A while back I wrote about a group called the Danleers, and I coined the phrase ‘One-Hit Plus Wonders’. It was my silly way of recognizing that sometimes musicians are a little more than just a simple One-Hit Wonder. To help prove the point I direct your attention to Harpers Bizarre, a California-based group popular in the 1960s.
Harpers Bizarre certainly fit the first part of the requirement — the group’s mega-hit on “59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” is an instantly recognizable classic even after more than forty years. (Video below.) But the guys had a few other good songs too.
Founded in Santa Clara around 1963 as the Tikis, the group initially was made up of Ted Templeman, Eddie James, Dick Scoppettone and Dick Yount. Although they were skilled instrumentalists with solid vocal talents, they failed to make much of a splash for a while, but after adding John Peterson in 1966 they began to attract some attention.
The following year, having changed the group’s name to Harpers Bizarre — a play on the name of the famous magazine — they recorded their version of Paul Simon’s “59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy),” and it rocketed up the charts.
For a couple of years, things went very well for the guys, with solid — if lesser — hits on “Anything Goes,” “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” and “Come to the Sunshine,” a song written by Van Dyke Parks. Peterson left the group during that period, but they still had some success. In fact, they recorded enough songs to fill several albums but their moment in the sun was brief and they soon went their separate ways.
A few years later most of the guys got together and tried it again, generating a new album, 1976’s As Time Goes By, but that would be it for Harpers Bizarre. Their legacy would be one huge hit and several lesser tunes, which I think qualifies the group as a One-Hit Plus Wonder.