The Friday 5×2: A Baker’s Dozen of One-Hit Wonders from 1971

Usually, I get these finished and leave them in the queue by about midweek, but I stopped before I got this done, figuring “I’ll do it Thursday.” Well, aquatic therapy left me so tired and sore I didn’t feel like writing yesterday, so I’m just working on this today. I have a Pocket queue full of posts to comment on, too. I’ll get to everything, promise.

Anyway, today I’d like to look at the thirteen one-hit wonders from 1971, which was a significant year for me for many reasons. I was going to stop at ten, but there were three songs I really didn’t want to do but thought I should, so I added them. Ergo, thirteen. Cathy Kennedy covered the #1’s from the early Seventies; these are the #2-#10’s.

  1. The Free Movement, “I’ve Found Someone Of My Own” This song was on the charts for twenty-four weeks, peaking at #5 on brother Kip’s 13th birthday (November 13, 1971). The Free Movement were a Los Angeles-based sextet that, soon after this record (on Decca Records) became a hit, signed with Columbia Records and recorded a full album, but would never again know the success they had with this one. Too bad, too: they were pretty smooth.
  2. The Undisputed Truth, “Smiling Faces Sometimes” This record peaked at #3 on September 4, 1971. This was a trio assembled by Norman Whitfield of Motown Records so he could practice his “psychedelic soul” production techniques. They had a few more hits on the R&B charts through the early Seventies.
  3. Jean Knight, “Mr. Big Stuff” Peaked at #2 on August 14. Jean, born Jean Caliste in New Orleans, recorded this for Memphis’s Stax Records, another great R&B label, and had another Top 40 single on the R&B chart (“You Think You’re Hot Stuff,” that peaked at #19 later in ’71).
  4. Daddy Dewdrop, “Chick-A-Boom (Don’t Ya Jes’ Love It)” Peaked at #9 on May 8. Songwriter Richard (Dick) Monda went undercover as Daddy Dewdrop to record this one, and probably wishes he had stayed undercover.
  5. The Bells, “Stay Awhile” Reached #7 on May 1. The Bells were from Montreal and had some success in Canada, but this is their one song that crossed the border.
  6. Ocean, “Put Your Hand In The Hand” Reached #2 on May 1. Gospel rockers Ocean were a Canadian band whose first album, recorded on the Yorkville label, was picked up by Kama Sutra Records, which, if you think about it, is somewhat incongruous.
  7. Brewer & Shipley, “One Toke Over The Line” Peaked at #10 on April 10. Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley had a pretty impressive catalog of folk-rock and country-rock songs, and evidently are still together performing. They charted again with “Tarkio Road” which never reached the Top 40.
  8. Sammi Smith, “Help Me Make It Through The Night” Peaked at #8 on March 27. Sammi was a country singer who had several other hits on the country charts, but just the one crossover hit.
  9. Wadsworth Mansion, “Sweet Mary” Peaked at #7on February 27. Wadsworth Mansion, also known as Wadsworth Family Mansion, were from Providence, Rhode Island that released two other singles after this, neither of which cracked the Hot 100, but they stayed together until 1982.
  10. Lynn Anderson, “(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden” Peaked at #3 on February 13. Ms. Anderson was another popular country singer with a number of hits on that chart, but this was her one crossover hit.
  11. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, “Mr. Bojangles” Peaked at #9 on February 20. The NGDB has been around in one form or another for over 50 years, and is probably best known for their two Will The Circle Be Unbroken albums. This is a cover of Jerry Jeff Walker’s song; my favorite cover is Sammy Davis Jr.’s.
  12. Tom Clay, “What The World Needs Now Is Love (Abraham, Martin and John)” Peaked at #8 on August 14. Tom Clay was a radio personality who took the two songs and added clips from speeches by Martin Luther King and John and Robert Kennedy.
  13. Les Crane, “Desiderata” Peaked at #8 on December 4. Crane was a radio announcer and TV show host who was once married to Tina Louise of Gilligan’s Island fame.

And that’s your Friday 5×2 (plus three) for November 17, 2017.

6 thoughts on “The Friday 5×2: A Baker’s Dozen of One-Hit Wonders from 1971

  1. Thanks for the shout out. I don’t think of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band as one hit wonders, but I suppose 1972 will yield Brandy, the Theme from Shaft, Drift Away, and Alone Again (Naturally), all by artists who technically speaking had other hits. Can’t wait for next week!


    1. A lot of one-hit wonders were very successful outside the US or on different charts (R&B, country, adult contemporary, easy listening). For that matter, what’s a 1hw on the Billboard Hot 100 might not be on Cash Box, or in specific markets. The Looking Glass had another single, “Jimmy Loves Maryann,” that was a Top 10 hit in Chicago. The Ides of March is considered a 1hw (1970, “Vehicle”) but had “LA Goodbye” which again was popular in Chicago. Stax Records owes much of its success to Isaac Hayes, who had a few hits on the R&B chart. Don’t forget Dobie Gray also had a hit with “The In Crowd” (but not as big of one as Ramsey Lewis), and Gilbert O’Sullivan had a bunch of songs that went pretty high on the Top 40 chart. But there’s a bunch of others from ’72, so stay tuned…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can recall hearing all of these in the past, some more than others. A couple I’ve never heard again since hearing them back in the seventies. Nothing here that I ever purchased for my own music library other than Nitty Gritty Dirt Band–I used to listen to them a good bit and still have a couple of their CDs in my collection.

    Tossing It Out


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