the full list of considered songs (spotify playlist HERE):
My goal is to make a championship tournament bracket consisting of 64 one-hit wonders. Why 64? Because that’s the way that big sports tournaments are constructed — like college basketball’s March Madness.
Making a proper bracket requires getting choosing only 64 one-hit wonders from the full pantheon. How do I plan to do this? I had to rank all songs, and then set up a qualifying Round of 128 songs.
To start, I collected a comprehensive list of 199 one-hit wonders from 1960-2000. I then assembled a team of 17 rankers, ages ranging from 30 to 70. With their help, I whittled the full list down to 128. I describe that process here.
Trust me, there are many lessons learned. Among other things: (1) a song had to be eliminated because the artist is a convicted pedophile (not on my list). (2) The most polarizing song on the whole list is 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love” and (3) My mom loves EMF.
That and more after the presentation of data.
how did we do the rankings?
I separated the songs in two groups. Group A is all songs between 1960 and 1985. Group B is all songs between 1986-2000. Each team member ranked the one-hit wonders in each group from 1st to last.
I then averaged the all 17 team members’ rankings. If the song ended up in the top 64 in each group, it made the Round of 128. If not, it was cut.
I followed an adversarial process, disqualifying from the tournament songs that team members legitimately disputed. To adjudicate disputes, I followed the official one-hit wonder rules, OUTLINED HERE.
Some songs were eliminated before the rankings, and some after the rankings were completed. That’s why a few of the DQs have Averages Ranks. For example, it was tough, but I had to DQ Simple Minds “Don’t You Forget About Me,” even though its average rank would have made it the 5-seed in Group A. The reason? Simple Minds had too many other popular songs. In the case where I had to drop a ranked song, I would move all the remaining songs up one seed.
If you have questions, email me.
okay, show me the data
Group = Group A or Group B
Seed = tournament seed based on average rankings
Artist = performer
Song = song title
Year = year of song release
Tournament Status =
1. R128 means in the Round of 128. R128(upheld) means it was disputed but ultimately allowed to stay in the tournament. R128(write in) only happens once, and it’s because I had to DQ Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me With Science.” I replaced it with Rupert Holmes “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” because I forgot to include that on the original list for the rankers, and leaving out that song would be devastating to the tournament.
2. Cut means it did not make it in the top 64 of each group based on average rankings
3. Pre-rank DQ means that the song was eliminated before the rankings, because it is not a one-hit wonder
4. Post-rank DQ means that the song was eliminated after the rankings, based on legitimate disputes from team members.
Avg Rank = the average of 17 different individual rankings
Top 5 = how many people put this song in their top 5
#1 = how many people gave this song a #1 ranking
|A||1||Stealers Wheel||Stuck in the Middle with You||1972||R128||20.125||5||1|
|A||2||The Kingsmen||Louie Louie||1963||R128||21.25||2||1|
|A||3||A-ha||Take on Me||1985||R128||22.5625||4||2|
|A||4||Procol Harum||Whiter Shade of Pale||1967||R128||22.625||4||1|
|A||5||Booker T and the MGs||Green Onions||1962||R128||25.625||1||0|
|A||6||Norman Greenbaum||Spirit in the Sky||1969||R128||26.375||3||0|
|A||7||Sugarhill Gang||Rapper’s Delight||1979||R128||27.3125||4||1|
|A||8||Soft Cell||Tainted Love||1981||R128||27.5625||0||0|
|A||9||Dexys Midnight Runners||Come on Eileen||1982||R128||28.3125||4||0|
|A||11||The Troggs||Wild Thing||1966||R128||30.625||1||0|
|A||12||Vanilla Fudge||You Keep Me Hangin On||1967||R128 (upheld)||30.8125||2||1|
|A||13||The Knack||My Sharona||1979||R128||31.3125||2||0|
|A||14||Ram Jam||Black Betty||1977||R128||31.625||1||0|
|A||15||The Box Tops||The Letter||1967||R128||31.9375||1||1|
|A||16||King Harvest||Dancin in the Moonlight||1973||R128||33.125||1||0|
|A||17||Dobie Gray||Drift Away||1973||R128||33.1875||0||0|
|A||18||? and the Mysterians||96 Tears||1966||R128||33.5||1||1|
|A||19||Fontella Bass||Rescue Me||1966||R128||33.6875||0||0|
|A||21||Free||All Right Now||1970||R128||34.1875||1||0|
|A||23||Flock of Seagulls||I Ran||1982||R128||35.25||0||0|
|A||24||Blue Swede||Hooked on a Feeling||1973||R128||36.1875||1||0|
|A||26||Eddy Grant||Electric Avenue||1983||R128||36.5625||1||0|
|A||27||Survivor||Eye of the Tiger||1982||R128 (upheld)||37.3125||0||0|
|A||28||Steam||Na Na Na Na Hey Kiss Him Goodbye||1969||R128||38.125||0||0|
|A||29||Bruce Channel||Hey Baby||1961||R128||38.75||1||0|
|A||30||Modern English||I Melt With You||1982||R128||39.9375||0||0|
|A||31||Til Tuesday||Voices Carry||1984||R128||40.1875||1||0|
|A||32||Redbone||Come and Get Your Love||1973||R128||40.4375||0||0|
|A||33||Lipps Inc||Funky Town||1979||R128||40.4375||0||1|
|A||34||The Tokens||The Lion Sleeps Tonight||1961||R128||41.25||2||0|
|A||35||Chubby Checker||The Twist||1960||R128||41.75||3||0|
|A||37||The Buggles||Video Killed the Radio Star||1979||R128||43.125||1||0|
|A||38||Men Without Hats||Safety Dance||1982||R128||43.1875||1||0|
|A||40||Tom Tom Club||Genius of Love||1981||R128||43.5||1||0|
|A||41||The Marvelettes||Please Mr. Postman||1961||R128||43.6875||0||0|
|A||43||Toni Basil||Hey Mickey||1981||R128||45.0625||0||0|
|A||44||Carl Douglas||Kung Fu Fighting||1974||R128||45.9375||0||0|
|A||45||Anita Ward||Ring My Bell||1979||R128||46.5||0||0|
|A||46||Jean Knight||Mr. Big Stuff||1971||R128||46.6875||0||0|
|A||47||Cheryl Lynn||Got To Be Real||1978||R128||46.6875||0||0|
|A||48||Player||Baby Come Back||1977||R128||46.9375||0||0|
|A||49||Naked Eyes||Always Something There to Remind Me||1983||R128||47.375||0||0|
|A||50||The Archies||Sugar Sugar||1969||R128||47.875||0||0|
|A||51||Katrina and the Waves||Walking on Sunshine||1985||R128||48||1||0|
|A||52||After the Fire||Der Kommisar||1982||R128||48.5||0||0|
|A||53||The Five Stairsteps||O-o-h Child||1970||R128||48.6667||2||1|
|A||54||Wild Cherry||Play that Funky Music||1976||R128||49||0||0|
|A||55||Van McCoy||The Hustle||1975||R128||49.4375||1||0|
|A||56||Ray Parker Jr.||Ghostbusters||1984||R128||49.4375||0||0|
|A||58||Rupert Holmes||Escape (Pina Colada Song)||1979||R128 (write in)|
|A||59||The Weather Girls||It’s Raining Men||1983||R128||52.0625||0||0|
|A||60||Exile||Kiss You All Over||1978||R128||52.625||1||0|
|A||61||Bow Wow Wow||I Want Candy||1982||R128||53.125||0||0|
|A||62||Taco||Puttin on the Ritz||1982||R128||53.5625||1||0|
|A||63||John Fred and His Playboy Band||Judy in Disguise||1967||R128||53.875||0||0|
|A||64||Limahl||The Neverending Story||1984||R128||53.875||2||1|
|A||66||George Baker Selection||Little Green Bag||1970||Cut||55.0625||1||0|
|A||67||Brownsville Station||Smoking in the Boys Room||1973||Cut||56.0625||0||0|
|A||68||Mister Mister||Broken Wings||1985||Cut||57.3125||0||0|
|A||69||Starland Vocal Band||Afternoon Delight||1976||Cut||57.375||0||0|
|A||70||Bobby Picket||Monster Mash||1962||Cut||58.125||1||0|
|A||71||Don Ho||Tiny Bubbles||1967||Cut||58.875||0||0|
|A||72||Vicki Lawrence||…the Lights Went Out in Georgia||1972||Cut||58.875||0||0|
|A||73||Jonny Lee||Looking for Love||1980||Cut||61.375||0||0|
|A||75||John Waite||Missing You||1984||Cut||62.0625||0||0|
|A||76||Minnie Ripperton||Lovin You||1974||Cut||63.1875||0||0|
|A||77||DaBarge||Rhythm of the Night||1985||Cut||63.5||0||0|
|A||78||The Vapors||Turning Japanese||1980||Cut||63.625||1||0|
|A||79||Terry Jacks||Seasons in the Sun||1973||Cut||67.8125||0||0|
|A||80||The Undertones||Teenage Kicks||1978||Cut||70.125||0||0|
|A||81||Patrick Hernandez||Born to Be Alive||1978||Cut||71.4375||0||0|
|A||82||Trio||Da Da Da||1981||Cut||71.75||0||0|
|B||1||Blind Melon||No Rain||1992||R128||21.375||3||0|
|B||2||House of Pain||Jump Around||1992||R128||22.5625||3||0|
|B||3||Dee-Lite||Groove is in the Heart||1990||R128||25.8125||2||0|
|B||4||Sir Mixalot||Baby Got Back||1992||R128||26.5625||2||1|
|B||5||The Proclaimers||I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)||1987||R128||26.6875||4||1|
|B||6||Vanilla Ice||Ice Ice Baby||1989||R128||28.5||3||1|
|B||8||Bel Biv Devoe||Poison||1990||R128||30.0625||1||0|
|B||9||4 Non Blondes||What’s Up?||1992||R128||30.0625||1||0|
|B||11||Mazzy Star||Fade Into You||1994||R128||30.5625||3||0|
|B||12||Biz Markie||Just a Friend||1989||R128 (upheld)||30.6875||3||0|
|B||13||Young MC||Bust a Move||1992||R128||32||1||0|
|B||14||Bobby McFerrin||Don’t Worry, Be Happy||1988||R128||32.0625||2||0|
|B||15||Cutting Crew||I Just Died in Your Arms||1986||R128||32.5625||0||0|
|B||16||Spacehog||In the Meantime||1995||R128||32.9375||2||2|
|B||17||New Radicals||You Get What You Give||1998||R128||32.9375||1||0|
|B||18||Suzanne Vega||Tom’s Diner||1987||R128||33||1||0|
|B||22||Alannah Myles||Black Velvet||1989||R128||34.375||1||0|
|B||23||Wilson Philips||Hold On||1990||R128||34.75||0||0|
|B||24||Jesus Jones||Right Here Right Now||1991||R128||35||1||1|
|B||26||When In Rome||The Promise||1988||R128||35.6875||2||0|
|B||27||Montell||This is How We Do It||1995||R128||35.6875||2||0|
|B||28||Timbuk 3||Future So Bright||1986||R128||36.3125||1||0|
|B||29||The La’s||There She Goes||1988||R128||36.6875||2||0|
|B||30||Edwyn Collins||A Girl Like You||1994||R128||37.625||1||0|
|B||31||Sneaker Pimps||6 Underground||1996||R128||37.875||4||0|
|B||32||Midnight Oil||Beds are Burning||1987||R128||38.375||0||0|
|B||33||Right Said Fred||I’m Too Sexy||1991||R128||39.875||2||0|
|B||34||Tom Cochrane||Life is a Highway||1991||R128||40.25||2||0|
|B||37||Mr Big||To Be With You||1991||R128||40.9375||0||0|
|B||38||Haddaway||What is Love||1993||R128||41.25||0||0|
|B||39||Harvey Danger||Flagpole Sitta||1997||R128||41.25||1||0|
|B||40||Dishwalla||Counting Blue Cars||1995||R128||41.4375||0||0|
|B||41||Marcy Playground||Sex and Candy||1997||R128||41.625||0||0|
|B||42||Primitive Radio Gods||Standing Outside a Phonebooth…||1996||R128||41.8125||2||0|
|B||43||DJ Kool||Let Me Clear My Throat||1996||R128||42.3125||0||0|
|B||44||Technotronic||Pump Up the Jam||1989||R128||42.375||0||0|
|B||45||Deep Blue Something||Breakfast at Tiffany’s||1993||R128||42.875||1||1|
|B||46||Tag Team||Whoomp There It Is||1993||R128||43.375||0||0|
|B||49||LEN||Steal My Sunshine||1999||R128||45.1875||3||0|
|B||50||Georgia Satellites||Keep Your Hands to Yourself||1986||R128||45.625||1||0|
|B||52||M/A/R/R/S||Pump Up The Volume||1987||R128||46.4375||0||0|
|B||53||Macy Gray||I Try||1999||R128||46.5||0||0|
|B||55||Mark Morrison||Return of the Mack||1996||R128||46.8125||2||1|
|B||56||Real Life||Send Me an Angel||1989||R128||47.5625||0||0|
|B||57||White Town||Your Woman||1997||R128||47.875||0||0|
|B||61||Los del Rio||Macarena||1993||R128||48.75||2||1|
|B||62||Crash Test Dummies||Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm||1993||R128||49.1875||0||0|
|B||65||Color Me Badd||I Wanna Sex You Up||1991||Cut||51.1875||0||0|
|B||66||Go West||King of Wishful Thinking||1990||Cut||51.25||0||0|
|B||67||Was (Not Was)||Walk the Dinosaur||1988||Cut||51.4375||0||0|
|B||68||Escape Club||Wild Wild West||1988||Cut||51.625||0||0|
|B||69||69 Boyz||Tootsee Roll||1994||Cut||52.5625||0||0|
|B||70||Billy Ray Cyrus||Achy Breaky Heart||1992||Cut||52.8125||1||0|
|B||71||Cherry Popping Daddies||Zoot Suit Riot||1997||Cut||53.6875||0||0|
|B||73||The Flys||Got You Where I Want You||1998||Cut||56.25||1||0|
|B||76||The Verve Pipe||The Freshmen||1996||Cut||59.6875||0||0|
|B||80||Musical Youth||Pass the Dutchie||1982||Cut||62.75||0||0|
|B||81||Tal Bachmann||She’s So High||1999||Cut||63.1875||0||0|
|B||82||Rednex||Cotton Eye Joe||1994||Cut||66.875||1||1|
|B||83||Dan Baird||I Love You Period||1992||Cut||68.25||0||0|
|B||85||Papa Roach||Last Resort||2000||Cut||77.3125||0||0|
|A||5||Simple Minds||Don’t You (Forget About Me)||1985||Post-Rank DQ||23.8125||4||0|
|A||46||Cory Hart||Sunglasses at Night||1983||Post-Rank DQ||46||0||0|
|A||47||The Human League||Don’t You Want Me||1981||Post-Rank DQ||46.3125||0||0|
|A||58||Thomas Dolby||Blinded Me With Science||1982||Post-Rank DQ||51.3125||0||0|
|A||60||Gary Glitter (pedo)||Rock n Roll Part II||1974||Post-Rank DQ||50.625||1||0|
|A||61||Loverboy||Working for the Weekend||1981||Post-Rank DQ||52.6875||0||0|
|A||62||10cc||I’m not in Love||1975||Post-Rank DQ||53||4||1|
|B||30||Jamiroquai||Virtual Insanity||1996||Post-Rank DQ||36.9375||3||1|
|N/a||Ernie K-Doe||Mother in Law||1961||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Stan Getz||Girl from Ipanema||1964||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs||Wooly Bully||1965||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Dr. Hook||The Cover of the Rolling Stone||1972||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Golden Earring||Radar Love||1973||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Rick Derringer||Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo||1973||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Nazareth||Love Hurts||1974||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Gary Wright||Dream Weaver||1975||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Bellamy Bros||Let the Love Flow||1976||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||England Dan and John Ford Coley||I’d Really Love to See You Tonight||1976||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Gary Numan||Cars||1979||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Devo||Whip It||1980||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Men At Work||Land Down Under||1981||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Madness||Our House||1982||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Frankie Goes to Hollywood||Relax||1983||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Axel F||Harold Faltemeyer||1984||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Falco||Rock Me Amadeus||1985||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Belinda Carlisle||Heaven is a Place on Earth||1987||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Edie Brickel & The New Bohemians||What I am||1988||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||Sixpence None the Richer||Kiss Me||1997||Pre-Rank DQ|
|N/a||The Verve||Bittersweet Symphony||1997||Pre-Rank DQ|
crunching the numbers
What kind of social scientist would I be if I didn’t do some analysis of the data? Probably a more likable one. But c’mon, this is fun stuff.
First off, I should say that the rankings went better than you could possibly have imagined. Basically, I asked my music-loving friends, work colleagues, and family (Mom, Dad, and Uncle Roxy) to go through this list of 198 songs and rank them. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to rank that much material, but it’s hard as shit.
I sent a Google spreadsheet to my team on April 3, and all of them were finished ranking by April 12. Outside of some fully-expected cut and paste fails, everything went pretty swell.
The results are very interesting, as you might imagine. Let’s start with some fun facts.
First, my Dad loves Davinyl’s “I Touch Myself.” Rated it #2 in Group B. And I’m sure it’s totally because he just really likes the song. It has nothing to do with anything else at all.
Second, my mom has Primitive Radio Gods, EMF, and Mazzy Star in her Group B Top 5. Why then, I ask, did we waste all that time in 1990s listening to country music in the brick-red Chevy Cavalier station wagon? If you were ready to party to EMF, why was I forced to memorize Garth Brooks songs? Unbelievable.
Third, the only two actual musicians on the ranking team (Ginny and Paul) placed Spacehog in the #1 spot. I just want all of you to know that. Spacehog is good. This is a reference to my write-up on The Rules page. If you had read the rules, you would know what I’m talking about.
Fourth, the oldest ranker put Los del Rio’s “Macarena” in the one spot, and the youngest gave The Cardigans “Lovefool” the top notch. Age is weird.
Fifth, no one understands Wheatus except for me and one other person. What the hell’s wrong with you? Look, at first, she doesn’t know who he is, and then she invites him to an Iron Maiden show. And he’s JUST A TEEEEN-AGE DIIIIRT–BAG BABY!
Finally, the most reviled tune on the list is Vitamin-C’s “Graduation Song.” It had an average of #80. I’ll just leave that there.
There’s a second issue. All the members of my team share me in common, which could mean selection bias. What if we all have similar taste in music, and thus produce a weird-ass set of rankings?
That may be, but is a group of only 17 enough to come up with good rankings? No. But it’s a big enough group to trim a sample of 175 songs down to 128. The purpose of the initial rankings was simply to separate the Wheatus from the chaff–or for our purposes, to establish the extreme unpopularity of Starland Vocal Band and Papa Roach.
That’s certainly possible, but I don’t think it happened. First off, there is a great deal of variation in the rankings, even among tight-knit pairs of people. My mom and dad’s rankings were only medium correlated, statistically speaking. They disagreed on a lot. To cherry pick an example, my dad ranked The Archies’ “Louie Louie” #9, and my mom ranked it #45. Not even close. Incidentally, I noticed another married couple, Dave and Rachel M., did something very similar with the same song. Dave ranked it #1; Rachel ranked it #49. Is there something about the Archies that breaks up marriages? More research is needed.
Second, there is a good spread of songs in people’s #1s and top 5s. Only three wonders received more than one #1 ranking: A-ha’s “Take on Me,” Spacehog’s “In the Meantime,” and US3’s “Cantaloop.”
Only nine bands received four or more top-5 rankings: 10cc, A-ha, Dexys Midnight Runners, Procol Harum, Proclaimers, Simple Minds, Sneaker Pimps, Stealers Wheel, and Sugarhill Gang. Apparently, bands that start with “P” and “S” dominate people’s ears.
the top dogs
I can say, honestly, that I had no idea which songs would end up with in the top spot of each bracket. What tunes are the consensus choices for all ages and genders?
It turns out that Group A’s top seed is Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle With You,” and Group B’s top seed is Blind Melon’s “No Rain.” Both are great tunes, both with lead singers who had promising careers. Gerry Rafferty would go onto solo work, and Shannon Hoon would tragically pass away of a drug overdose.
Stealers Wheel were in five top 5s, and they received one #1 ranking. Blind Melon were in only 3 top 5s, and received no #1 rankings. But they were in six top 10s.
“Stuck” is a catchy stoner number about a cocktail party, intentionally sung in the vocal stylings of Bob Dylan. The band apparently were stunned that it became a massive hit, just as I’m stunned its Group A’s #1.
“No Rain” is a song written for creative loners, and it’s a celebration of self with a tinge of melancholy. The singer watches puddles gather rain, and we all call him insane. I’m not surprised this is Group B’s #1. This song was intensely popular.
On their surface, outside of great melodies, these songs have almost nothing in common. So why are they the top dogs? Check out a couple of facts. “No Rain” came out in 1992, and it was a hit on MTV. It is one of the most popular videos of all time, and inspired a whole Halloween costume. You’ve seen it: daydreaming girl with glasses in bee outfit. Something else happened in 1992. The breakout Tarantino film Reservoir Dogs was released, and its soundtrack featured none other than Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck In the Middle With you.” At the same time people were going to the movies and hearing this song anew, they were watching MTV and hearing “No Rain.”
Yes, that means both of our top dogs were getting action in 1992. Why does that matter? I have a theory that’s about generations. In 1992, our youngest rankers were alive and watching MTV, and our oldest rankers were still young enough to listen to new things. The early 1990s was a sweet spot. Further support for this theory: 8 of the top 10 songs in Group B were from the years 1989-1992.
We’ll see how this holds up when the number of rankers increases markedly.
the most polarizing songs, aka love ’em or hate ’em
Which songs are the most polarizing? Some songs everyone agrees are good, like House of Pain’s “Jump Around.” And other songs are universally reviled, like Dan Fogelberg’s “Longer.” But here I am more interested in those songs that some people love, and others hate.
One way of studying this is to analyze the standard deviation of the rankings. Basically, we can see which songs’ rankings are the farthest away from the average–this means some people ranked the song very high, and others very low. Here are the top five winners of the Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em Award:
1. 10cc “I’m Not in Love”— I’m not sure why this is the most divisive song. On the one hand, people LOVE this song (confession: I’m one of them). It got as many top-five votes as A-ha’s “Take on Me,” and it even got a #1 ranking. But on the other hand, an equal number of people LOATHE this song. It made six bottom-ten lists. That means six rankers said it was one of their least favorite songs. This is amazing spread, making 10cc more polarizing than the Trump Administration. My guess is that it’s the vocal aesthetic. This is an airy, ethereal vocal track set to an ambient and slow-pulsing groove. You either listen and enjoy the Zen vibe, or you shit on the song for being saccharine and lame. Perhaps unluckily for the tournament, someone pointed out post-rankings that 10cc had another hit called “Dreadlock Holiday.” And apparently a lot of non-me people still listen to it. Begrudingly, I had to DQ.
2. The Five Stairsteps “O-o-h Child” — The song was in five top 20s, and five bottom 10s. It also got one #1. I suspect that what drives its divisiveness is its unabashed positivity. Coffee-drinking critical types don’t really like things that are happy, while the bubble-gum-chewing hopeful types do. Except this is what’s weird: the old rankers, who are most of the latter type of person, ranked this song very low. And the critical types (Ginny and Jeremy) ranked it very high. So what just happened here is that I stated a theoretical expectation and then immediately disconfirmed it with evidence. So who the hell knows?
3. Los del Rio “Macarena” — This smash dance hit got four top 10s, and four bottom 10s. It might be one of the most well-known songs of all time. But I can speak from personal experience on this one: some people find this song revolting, morally reprehensible even. If you’ve never been a 40-something wine-drunk on a cruise, odds are you haven’t enjoyed doing the macarena.
4. Chubby Checker “The Twist” — The twist, a song permanently etched into our cultural subconscious, got three rankings of #2, and then three bottom 5s. Outside of that, everything I said about the Macarena cross-applies. Except you can modify it to “40-something whiskey-drunk at a tiki bar.”
5. Jamiroquai “Virtual Insanity” — No idea. Maybe people find the hat unacceptable. But it also doesn’t matter because I had to DQ ole Jamiroquai because of a song called “Cosmic Girl.”
How did I determine which contenders would be disqualified?
First, I should say that there is no clear timeline for DQs. Some happened before the initial rankings based on my general music knowledge, and tips from early collaborators. Other DQs have happened after the rankings, as more information comes to light. And I will probably DQ even more after the Round of 128. The rules are the rules. They know no bounds.
Second, outside of Belinda Carlisle, every performer was DQed because they had another song that was good enough for people to listen to at a high rate. If you have any questions, just check Spotify. For example, you might think that Harold Faltemeyer’s “Axel F” (Beverly Hills Cop Soundtrack) is a slam dunk, but that dude also wrote the Top Gun Soundtrack. So nah.
Third and finally, Gary Glitter. This guy wrote a jock jam that you’ve heard in every stadium during every professional sporting event. Duh-nuh nuh-nuh nuh-nuh nuh-NUUUH NUH, HEY! Duh-nuh nuh-nuh. Well, that guy is a full-blown child pornographer and sex abuser. He was famous in Britain, and now he’s in prison. So I decided he doesn’t get to be in our competition. Not sorry.