No awards show build-up is complete without some snarking about winners past, and MSN.com’s wide world of marginally useful sites are always a good place to look for these “Worst Oscar Nominees” and “Where Is the Best New Artist Now” type lists. They didn’t disappoint on the eve of this year’s Grammy awards, trotting out a Remember These Grammy-Winning One-Hit Wonders? for the occasion.
Such lists are always subjective, and this one’s no exception. There were a few solid picks — I had to look up the Baha Men, so far have they fallen into obscurity — along with a few head-scratchers. Here are three that puzzled me:
By no definition could Bruce Hornsby be called a one-hit wonder. Hornsby’s been on the Billboard charts eleven times, in all; “The Way It Is” was followed by “Mandolin Rain,” which peaked at #4, “Every Little Kiss,” which peaked at #14. This, of course, is not counting Hornsby’s charting albums — an important distinction to make, considering that Hornsby has always been more an album artist than a singles artist. It’s not unlike calling the Grateful Dead one-hit wonders — yes, “Touch of Grey” was the band’s only charting single.
If a #1 chart position is the criteria for this list, 1992’s Best New Artist, Marc Cohn, isn’t even a one-hit wonder. He never reached #1, either on the albums chart or with “Walking in Memphis,” the song for which the author assumes he was nominated. Like Hornsby, though, Cohn is known as more of an albums artist — he’s had four albums chart on Billboard’s Top 200. He’s also charted several times with greatest hits collections, the ultimate irony, all things considered.
It could be just that I love Jamiroquai, but this inclusion offends me. To be sure, the band (or auteur Jay Kay, more like) is not a one-hit wonder; they’ve had songs and albums chart on no less than 14 Billboard charts, ranging from “Adult Pop” to “Dance/Electronic Albums” to “Hot R&B/Hip Hop.” Chalk this one up to xenophobia — Jamiroquai was never as popular in the U.S. as in Europe and Asia (big in Japan, for real).
Clearly Bruce Hornsby, Marc Cohn and Jamiroquai fail the one-hit wonder test — the question is why these three were included on this list when far more deserving artists were neglected. In that spirit, here’s a list of artists, a few of which won the Grammy for Best New Artist in the past. See if you can spot the winners:
The Swingle Singers
Starland Vocal Band
A Taste of Honey
The Neon Philharmonic
Soul II Soul