Can You Match the Lyrics to '80s One Hit Wonder?

By: Abi Luftig
Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

Do you remember Jenny's phone number, or what color those 99 balloons were? With shat exactly did a girl blind Thomas Dolby, and who was that guy that Toni Basil thought was so fine? If you've boogied along to "Pac-Man Fever" and "The Safety Dance," you might have what it takes to ace this quiz on '80s one-hit wonders!

When a musician or group manages to score a single hit that overshadows any future work, the artist gets dubbed a "one-hit wonder" by fans and the media. The label comes with an air of negativity -- just one hit? -- but doesn't tell the true story. When you consider just how incredibly tough it is to make it in the music business, much less crack the top 40, even scoring a one-hit wonder is a huge accomplishment, and certainly, nothing to dismiss.

In fact, it turns out that one-hit wonders are more the norm than the exception. In 2012, University of Colorado Professor Storm Gloor studied decades of music charts and found that around 48 percent of songs to crack the charts came from artists who never managed to chart again.

So dust off that Dexy's Midnight Runners album and hum along to "Come on Eileen" as you take this '80s one-hit wonders quiz!

"I feel safest of all/I can lock all my doors/It's the only way to live"?

This ode to the automobile was released in the UK in 1979 and in the US in 1980. Numan wrote the song about being attacked in an incident of road rage and the safety he felt being behind the locked doors of his car.

"Give the past the slip/ Step on a crack/ Break your momma's back"?

Devo released "Whip It" on August 13, 1980. Many music critics and fans cite this song as the birth of the new wave music movement.

"You've been around all night and that's a little long/ You think you've got the right but I think you've got it wrong"?

Toni Basil released this song in 1982. It was originally recorded in 1979 by a Britsh band called Racey, but their version was called Kitty and was about a girl. Basil switched the title to Mickey to sing about a boy.

"To make things right/You need someone to hold you tight/And you'll think love is to pray/But I'm sorry I don't pray that way"?

Soft Cell released "Tainted Love" in the UK on July 7, 1981, and in the US on January 16, 1982. VH1 ranked the song #5 on its list of 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 1980s.

"Zwei, Drei, vier, one, two, three, it's easy to see/But it's not that I don't care, so /'Cause I hear it all the time, but they never let you know"?

"Der Kommissar" was originally recorded by Austrian artist, Falco, in 1981, but it was After The Fire's 1982 English cover that topped the charts. "Der Kommissar" is German for "the commissioner," the common term for "police captain" in German-speaking countries.

"Music happen to be the food of love/Sounds to really make you rub and scrub"?

This song was released on September 17, 1982. The title is said to refer to a Dutch oven, but has come to be a slang term for drug use.

"Its poetry in motion/She turned her tender eyes to me/As deep as any ocean/As sweet as any harmony"?

This song was released in 1982. VH1 ranked the song #20 on its list of 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 1980s.

"Modern medicine falls short of your complaints/Try a little harder/You're moving in circles/Won't you dilate"?

This song was released in January of 1983. Kajagoogoo was a one-hit wonder in America but had several more hits in their native Britain.

"Everyone's a superhero/Everyone's a Captain Kirk/With orders to identify/To clarify and classify"?

"99 Luftballons," the original German version of the anti-war protest song, was released in 1983. The English version, "99 Red Balloons," was released a year later. Fun Fact: The German version never specifies the color of the balloons. When translating to English, the writers found they needed an extra syllable and they chose "red" because of its Cold War connotations.

"These people 'round here/ Wear beat down eyes sunk in smoke dried faces/ They're resigned to what their fate is"?

This song was released on June 25, 1982. VH1 ranked the song #18 on its list of 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 1980s.

"We've got the right to choose it/There ain't no way we'll lose it/This is our life, this is our song"?

This song was released on April 27, 1984. Singer and songwriter Dee Snyder cites the Christmas song "O Come, All Ye Faithful" as an influence.

"Well I'm heavenly blessed and worldly wise/I'm a peeping-Tom techie with x-ray eyes/Things are going great, and they're only getting better/I'm doing all right, getting good grades"?

This song was released in 1986. The members of Timbuk3 have repeatedly refused to let the song be used in commercials for AT&T, Ford, the U.S. Army, and, of course, Ray-Ban sunglasses.

"I would walk ten miles on my hands and knees/Ain't no doubt about it baby it's you I aim to please/I'd wrestle with a lion and a grizzly bear/It's my life baby but I don't care"?

This song was released in 1986. It was used in several films throughout the '80s and '90s, such as "Gung Ho" (1986), "The Naked Cage" (1986), "Tough Guys" (1986), and "Ricochet" (1991).

"We saw the writing on the wall/As we felt this magical fantasy/Now with passion in our eyes/There's no way we could disguise it secretly"?

This song was released in September of 1987 as part of the soundtrack for "Dirty Dancing." It went on to win a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Golden Globe.

"That's when she told me a story, 'bout free milk and a cow/ And said no hug-ee no kiss-ee until I get a weddin' vow"?

This song was released in 1986 and peaked at #2 in 1987. The band brought honky-tonk and Southern rock back to the mainstream, but only for a short time.

"The time has come/ To say fair's fair/ To pay the rent/ Now to pay our share"?

This 1987 protest song is about demanding the Australian government to give back lands to the Aborigine Pintupi tribe. It was Midnight Oil's only hit outside of Australia, but they had several more hits in their homeland.

"Here's a little song I wrote/ You might want to sing it note for note"?

This song was originally released in 1988. Bobby McFerrin has won ten Grammy awards.

"So tonight I'll ask the stars above/"How did I ever win your love?"/What did I do?/What did I say"?

This song was released on June 17, 1989. It eventually reached #5 on the Billboard Charts.

"Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box/ Religion is the smile on a dog"?

This song was released in November of 1988. VH1 ranked it #77 on its list of 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 1980s.

"I'm not expecting to grow flowers in a desert/But I can live and breathe/And see the sun in wintertime"?

Big Country released its similarly named hit on May 19, 1983. The Celtic influence in the song's instrumental riff is a result of the band's nationality. The "big country" in question was Scotland.

"I'll be stumbling away/ Slowly learning that life is OK/ Say after me/ It's no better to be safe than sorry"?

This song was released on October 19, 1984. It is also remembered for its innovative video featuring drawings interacting with the real world.

"I walk along the avenue/ I never thought I'd meet a girl like you"?

This song was released in 1982 and the video was put into heavy rotation on MTV. The song is memorable, but not nearly as memorable as the band's signature hairstyle.

"I know you'll think I'm like the others before/ Who saw your name and number on the wall"?

This song was released on November 16, 1981. It inspired a craze of people calling the number in their local area code, to the point where many people ended up changing their number.

"I made a pilgrimage to save this humans race/ Never comprehending the race has long gone bye"?

This song was released on May 4, 1982. It gained popularity the following year when it was used in the movie, "Valley GIrl."

"You're my guy, you're what the doctor ordered/ So sweet, you make my mouth water"?

The original version of this song was written and released by The Strangeloves in 1965, but the version mostly remembered is Bow Wow Wow's cover from 1982. VH1 ranked the song #8 on its list of 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 1980s.

"Well, can the people on T.V. see me/ Or am I just paranoid?"

This song was released on January 14, 1984. It features vocals from Michael and Jermaine Jackson.

"It can cut you like a knife/ If the gift becomes the fire/ On the wire between will and what will be"?

This song is best known for being the training montage in 1983's, "Flashdance." It was nominated for an Academy Award but lost to "Flashdance... What a Feeling" by Irene Cara, so at least the movie got the win.

"I like to tease them/ They want to touch me/ I never let them"?

This song was released in 1981 but didn't gain popularity until 1982. VH1 ranked it #34 on its list of 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 1980s.

"We can go where we want to, a place where they will never find/ And we can act like we come from out of this world/ Leave the real one far behind"?

This song, released in 1983, has been interpreted as being a call for safe sex and for being an anti-nuclear protest song. However, the band says it was just a response to being kicked out of a club for pogoing, a style of dance bouncers considered to be unsafe.

"Humidity's rising, barometer's getting low/ According to all sources, the street's the place to go"?

This classic was released on September 10, 1982. The song has become an anthem in the gay community, and RuPaul teamed up with half of The Weather Girls to record a cover in 1998.

"Step by step/ Heart to heart/ Left, right, left/ We all fall down"?

This song was released as a single in May of 1989. In 2004, the chorus was sampled by Eminem for his song, "Like Toy Soldiers."

"And now we meet in an abandoned studio/ We hear the playback and it seems so long ago/ And you remember the jingles used to go"?

Despite being released in 1979, this song is considered an '80s hit because it was the first video aired on MTV. It hit the airwaves at 12:01 a.m. on August 1, 1981, and music has never been the same since.

"Watching every motion/ In my foolish lover's game/ On this endless ocean/ Finally lovers know no shame"?

This single was released on June 15, 1986. It was on the "Top Gun" soundtrack and won an Oscar and a Golden Globe.

"I used to think maybe you loved me, now I know that it's true/ And I don't want to spend my whole life, just waiting for you"?

This song was released on April 26, 1985. It was originally written as a ballad, but frontlady Katrina Leskanich decided to sing it more upbeat.

"I dial it in and tune the station/ They talk about the U.S. inflation/ I understand just a little/ No comprende--it's a riddle"?

This song was released in 1983. The video was an early favorite on MTV and featured imagery as bizarre as the song itself.

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