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

Joe Levy helps kick off a series about improbable chart success

Friday, February 15, 2013

Candyman's 1990 single 'Knockin' Boots' sold a million copies and reached No. 9 on the Hot 100. Candyman's 1990 single "Knockin' Boots" sold a million copies and reached No. 9 on the Hot 100. (wikipedia/wikipedia)

Two weeks ago, we gave our contributor Joe Levy of Billboard magazine an assignment: Find a hit song that, in hindsight, should never have become a hit. With some help from his Twitter followers, he dug up four such gems, including one Top 40 hit that he calls "the worst rap single of 1990" and another that deserves "a nomination for strangest hit of all time."

Read Joe's blog post here, and then hear  him attempt to explain to John Schaefer the chart success of artists like Bloodrock, Candyman and Norma Tanega. 


Joe Levy

Comments [8]


For me, the classic terrible novelty song that became a hit is Rick Dees's' Disco Duck. What's even more astonishing is that it became a NUMBER ONE hit!!!

Feb. 15 2013 09:31 PM

Karen, I guess like all things, beauty is in the ear of the beholder. I love Up, Up, and Away. On the other hand, as much as I love The Beatles, how a boring song like Hey Jude became their biggest hit is beyond me.

Feb. 15 2013 09:29 PM
Lisa Johnson from Upper East Side

Melanie's 'I've got a brand new pair of roller skates; you've got a brand new key' -- I couldn't believe that was on the radio (Cousin Brucie) in 1971 when I was ten years old.

Feb. 15 2013 09:28 PM
Aziz El from New York City

Love this segment. Reminded me of "Toy Soldiers" by Martika. I can't believe that was ever a hit.

Feb. 15 2013 09:27 PM

Cool segment. I was a little shocked not to hear "The Superbowl Shuffle" get a major "wait, really?!?!?!"

Feb. 15 2013 09:19 PM
Karen from NYC

Up Up & Away... That was a hit??!?!

Feb. 15 2013 09:18 PM
Charles from New York

I'm amazed .. 1971 ... Ever heard of, say, Alice Cooper? DOA is a wanna-be. I luv ya Jon, but ... Google.

Feb. 15 2013 09:17 PM
cynyc from Manhattan

I was going to tell you about my dates, 16 years ago, with Napolean Bonaparte III (?)of "They're Coming To Take Me Away" but as an apparent neo-luddite I didn't get the chance as y'all don't appear to 'do' phone anymore.

Feb. 15 2013 09:11 PM

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