Twenty years after watching two British dudes on MTV rap about being too hot for their mesh tops, it's easy to forget they're still alive, let alone making music. But Right Said Fred and nine more of your favorite '90s one-hit wonders are alive and well -- even if some of them quit music to pursue acting, fashion or fell running (more on that later). For your TGIF gratification, here's a look at what the hell happened to ten artists whose hits soundtracked your Bar Mitzvahs and high school dances.
Chumbawamba ("Tubthumping," 1997)
Chumbawamba, the British band that brought us the 1997 hit "Tubthumping," mislead us with the lyrics "I get knocked down, but I get up again": The group announced its culmination in
2012 "with neither a whimper, a bang, or a reunion." Former lead
guitarist Boff Whalley did, however, continue to pursue his passion for the fringe sport fell running -- racing on hilly terrain -- which he documented in the 2012 book Run Wild.
Divinyls ("I Touch Myself," 1990)
Sadly, Chrissy Amphlett, vocalist of the Australian group Divinyls, died of breast cancer in 2013. Shortly after, 10 singers including Olivia Newton-John covered the song in a video aimed at promoting a different type of self-touch for early breast cancer detection. As for guitarist Mark McEntee, he settled down with designer Melanie Greensmith and their two dogs in Sydney, where they run the fashion brand Wheels & Dollbaby.
Right Said Fred ("I'm Too Sexy" 1991)
Brothers Fred and Richard Fairbrass of English pop group Right Said Fred were not "too sexy" for an appearance on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver last year after news came out that Bashar al-Assad had bought their music on iTunes ("So we're dealing with someone with the political instincts of a young
Joseph Stalin and the music tastes of a 14-year-old girl from Orange
County named Tiffany," Oliver commented). On the show, the group performed a very different rendition of its hit single, calling Assad "too awful for this Earth." When the Fairbrass brothers aren't rewriting old songs to defame dictators, they're recording new ones, including the recent single "Raise Your Hands."
Sir Mix-a-Lot ("Baby Got Back," 1992)
While a lot of us remember this song as the de facto soundtrack of Bar Mitzvah and Sweet Sixteen grindfests, for most adults, our only exposure to "Baby Got Back" these days is when we hear it sampled on Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda," which Sir Mix-a-Lot deemed a "new and improved version" of his hit. The rapper has kept busy with new music and even a few acting roles, including playing himself in The Simpsons and a fictional DJ in Grand Theft Auto IV.
Aqua ("Barbie Girl," 1997)
After "Barbie Girl" exploded in the States in 1997, Danish electro-pop group Aqua fell off most Americans' radars. But unbeknownst to us, Aqua has put out three more albums since and sold 33 million total records, making it the best-selling group in Danish history and the 5th-best-selling in Scandinavia, surpassing Bjork by about 10 million records.
Rednex ("Cotton Eye Joe," 1995)
Rednex's hit single and band name may evoke images of the American south, but the group is actually Swedish -- and it's still touring around Europe... sort of. In 2012, the group's website announced it
would thereafter consist of "a larger community of performers, a 'pool' of artists
that in total make up more than one Rednex set-up. The days of a
permanent band is gone."
Eiffel 65 ("Blue (Da Ba Dee)," 1998)
Though best known for expressing the pain of a gloomy day with strings of gibberish syllables, Italian Eurodance group Eiffel 65 has recorded two albums and a number of singles since, including the anti-materialism anthem "Too Much of Heaven" and the straightforwardly titled dance tune "Move Your Body."
On the brink of the new millennium, Dutch dance-pop group Vengaboys titillated preteens everywhere with the lyrics, "I want you in my room. Let's spend the night together from now until forever." Though the peak of their fame didn't last "until forever," they did sell 25 million records, winning a World Music Award for best-selling dance group, and continue to release singles and tour Europe.
House of Pain ("Jump Around," 1992)
After the hip-hop group disbanded in 1996, lead rapper Everlast collaborated with Santana on "Put Your Lights On" and became a one-hit wonder in his own right with the 1998 single "What It's Like." Some artists were just destined for one-hit wonderdom. DJ Lethal, however, went on to join Limp Bizkit, producing more than one hit and proving that our pasts don't have to define us.