before. Mash-up covers are a bit more rare but they do exist. It’s been done on the TV show GLEE many times (their Season 3 mash-up cover of Adele’s “Rumour Has It” and “Someone Like You” has sold almost 500,000 digital copies and charted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 higher than Adele’s original version of “Rumour Has It”).
For their 2011 album, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, the kick-ass Experimental Music band out of Columbus, Ohio, The Evolution Control Committee, completely reworked Harold Faltermeyer’s “Axel F” by brilliantly constructing it solely using Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit,” and called the mash-up cover “Fockit.
In 2003, British musician and producer Richard X teamed up with the English / Irish Pop band, Liberty X, on a genius cover of Rufus & Chaka Khan’s 1983 gem, “Ain’t Nobody,” backed with the instrumental music of Human League’s 1978 / 1982 Synthpop classic, “Being Boiled.” The mash-up cover “Being Nobody” actually ended up “being” a Top 10 hit in both the U.K. and Ireland.
Rewinding back to 1983, the year of Michael Jackson, mash-up covers were almost unheard of (not counting 1981’s “Medley” by Stars On 45 or 1982’s “Hooked On Classics” by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra). But, the Italian Dance group Club House pulled it off, reworking the beat of Michael Jackson’s huge No. 1 hit, “Billie Jean” (from earlier that year), into the lyrics of Steely Dan’s Top 10 hit from 1972, “Do It Again.”
The imaginative “Do It Again (Medley With Billie Jean)” debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 at No. 89 in late August 1983, while Michael Jackson himself was climbing up the chart with THRILLER’s fifth single, “Human Nature,” and moving down the Hot 100 with THRILLER’s fourth single, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”
A few weeks later, “Do It Again / Billie Jean” spent a week at its peak position of No. 75, and was gone from the Hot 100 after just five weeks. Though Club House would continue to release singles through 1997 (their 1990 hit, “Deep In My Heart,” spent a week at No. 1 on BILLBOARD’s Dance chart), the band would never grace the Hot 100 again.
“Do It Again / Billie Jean” was, however, a popular hit in Europe, reaching the Top 10 in Belgium, Holland and Ireland, and it peaked at a respectable No. 11 on the U.K. singles chart. It was also a Top 40 hit in Poland and New Zealand.
Sometime after Club House’s mash-up cover was released, the short-lived Detroit Dance band, Slingshot, took Club House’s medley (matching it beat-for-beat), and the exact same week in August 1983 in which Club House debuted on the Hot 100 with their “Do It Again (Medley With Billie Jean),” Slingshot reached No. 1 on BILLBOARD’s Dance chart with their version. All these years later, I can’t tell the two versions apart.
But, it was Club House’s version of “Do It Again (Medley With Billie Jean)” that was released first, and that’s the version which has stuck with me all these years, and it’s the version I plan on playing during the 12inchTHROWDOWN Redux. Plus, it’s one of the (real) one-hit wonders of the 80s, so, consider that a bonus for this chart nerd…