ONE-HIT WONDERS ARE held in the public’s esteem somewhere above child stars, game-show hosts, and losers from American Idol. They’re not real stars, not as talented as those who have really made it, who have had more than one hit, like, say, Britney Spears. They were in the right place at the right time. They were lucky. Indeed, one-hit wonders are the poster boys and girls of the axiom “It’s better to be lucky than good.” Take the story of how Ray Hildebrand and Jill Jackson, better known as Paul and Paula, chanced into recording their tune “Hey Paula”: A friend knew Fort Worth record label owner Major Bill Smith, so the two drove to his studio unannounced. Blues pianist Amos Milburn Jr. hadn’t shown up for the scheduled session that day, so Smith put them in front of the mikes. The result was one of the signature hits of the sixties.
But it wasn’t all chance. Anyone who’s watched Barbara Lynn play guitar, seen Roy Head twist and shout, or heard Sunny Ozuna croon knows that the folks pictured here weren’t just lucky. They were good, sometimes great. In truth, most of them had more than one hit, though none so big as the song they are most known for, the sound of which can be heard on some