As the mean of communication and transportation become more efficient and convenient, the exchange between people in the world become more frequent and diverse - not only for the trade and idea, but also the culture, language, and music. Nowadays, you can find non-English records in most of the English-speaking countries. They are always markets for these exotic music, even though most people may not be able to understand a word in them - they are still good music to listen to. Since the pre-rock & roll era, many non-English-speaking songs have made their way through the English-speaking countries' charts. Here are the list of those who made their appearance on the US, or UK, chart only once - and never return.
Blue Stars was a French vocal group led by a New Yorker singer/songwriter Blossom Dearie in the mid 1950s. The group landed one Top20 hit with a French version of jazz standard "Lullaby of Birdland". Unfortunately, they guickly lost momentum and Dearie left the group not long after.
This German accordionist and bandleader was best known in US for his series of polka songs during the late 1930s to 1950s. In 1957, his "Liechtensteiner Polka" made it to Top20 on Billboard pop chart. It was his only (and the last ) chart success in US.
An Italian singer Domenico Modugno was a renowned two-time Grammy Awards winner and a member of the Italian Parliament. His career's summit came in 1958 when his song "Nel blu dipinto di blu" won 2 Grammy Awards and topped the chart in US. He composed several more songs afterward, but none could match up with the success of this one song.
Renato Carosone was regarded as the pioneer of modern canzone napoletana (Naples' song tradition). His career during 1950s period was a big success both in his homeland and oversea. In 1958, his song "Torero" became a Top20 hit on US pop chart. It was translated into 12 lanauges and covered by numous artists. It was his only US success till he passed away in 2001.
Rocco Granata was an Italy-born accordianist whose family immigrated to Belgium when he was young. He usually toured with his band the International Quintet. He was best known for his Gold records "Marina", which became an international hit in 1959. He later found a successful producer career and became an owner of Cardinal Records and Granata Records.
Ivo Robic was a Croatian musician who actived from 1950s to 1970s. Robic was a famous artist in his home country where he recorded over a hundred songs throughout his career. He was internationally known for his collaboration with Bert Kaempfert "Morgen", which became a no.13 hit on US chart in 1959 and sold million copies worldwide. He never returned to US chart again.
Ditta Zusa Einzinger was an Austrian singer from the late 1950s, who usually recorded under the alias Lolita. She was best known for her 1960's hit "Seemann, deine Heimat ist das Meer" - better known in English as "Sailor (Your Home Is the Sea)". This German song became a big hit in US and other German-speaking countries in Europe. It was her only international success.
Although Elvis Presley may be the first to sing this old German folk song in his 1960 film 'G.I.Blues'. But it was actually Joe Dowell who made his name with this song. His version, released in 1961, was much more commerically successful and topped the Billboard chart in 1961. However, he could not carry on this fame and disappeared from the music scene by 1963.
"Al Di La'" was a popular Italian song by Betty Curtis whose versio nbecame an Italian entry for Eurovision Song Contest in 1961. It was later made famous again by Emilio Pericoli, another Italian singer. His version also an internationally success. It became a no.6 hit on Billboard Pop chart in 1962. Pericoli never found another internationally success again.
Sister Luc Gabriel, better known as The Sining Nun, was an artist who responsibled for the unexpected international smash "Dominique". The song topped the Billboard chart in 1963 and even led to the hollywood movie in 1966. But her fame was brief and she soon faded from music world as quickly as she came. She died in 1985 at the age of 53.