Almanac Music: Countdown’s Best One Hit Wonders


Thanks to anyone who read my previous blog containing the very worst one hit wonders on Countdown.


I’ve had some feedback from friends, especially old school mates in WA who it appears have some emotional attachment to Paper Lace and Racey.


Despite these diabolical decisions I still respect you. I’m just flabbergasted that’s all. :)


So in order for me not to appear as a cynical old fossil, I will endeavour to re-frame the conversation and provide a list of songs from the Countdown years that were one hit wonders in a positive sense.


They came, they went, they delivered. All the ratings in this list are positive food packages, albeit not particularly healthy. Here goes.



  • ‘My Sharona’ – The Knack. Who will ever forget Molly’s claim that these guys were the next Beatles? Rating: Steak Eggs and Chips.





  • ‘Don’t Fall In Love’ – The Ferrets. The band’s main man Billy Miller has been a highly respected mainstay in the Melbourne music scene for decades but this was his only commercial success sadly. Rating: Chicken Parma at The Clifton Hill Hotel.





  • ‘Pressure Sway’ – Machinations. A bit of new wave chic from this Melbourne band that weren’t around for long. A great demonstration of mid 80’s dancing displayed. Rating: Strawberry Milkshake…in the can.





  • ‘Black Betty’ – Ram Jam. Originally written and recorded by Leadbelly in 1939, this rather non-descript US band turned up with a rocking version of it, which was decades later recorded by Spiderbait. Rating: BBQ Ribs, southern style.





  • ‘What I Like About You’ – The Romantics. Proof that you just need one good song, the Romantics disappeared as quickly as they arrived. Apparently still playing at a Holiday Inn near you. Rating: Spaghetti Marinara.





  • ‘Groove Is In The Heart’ – Dee-lite. If you can’t dance to this with a bit of ‘white man’s overbite’ you’re not alive. Technically not Countdown but what the hey? Rating: Jumbo Burrito from Zambreros.





  • ‘Baby It’s You’ – Promises. Didn’t this disrupt the conversation amongst pre-pubescent teenagers in the mid 70’s? A classic one hit wonder. Rating: A Peters Ice Cream Cake.





  • ‘Man Overboard’ – Do Re Mi. A quality band with one fantastic hit. A feminist anthem that stands the test of time. Rating: A Brownes Percolated Iced Coffee (WA).





  • ‘Play That Funky Music’ – Wild Cherry. I’m not big on white boys pretending to be black complete with afros, but I’m afraid of the backlash if I don’t include this. Popular at weddings when everyone’s had a gutful of grog and has enough Dutch courage to dance. Rating: 3 x flavours of Gelato from Sophia’s in Camberwell.





  • ‘More Than A Feeling’ – Boston. I love the guitars in this song. They followed the trend of naming themselves after US cities such as Chicago and Kansas which didn’t do them any good. Probably my favourite one hit wonder and made whoever Marianne is, very famous. Rating: A Kattlers Pie with Sauce and Cream Donut (Medina WA 1975).






More from Ian Wilson can be read Here.



To return to the  home page click HERE


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE


About Ian Wilson

Former army aircraft mechanic, sales manager, VFA footballer and coach. Now mental health worker and blogger. Lifelong St Kilda FC tragic and father to 2 x girls.


  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Good to see that you didn’t fall into the trap of regarding Dexy’s Midnight Runners as OHWs Ian.

    I thought that you’d give The Vapors, The Motors and/or The Bureau a run in this. Or the Only Ones.

    Another obscure OHW for me is Pel Mel, No Word From China

  2. Colin Ritchie says

    Lots of memories in both your best and worst one hit wonders Ian but I must admit ‘My Sharona’ I absolutely hated! Everywhere you went that song was playing, you could not help but not hear it and it drove me crazy, in fact became a real ‘earworm’ I could not get it out of my head. I have a feeling that song will stay there once again.

  3. Wow, there’s a few tunes of note here Ian. Black Betty was in my record collection, as was Don’t Fall in Love.

    The Ferrets actually had a top 25 track with Janie May the following year, 1978. They were an interesting band, in some ways an off shoot of hard rockers Buster Brown. Front man Billy Miller, guitarist Dave Springfield, and bassist Ken Firth were all in Buster Brown. Of course Rose Tattoo front man Angry Anderson was in Buster Brown, along with Dallas Royal and Geordie Leech who also progressed from Buster Brown to Rose Tattoo. We can’t forget ACDC drummer Phil Rudd was in Buster Brown.

    Play That Funky Music, More Than A Feeling were both pleasant songs. My Sharona, What I Like About You were not songs I really rated though Molly certainly did. I owned a copy Baby It’s You. As a highschool boy at the time the song was nice, but the film clip!?! Now you’re talking.

    Groove Is In the Heart arrived a bit later on 1990 to be exact. I wouldn’t have been watching Countdown then,but the song somehow got into my mind: it is quite catchy. It’s ranked 233 in Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest songs of all time.Not a bad reference point.

    Thanks for these Ian, I await your next instalment on songs from when I was young; last century.


  4. Jane Greenwood says

    I cannot believe that I had forgotten that … The Knack wore ties! What good boys. Except that damn My Sharona will follow me round all day! Thanks for this reminder of lost youth, Ian!


  5. An excellent list, Ian.
    A few other faves from around that time:
    Echo Beach – Martha and the Muffins,
    Counting the Beat – Swingers,
    2 4 6 8 Motorway – Tom Robinson Band.

  6. Kevin Densley says

    Thanks for this list, Ian. It’s an interesting counterpart to your ‘worst one hit wonders’ of a few days ago.

    Funny thing, one could mount an argument that there is not that much difference between the two lists in terms of song quality, apart from the wonderful ‘Don’t Fall in Love’ and ‘Man Overboard’ in this current selection. Of course, issues like this, at bottom, boil down to personal opinion, and there are no absolutely right or wrong responses.

  7. Karl Dubravs says

    Wonderful article Ian. Lots of memories – mostly +ve.
    If I had to choose two one hit wonders that had an effect on a much younger me, they would be:
    Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In The Sky
    Thunderclap Newman – Something In The Air
    I always thought Thuderclap Newman was a person, but I recently learnt that it is a band formed by Pete Townshend to showcase the songwriting of Speedy Keen. Andy ‘Thuderclap’ Newman is the piano player.

  8. Smokie, there’s a few rippers there. How’d you view the Motels ‘Total Control’?

    The two Marthas that sang from that period of time could certainly belt out a tune.


  9. Ian Wilson says

    Thanks Gents
    Swish I had that Pel Mel EP I think it was. Good call.Agree with the others and no way were Dexys a one off.

    Col you’ve just ear wormed me reading that!

    Thanks Glen. Didn’t know about Buster Brown thanks. I saw Billy and Brod Smith many times at The Clifton. Bothe wonderful.

    Thanks Jane and thanks to Smokie I can’t get it out of my head either!

    Smokie the other one I left off but put back into the website was Isn’t it Time by The Babys. All your suggestions are spot on.

    Kev absolutely. These are very tongue in cheek. No right or wrong. Thanks mate.

    Agree Karl and I didn’t know that Thunderclap Newman was a person! Cheers

  10. Mickey Randall says

    Thanks for this list too, Ian. As suggested by KD, I’m unsure whether to post this here or on the worst OHW list: Convoy by C.W. McCall which, of course, is immortalised on Ripper ’76. Is it a rousing anti-establishment rally cry, or just an excuse for a guy to use a CB radio in song, possibly as he couldn’t afford a vocoder?

  11. Great stuff IW, some of the moment like More than a Feeling and others I’ve continued to enjoy like My Sharona and Don’t Fall in Love.

    Glad you through Baby It’s You in the comments. The Thunderclap Newman song is on another level altogether, what a song!

    And good call Smokie re Tom Robinson (I loved that song), while he wasn’t a fixture on the Aussie charts he had a few other big hits in the UK, like Glad to be Gay and War Baby and released some damn fine albums.

    I’m pretty sure we saw The Motels (my memory says the Embassy ballroom) based on their hit, Total Control. They were okay but that song is a beast.

    I can’t see Pop Musik listed and surely such a lounge in cheek shot at pop gets a tick if even only for the sly wink.

    There are a few soul songs that could be thrown in as well, like Candi Staton’s Young Hearts Run Free. Now, that’s a great song (version).

  12. A couple of corrections (I blame recovery from my cataract surgery):

    Glad you threw Baby It’s You in the comments.

    I can’t see Pop Musik listed and surely such a tongue in cheek shot at pop gets a tick.

  13. Ian Wilson says

    Thanks Mickey. Convoy coincided with the release of Smokie and the Bandit I think? Terrible :)

    yes Rick pop music definitely deserves a spot, total control was a ripper song and I loved 2 4 6 8 too cheers

  14. Rick Kane says

    Hey Ian, re your piece on the best of Countdown one hit wonders, I was reminded of a Spotify playlist I made up during the lockdown of one hit wonders. My playlist wasn’t restricted to Countdown. I had a look at it just now and thought I’d throw a few other songs that walk the talk, for me at least.

    How Long by Ace
    I Love the Nightlife, Alicia Bridges
    Undercover Angel, Alan O’Day
    You’re Moving Out Today, Carol Bayer-Sager
    Smoke from a Distant Fire, Sanford Townsend Band

    and three beauties pre-Countdown:

    Sukiyaki, Kyu Sakamoto
    Love is Strange, Mickey & Sylvia
    Get Together, The Youngbloods

Leave a Comment