The 10 happiest, sunniest one-hit wonders of the 1970s
Ain't no stopping these magic afternoon delights.
Image: The Everett Collection
At the dawn of the Seventies, at the 1970 Grammy Awards ceremony, the 5th Dimension took home the trophy for Record of the Year thanks to its hit "Let the Sunshine In." It set the tone for pop music to follow. Soon, the Brady Bunch was singing "It's a Sunshine Day." Terry Jacks took "Seasons in the Sun" to the top of the charts.
If you're looking for sunshiny music, the 1970s have it.
The following acts might have only scored one huge hit, but their tunes kept putting smiles on our faces for decades. Feel the groove with the 10 happiest one-hit wonders of the decade.
1. McFadden & Whitehead "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now"
This Philadelphia soul duo closed out the decade with an inspirational groove. "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" topped the R&B charts in 1979 and boogied up to No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was subsequently used as a theme song by the Phillies, Eagles and 76ers.
2. King Harvest "Dancing in the Moonlight"
A group of American ex-pats living in Paris, King Harvest covered an obscure song by Boffalongo called "Dancing in the Moonlight" in 1972. It also peaked at No. 13. Songwriter Sherman Kelly explained in his website, "I envisioned an alternate reality, the dream of a peaceful and joyful celebration of life."
3. Starland Vocal Band "Afternoon Delight"
The comedy Anchorman revived the giddy pleasure of singing along to this ray of Seventies sunshine. This D.C. band, signed to John Denver's label, infamously won the Grammy for Best New Artist… and failed to score another big hit. Starland Vocal Band did host its own variety show on CBS in 1977. In the summertime, naturally.
4. The Hillside Singers "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing"
Yes, the song from the Coca-Cola commercial (and, more recently, the series finale of Mad Men). In fact, the "Hillside Singers" were a group of folkies assembled by the advertising agency McCann Erickson. The Singers included the wife and daughter of producer Al Ham. The song went to… No. 13!
5. Hot Butter "Popcorn"
Who needs lyrics to tell you how to feel? This bubbly instrumental puts a pep in your step with its percolating Moog synthesizers. It sounded like the future then — while still somehow bringing to mind amusement park rides from the ragtime era.
6. Apollo 100 "Joy"
Talk about oldies! This British instrumental act looked all the way back to the '20s — the 1720s. This funky version of Johann Sebastian Bach's 1723 composition "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" soared to No. 6 on the Hot 100 in 1972. The Ventures recorded a version of the tune, too, which manages to scratch the bottom of the charts.
7. Pilot "Magic"
According to David Paton, lead singer for Scottish foursome Pilot, the inspiration for "Magic" came from watching the sunrise over a hill in Edinburgh. With it's "Oh, ho, ho!" intro, this dandelion of a ditty became one of the soft-rock standards of the decade. It was most successful in Canada, where it went to No. 1. Canadians are such nice people.
8. Pratt & McClain "Happy Days"
Seventies pop music was so upbeat, even TV theme songs became huge hits. "Happy Days" replaced Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" as the opening to Happy Days following the show's first season. Lyrics like "Goodbye grey sky, hello blue!" captured the warm and fuzzy Fifties nostalgia while keeping things as Seventies as possible.
9. Cyndi Grecco "Making Our Dreams Come True (Theme From Laverne & Shirley)"
"Happy Days" was such a smash, even its spin-off theme song became a Top 40 hit! Grecco later recorded the lesser-known theme to Blansky's Beauties, the lesser-known spin-off of Happy Days. Her TV tunes let to a full album, but her disco cut "Dancing, Dancing" failed to chart. No worries, "Making Our Dreams Come True" always makes us skip down the sidewalk like Laverne and Shirley!
10. Cheryl Lynn "Got to Be Real"
Slap-bass and handclaps — two ingredients that never fail to perk up your spirits. Lynn had previously performed as the Wicked Witch of the West in the touring company of The Wiz, but "Got to Be Real" is a pure yellow brick road. She also once earned a perfect score on The Gong Show for her singing.