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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rant #1,936: Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)

Good morning. It is Wednesday, July 12, and today is Walter Egan's birthday.

Egan is 69 years old today. Congratulations to Walter.

I am sure many of you remember that name, but may not be able to place just exactly who Walter Egan is.

In May 1978, Queens, New York-born Egan had one of the biggest hit records of the year, with his song "Magnet and Steel" hitting No. 8 on the charts.

You might also remember that helping him out to this hit were two members of Fleetwood Mac, Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.

This was Egan's only real hit, his only song to reach the upper reaches of the chart.

So, is he a one-hit wonder?

One hit wonders are true phenomenons, acts that have one big hit and then fade away from view, most of them forever.

But is Egan, in particular, a one-hit wonder?

I beg to disagree with those who say that he is, although really, off the top of my head, "Magnet and Steel" is the only song of his that I know.

Looking at his recording career, Egan actually placed three other songs on Billboard's Hot 100: "Only the Lonely," which reached No. 82 in 1977 and was produced by the aforementioned Buckingham and Nicks; "Hot Summer Nights," which reached No. 55 in 1978; and "Fool Moon Fire," which got up to No. 46 in 1983.

So is Egan a true one-hit wonder because he had just the one, single, solitary big hit, although he did hit the charts with other recordings?

Personally, I cannot rate him a one-hit wonder, because while "Magnet and Steel" was his only one, true, big hit, he did place those other songs on the charts.

A true one-hit wonder is, at least to me, an act that places one tune--and one tune only--on Billboard's Hot 100, and then fades into the mist.

An example of such an act is Robin Luke.

In 1958, Luke hit with the No. 5 "Susie Darlin'," and that was it.

Nothing else. Nada. Zilch.

Then there was an act which is kind of a one-hit wonder, kind of isn't. The Charles Randolph Grean Sounde had "Quentin's Theme" a tune that became popular on the TV soaper "Dark Shadows." That song got up to No. 13 in 1969. That was the Sounde's lone Hot 100 hit.

Although the act did have another chart placement--1970's "Peter and the Wolf," which did not place on the Hot 100 but did place on the "Bubbling Under" chart at No. 108--are they still a one-hit wonder?

You would get arguments every which way about whether Egan or the Sounde are true one-hit wonders, but you wouldn't have anyone disputing that Luke was.

I am kind of torn about the whole thing.

Yes, Luke is a one-hot wonder, although he did put out many other records in his career.

The Sounde, well, they kind of are, kind of aren't, but I guess I would say that they are, in fact, a one-hit wonder, because they only placed that one, single, solitary song on the Hot 100, even though they did brush with the chart by placing another single on the Bubbling Under chart.

I have a harder time with Egan, who had a total of four songs on the Hot 100.

In order to get a song on the Hot 100, a song reportedly (at least back then) had to have both sales and airplay, so the other three songs in Egan's canon had a little bit of this, a little bit of that, but they could not compare with "Magnet and Steel," which got the right combination of sales and airplay to make it the big hit that it was.

Heck, anyone who turned on the radio--AM and FM--back then certainly heard Egan's tune being played to death over and over.

So again, is Egan a true one-hit wonder?

In my mind, he is not, even though "Magnet and Steel" is probably the only song the general music listening public knows of his, and it is the only song of his to continue to garner airplay on oldies stations.

So, we are back to square one.

Is Walter Egan a true one-hit wonder?

Happy birthday, Walter, and many, many more.

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