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Soundcheck's occasional, incredulous look back at songs that were chart hits. 

Recently in That Was A Hit?!?

That Was a Hit?!?: Blue Swede, 'Hooked On A Feeling'

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

While "Hooked On A Feeling" is a great song, the five-year journey to reach a No. 1 on the charts is so improbable, it's amazing it ever happened. Chris Molanphy explains the long-winding evolution of the Blue Swede hit.

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That Was A Hit?!?: Candyman, 'Knockin' Boots'

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The latest installment in our That Was A Hit!?! series about improbable chart hits looks at Candyman's 1990 song "Knockin' Boots."

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That Was A Hit?!?: 'Kung Fu Fighting'

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Carl Douglas' 1974 song "Kung Fu Fighting" was such an unlikely smash that Soundcheck features it in the intro theme for our occasional series "That Was A Hit?!?" But the song itself has gone unexplored...until now.

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That Was A Hit?!?: Disastrous Love Songs Edition

Thursday, February 13, 2014

On the eve of Valentine’s Day, it’s important to pay tribute to the less successful entries in the love-song genre. Mario Correa -- writer and Entertainment Weekly Radio host -- offered up these three “disastrous love songs” for Soundcheck's occasional series That Was a Hit!?!.

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That Was A Hit?!?: 'Der Kommissar'

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Our series That Was A Hit?!? is all about unlikely songs that have made it to the top of the charts. Today's installment looks at three versions of the surprise hit "Der Kommissar" that battled it out for chart supremacy.

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That Was A Hit?!?: "Disco Duck"

Monday, December 09, 2013

In this installment of Soundcheck's series That Was A Hit?!?: how a song featuring a singing, disco-dancing duck reached the top of the charts in 1976.

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That Was A Hit?!?: Murray Head, 'One Night In Bangkok'

Monday, December 02, 2013

In this installment of Soundcheck's series That Was A Hit?!?, Mario Correa explains how "One Night in Bangkok," a song from a musical about chess, became a chart-topping pop hit.

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That Was a Hit!?!: Herb Alpert, 'This Guy's In Love With You' And 'Rise'

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Our series That Was a Hit?!? is all about improbable chart success -- generally, of a single song that unexpectedly rose to the top. Today, music writer Chris Molanphy joins us to talk about trumpeter Herb Alpert, whose entire career full of surprises.

The incredibly successful musician and record label founder ruled the 1960's with five No. 1 albums -- second only to The Beatles. By the end of the '70s, Alpert had scored two No. 1 hits on the Billboard Top 20: "This Guy's In Love With You" (with the Tijuana Brass) and "Rise." 

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That Wasn't a Hit?!?: Fleetwood Mac, 'Landslide'

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Every so often, we turn our series “THAT Was A Hit?!?” on its head with Soundcheck frequent guest Chris Molanphy, calling it instead, “That WASN’T A Hit?!?” We look back at songs that, although we may now think of them as hits, actually weren't hits at all. Today, we look at Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide."

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That Was A Hit?!?: Extra Helpings Of 'Sukiyaki'

Monday, June 10, 2013

Kyu Sakamoto's 1963 hit "Sukiyaki” left its mark on rapper Slick Rick, Mad Men and countless cover versions.

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That Was a Hit?!?: DNA Featuring Suzanne Vega, 'Tom's Diner'

Monday, June 03, 2013

"I wanted to talk about an improbable hit, but not a terrible hit." That's what music writer and chart columnist Chris Molanphy had to say about choosing "Tom's Diner" -- DNA's remix of the a cappella Suzanne Vega song -- for our That Was a Hit?!? series.

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That Was A Hit?!? : Grab Bag Edition

Friday, May 03, 2013

Writer Paul Ford brings in a variety pack for our series about surprising pop hits. 

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That WASN'T A Hit?!?: Squeeze, 'Tempted'

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Every so often, our series, “That Was A Hit?!?,” catalogues songs that — however unlikely — charted in the Top 40. Chris Molanphy, who previously profiled Prince’s “Batdance” in our series, suggested that we turn the series on its head, calling it, “That WASN’T A Hit?!?”

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That Was a Hit?!?: Prince, 'Batdance'

Monday, March 18, 2013

Can you name all five of Prince's hits that have hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100?

Go ahead, try.

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That Was a Hit?!?: Ray Stevens, 'The Streak'

Monday, March 04, 2013

The latest installment in our That Was A Hit?!? series about improbable hits looks back (with our hands covering our eyes) at Ray Stevens' 1974 chart-topper, "The Streak." 

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That Was A Hit?!?: Will To Power, 'Baby, I Love Your Way / Freebird Medley'

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

In our occasional series That Was A Hit!?!, we look at songs that snuck onto the pop charts and achieved improbable success. This week, Paul Ford -- contributor to online magazine The Morning News and writer of his own blog F-Train -- dug out this gem "Baby, I Love Your Way / Freebird Medley" by Will To Power.

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That Was A Hit?!?: Bloodrock, 'D.O.A.'

Friday, February 15, 2013

Today, Soundcheck is debuting a new, occasional series called That Was A Hit?!?, in which we examine the baffling success of pop hits that probably should never have been pop hits. In our inaugural installment, Billboard magazine's Joe Levy delves into a few songs that strangely found themselves near the top of the charts, including Bloodrock's 1971 hit "D.O.A." 

Levy was also on Soundcheck, talking about a few unlikely, improbably musical hits.

"Laying here looking at the ceiling," goes the first line of "D.O.A." by Bloodrock, which could be a pretty promising start for a Top 40 single from 1971, especially since just a few seconds later the singer is telling us about something warm flowing down his fingers. Hey, maybe little explicit, but it is the ‘70s, the decade where soft-rock come ons that started with stuff about climbing on rainbows progressed quickly to blunt propositions like, "If you’re wondering where this song is leading, I’d like to make it with you."

Thing is, the second line isn't about a warm wind blowing the stars around or pina colada fueled walks in the rain. It’s about a hospital attendant pulling a sheet across the singer's chest. That warm stuff causing the sticky fingers? Human blood!

 

 

"D.O.A." is definitely deserves a nomination for the strangest hit of all time: 4:35 of plodding chiller-theater rock sung from the POV of a guy who’s been in plane crash. "I try to move my arm and there’s no feeling, and when I look I see there’s nothing there." His girlfriend is dead next to him. The chorus? "I remember! We were flying along, and hit something in the air." Bloodrock were distressingly literal, so along with ambulance sirens you get details like "the sheets are red and moist where I’m lying" and the climatic line, "God in Heaven, teach me how to die." It’s actually kind of simple: First you stop breathing...

It’s hard to imagine something this gruesome on the radio, let alone on enough radios across the nation to climb the chart. Thing is, it was a No. 36 hit for six-shaggy haired dudes from Ft. Worth, Texas, one of whom was a would-be pilot who’d actually seen a friend die in a small plane crash and written “D.O.A.” in response.

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That Was A Hit?!? (The Journey Begins)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Billboard editor Joe Levy joins us to kick off a series about surprising pop hits. 

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