in , ,

One-Hit Wonders Who Died Without You Knowing

It almost feels wrong to refer to the musicians we’re about to discuss as one-hit-wonders because the term typically gives the impression that these artists just materialized out of nowhere, rose to the top of the charts, and then dissipated into thin air. But in reality, the vast majority of these performers and musical acts were highly regarded in their scenes for many years before and after becoming a household name. For some of the younger, less-experienced singers and songwriters that experienced overnight success, their fame just came on too soon, totally upending the potential trajectories that their careers could have taken.

But another good reason why it’s hard to just label these artists as one-hit-wonders is because most of them actually recorded quite a few tracks that could be considered hits in their respective regions and countries, but somehow never made it to the U.S. Charts. Quite a few one-hit-wonders have put out a ton of really good music but sadly are only remembered by the majority of the world for one, fleeting – albeit catchy – hit. A couple artists featured in this video just may have had more than one hit, if only they had lived long enough to record it. So without ado, let’s meet the one-hit-wonders that you might not have realized have passed away.

Biz Markie

Sadly, the world recently lost somewhat of a legend. Biz Markie put out one of the biggest one-hit-wonders of all time in the form of his song ‘Just A Friend’. The tune peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1990 and stayed on the charts for 22 weeks. The catchy little ditty is a rap by Markie mixed with some of the beat and lyrics borrowed from the 1968 song ‘(You) Got What I Need’ by Freddie Scott. The year that it was released, it went platinum.

Bix Markie was born Marcel Theo Hall in Harlem, New York in 1964. He rose up the ranks in the rap scene by first impressing crowds with his beatbox skills in 1985. It didn’t hurt that he had friends in high places either. He came up with the help of his friends Dough E. Fresh and Big Daddy Kane.

His hip-hop chops combined with his humorous lyrics earned him the title of the ‘Clown Prince of Hip Hop’. After ‘Just A Friends’ success, Markie went on to release a few more albums and continued to perform for his fans for the next couple of decades, but he never managed to have another chart-topping hit on his hands.

Biz Markie’s health began to deteriorate in April of 20202. He died a little over a year later on July 16, 2021, in Baltimore, Maryland at the age of 57. While his cause of death hasn’t been officially announced as of yet, it is known that he suffered from Type 2 diabetes.

Hey, not to get too off-topic, but if you’re enjoying this video so far, do us a favor and give a like. And if you haven’t already subscribed to Facts Verse and tap that bell icon to turn on notifications so you keep up to date with all of our latest content.

And don’t you even think about sneaking off just yet. Stay tuned to learn whatever happened to the notorious duo Milli Vanilli who were famously outed for lip-synching to vocals that weren’t even theirs.

M-Bone And Jayare

Flashback to 2010. Cali Swag District’s first single ‘Teach Me How To Dougie’ became a global dance phenomenon. Even the first lady, Michelle Obama got in on the action performing the dance at her ‘Let’s Move! Events’ and on the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon talk show.

The Dougie apparently was a dance inspired by the moves of 1980s hip-hop star, Dough E. Fresh. Fresh himself felt like the song inspired people to get back in touch with hip-hop’s roots and to be reminded of what it’s all about, which according to him is having fun.

In May 2011, Montae Talbert, or M-Bone as he went by professionally, one of the four members of Cali Swag District was gunned down in a drive-by shooting in Inglewood, California. According to some reports, M-Bone was the comedic heart of the group and he was credited for helping launch the Dougie to mainstream audiences. Talbert was sadly just 22-years-old when he died. After his death, the surviving three members of the group continued on and later released an album titled ‘The Kickback’.

In 2014, Cali Swag District lost another member of their group when Cahron ‘Joyare’ Childs passed away. He was afflicted with sickle cell anemia and ultimately died when he went into cardiac arrest shortly after being admitted to a hospital. At 25. he too was very young just like M-Bone was when he passed.

Cali Swag District subsequently disbanded after Joyare’s death.

Adam Schlesinger

Fountain’s Of Wayne, made famous by their hit 2003 song ‘Stacy’s Mom’ was founded by Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger in the mid-1990s. Schlesinger and Collingwood reportedly wrote the tune based on a friend of Schlesinger’s that found his grandma to be attractive. The track was also a celebration of early puberty. Schlesinger himself described it as a combo of sexual awakening and the result of having limited contact with a large population of other people. The track earned the band a Grammy nod for Best Vocal Performance and Best New Artist.

Schlesinger was an extremely gifted writer and musician who penned a lot of music for television when he wasn’t touring and recording with Fountains of Wayne. He earned himself a Grammy for ‘A Colbert Christmas; The Greatest Gift of All’ as well as three Emmys. One of those was for his contributions to ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ and the other two were for co-writing the Tony Awards telecast.

Sadly, On April 1, 2020, Schlesinger died after contracting Covid-19. He was just 52 years old.

Melanie Thornton 

The Euro-Pop group La Bouche was comprised of Melanie Thornton and Lane McCray. The group itself was the creation of German producer Frank Farian, the same man that brought the world Boney M and Milli Vanilli. In 1995, La Bouche topped the charts with their song ‘Be My Lover’.

Thornton was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. She realized that she wanted to be a singer when she was still just a child singing along to Motown classics that her mother would listen to. In 1992, she moved to Germany and just a couple years later, La Bouche was formed.

Even though ‘Be My Lover’ is the song that the duo is best known for, La Bouche had several other popular songs within the dance music scene. Thornton chose to leave the band in 2000 to focus on her solo album. While she was out promoting the album, she tragically died in a plane crash. She was just 34 years old.

Rob Pilatus

Speaking of Milli Vanilli, Rob Pilatus was one half of that infamous musical duo along with ‘singer’ Fab Marvan. The musical act got their moment in the spotlight with the hit song ‘Girl You Know It’s True’ back in 1989. Later that year, while they were doing a show in Connecticut, the song that they were lip-synching to skipped therefore revealing that they weren’t actually performing their own music. Pilatus knew the moment that the song skipped that that moment marked the beginning of the end for Milli Vanilli. A year later, it was revealed that Milli Vanilli were not the true artists behind the hit song.

The track itself wasn’t even an original. ‘Girl You Know It’s True’ was previously released by a band called Numarx. When Frank Farian heard the song, he knew that he could improve it and turn it into a hit, so he remixed it with new vocals and hired Pilatuus and Marvan to be the faces of his new creation.

When the news broke that Milli Vanilli were essentially frauds, Pilatus and Marvan were stripped of their Grammys and ostracized from the musical community. Although they tried to stage a comeback by releasing an album of their own material, they were never really able to find the same kind of success that they had with Milli Vanilli.

At 33, Pilatus died in 1998 of a suspected drug overdose.

Shannon Hoon

Hoon was the long-haired, frontman of the band Blind Melon. Their single ‘No Rain’ became a smash hit in 1993. Seeing as how the song was released during the golden era of MTV back when the network focused on actual music and not reality shows, a lot of people remember watching the song’s music video. It featured a young girl in a bee costume tap dancing on stage before embarking on a journey around Los Angeles in search of applause. Eventually, she finds a field full of bee people just like her.

Hoon was born in 1967 in Lafayette, Indiana, which happens to be the same town that Axl Rose is from. He got his start in the music industry providing backing vocals on a few Guns N’ Roses songs, and shared lead vocals with Axl on the track ‘Don’t Cry’. Blind Melon was formed in 1990.

In 1995, Hoon overdosed on cocaine and died on his tour bus in New Orleans. Blind Melon had just released their second album ‘Soup’ and Hoon, who was 28, had just become a father three months before his death.

Falco

Johann ‘Hans’ Halzel, or Falco as he was known in the industry, put out the hit song ‘Rock Me Amadeus’ which hit number one on the Billboard charts in 1986. While that was the only one of his songs that charted in the United States, Falco’s debut album ‘Der Kommissor’ fared quite well in the European charts.

While Falco never had another hit at the same level as ‘Rock Me Amadeus’, he did go on to sell 60 million records throughout his relatively short-lived career.

Halzel’s vehicle was hit by a truck while he was on vacation in the Dominican Republic in 1988. He was killed upon impact at the age of 40.

Pauley Fuemana

As lead singer of the band OMC, Pauley Fuemana penned the song ‘How Bizarre’ which rose to number 1 on the Us Billboard Charts in 1997 and stayed up on the charts for a total of 32 weeks. The band’s initials stood for Otara Millionaires Club, an ironic reference to the impoverished neighborhood that Fuemana grew up in Auckland, New Zealand.

Fuemana was the son of a Maori mother and a Niuean father. He evidently had a troubled childhood, joining street gangs and later spending some time in juvenile prison. When success hit him quicker than he had expected, he didn’t handle it very well.

His producer Alan Janssen sued him for royalties and by 2006, Fuemara was forced to file for bankruptcy.

He kept working on his music but was never able to achieve the same success as he did with ‘How Bizarre.

In 2010 he died from a rare autoimmune disease at the age of 40, leaving behind a wife and six children.

Alright, once again we’ve reached the end of another facts-packed video. But before you go, drop us a line in the comments section with your favorite one-hit-wonder. And no, it doesn’t necessarily have to be one that we mentioned here.

And while you’re at it, go ahead and tap the like button and subscribe to our channel. Click the little bell icon to turn on notifications. That way you can keep up with all of our latest and upcoming videos.

The Tragic Final Years of Peter Falk (Columbo)

The Sad Reason We Don’t See Vera Miles Anymore