Tuesday, October 17, 2017

One-card wonders: update 6

Exactly 40 years ago, the king of novelty records during the 1970s released a so-bad-it's-good 45 called "In the Mood".

Ray Stevens released the song in 1977 under the pseudonym "The Henhouse Five Plus Too" (kind of makes me think of the blasters that advertise "seven packs plus one extra pack!"). It was a song that consisted entirely of Stevens clucking like chickens to the tune of the Glen Miller Band's "In the Mood".

Shockingly, it made the Billboard Top 40, peaking at exactly No. 40, making it officially a one-hit wonder.

Depending on your viewpoint, the song is painful to listen to or amusingly silly. I think the latter. It reminds me of something I would see on The Muppet Show back in the '70s and I was so convinced that I first heard chickens singing "In the Mood" on The Muppet Show that I looked for it online. What I found was the top 10 songs sung by Muppet chickens, but "In the Mood" wasn't one of them.

So how does this song tie into the latest One-Card Wonder post?

Well, since I'm focused on 1977, I have looked up all of the players in the 1977 Topps set who have their only card in that set.

There are five of them. And one of them, like The Henhouse Five song, is so bad it's good:

This painted gem is Rick Jones' only card in a major set. You can find him, looking much more realistic, in several minor league issues, as well as in a Red Sox team photo set.

I've often wondered what Rick Jones thought of this being his only Topps card. It's not even really him. And that's his only major card.

Here are the other one-card wonders from 1977:

The Chip Lang card is very cool, I've thought that since the moment I pulled it in 1977. It's the complete opposite of the Rick Jones card. If you're going to have only one card, make it look like Chip Lang's card!

Lang does have a different-looking card in the O-Pee-Chee set from that year. But it's nowhere as good as his Topps card, and for the purposes of this exercise, it does not count as a second card.

The last time I did a one-card wonder post, I covered 1978, which featured a whopping 10 one-card wonders.

I wanted to compare one of the years next to 1978 and I see that '78 still sticks out when compared with 1977. But there are probably two reasons for that.

The first one is that the '78 set is the first with 726 cards. The '77 set has just 660 cards. The second reason is the 1976 SSPC set effect. There are four players in the 1977 Topps set with only one other card, and that card is in the SSPC set. So I can't count them as one-card wonders.

There are also four other players whose only other card is on one of those multi-player rookie cards. But that disqualifies them as well.

So here now is the updated list:

1967 Topps

#344 - Ossie Chavarria, A's
#388 - Arnold Earley, Cubs
#489 - Doug Clemens, Phillies
#497 - Ron Campbell, Cubs

1974 Topps:

#8 - George Theodore, Mets
#33 - Don Newhauser, Red Sox
#37 - Dave Sells, Angels
#77 - Rich Troedson, Padres
#421 - Dan Fife, Twins
#457 - Chuck Goggin, Braves
#573 - Mike Adams, Twins 

1975 Topps

#288 - Bruce Ellingsen, Indians
#407 - Herb Washington, A's
#508 - Bob Hansen, Brewers
#524 - John Doherty, Angels
#587 - Chris Ward, Cubs
#651 - John Morlan, Pirates 

1977 Topps

#118 - Rick Jones, Mariners
#132 - Chip Lang, Expos
#137 - Jeff Terpko, Rangers
#616 - Tommy Sandt, A's
#641 - Dan Larson, Astros 

1978 Topps:

#224 - Jerry Tabb, A's
#303 - Sam Hinds, Brewers
#311 - Jose Baez, Mariners
#386 - Bob Gorinski, Twins
#502 - Pat Rockett, Braves
#516 - Gary Beare, Brewers
#521 - Steve Staggs, Blue Jays
#591 - George Zeber, Yankees
#667 - Jeff Byrd, Blue Jays
#719 - Randy Elliott, Giants

1980 Topps:

#59 - Eddy Putman, Tigers
#72 - Fred Howard, White Sox
#156 - Tony Brizzolara, Braves
#221 - Joe Cannon, Blue Jays
#233 - LaRue Washington, Rangers
#291 - Randy Scarberry, White Sox
#347 - Harry Chappas, White Sox

1981 Topps:

 #491 - Gordy Pladson, Astros

1982 Topps:

#356 - Denny Lewallyn, Indians

1984 Topps:

#116 - George Bjorkman, Astros
#159 - Darryl Cias, A's
#163 - Lorenzo Gray, White Sox
#337 - Kevin Hagen, Cardinals
#382 - Chris Nyman, White Sox
#474 - Greg Bargar, Expos

1994 Topps:

#491 - John Hope, Pirates

I will probably cover 1979 Topps next to gauge the follow up to 1978. Then I'll tackle some other brands besides Topps.

I apologize if you have that chicken-fed "In the Mood" song in your head now. Here are some other one-hit wonders from 1977. Maybe they'll work better:

"Torn Between Two Lovers" - Mary Macgregor
"Don't Give Up On Us Baby" - David Soul
"Undercover Angel" - Alan O'Day
"Don't Leave Me This Way" - Thelma Houston
"Smoke From a Distant Fire" - Sanford Townsend Band

Hmm, maybe chickens singing big band music isn't so bad.


  1. Wouldn't touch "Torn..." or David Soul but I did listen to the clucks (for a few seconds) and the last two songs are actually good.

    1. I admit the last song is actually in rotation on my favorite listening device.

  2. I always thought that Dan Larson was related to Don Larsen when I saw his card as a kid.

  3. 1967 Doug Clemens is a great looking card. Didn't realize it was his only Topps card. He played 7 or 8 years in the majors and had 386 PA in 65!! How about "They're Coming To Take Me Away" by Napoleon XIV in 1966? I know, you're talking about 1977, but I'm older. Forgive me.

  4. I had absolutely no idea that Ray Stevens was behind that song! I kind of like it in a goofy way (plus I like "In The Mood" to start with, although I'd more commonly listen to the Glenn Miller version)

    But wait, there's more! In doing a bit of Googling on it, I found out that "Henhouse Five Plus Two" was a play on the name of a popular 1950's Dixieland band called "The Firehouse Five Plus Two"... and that band was made up of Disney animators. How cool is that?

  5. The 77T Rick Jones painting is a pretty solid card. Reminds me of one of my students from a few years ago who was obsessed with painting portraits... although she probably would have left the chest hair out.

  6. Ah novelty songs. If it weren't for Doctor Demento it would have taken "Weird Al" Yankovic longer to get fame if at all. I too remember the clucking chickens on the Muppet Show and thinking they had done "IN the Mood" but I'm pretty sure they were better known for "Baby Face". I noticed someone mentioned "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Haha" from the mid 60's. Back to the 70's one of the biggest novelty songs of that decade was Rick Dees & His Cast of Idiots with "Disco Duck". A few months later he released a sort of "sequel" song that instead of skyrocketing just nosedived out of the shoot. It was called "Dis-Gorilla"

  7. I love me some Ray Stevens. But that Rick Jones card! That's one of those things that makes you go, "What?"

  8. I've got two of those five one hit wonders on 45, also the chicken song. It quite amused me when I was 12.