Windy City One Hit Wonders

December 11, 2018
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Dimitris Kolyris | Dreamstime.com

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This week's Friday Feature is a day devoted to One Hit Wonders. Calling someone a One Hit Wonder sounds like a slam, but it's not. Let's face it, anyone can make a record, but not everyone can make a hit. Many artists have only had one shot at the spotlight and that's more than most.

Chicago has had it's fair share of artists who broke out of the confines of city to make their mark with that one hit that everyone, everywhere remembers.

One of the biggest local breakout hits of the 60's was from The Shadows Of Knight, who exploded out of the suburban teen club scene with a great garage punk version of Van Morrison's "Gloria". Van's original was deemed too suggestive for American radio, so The Arlington Heights band tweaked the lyric, added a great jangly guitar open and a snarly spelling of G-L-O-R-I-A  that brought it to #10 on the national charts. It also made many 60's neighborhood kids take guitar lessons.

The Ides of March are without a doubt the biggest band to come out of Berwyn.  Although they already had a song on WLS, “You Wouldn’t Listen”,

It was “Vehicle” that took the band wherever they wanted to go. The atomic blast of brass intro, the driving guitar solo and Jim Peterick’s gritty vocal made the song the fastest selling single in Warner Brothers history and shot it to # 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970.  Vehicle has become timeless. It’s been used in commercials, TV shows and movies.  Peterick would go on to be a double One Hit Wonder with Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger”. That was huge too. Just ask Rocky.

Maybe the ultimate Chicago One Hit Wonders were the Bears Shufflin' Crew. They never followed up the song up the song and they never returned to the Super Bowl either. Double One Hit Wonder! But what a blast Chicago had with the Super Bowl Shuffle. ,Sweetness, Samurai Mike, the Punky QB and mama's Boy Otis  lit the city on fire and the old school rap song spread nationally to chart on the  Billboard 100. Maybe it was an audacious boast seeintg they recorded the day after their only loss of the season, but they weren't looking for trouble, they were just here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle

Ok, maybe "Hey Rocky"  wasn't really a big hit, but we played it on XRT and I gave it a lotta play when I was club spinning. It was a production that came out of Chicago's Trax Studio in 1986 during the beginnings of the House Music Scene. It's the only song ever credited to Boris Badenough and it may be the only song with Rocky and Bullwinkle you can dance to. That makes it a One Hit Wonder To Me.