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by Chuck Eddy

September 16, 2013

Hits You Never Heard Of, Pt. 10

by Chuck Eddy  |  September 16, 2013

Back for the 10th time and bridging the M's and O's with a whole lotta N's in between, here's the series that alphabetically dredges up lost Hot 100 singles of the Eisenhower through Clinton eras, using Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1999 as a source. If you find it incredible that, say, German-based Brit-proggers Nektar (No. 91 in 1975), perennial pub-roots cult heroes NRBQ (No. 70 in 1974) or Senegalese Afropop ambassador Youssou N'Dour (No. 98 in 1994 with Neneh Cherry by his side) ever hit the U.S. Hot 100, you've come to the right place.

Or perhaps you're the type drawn to tasteless novelties about pro wrestlers (The Novas' 1965 "The Crusher"), blood-spilling traffic accidents (Nervous Norvus' Top 10 1956 cut "Transfusion") or the meaninglessness of life (National Lampoon's 1972 "Deteriorata," credited here to narrator Norman Rose). Surprisingly, The Nightcrawlers' 1967 garage punk hitlet about their little black egg and The Newcomers' 1971 bubble funk hitlet about pinning tails on donkeys were technically not novelty numbers -- weird!

The playlist opens with irresistible lady-sung summer songs by 1979 studio-rock hacks The Night and 1987 Sicilian-American club chirper Nocera, then makes way for Bermudan Heather Nova and Australians 1927 boarding Alanis' and U2's bandwagons, respectively. Before you know it, Don Nix, Freddie North and Jimmy Newman are exploring various Southern roadhouse traditions; Neon Philharmonic are cluelessly pretending to be hippies; and a whole bunch of B-level '90s rap acts (Nice & Smooth, Nine, N2Deep, Nikki D, Nuttin' Nyce, N-Trance, Nastyboy Klick) are sampling everybody from The Partridge Family to Suzanne Vega to Soul II Soul.

The mix winds down to underappreciated 1982 funk 'n' roll from O'Bryan, gorgeous gospel exultations from New Direction and Dorothy Norwood, spine-tingling 1959 Italian-American doo-wop from The Mystics and lots more. So if you can't discover something new to love here, you are just no fun.

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