8 one-hit wonders from 1989 you probably forgot about except for that Edie Brickell song

Brace yourself for some saxophone solos…

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When it comes to the topic of pop-music flashes-in-the-pan, the marvelous thing about 1989 is not the number of one-hit wonders (there are not many of them, really) but the sheer number of two-hit wonders. There is an entire list to be made out of musicians who scored two massive hits that year. Acts like Tone Lōc ("Wild Thing" and "Funky Cold Medina"), Young MC ("Bust a Move" and "Principal's Office"), Soul II Soul ("Back to Life" and "Keep on Movin'") and Great White ("Once Bitten, Twice Shy" and "The Angel Song") come to mind.

But today we're talking one-hit wonders. The following songs still get play today, three decades later. Even if you don't recognize the name, the tune probably strikes a familiar chord. Because these songs were pretty huge. Which melody sticks in your head the most?

1. The Jeff Healey Band - "Angel Eyes"


Patrick Swayze was a secret hitmaker of the 1980s. The actor, of course, belted out his own power ballad, "She's Like the Wind," one of the smash tracks from the blockbuster Dirty Dancing. His follow-up punchfest Road House spawned hits, too. Canadian blues rocker Jeff Healey was featured prominently in the masculine love tale. Healey converted that currency into a hit of his own, "Angel Eyes," which sounds like something from a Swayze movie.

2. Was (Not Was) - "Walk the Dinosaur"


Before he became the de facto producer of all Rolling Stones late-career albums, bassist Don Was flexed his funk muscles in this quirky act. "Walk the Dinosaur" married synthetic boogie to Flintstones imagery. In this peak era of MTV, girls dressed up as Pebbles probably led to just as much airplay as the infection "Boom-boom-akak-laka-boom-boom" refrain. Was (Not Was) did technically have another chart success at the time, "Spy in the House of Love," but YouTube spins (a measly 127,000) prove that is largely forgotten. "Walk the Dinosaur" was originally released in 1987 but managed to peak in the U.S. in the spring of '89.

3. Love and Rockets - "So Alive"


With former members of goth pioneer Bauhaus and a band name lifted from a beloved indie comic book, Love and Rockets have underground cred that carried far beyond one-hit-wonderdom. But the fact remains that despite critical acclaim for its first four albums, the English act only briefly crossed over into the mainstream with this midtempo cut, which, er, rocketed all the way to No. 3 on the Hot 100.

4. Deon Estus - "Heaven Help Me"


How does a session bass player best known for working on Wham! and George Michael albums land a No. 5 hit? It's pretty simple, really. He convinced his pal George Michael to sing backup on the tune. Most probably thought of this as a George Michael release. It wasn't — just another moment in the sun for a studio bass player in '89.

5. Edie Brickell & New Bohemians - "What I Am"


Nineties fashion begins here. Looking at the video — with its long hair, baggy denim and tie-dye — one could easily confuse it with something from the Seattle scene, circa 1993. Really, "New Bohemians" could describe most of the grunge look. "Choke me in the shallow water before I get too deep," could easily pass for Nirvana or Pearl Jam lyrics. In the mouth of Edie Brickell, however, it was pure cream for coffeehouses. Released at the tail-end of '88, this ditty peaked in March '89, climbing to No. 7. Brickell would later marry Paul Simon.

6. When in Rome - "The Promise"


If Edie Brickell heralded the arrival of Nineties styles, When in Rome proved the synth-pop Eighties still had legs. There's some reason for the ultra-John-Hughes-iness of this tune — it was originally released in 1987. It would peak on the charts at the dawn of '89, however. Years later, this New Order and Tears for Fears clone appeared at the end of the cult comedy Napoleon Dynamite.

7. Boy Meets Girl - "Waiting for a Star to Fall"


Not to be confused with the sitcoms Boy Meets World or Girl Meets World, Boy Meets Girl was the songwriting duo George Merrill and singer Shannon Rubicam. This song soared to No. 5 but it was hardly the biggest hit to come from the minds of the pop twosome. Merrill and Rubicam penned the Whitney Houston juggernauts "How Will I Know" and "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)." That would likely explain how they got a record deal of their own. 

8. Sheriff - "When I'm With You"


This Canadian-born power ballad was not particularly weird in and of itself — it got lighters and hair in the air in a manner similar to Whitesnake, Winger and whatnot — but there is one fascinating fact that makes it stand out. "When I'm with You" made all the way to the top of the charts in 1989… without a music video. That was unheard of in the prime of the MTV era. Perhaps they should throw one together on YouTube now.This Canadian-born power ballad was not particularly weird in and of itself — it got lighters and hair in the air in a manner similar to Whitesnake, Winger and whatnot — but there is one fascinating fact that makes it stand out. "When I'm with You" made all the way to the top of the charts in 1989… without a music video. That was unheard of in the prime of the MTV era. Perhaps they should throw one together on YouTube now.

SEE MORE: 10 supersonic, hot-hot-hot one-hit wonders from 1988

Don't worry, you'll be happy to hear these again. READ MORE

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TCKirkham 15 days ago
Ok, chart geek rearing his head again - just for the record, Boy Meets Girl are NOT a one hit wonder. Although "Waiting For A Star To Fall", one of the coolest songs EVER, was a huge hit in late 1988 and early 1989, it was NOT their first top 40 hit - the duo first hit the chart four years earlier, with the hit single "Oh Girl", from their self titled debut album - it peaked at #39, but it still hit the top 40 (and was a GREAT song). They also just missed the top 40 with "Waiting"s follow up "Bring Down The Moon" which hit #49 a few months later. And just for the record, why does MeTV's music columns have to be so darn snarky? Just because some people forget about hits doean't mean everyone does, you know...the comments about "Spy In The House Of Love" by Was (Not Was) in the "Walk The Dinosaur" write up is just snark for snark's sake - not every hit is going to rack up tens of millions of YouTube hits...and the fact that a minor hit like that has over 100K hits on YouTube is pretty darn impressive to me...so there...anna see more goofy music stuff? Check out my website, The Kirkham Report, it's FULL of off the wall charts and observations - http://thekirkhamreport.com !
Sooner 25 days ago
When music was well on it's way to death.
AlF 25 days ago
Hm. Now I look closer, Edie Brickell bears a bit of a resemblance to Nicolette Larson... Had a lotta love for her music...
thedude1500 AlF 25 days ago
Lawson learned her big hit as the back-up singer for the Neil Young and Crazy Horse
AlF 25 days ago
Edie Brickell! All it! Then married old man Simon, and we never heard from her again... Man, they disappear quickly!
dth1971 25 days ago
"When I'm With You" by Sheriff was first a mid chart song in Spring 1983.
Me 27 days ago
Must be a non-music person who wrote this. Several of these are not "one hit" artists.
Amalthea 27 days ago
"Angel Eyes" is OK, but his take on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is SO sexy! And "Walk the Dinosaur" is a personal favorite. "I felt a little tired so I watched Miami Vice" indeed!
jholton30062 Amalthea 18 days ago
"Angel Eyes" is not the song I think of when I think of Jeff Healey.
harlow1313 27 days ago
I hear "The Promise" and I think "Napoleon Dynamite."

I think dynamite, and I think "Dy-no-mite!" (Please shoot me)
stephaniestavropoulos 27 days ago
Why did METV repeat themselves about Sheriff? Did the boys in the band pay them to do so? I don't think I've ever noticed them {METV} ever having done this before. Maybe they just like to "hear" themselves "talk." FTR {For The Record, no pun intended;} I don't recall hearing any of these songs before. That's not to say if I hear them, I won't recognize them, cuz that sometimes happens. I won't immediately recognize it from its title, but once I hear it, I do.
UTZAAKE 27 days ago
1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT-D75P9-EE&list=OLAK5uy_lYHxRZszhMGbu3g6IiNF572Pzrj14uhFI&index=8&t=0s
2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2kUCGa9394
3. Still played a lot on Chicago's WXRT-FM.
5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMO-DP628qM (Edie Brickell solo)
You must be "headquartered" in northeast Illinois since you mentioned WXRT FM 93.1 on your radio dial. Back in the day, when I listened to the radio I would "station surf" {similar to channel surf, only on the radio.} The first {and only} dj from that station that came to mind [when you mentioned WXRT,] was Terri Hemmert. She was a well known {I think she is still working there, she just recently cut back her hours. She is 71.} She is and popular fixture at the station. She was one of the more popular djs in the Chicago market, and she was the first female drive time slot dj in Chicago. As I started to say, when I would station surf, I would catch her show, {I think it aired on Sunday nights,} she did about the Beatles. She was extremely knowledgeable about them.
Yep, still stuck in northeast Illinois. Terri Hemmert still has weekdays 10 AM-1 PM and Breakfast with The Beatles on Sunday mornings 8 AM-10 AM. https://wxrt.radio.com/shows/show-schedule
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