Six brilliant one-hit wonders from the 1980s

It’s hard to believe all of these great songs were the only top chart hits for these artists

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Berlin - "Take My Breath Away"

There’s an element of loose definitions about including this song as a one-hit wonder, but it’s so close to one and such an amazing song that I’ve included it. The song was of course featured in the soundtrack for the hit movie Top Gun. starring Tom Cruise. The film is heavily linked to promotional videos for the song too. I reckon if you think of the film, you recall the song. And if you hear the song, you think about the film, they are that closely entwined.

“Take My Breath Away” by New York band Berlin is another classic song written by Giorgio Moroder with the words by Tom Whitlock. Moroder later labeled Whitlock as a guy who came to fix the brakes on his Ferrari and mentioned he wrote lyrics. That’s some way to find your songwriter!

It’s yet another song with a familiar and unmistakable introduction. Moroder added a slightly booming synth bass as a beat. Then there’s Terri Nunn singing superbly throughout. You can’t beat a great classic song like this. 

The song stormed the charts and hit number one around the world, mirroring the phenomenal success of the movie. Released in June 1986, the song added an Academy Award and a Golden Globe to Moroder’s extensive collection and started one for the Ferrari fixer Whitlock. 

Berlin didn’t have any follow-up hits to this mega song. They did have very minor success a couple of years earlier when a single, “No More Words”, was just outside the top twenty in the US, but didn’t chart in the UK and Europe. Three other singles made it into the lower half of the top 100 in the US earlier too. The scale of worldwide success for “Take My Breath Away” is so far beyond those minor and local hits that the label one-hit wonder is ok to apply, slightly loosely perhaps, on this occasion.

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