Song Of The Day 4/7/2014: The Buggles - "I Am A Camera"


Sub-Hit Wonders: "One-hit wonder" has always struck me as an unnecessarily punitive term. Very few have gotten into the business with the intent to be one-and-done. (I can think of one exception if you'd care for me to get into it.) Many times the term undercuts the deeper profile of the artist and distorts the record -- yes, Thomas Dolby had only one measurable hit, but made at least two great albums besides.

Nonetheless, despite my misgivings with the term, there are many groups for whom the reason they were done after just one fling was fairly obvious. But this week we're going to pretend otherwise, with six songs by one-hit wonders (in America) that aren't the songs they were known for. It should be revealing. But it might not.

Why look, here are the Buggles, who more or less launched MTV with their stab at good ole Marshall McLuhan media theory, "Video Killed the Radio Star." Both Buggles, Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes, had a one-album stint as full-time members of progressive rock colossi Yes, with Horn taking over for lead singer Jon Anderson during the latter's temper tantrum that affected the recording of their suddenly aptly-named album Drama. Downes replaced Yes keyboardist and analog shaman Rick Wakeman.

The Horn-Downes composition "I Am A Camera" was reworked to fit Yes' distended, Valkyrie-like approach to rock music and retitled "Into the Lens." Next year the Buggles reseized the composition for their second and final album Adventures In Modern Recording. "I Am A Camera" found some favor with the Dutch. If any other countries appreciated it, they were sure quiet about it.

Horn continued his production career with everyone from Frankie Goes To Hollywood to the slightly more sanitary Belle & Sebastian. Downes was tricked into joining the supergroup Asia.


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