Anyone who’s ever worked at a record store that buys and sells used CDs can tell you what titles they see over and over again.Â Jagged Little Pill, Cracked Rear View, the entire Cranberries catalog … these are discs that clog the bins coast to coast, as music buyers buy, absorb, and ultimately get sick of these huge mega-hits.Â The second type of disc you see a lot is the one-hit wonder album – Vanilla Ice’s To The Extreme or today’s featured artist’s album, Chumbawamba’s Tubthumper.
A loose collective of musicians who had been making music in the U.K. since the early ’80s, Chumbawamba had a number of indie releases under their belt before signing to EMI in 1997.Â Tubthumper, their major label debut, was their 7th overall (or so, depending on whether you count live sets or offshoots), so calling them a one-hit wonder, while technically correct in the States, seems a little unfair.Â But that one hit, “Tubthumping,” was a doozy, blasting out of radios and MTV for what seemed like an hourly basis.Â The single went Top 10 and it brought the album along with it, eventually selling over three million copies.Â Trouble is, most people who bought it listened to the hit and had little time for the other eleven songs.
That’s a bit of a shame since at least one other song on the album isn’t bad at all.Â It just happens to be the second single “Amnesia,” (download) a charging, horn-accented driving song that should be used as the theme music to some sports highlight show somewhere.Â While American radio seemed to embrace the single, sending it fairly high up the airplay chart, singles buyers were nonplussed and the song failed to chart on the Hot 100.Â Perhaps it was Alice Nutter’s, um, uncertain vocal that kept it from being a hit.Â While a little Nutter went a long way as an accent on “Tubthumping,” perhaps a lotta Nutter was too much.Â Or maybe it was the tango break in the middle of the dance/rock hybrid that threw people off.
Chumbawamba recorded one more album for EMI, 2000’s What You See Is What You Get, which has sold an embarassing 21,000 copies to date, a huge comparative failure.Â EMI and Chumbawamba parted ways, and the band went back to the indie route, where they continue to record to this day as a stripped down acoustic four piece.
Meanwhile, people have forgotten about “Amnesia” (heh), got sick of “Tubthumping,” and dumped thousands of copies of Tubthumper in used CD bins nationwide.Â Right now, there are 552 copies on Amazon, starting at a big penny each.Â Ouch.Â Still a bargain for two great singles, though.
“Amnesia” peaked at #101 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Chart and at #19 on the Top 40 Mainstream Chart in 1998.
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