Last week, it was announced on social media that the British group Wolf Gang was breaking up, which was unfortunate for me as they were one of my favorites at Coachella in 2012, which might have been one of the best of the festival from top to bottom.
Another inspiration is the release of the biopic “Straight Outta Compton,” the story of Dr. Dre and NWA. It just reminded me of the blowout rap showcase Dr. Dre put on with Snoop Dog during their headlining set in 2012 that provided the iconic moment of the festival.
Here’s a look at my top one-time wonders.
PRINCE: The purple one arguably took Coachella to another level, placing it at the top of the festival circuit when he played in 2008.
Being a child of the 80s, he was one of the biggest acts and most talented performers. And he did not let anyone down. He opened the show with Morris Day and Jerome doing a little medley of “Jungle Love” and “The Bird.” Sheila E banged on drums and sang “The Glamorous Life,” and a woman with a phenomenal voice, Ledisi, covered Sarah McLachan’s “Angel.”
And Prince was amazing.
One of the standouts from the show was covering Radiohead’s “Creep.” And he also hit the biggies like “Little Red Corvette,” and “Let’s Go Crazy,” just to name a few.
PAUL MCCARTNEY: Pretty cool to have a Beatle headline your festival.
Honestly, going in, I wasn’t that excited because I wasn’t sure how good McCartney would sound. Boy, was I surprised.
We grew up hearing those songs, but what a joy to hear them live. And the night also had it’s emotional moments, when McCartney dedicated “My Love,” to his wife Linda who passed away 11 years earlier, and two other songs to fallen Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison.
This was the year when they released the Beatles “Rock Band” video, although the announcement came afterwards. but much of the video used was also for the game, providing a nice sneak peak.
There were rumors that Harrison’s son Dhani might join Paul on stage, but that was not to be.
AMY WINEHOUSE: This was the ninth consecutive year I’ve been to Coachella, and the first one to kickoff this streak was Amy Winehouse. I went that year specifically to see her after catching her performance of “Rehab” on David Letterman. A great throwback style, fantastic voice and great performer, Winehouse did not disappoint and announced she would be a force in the music industry.
Unfortunately, this bright star burned out quickly. She was supposed to play in 2009, but Winehouse’s demons had caught up with her by then.
WOLF GANG: Carson Daly described their sound as symphonic pop and it certainly did fit Wolf Gang. I liked them so much, I went to the Troubadour in Los Angeles to catch them again six months later on their headlining tour.
Wolf Gang won me over with their song “The King and All of His Men,” a song you can’t help but start moving your feet. They were the first band to kickoff the 2012 festival, playing around noon or 1 p.m. (it escapes my memory), and I figured they would be back, playing much later in the lineup. Unfortunately, it won’t be happening.
Am I the only one to thing lead singer Max McElligott looks like Jude Law? I think these guys will go down as cult classics of the festival scene.
It’s out of focus, but here’s the video I caught of them at Coachella.
NEON TREES: It’s a shame they haven’t been back. They really exploded after their 2011 performance. And unfortunately, Neon Trees were in a tent as The Strokes and Kanye West were performing at the main stage. But it was a treat to catch them in an intimate setting and Tyler Glenn came out with one of the most tricked-out Mohawk you’ll ever see.
They shared a great story about how a few years ago, they were in the parking lot, passing out their homemade CDs and dreaming of someday playing Coachella.
The show was phenomenal. Since then, their image has been a little more bubble gum, and not as edgy as they were that night. It was really fun.
DR. DRE AND SNOOP DOG: The iconic rappers put on a showcase that included Eminem, 50 Cent and other rap royalty.
The place was hopping with Dre and Snoop. It was off the hook.
But everyone remembers hologram Tupac. It was perhaps the iconic moment of Coachella 2012. Hell, maybe the most iconic moment of Coachella.
BLACK KIDS: I missed these guys and really regretted it in 2008. I didn’t learn about them until afterwards. Their CD, “Partie Traumatic,” was a terrific CD that included the hits “I’m Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You,” and “Look At Me (When I Rock With You).”
They were an indie darling and “Rolling Stones” dubbed them a band to watch. But they haven’t done a follow up CD, although they said they started recording in 2010 and again in 2013. They did tour again in 2013, but nothing since. Hopefully they will return.
Here is their performance on David Letterman.
Did I miss any other one-time wonders that I should have included? Let me know.