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One-hit wonders!

Sunita Rao Paree hoon main

Sunita Rao became an overnight sensation with the haunting Paree hoon main from her album Dhuaan in 1991. It took the entire nation by storm and almost became an “alternative” anthem. What also worked in the song’s favour was a “different” video depicting a teenager, completely without make-up and strikingly similar to Rao, infatuated with her much older teacher. The girl metamorphoses into a beautiful, dusky, sensuous Sunita of the long legs. A dark fairy. But unfortunately, not much can be said about her voice, because it has not been heard since.

Hassan Jehangir Hawa hawa

The tune continues to haunt us even today. It comes back in the morning, out of some obscure recess of your memory, and it goes on in your head the whole day. Hassan Jehangir, one of the earliest Pakistani singers to cross over, sang Hawa hawa and the song latched itself on to the lips of a whole generation of the early 90s. It was even included in the soundtrack of an eminently forgettable film called Don II and spawned numerous copies and parodies, in many Indian languages. Its remix version, even a couple of years ago, sold a vast number of copies. But like Don II, Hassan Jehangir has sunk into oblivion. Hopefully, he is getting some royalty.

Colonial Cousins

Sa ni dha pa

When singer Hariharan and composer-arranger-lyricist Leslie “Lezz” Lewis teamed up to form an Indipop band called Colonial Cousins in 1996, it made for a nice new-age combo. The duo struck gold with the number Sa ni dha pa from its eponymous first album. The album ranked among the Top 10 in Indipop charts for many weeks. Which inspired the Cousins to come up with another album, but alas, there were no takers. End of band.

Rock Me Amadeus

Ah, the Eighties — when cassettes were loud enough and Falco fuelled teenage dance dreams. For those not born around that time, Falco is the Austrian “star” whose only claim to fame was the 1985 smash Rock Me Amadeus, the video which had him dressed up in a baroque costume, wigs et al, as — you guessed it — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but doing the disco. Dard-e-disco indeed. It has later been used in a commercial for Subaru, but that’s the last we heard of it.

Tarzan Boy

Everyone has heard Tarzan Boy, even your local paanwallah — the ---------- song. Question is, what else has anyone ever heard from Baltimora — the Eighties Italian dance project that set charts afire in 1985 with a track that flaunted a primal mating call, or, an ingenious attempt to mimic a primal mating call — as its USP? Nothing.

Baha Men
Who Let The Dogs Out?

Who let the Baha Men out? The Bahamian pranksters were doing their bit for world music before they found fame. Then, a remake of a song written for the carnival fetched them the Grammy for the Best Dance Recording in 2001 and everyone went “Who, who, who?” In a Rolling Stone poll, Who Let The Dogs Out? was voted No.3 on a list of Top 10 Most Annoying Songs Ever. Then the Baha Men disappeared…

Los Del Rio

Swallow this bit of a brain-chewer — Macarena was the second-longest running No.1 and best-selling debut single of all time in the US. While the duo — comprising Antonio Monge and Rafael Ruiz — were primarily playing light-hearted Andalusian folk music, Macarena changed it all in 1996. Originally released as a rumba song, Macarena spent 14 weeks as No. 1 upon its release in the US! The song was so popular that it gave rise to the “Macarena dance” — as demonstrated in its music video and as every one of us oldies has tried it and failed.

Las Ketchup
The Ketchup Song

What’s with Spanish songs and their accompanying music videos, really? Someone tell those girls to stop singing The Ketchup Song and getting jiggy with those fake folk-dance moves! But then, what else could they do? The three ladies who comprise Las Ketchup are daughters of a well-known flamenco guitarist named Juan “The Tomato” Munoz. Wish they tried a new sauce.

Vanilla Ice
Ice Ice Baby

One of the first white rappers on the American scene, Robert Matthew Van Winkle — better known as Vanilla Ice — saw his smash single Ice Ice Baby soar up the charts in 1990. This song about rappers, the “Miami scene” and its association with street crime leapt on to everyone’s lips. Exactly for a year. After that, Vanilla Ice faced lawsuits for lifting the tune off a David Bowie-Freddie Mercury collaboration track named Under Pressure, there was pressure (sic) from the black community and the worst — the revelation that Vanilla Ice had no street credo and had lied about being brought up in a crime-riddled neighbourhood. The fact that the wannabe gangsta rapper came from a mostly white high school destroyed his image.

The inheritor of Vanilla Ice’s genre of music — namely, White Crappy Rap — was carried with elan on the shoulders of one Darrin ’Brien, better known as Snow. His 1993 reggae-rap song Informer was a huge hit, reaching platinum status in the US. But then, guess the snow melted.

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