13 smooth and groovy one-hit wonders of 1978
These overlooked gems will have any hot child in the city singing disco chants.
The Bee Gees were titans in 1978. The Gibbs were responsible for eight chart topping hits that year. The trio — along with Grease — dominated the charts to such an extent that there was hardly room for anyone else. Still, big names like Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Billy Joel and Wings managed to score their smash hits.
And then there were the little guys. Remember, this was the peak of the disco era, not to mention the crest of the soft-rock wave. One-hit wonders of the day were responsible for some great golden-glow ballads, glam gems and super funky dance cuts.
Let's dig through the Billboard charts of 1978 for the overlooked hits of the year.
1. City Boy - "126.96.36.199."
A few years before Tommy Tutone dialing up Jenny at "867-5309," this British rock act was punching "5705" into its phone to no avail. This harmony-rich precusor to hair rock peaked at No. 27 and spent a dozen weeks on the Hot 100.
2. Clout - "Substitute"
With a bikini bottom in its logo, this all-female South African fivesome blended ABBA's pop knack with Heart's riffage. No, this is not a Who cover, but rather a heartbroken plea to a man named Sam set to an infectious strut. The tune spent 10 weeks on the lower reaches of the Hot 100.
3. Eruption - "I Can't Stand the Rain"
An English disco act with roots in the Caribbean and Africa, Eruption gave Ann Peebles' famous hit a funky remake. It peaked at No. 18 and spent nearly half a year on the charts. Years later, "I Can't Stand the Rain" would continue to offer gold, as it formed the basis of Missy Elliott's "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)."
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4. Nick Gilder - "Hot Child in the City"
Perhaps the most famous song on this list, "Hot Child" soared all the way to No. 1. With his falsetto, the Canadian singer bridged the gap between glam and new-wave with this sleek, noctural rocker. Though he would prove to be a star north of the border, Gilder struggled to repeat this success in the States.
5. High Inergy - "You Can't Turn Me Off (in the Middle of Turning Me On)"
"Don't tease me / Please, please me," this Motown act politely begged. Starting off as sparkling soft-pop, the song picks up into a crisp strut. The tune climbed to No. 12.
6. The McCrarys - "You"
Stevie Wonder's unmistakable harmonica work helped send this R&B act up the charts, though it ran out of gas just outside the Top 40.
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7. Odyssey - "Native New Yorker"
"You're no tramp, but you're no lady / Talking that street talk." So went this Big Apple anthem. The disco number, which sounds a bit like the Hill Street Blues theme, climbed to No. 12.
8. Rubicon - "I'm Gonna Take Care of Everything"
That album cover screams heavy metal, but this California act — featuring members of Night Ranger and Sly & The Family Stone — fattened up its pillowy soft-rock with thick synthesizer. The spring hit peaked at No. 28.
9. Stargard - "Theme Song from Which Way Is Up"
So funky it's "fonky," this theme from Richard Pryor's 1977 film featured bubbling synthesizer and robotic talk-box. The single reached No. 22, and its B-side, "Disco Rufus," got some play, too.
10. Stonebolt - "I Will Still Love You"
This British Columbian rock troupe imagined a rather severe astronomical apocalypse in its love song, which offers its undying love even beyond the point that "the moon disappears forever and the sun shines electric blue." Cheesier than poutine, this Canadian ballad went to No. 29 in America.
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11. Toby Beau - "My Angel Baby"
A poor man's Pablo Cruise, this Texas act, which can also be confused with a man's name, rode the warm glow of its love song all the way to No. 13. It was undoubtedly heard during couples' skate at your local roller rink.
12. Karen Young - "Hot Shot"
Young belted disco like it was the blues, and her lone hit, "Hot Shot," reached just No. 67 on the Hot 100, but it remains a classic of the dance floor. Daft Punk sampled it.
13. The Michael Zager Band - "Let's All Chant"
Speaking of sampling, this gloriously fun disco novelty has been repeatedly mined over the years. A nightclub choir implores, "Your body, my body, everybody work your body," while a piano ace shows off on his keyboards. The song peaked at No. 36.