Warning: if you read this piece, you’ll have ‘Save Tonight’ in your head forever. We’ve tracked down 35 90s one-hit wonders to find out what they’re up to now, starting with Rednex and ‘Cotton Eyed Joe’. Where did they come from, where did they go? Answer a) Sweden and b) they sold themselves on eBay in 2007. You heard! After that the trail goes cold, the poor pretend redneck fools.
Stiltskin – ‘Inside’
Many can remember flinging their popcorn in the air in pure joy upon hearing this track soundtracking the then latest Levi’s ad. “Is it the Smashing Pumpkins?” we all cried. It wasn’t, and the actual record – with the singing on top – was pish. Vocalist Ray Wilson joined Genesis for a short time as Phil Collins replacement, and is still a solo singer.
Ini Kamoze – ‘Hotstepper’
Ini Kamoze had been a Jamaican dancehall star since 1981, but it was ‘Hotstepper’ released in 1995 that made him a massive. What’s Cecil Campbell up to now? According to his official Twitter profile, the 57-year-old “is not known for posing as this year’s pin-up gangsta model but his presence is charismatic and the music is as real as ever.”
Stereo MCs – ‘Connected’
After 2002’s ‘Connected’, Stereo MCs went AWOL for more than a decade with the record buying public wondering whatever happened to them. Since around 2005 they’ve been releasing albums sporadically, and recorded a track with, of all people, Jamie Cullum called ‘Boy’ in 2011.
Lisa Loeb – ‘Stay’
She came from nowhere in her Nana Mouskouri glasses – thanks to the soundtrack of Reality Bites – and then she disappeared, but everyone remembers ‘Stay’, the overwrought 90’s ballad that launched a million other overwrought ballads (e.g. ‘Torn’ by Natalie Imbruglia). Lisa now writes children’s song books, such as The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs.
Spacehog – ‘In The Meantime’
Spacehog were a rock band from Leeds who relocated to New York, and their song ‘In The Meantime’ was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. What’s more, singer Royston Langdon a.k.a. “Ray Sprinkles” married and had children with Liv Tyler, though they broke up in 2008. Spacehog reformed that same year and are still probably pinching themselves.
OMC – ‘How Bizarre’
“World famous in New Zealand” is an ironic phrase used by Kiwis, but OMC actually breached the Land of the Long Black Cloud to become world famous with ‘How Bizarre’ all over the actual world. Sadly mainman and singer Pauly Fuemana died aged 41 from a chronic inflammatory disorder.
Babylon Zoo – ‘Spaceman’
Forget the curse of the Mercurys, what about the curse of the Levi’s ad?! Babylon Zoo were another bunch propelled into the fame stratosphere only to plunge back down to earth when it was discovered that the rest of the material (and the rest of the actual record) wasn’t much cop. Jas Mann now owns a successful film distribution business.
Soul Asylum – ‘Runaway Train’
Nobody’s wikipedia page ever mentions the fact they now work in a call centre, and we’re not suggesting for a minute that Dave Pirner does, though after the band’s massive success in 1992, Dave seemed to fall off the face of the earth besides doing BVs on one Hold Steady record. Where are you Dave? Inquiring minds need to know!
Sir Mix A Lot – ‘Baby’s Got Back’
Sir Mix A Lot made a mockery of media objectification of women with this none-too-subtle yet subversive hit, but then buggered it all up with the exploitative video. Sir Mix A Lot was last seen discussing the ‘Baby’s Got Back’ sample on Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’, a full 22 years after its release. It’s fair to say it has earned him a few bob.
Semisonic – ‘Closing Time’
‘Closing Time’ was a smash for the modestly named Semisonic in the late 90’s (and they did follow it up with the minor hit ‘Secret Smile’, which apparently had a rude double meaning). Since then, lead singer Dan Wilson has become a Grammy-winning songwriter, helping pen hits for the likes of Taylor Swift, Adele, Weezer, Pink and Nas. Blimey!
Rozalla – ‘Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)’
Rozalla had a massive international hit in 1991 with ‘Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)’ while neglecting to remember all those people in prison who are neither free nor feel good. The Zambian enjoyed some minor hits in the 90’s and the now London-based singer still makes appearances in clubs to this very day.
The Mock Turtles – ‘Can You Dig It?’
The Mock Turtles had their one hit with baggy dancefloor classic ‘Can You Dig It?’, and then a second time during the noughties when it got the Fatboy Slim treatment and was used in an ad for a famous telecommunications company. Martin Coogan – brother of Steve – is a radio presenter these days.
Kris Kross – ‘Jump’
Kris Kross were known for their mega smash ‘Jump’ which was no.1 everywhere in the world in 1992, and also for wearing their jeans back to front which thankfully didn’t catch on. Tragically Chris ‘Mac Daddy’ Kelly was found dead from a drugs overdose by his mother in 2013. He was 34.
Joan Osborne – ‘One Of Us’
“What if God was one of us?” asked Ms Osbourne in 1995, clearly never having read the New Testament. Osbourne is currently a member of rhythm and blues band Trigger Happy, and was nominated for a Grammy in the Blues category for her seventh solo album in 2013.
Andreas Johnson – ‘Glorious’
‘Glorious’ reached no.4 in the UK in 1999, and while he had some more hits in his native Sweden, the trips to the charts soon dried up everywhere else. His last album in 2012 was called ‘Village Idiot’. Come now Andreas, don’t be so hard on yourself.
The Wallflowers – ‘One Headlight’
‘One Headlight’ was massive in the US especially, reaching no.2 on the Billboard chart, and people expected Jakob Dylan to become a big star just like his pops. Jakob recently revived The Wallflowers to tour in 2014, so they couldn’t have done that badly in the first place, it’s just hard if your yardstick is Bob Dylan.
Eagle-Eye Cherry – ‘Save Tonight’
Eagle-Eye not only has 20/5 vision (the estimated optimum vision for an eagle) but he also comes from musical royalty, as the son of jazz legend Don Cherry and the half-brother of Neneh Cherry. Mr Eagle-Eye is synonymous with ‘Save Tonight’ and in October he collected an award for 4 million plays on US radio. Which is quite something.
Divinyls – ‘I Touch Myself’
Australia’s the Divinyls had a cunningly punny name and one monster smash with the saucy ‘I Touch Myself’, an onanistic one hit wonder. The song enjoyed a second life when it was used in the Austin Powers movie. Singer Chrissy Amphlett sadly died from breast cancer last April.
Deep Blue Something – ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’
This bunch puzzlingly scored a no.1 hit in the UK with ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ in the 90’s, a song which thankfully had nothing to do with the film. The founding Pipe brothers went on to produce and play in other bands and guitarist Clay Bergus has been a manager at Eddie V’s Prime Seafood restaurant in Fort Worth since 2009.
Cornershop – ‘Brimful Of Asha’
Given the Fatboy Slim treatment, ‘Brimful of Asha’ was a surprise no.1 smash in 1997. The Cornershop duo have been making great records under the radar ever since and recently they remade their first album ‘Hold On It Hurts’ in an orchestral, cinematic style.
Blind Melon – ‘No Rain’
Blind Melon were omnipotent in 1993, and “the bee girl” in the ‘No Rain’ video even closed the MTV VMA’s that year with a little dance. Heather DeLoach – the bee girl – is followed by about 3,500 followers on Facebook these days. Lead singer Shannon Hoon wasn’t so lucky, he died of a cocaine overdose in 1995.
Crash Test Dummies – ‘Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm’
Canada’s Crash Test Dummies were big in their home country, though it was just this song that saw success everywhere else. Their harmonica and mandolin player buggered off to London in 1998 and became Son Of Dave and lead singer Brad Roberts has a blog. Sample thought: “If you pick beliefs that work, they free you.” Om.
White Town – ‘Your Woman’
Back in the days when Mark Radcliffe had immense power, his championing of this DIY track from British musician Jyoti Prakash Mishra saw it propelled to no.1. Jyoti has had little success since, but he hangs in there tenaciously as an independent label journeyman and musical Father MacKenzie.
Whale – ‘Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe’
Although it didn’t actually make the top 40, ‘Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe’ became something of a slow burning cult classic after it was released in 1994, appearing regularly on MTV and other music channels. Cia Berg is a TV presenter in her native Sweden.
Deee-Lite – ‘Groove Is In The Heart’
‘Groove Is In The Heart’ was a no.1 in Australia, a no.2 in the UK, a no.3 in Canada and a no.4 in the US (and it did pretty well everywhere else too). Lady Miss Kier moved to London and became a record producer, while Funkadelic guest star Bootsy Collins is, well, Bootsy Collins.
Tasmin Archer – ‘Sleeping Satellite’
Perhaps calling your first album ‘Great Expectations’ was asking for it, because after the runaway success of her single ‘Sleeping Satellite’, nothing would ever come close. Following intense writers block, Tasmin apparently took up painting and sculpture, and now puts out music occasionally on her own label.
Charles and Eddie – ‘Would I Lie To You?’
The debut single ‘Would I Lie to You?’ was a massive no.1 hit for Charles and Eddie, and then the only way was down, baby, with success gradually fizzling out. Charles sadly died of cancer in 2001, while Eddie formed a band – the Polyamorous Affair – with his wife.
Scatman John – ‘Scatman (Ski Ba Bop Ba Dop Bop)’
Scatman was a big hit for Scatman John Paul Larkin back in the mid-90’s, presumably based on the old meaning for scat used in jazz circles, and not the more niche and somewhat disgusting updated version. Sadly Larkin died from lung cancer at this home in LA in 1999.
New Radicals – ‘You Get What You Give’
‘You Get What You Give’ was one of the last massive breakout hits of the millennium, and with great things expected from the New Radicals, bandleader Gregg Alexander decided to break up the band; travelling from hotel to hotel and living out of a suitcase wasn’t for him. He’s written and produced hits for others since, including Santana.
Gay Dad – ‘From Earth With Love’
‘From Earth With Love’ hit the top ten thanks to much hype in 1998, and while followup ‘Joy’ stalled outside the top 20, it later bagged Cliff Jones a tidy fortune after it was used for a car commercial. These days Jones writes for The Times (he was an established music journalist before Gay Dad) and is a judge for the Ivor Novellos.
Green Jellÿ – Three Little Piggies
Beware: comedy rock band ahoy. Green Jellÿ had a big hit with the novelty record ‘Three Little Piggies’ in 1992, and while most people haven’t heard from them since, they’ve continued to eek out a living as a touring rock troupe, and given the surprise success of Weird ‘Al’ Yankovic last year, anything is possible.
The Rembrandts – I’ll Be There For You
Unless you were hidden away in a basement your whole life then you will know this song. That cannot be said of any Rembrandts song not used as the theme tune for hit comedy Friends. The Rembrandts were veterans in the music business when they recorded the theme song, and they’re still going now!
4 Non Blondes – ‘What’s Up?’
‘What’s Up?’ was a monster hit in 1992, and then there wasn’t a lot else up after it. Or so you might think, though singer and songwriter Linda Perry went on to become one of pop’s most sought after writers, penning hits for Christina Aguilera, Aerosmith and Hole amongst others.
Chumbawamba – ‘Tubthumping’
When anarchist pop collective Chumbawamba had a hit both sides of the Atlantic in 97 with ‘Tubthumping’, they managed to alienate many of their own fanbase, who thought they’d sold out. The band who famously soaked John Prescott, and less famously shared a 7” with Noam Chomsky, hung up their guitars in 2012.