Solely so many artists and bands handle to rise to the highest of the charts with songs that the entire nation will get caught of their heads. So, to have a second or third hit is all of the extra uncommon. For each Madonna or Rolling Stones, there are musicians like Norman Greenbaum and teams like Dexys Midnight Runners who topped the charts and have been barely heard from once more. Sure, we’re speaking about these notorious one-hit wonders.
However simply because they by no means managed to achieve the success of their largest hits a second time round, that does not make their songs any much less legendary. In our humble opinions, one-hit wonders are additionally worthy of celebration. So, in honor of these artists who captured lightning in a bottle, we went again to the late Nineteen Fifties throughout the early 2000s to seek out the most effective one-hit wonders of all time. We dare you to not hum together with the songs that introduced them their fleeting quarter-hour of fame.
This catchy single solely has three phrases—and so they’re all “tequila.” Positive, the lyrics aren’t significantly novel, however the tune nonetheless introduced The Champs large success within the late ’50s. In any case, “Tequila” is simple to study and unimaginable to overlook. It landed on the No. 5 spot on Billboard’s prime 50 singles of 1958. The Champs tried to recapture that glory with a sequel tune titled “Too A lot Tequila” in 1960. Sadly, it solely managed to rise to the No. 30 spot on the Billboard Scorching 100.
Whereas diehard Disney followers and ’90s youngsters know this tune from The Lion King, lengthy earlier than Timon and Pumbaa’s take, there was The Tokens’ 1961 model. The tune was a canopy of the 1939 Zulu tune “Mbube.” Although there have been numerous iterations of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” since, The Tokens’ doo-wop observe was the primary to deliver the tune to the highest of the charts. And whereas they continued to make music all through the ’60s and ’70s, none of their different songs may come near matching the success of their jungle-themed basic.
When you’re a toddler of the Nineteen Sixties, you affiliate this candy little ditty with Bruce Channel, who co-wrote and recorded this observe originally of the last decade. In 1962, it skyrocketed to the highest of the Billboard Scorching 100 chart, the place it reined supreme for 3 weeks. However for those who’re a toddler of the Eighties, “Hey! Child” doubtless makes you consider Soiled Dancing, significantly the long-lasting scene during which Johnny and Child follow their routine on a log. Positive, it might have been Channel’s solely huge hit, however no less than it resonated for many years.
This graveyard smash is a testomony to simply how a lot folks within the Nineteen Sixties went nuts for a tune with loopy choreography. With the added theme of Halloween and Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s spot-on impersonation of Boris Karloff (aka Frankenstein’s monster), “Monster Mash” was a surefire components for fulfillment, nevertheless fleeting. Pickett tried to discover a chart-topping hit once more with the 1962 Christmas tune “Monster’s Vacation” and 1963’s “Commencement Day,” however they failed to achieve the success of his unique monster hit.
In 1963, The Surfaris’s tune “Wipe Out” peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Scorching 100 chart. Even for those who do not acknowledge this tune by its title or by identify of the band who sings it, you’d actually realize it by its introduction—the sound of a breaking surfboard and a maniacal giggle—and its iconic drum solo, courtesy of Ron Wilson. Everybody from The Seashore Boys to Animal from The Muppets have coated this legendary surf observe, which was the primary and ultimate huge hit from this California-based band.
The tune “96 Tears” is a surprisingly catchy hit about an excessive amount of crying. It introduced the storage rock band Query Mark and the Mysterians some fleeting success within the mid-Nineteen Sixties, nevertheless it wasn’t sufficient to maintain them within the limelight into the subsequent decade. We will not think about that query mark originally of their identify helped them keep relevance.
This tune was all around the charts within the Nineteen Sixties. Not solely did it land on the Billboard Scorching 100 chart when it was initially launched in ’66, nevertheless it made its approach again into the highest 50 in 1969 when it was re-released each as a single and on the album The Nice J. J. Jackson. The dangerous information? Jackson did not see a lot chart motion after that. However, to cite the singer himself, “it is alright (alright, lady).”
In 1969, a fictitious cartoon rock band managed to earn the highest spot on a Billboard Scorching 100 chart—and saved it for a month! It was such a stunning success, it is no marvel The Archies weren’t capable of duplicate it. The band, in fact, got here courtesy of The Archie Present, an animated TV adaptation of the Archie Comics, which premiered in 1968. Although they launched a few songs in the course of the present’s run, their most profitable by far was “Sugar, Sugar,” on which Toni Wine and Ron Dante sang lead vocals.
It is fairly loopy to suppose that probably the most generally performed songs at sporting occasions got here from a one-hit marvel. Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” turned an enormous hit in 1969, spending two weeks on the prime spot on the Billboard Scorching 100. The band by no means had one other hit after which, in 1977, the organist at a White Sox sport performed the tune to taunt the visiting group and shortly, Steam turned a part of baseball historical past. (And sure, there are extra lyrics than “Na na na / Na na na / Hey hey hey / Goodbye.”)
You already know “Spirit within the Sky,” that tune you grew up listening to about how Jesus goes to set you up with the spirit within the sky whenever you die and so they lay you to relaxation? Nicely, it was written and carried out by Norman Greenbaum, a Jewish man who was impressed to write down the tune not by his religion, however by a TV look of nation gospel singer Porter Wagoner.
“I assumed, ‘Yeah, I may try this,’ figuring out nothing about gospel music,” Greenbaum instructed The New York Occasions in 2006. “So I sat down and wrote my very own gospel tune. It got here straightforward. I wrote the phrases in quarter-hour.” Sadly for Greenbaum, the tune was additionally the one quarter-hour of fame his profession noticed.
Albert Hammond might need had a smash hit in regards to the rain in California, nevertheless it was hardly pouring hits for him as a performer within the ’70s. The tune peaked at No. 5 on the Scorching 100 chart, and although he by no means managed to repeat the success of “It By no means Rains in Southern California” as a singer, all was not misplaced for Hammond: Within the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, he discovered large success as a songwriter. He co-wrote Whitney Houston’s “One Second in Time” and Starships’ “Nothing’s Gonna Cease Us Now,” with the legendary Diane Warren.
After all, we do not condone dishonest, nevertheless it’s exhausting to not get caught up within the story of Mrs. Jones when Billy Paul croons about her. The 1972 observe spent three weeks on the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Scorching 100 chart in 1972, however “Me and Mrs. Jones” was a flash within the pan for Mr. Paul. He by no means managed to have one other hit crack the highest 10.
Lengthy earlier than this tune had new life courtesy of the Marvel hit Guardians of the Galaxy and even earlier than it gained reputation within the ’90s because of Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Canines, ’70s youngsters have been strolling round singing “ooga-chaka ooga-ooga” (no matter which means). Nonetheless, “Hooked on a Feeling,” which itself was a canopy of B.J. Thomas’ 1968 unique, is the one hit Swedish rock band Blue Swede ever had—in any decade.
Do the lyrics of this magical tune about daybreaks and lazy days in mattress have any form of rhyme or motive? Hardly. And but, the 1974 single from Pilot rose all the best way to No. 5 on the Scorching 100 chart again in its heyday. Upon the tune’s preliminary launch, you could not go 5 ft with out listening to somebody sing, “Oh ho ho, it is magic!”—even when that they had no concept what, precisely, it was. Sadly, Pilot didn’t recreate the magic of “Magic,” however the one-hit marvel continues to be featured on TV reveals and in films, from Glad Gilmore to the Herbie: Absolutely Loaded reboot with Lindsay Lohan.
It was destiny, actually, that introduced this one-hit marvel into existence. Within the Seventies, rock band Wild Cherry—whose identify was impressed by a field of cough drops—was acting at a membership when somebody within the viewers screamed, “Play some funky music, white boy!” The impolite request impressed frontman Rob Parissi to pen this tune, which has allowed us to put down that boogie ever since. Positive, it was the band’s solely huge hit, nevertheless it was an enormous one: It climbed all the best way to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Scorching 100 in 1976.
Amazingly, this profitable tune from one-hit wonders Skinny Lizzy virtually did not make it onto the airwaves. “We weren’t initially going to place ‘The Boys Are Again in City’ on the Jailbreak album in any respect,” guitarist Scott Gorham stated in a 2015 interview with Basic Rock. “However then the administration heard it and stated, ‘No, there’s one thing actually good about this tune.'” Thank goodness for that, as a result of “The Boys Are Again in City” is the one actually profitable tune Skinny Lizzy has ever actually had. (Sorry, boys!)
You will be hard-pressed to discover a extra melodic, extra tasteful, or extra catchy tune a few noon rendezvous than “Afternoon Delight.” And when it is proper, boy, is it proper: For this tune alone, Starland Vocal Band received each Finest New Artist of the 12 months and Finest Association for Voices on the 1976 Grammys. If you are going to solely have one hit, it would not sting an excessive amount of if it is as huge as this one.
If video killed the radio star, then what do The Buggles should blame for the dying of their short-lived profession? The 2-man band shortly rose to prominence with “Video Killed the Radio Star” and its accompanying music video that actually launched MTV in 1981 (it is famously the primary video the community performed). However after that, nicely, it appears video killed the video star.
Imagine it or not, the “bell” within the tune “Ring My Bell” refers back to the phone. The PG tune was initially written for 11-year-old Stacy Lattisaw as a teenybopper hit about buddies hitting one another up on the telephone, nevertheless it was gifted to Anita Ward when Lattisaw signed with one other label. Although “Ring My Bell” made it to the No. 1 spot on the Scorching 100, Ward by no means managed to comply with it up with one other main hit.
Funkytown may not be an actual place you could go to, however simply listening to the fictional city’s identify positive does take us again to a time when disco and leisure fits have been all the trend. This tune, the primary and solely hit that the band Lipps Inc. ever produced, will at all times maintain a spot in our hearts as an ode to the nonchalance and freedom of funk music.
When you grew up within the ’80s, you then in all probability memorized “867-5309” earlier than you ever even memorized your finest good friend’s digits. Heck, you would possibly’ve even tried calling the quantity a number of occasions, solely to be disillusioned when the notorious Jenny did not choose up. Guess she modified her quantity in spite of everything.
Tommy Tutone could have created probably the most well-known telephone numbers in popular culture historical past, however they by no means managed to create one other hit after this observe soared to the No. 4 spot on the Billboard Scorching 100.
Voted the No. 5 finest one-hit marvel of all time by Rolling Stone, “Tainted Love” is a type of songs that even individuals who did not develop up within the ’80s know by coronary heart. And whenever you hear that catchy, scornful refrain, you simply can not help however take part. Sadly, Comfortable Cell by no means ran away or bought away with one other hit tune after “Tainted Love” landed at No. 8 on the Scorching 100 chart.
“I Soften With You” was the 1982 hit single from British band Trendy English. The band may not have had any follow-up chart-toppers, however no less than their one and solely hit lives on through infinite covers and on each “finest one-hit wonders” listing of all time. (Right here they’re at No. 7 on VH1’s “100 Best One-Hit Wonders of the ’80s.”)
You might need assumed that The Climate Women noticed way more mainstream success following their large 1982 hit “It is Raining Males,” however have we bought neewwwwsss for you. (Uh huh.) Although the feminine duo was capable of keep on the Billboard Scorching 100 for 11 weeks with “It is Raining Males,” their singles that adopted have been solely area of interest hits on Billboard’s dance membership music chart.
You’ll be able to’t make an inventory of the most effective one-hit wonders with out mentioning “Come on Eileen.” Launched in 1982, the tune—which frontman Kevin Rowland has stated was impressed by an actual relationship of his—spent 23 weeks on the Billboard Scorching 100 chart and even managed to safe the No. 1 spot. So, what was Dexys Midnight Runners’ most “profitable” observe after that? “The Celtic Soul Brothers,” which peaked at No. 86 (therefore the one-hit marvel standing).
You’ll be able to dance if you wish to to this tune, however you in all probability should not get too connected to the band behind it. Although “The Security Dance” was a serious come across its launch within the early ’80s, Males With out Hats was by no means capable of comply with it up with a tune practically as profitable, which ultimately led to them taking an extended hiatus. No less than the band embraces their one-hit marvel standing immediately, although: Their official web site is safetydance.com.
This synthpop single was the go-to tune for getting groovy within the mid-Eighties. What ’80s child may overlook its live-action pencil sketch music video, which incorporates a black-and-white thriller man actually popping out of the pages of a comic book ebook? As for A-Ha’s different music, nevertheless? Yeah, that is fairly forgettable. Nothing managed to finest and even meet the efficiency of “Tackle Me,” which peaked at No. 1 on the Scorching 100 chart in 1985.
Katrina and the Waves made waves within the mid-Eighties when “Strolling on Sunshine” was launched. The catchy, uplifting single spent a staggering 21 weeks on the Billboard Scorching 100 chart, peaking at No. 9 in June 1985. After that, the band struggled to duplicate the chart-topping success of “Strolling on Sunshine” with a number of follow-up tracks within the mid- to late-’80s.
Though “(I Simply) Died in Your Arms” made all of it the best way to the No. 1 spot on the Scorching 100 chart again in ’87, most individuals do not really know what the tune’s about. Because the story goes, the title of the tune is supposed to be a euphemism for an orgasm, because the English translation for the French time period for an orgasm—la petite mort—is “the little dying.”
And Slicing Crew skilled slightly dying of their very own after their chart-topping hit. Their follow-up observe, “I’ve Been in Love Earlier than,” discovered some success, however was nowhere near the ubiquity of “(I Simply) Died in Your Arms.” They need to’ve walked away.
When Proper Mentioned Fred launched their debut single “I am Too Attractive” in 1991, the band was off to a working begin. The tune peaked at No. 1 on the Scorching 100 chart originally of 1992, and Billboard described the tune as a “completely enjoyable and goofy ditty.” Although “I am Too Attractive” noticed large mainstream success, Proper Mentioned Fred by no means had any large follow-up hits within the U.S. On the finish of the day, the English band might need certainly been too attractive.
“Memphis was the primary place I made a decision to go in my seek for inspiration,” musician Marc Cohn revealed in a first-person article for Keyboard in 2017. The results of that journey—which included touristy visits to Graceland, and consuming ribs at Rendezvous—was “Strolling in Memphis,” Cohn’s first (and solely) hit to ever make it into the highest 20 on the Billboard Scorching 100 chart. No less than he’ll at all times have Memphis.
Although “I am Gonna Be (500 Miles)” was launched in Europe in 1988, it was made standard within the U.S. by the 1993 movie Benny & Joon, which is when it was launched stateside. The observe, although an enormous success, shortly proclaimed the Scottish duo who sang it, The Proclaimers, as one-hit wonders. Although the band noticed additional success in Europe, they have been by no means capable of develop a lot of a religious following in America.
You may not acknowledge this once-popular tune by its title, nor would you doubtless know the band who sings it. Nevertheless, you’d solely have to listen to the primary few seconds of this thumping worldbeat rock hit earlier than you immediately began singing alongside. (Good luck attempting to maintain up when lead singer Michael Glabicki talk-sings “youknowwhattheysayabouttheyoung,” although.) It is featured in tons of flicks—from Ice Age and Matilda—and, sure, it is mainly the theme tune for Enterprise Lease-a-Automobile. It is also the one hit Rusted Root has to their identify. Oh, and enjoyable reality: NASA engineers selected it as “get up” music on the Mars Rover expedition in 2003!
When you grew up in New Zealand, then it is in all probability makin’ you loopy to consider the band OMC as a one-hit marvel. When you grew up anyplace else on the planet, nevertheless, then the one tune of theirs that you simply in all probability know is “How Weird,” the hit single from the Kiwi band’s eponymous 1005 debut album. Nonetheless, we hope Sister Zina and Brother Pele are doing nicely.
Taking its title from the basic Audrey Hepburn film, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is the 1995 hit single from Deep Blue One thing. And provided that the tune is the one one produced by the band to have ever discovered mainstream success, it is little shock that the band members have grown increasingly more sick of it through the years.
“There have been undoubtedly occasions it bought a bit irritating to continually speak about ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ in each interview or look,” the band revealed in an interview with Buzz journal in 2019. “However in spite of everything this time, we really feel very fortunate to be part of one thing that strikes a chord with so many individuals and it is nonetheless a blast to play it at each present. It is at all times an enormous singalong and there is nothing higher than that.”
What precisely is “tubthumping”? Nicely, as former Chumbawamba lead singer Danbert Nobacon defined to the AV Membership in 2017, it is “somebody getting up on a soapbox, earlier than electrical energy, and simply saying no matter they wished to say.” What relevance this phrase has to the band’s worldwide hit is unclear—even Nobacon admitted that he is “undecided why we known as that tune ‘Tubthumping'”—and but in some way, it seems like the suitable title for probably the most repetitive, most complicated, and admittedly, most annoying songs in existence. So, what’s it doing on this listing of the most effective one-hit wonders, you ask? Nicely, it’s the true definition of the time period: It is a large earworm the world knew, however few may let you know the identify of the band who sings, even it if their life relied on it.
The orchestral notes that kick off “Bitter Candy Symphony” are doubtless ingrained in your mind whether or not you understand it or not. This observe, from Britpop group The Verve, outlined the late ’90s. It climbed to the highest 15 of the Billboard Scorching 100 in 1998, it was nominated for a number of MTV VMAs, and it even earned a Grammy nod. Positive, it was The Verve’s solely main hit—and sure, it led to a credit battle with The Rolling Stones—nevertheless it’s lived on in covers by everybody from Beyoncé to Limp Bizkit and in wedding ceremony ceremonies worldwide. And for those who’re a real ’90s child, you then undoubtedly affiliate this one-hit marvel with the 1999 film soundtrack for Merciless Intentions. (Sorry, Kathryn.)
We now have to hope that late ’90s one-hit marvel Natalie Imbruglia just isn’t chilly, ashamed, nor mendacity bare on the ground. The Aussie singer’s cowl of Ednaswap’s early Nineties observe “Torn” took the world by storm towards the top of the last decade. The tune peaked at No. 1 on the Scorching 100 Airplay chart, the place it reined supreme for 11 consecutive weeks, and Imbruglia was nominated for Finest New Artist, Finest Pop Album, and Finest Feminine Pop Vocal Efficiency on the 1998 Grammys. However the success of “Torn” by no means changed into one thing actual for Imbruglia, who didn’t recreate the magic of her breakout hit. She’s reportedly engaged on a brand new album although with none aside from Albert Hammond, Jr., lead guitarist for The Strokes and son of fellow Seventies one-hit marvel, Albert Hammond. Ah, the tangled webs these one-hit wonders weave!
Although “Closing Time” is an iconic ’90s hit, there are few folks on the market who can really establish it solely by its title or the band who sings it, Semisonic. It is such a phenomenon, in truth, that within the 2011 rom-com Pals with Advantages, Mila Kunis’ and Justin Timberlake’s character have a working joke in regards to the tune being sung by Third Eye Blind. On the finish of the film, Timberlake surprises Kunis with a flash mob dancing to the tune and he screams, “It is ‘Closing Time’ by the band Semisonic. It is not Third Eye Blind, are you able to consider that?!”
Tal Bachman’s “She’s So Excessive” was the tune that each boy going via puberty used to attempt to woo their highschool crush within the late ’90s. In any case, what larger praise was there than being in comparison with Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, and Aphrodite? Bachman could have helped a number of pre-teens ask dates to homecoming, however he by no means had one other hit once more.
Sonique could have been big within the U.Ok., the place she managed to have three songs within the prime 10, however for People, she was a one-hit marvel, recognized for her 2000 dance observe “It Feels So Good.” It reached No. 8 on the Billboard Scorching 100, however Sonique could not take herself larger than that stateside.
That is the story of a one-hit marvel generally known as 9 Days. You may not acknowledge the band by their identify alone, however you undoubtedly know the tune that put them within the limelight for a short while within the early aughts. It was an exquisite ballad a few man who was at all times reminded of how a lot he beloved his girlfriend each time she smiled (even when she may cry a river and drown the entire world).
Within the early aughts, Wheatus’ worldwide hit “Teenage Dirtbag” was each outcast’s anthem. In reality, its edgy refrain, pop-rock melody, and relatable message helped it obtain platinum standing in a number of international locations, together with Australia and the U.Ok.
Even 20 years later, it stays a pop punk anthem for youngsters. As a result of, as lead singer Brendan B. Brown famous in a 2012 interview with Tone Deaf, “Each teenager has to undergo that ‘being an outsider’ factor, no less than slightly bit. In order that story continues to be the identical for folks, even when it is 30 years after I went via it.” Aw, Noel actually would not know what she’s missin’!
Even for those who did not really know a lady named Stacy, you undoubtedly nonetheless sang (inappropriately, we’d add) about her mother for those who have been a teen or tween within the 2000s. The one mainstream hit to ever come from the New Jersey-based group Fountains of Wayne, “Stacy’s Mother” was really nominated for a Grammy for Finest Pop Efficiency By a Duo or Group With Vocal. Although it finally misplaced, we’ll at all times have the music video that includes Rachel Hunter as Stacy’s mother.
Kevin Lyttle hasn’t seen a lot mainstream success because the launch of his self-titled debut album in 2004. However do not feel dangerous for the washed-up 2000s star: As he revealed to The Supply in 2019, his first and solely main single, “Flip Me On,” has been a serious supply of earnings within the years since its launch, because of quite a few covers and samplings.
“I personal the publishing on [the Chris Brown song] ‘Questions,'” he defined within the interview. “I additionally personal the publishing for the Cheat Codes’ model, ‘Let Me Maintain You,’ which is greater than the Chris Brown model.” Guess this one-hit marvel’s success wasn’t so Lyttle in spite of everything.
In summer season 2004, you could not activate a radio station or music video channel with out working into Hoobastank’s “The Purpose.” Nevertheless, although the tune made all of it the best way to No. 2 on the Billboard Scorching 100 chart, “The Purpose” finally ended up being the band’s solely main mainstream hit.
“Take heed to Your Coronary heart” was initially launched by Swedish pop duo Roxette in 1988, however for those who did not know that, you are not alone. The observe did not actually take off till 2005 when Belgian trance duo D.H.T. (an acronym for “dance home trance”) remixed it for 2000s membership youngsters and abruptly, folks have been hand-raving to it in every single place. It turned one of many only a few trance songs to crack the Billboard Scorching 100, the place it peaked at No. 8 in 2005. D.H.T. launched a number of extra trance covers, however none as profitable as “Take heed to Your Coronary heart.”
When you have been an adolescent within the 2000s, you then have been both pawning after a lady who laughed at your goals whilst you dreamed about her laughter, otherwise you have been that lady. And maybe that is why The Click on 5’s “Simply the Lady” did so nicely when it was launched in ’05: By September of that yr, this single—the one one of many band’s that ever noticed any success— was at No. 11 on the Scorching 100 chart.
Although the divorce of Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson resulted within the bitter and abrupt finish of Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, it did give us one good factor: this breakup anthem, the video for which featured Lachey’s now-wife Vanessa Lachey. After all, the previous 98 Levels frontman noticed a ton of success throughout his boy band days, however to this point, that is his solely single as a solo artist to crack the Scorching 100 prime 10.
When Fitness center Class Heroes went on hiatus in 2009, like Lachey, lead singer Travie McCoy determined to pursue a solo profession. Essentially the most notable venture that got here from that solo endeavor was “Billionaire,” the 2010 single that includes Bruno Mars that peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Scorching 100. Since then, McCoy has been featured on different artists’ hit tracks—like Taio Cruz’s “Larger”—nevertheless it seems prefer it’ll take slightly longer for him to grow to be a billionaire and land on the quilt of Forbes journal, smiling subsequent to Oprah Winfrey and the Queen of England. And for extra on the popular culture of yesteryear, here is The Hottest A-Checklist Celeb the 12 months You Had been Born.