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by Chuck Eddy

August 20, 2013

Hits You Never Heard Of, Pt. 9

by Chuck Eddy  |  August 20, 2013

This is the ninth chapter of an ongoing project aiming to rediscover interesting Hot 100 hits from the 20th century's second half that everybody seems to have forgotten. The archaeological dig is being conducted in alphabetical order, via Joel Whitburn's Billboard book Top Pop Singles 1955-1999. This time, every artist starts with "M."

For whatever reason, three genres dominate this particular playlist: Minor-league mid-'80s-to-mid-'90s quiet-storm seducers (Mista licking molasses off their lips, Men of Vizion offering to do your housework, Meli'sa Morgan covering Prince, Shirley Murdock basking in romantic afterglow); hard rock journeymen (U.K. pubsters the Motors, U.S. pubsters Mink DeVille, funk-metal innovators Mother's Finest, Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore, Max Webster frontman Kim Mitchell, Frankie Miller from Scotland); and '50s rock 'n' rollers (doo-woppy Mello-Kings, sax-honky Big Jay McNeely, jump-bluesy Chuck Miller, rockabilly Clint Miller).

There are also: two turn-of-the-'90s dance-diva acts that start with "Mel" (Brit-house duo Mel & Kim, Latin freestyle belter Lisette Melendez); three '70s soul women named "Moore" (down-home Dorothy, early-disco Jackie, later-disco Melba); two twee late '60s pop-rock groups (Montanas who were British, Mojo Men who only wish they were); two raucous '60s R&B stand-ins (Johnnie Morisette doing a Sam Cooke song, Mickey Murray doing an Otis Redding one); two early '60s country cornballs named "Miller" (the Frankie Miller from Texas, Ned from Utah); and three moonlighting thespians (Hayley Mills caught in a parent trap, Martin Mull staging a tuba battle, Donny Most aka Ralph Malph from Happy Days knee-deep in schlock).

Also notable: German/Brit reggae/hip-house concoction Mr. President babbling nonsense about "Coco Jamboo" in 1997; gospel apostles Mighty Clouds of Joy riding mighty high in 1976; Motown obscuros The Monitors goofing about Uncle Sam's draft in 1966. Plus more diamonds in the rough -- and probably some rough, too.

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