Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rating Game Redux 41: Sometimes, Once Is Enough

Pretty straightforward Rating Game category this Thursday for our local paper: Three Best One-Hit Wonders. As usual, three is not enough--but with these artists, I'll make exceptions.

"They’re Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Ha" (Napoleon XIV)

Not a great song, but, given the controversy surrounding Ben Stiller’s “Simple Jack” character in Tropic Thunder, I thought I’d remind everyone of a similar storm back in the mid-‘60s over this tune, which features a scorned lover who suffers a mental breakdown after his girl (“that mangy mutt”) leaves him, and he is carted off to the “happy home.” The tune was banned after its initial release. (The 45 itself was interesting: The B-side was the A-side in reverse, from the label to the song itself.)

"96 Tears" (? and the Mysterians)

Simple rocking rave-up, the quintessential one-hit wonder by the best-named band ever.

"Spirit in the Sky" (Norman Greenbaum)

A perfect hybrid: psychedelic blues in the service of a gospel tune with fuzz and feedback.

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