Monday, March 12, 2007

The one-and-a-half hit wonder

If there is no such thing as a "one-and-a-half hit wonder," then we should invent the term to describe Brenton Wood.
His 1967 smash "Gimme Little Sign" raced to No. 9 in the pop charts, so catchy -- including the memorable organ break in the middle -- that it endures in the public consciousness. Sing a snatch of the song -- stop -- and the people you are with can pick up where you left off.
"Just gimme some kind of sign girl -- oh, my baby -- to me that you're mine, oh yeah."
Wood could be termed a "one-hit wonder" except for one important detail: "The Oogum Boogum Song."
"That's one of those songs that I know what it is, but I don't know who did it," said one of ROUTE 1's readers after I mentioned my current fascination with Brenton Wood.
"Oogum oogum boogum boogum boogum now baby you're castin' your spell on me."
"The Oogum Boogum Song" preceded "Gimme Little Sign" in the spring of 1967 -- 40 years ago!? -- and reached No. 19 on the R&B charts and a respectable No. 34 on the pop charts.
Although it was a big-enough hit at the time, one hardly hears it on oldies radio these days.
Perhaps that's why people of a certain age can only SOMEWHAT recall "The Oogum Boogum Song." It seems to have faded from public consciousness.
Does that faded notoriety make "The Oogum Boogum Song" any less of a classic?
I would argue that it remains a stellar, catchy, wonderful song.
So, while Brenton Wood really can't be called a "one-hit wonder," because of "The Oogum Boogum Song," that same song's slip from consciousness stops me short from calling Wood a "two-hit wonder."
So, doesn't that make him a "one-and-a-half-hit wonder?"
Are there any more "one-and-a-half-hit wonders" out there?
What about Dobie Gray? "Drift Away" is every bit as classic as "Gimme Little Sign." Did you remember his version of "The 'In' Crowd?"


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