One-Hit Wonders / Second-Best Songs This series argues that artists who are best-known in the U.S. for one monster hit have much more to offer.
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One-Hit Wonders / Second-Best Songs

Ronnie Dyson is remembered for his 1970 hit "Why Can't I Touch You" and starring in the Broadway musical Hair. Mark Anthony Neal argues that we overlook Dyson's influence as a transitional soul figure. Courtesy of Sony Music hide caption

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Courtesy of Sony Music

Ronnie Dyson: A Transitional Soul Figure Lost To Time

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Stan Ridgway of Wall of Voodoo performs in the band's video for "Mexican Radio." YouTube/Screenshot by NPR hide caption

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YouTube/Screenshot by NPR

Combining Film Scores And Pop Rock, Wall Of Voodoo Was Not Just A One-Hit Wonder

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Love and Rockets, primarily known for its 1989 hit "So Alive," also helped establish a template for what became alternative rock with songs like "Yin and Yang (The Flowerpot Man)." Frazer Harrison/Getty Images hide caption

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Love And Rockets' Psychedelic Train Ride Laid The Foundation For Alt-Rock

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A montage of images taken by the Voyager spacecraft of the planets and four of Jupiter's moons, set against a false-color Rosette Nebula with Earth's moon in the foreground. NASA hide caption

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NASA

In The Shadow Of 'The Planets' Lies Gustav Holst's Sweet Little Suite

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Neneh Cherry is mostly known in the US for her hit "Buffalo Stance." Author and professor Jayna Brown argues Cherry's recent songs like "Kong" show how an artist can mature over the years. Rafa Rivas/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Rafa Rivas/AFP via Getty Images

Letting Neneh Cherry Mature Past Her 1989 Pop Zeitgeist Moment

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Mark Hollis was the lead singer of Talk Talk, a band known mostly for its 1984 hit "It's My Life." NPR's Guy Raz argues that Hollis' songwriting shines more on later tracks like "Ascension Day." Dr. Space / Flickr Creative Commons hide caption

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Dr. Space / Flickr Creative Commons

Revisiting Talk Talk, A Band Worried About Being A 'Laughing Stock'

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Percy Sledge never matched the height of his first hit, but Lauren Onkey frames it as less of a failure than an act of coming back down to size. Rick Diamond/Getty Images hide caption

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Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Synonymous With Soul, Percy Sledge Transcended The Muscle Shoals Sound

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Green Gartside of Scritti Politti, the band best known for the 1985 hit "Perfect Way." Music writer Maura Johnston argues that we should explore more of Gartside's work, which bridged punk and pop. Tom Sheehan /Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Tom Sheehan /Courtesy of the artist

Scritti Politti And The Punk/Pop Inflection Point

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Beyond Santana: Malo And The Forgotten Wave Of '70s Latin Rock Bands

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Marlena Shaw's music combines the devotional passion, the harmonic inventiveness and the spirit-led improvisation that we hear in both the gospel and jazz idioms. David D. Spitzer/Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture hide caption

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David D. Spitzer/Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Overlooked Activist Power Of Marlena Shaw

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Best known for the 1997 hit "Flagpole Sitta," Harvey Danger had much more to offer, argues NPR's Stephen Thompson. Scott Gries/Getty Images hide caption

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Scott Gries/Getty Images

The Forgotten Wordplay And Songcraft Of Harvey Danger

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(L-R) Rick Richards, Bruce Smith and Fred McNeal of The Georgia Satellites perform onstage in 2018. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images hide caption

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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The Georgia Satellites: A Southern Rock Band Lost To The MTV Era

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After hit song "At Seventeen," singer-songwriter Janis Ian stepped away from her musical success for over 10 years, which is why Ann Powers thinks she's a bit forgotten. Shawn Baldwin/AP hide caption

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Shawn Baldwin/AP

Janis Ian Was More Than Just A Teenager

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(L-R) Steve Norman, Martin Kemp,Tony Hadley and Gary Kemp of the band Spandau Ballet perform live in 2015. Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images hide caption

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Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

Zane Lowe On The Power Of Spandau Ballet

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Ted Leo performs in Oct. 2010 in New York. Cory Schwartz/Getty Images hide caption

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Cory Schwartz/Getty Images

Forget Eileen: Ted Leo On The Unsung Greatness Of Dexys Midnight Runners

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