List of one-hit wonders on the UK Singles Chart

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This is a list of artists who have achieved one number-one hit on the UK Singles Chart and no other entry whatsoever on the chart. The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles uses this definition of "one-hit wonder", which is a controversial term with various other proposed definitions.

Methodology[edit]

A hit is attributed to the main artist given credit. If a single is released by two artists with the conjunction 'and' or 'versus' then both artists have equal billing (e.g. Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg) and are both counted as having a number one (in this case "Je t'aime... moi non plus") whereas if the conjunction between two artists is 'featuring' or 'with' (or similar) then the first artist is considered the main artist for that hit, with the other artist listed being given a lesser billing (usually in these cases they would be additional vocalists or contributing instrumentalists). For reasons of clarity (and brevity), the lower billed artists are not considered a one-hit wonder here even if it is their only hit.

Artists who are classed as one-hit wonders within the past twelve months are not yet added to the list, as they may still follow-up their number one with another hit. A one-hit wonder from earlier who now go on to score another hit will be removed from this list.

One-hit wonders[edit]

Artist Peak date Song Notes
Kitty Kallen 11 September 1954 "Little Things Mean a Lot" Despite scoring other hits in her native US, Kallen never achieved another hit on the UK Chart, which at this point was a mere Top 12.[1]
The Dream Weavers March/April 1956 "It's Almost Tomorrow" In the US, they scored a minor hit some months later, but then faded into obscurity there also.[2][3]
The Kalin Twins 23 August 1958 "When" It was heavily suggested that their song "Forget Me Not" be issued as a follow-up, but this was not pursued. The Kalin Twins remain the only one-hit wonder male siblings (composed of twin brothers).[4]
Jerry Keller 10 October 1959 "Here Comes Summer" Despite writing many hits, Keller only ever had one hit in his own right.[5]
Ricky Valance 1 October 1960 "Tell Laura I Love Her" Ricky Valance was the first British one-hit wonder (hailing from Wales).[6] He scored further hits in Europe, but none in the UK.
B. Bumble and the Stingers 19 May 1962 "Nut Rocker" The song reappeared on the UK Chart ten years later, reaching #19. An instrumental group, B. Bumble and the Stingers had already scored their biggest hit in the US.[7]
The Overlanders 29 January 1966 "Michelle" It reached #1 in January 1966 for three weeks. They are the earliest British group to be classed as a one-hit wonder.[8]
The Crazy World of Arthur Brown 17 August 1968 "Fire" The group did score a hit (self-titled) album, but neither the band nor Arthur Brown in his own right managed to secure another placing in the singles chart.[9]
Zager and Evans 30 August 1969 "In the Year 2525" The song was written five years earlier, but did not become a success in the UK until it made #1 in the US.[10] It remains either member's only hit.
Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg 11 October 1969 "Je t'aime... moi non plus" The song was banned by the BBC, which has always been believed to be a major factor in the song's success.[11] Serge Gainsbourg, a controversial French singer and director, scored his only UK chart success with this song. He was the first non-UK/US one-hit wonder.
The Archies 25 October 1969 "Sugar Sugar" The Archies were ostensibly cartoon characters from the TV series, The Archie Show which was based on the popular Archie Comics published since the 1940s. In reality, the song was performed by a group of session singers.[12] Other singles were released under their name, but none found success in the UK.
Lee Marvin 7 March 1970 "Wand'rin' Star" Recorded for his then-current film, Paint Your Wagon.[13][14] Marvin did not release any further singles.
Norman Greenbaum May 1970 "Spirit in the Sky" The song was his only hit, but it went on to reach #1 twice more in versions by Doctor and the Medics and Gareth Gates.
Matthews' Southern Comfort 31 October 1970 "Woodstock" The band was led by Iain Matthews, who despite appearing in various other groups, never had another hit.[15] Recorded earlier by Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
Clive Dunn 9 January 1971 "Grandad" Clive Dunn was starring in the TV sitcom Dad's Army when he released this novelty single.[16] Dunn released several follow-ups but never hit the chart again.
The Simon Park Orchestra 29 September 1973 "Eye Level" Theme tune to the TV series, Van der Valk.[17] It eventually sold over a million copies in the UK.[18]
Typically Tropical 9 August 1975 "Barbados" Regarded as a pastime by the two members, follow-up singles failed to chart and the duo split not long after.[19]
J. J. Barrie 5 June 1976 "No Charge" Barrie, former manager of Blue Mink, with a cover of a Harlan Howard song which also featured Vicki Brown, (wife of Joe Brown). on vocals.[20]
The Floaters 27 August 1977 "Float On" The Detroit group followed their only hit with a cover of Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me"[21]
Althea & Donna 4 February 1978 "Uptown Top Ranking" Ill-advised follow-up "Puppy Dog Song" proved to be their downfall.[22]
Brian and Michael 8 April 1978 "Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs" The song featured uncredited backing vocals by St. Winifred's School Choir, which went on to become a one-hit wonder in its own right two years later.[23]
Anita Ward 16 June 1979 "Ring My Bell" Originally written for Stacy Lattisaw by Frederick Knight, it instead became Memphis-born Anita Ward's only hit. Her follow-up, "Don't Drop My Love", found few buyers.[24]
Tubeway Army 30 June 1979 "Are 'Friends' Electric?" They also scored a #1 album at the same time, but immediately afterwards the band dissolved. Lead singer Gary Numan went on to enjoy a successful career.
Lena Martell 27 October 1979 "One Day at a Time" Martell charted four UK top 20 albums, but her recording of this Kris Kristofferson song was her only hit single.[25]
Fern Kinney 15 March 1980 "Together We Are Beautiful" Originally a B-Side, the song became her only UK success.[26]
MASH 31 May 1980 "Suicide Is Painless" Theme tune to the film MASH. Sung by actor Ken Prymus, but released under the name MASH.[citation needed]
St Winifred's School Choir 27 December 1980 "There's No-one Quite Like Grandma" The choir featured lead vocalist Dawn Ralph and future TV actress Sally Lindsay. They were also the school choir backing group on Brian and Michael's 1978 #1.[27][28]
Joe Dolce Music Theatre 21 February 1981 "Shaddap You Face" Novelty song, which kept Ultravox's hit "Vienna" from reaching the #1 spot.
Charlene 26 June 1982 "I've Never Been to Me" The song's success took Charlene by surprise and no new material was available for release afterwards until it was too late.[29]
Phyllis Nelson 4 May 1985 "Move Closer" Her album was also a hit, but follow-up single "I Like You" fell just short of the Official Top 75 chart, peaking at #81.[30]
MARRS 3 October 1987 "Pump Up the Volume" Despite its success, no follow-up was ever released. MARRS was a one-off project between two groups - A R Kane and Colourbox.
Robin Beck 19 November 1988 "First Time" Used as a jingle by Coca-Cola.[31] Follow-up "Save Up All Your Tears" narrowly missed out on chart inclusion by peaking at #84.[32] In 2006, Swedish dance outfit Sunblock, along with Robin Beck, recorded a cover, which peaked at #9 in the UK.
Partners in Kryme 28 July 1990 "Turtle Power" Used in the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The pair had disbanded before even releasing an album.[33]
Hale and Pace 23 March 1991 "The Stonk" Charity single for Comic Relief.[34]
Doop 19 March 1994 "Doop" Two Dutch producers followed up their techno version of the 1920s dance The Charleston with the unsuccessful "Huckleberry Jam"[35]
Teletubbies 13 December 1997 "Teletubbies say "Eh-oh!"" The Theme to the popular BBC children's television series sold over one million copies.[36]
Mr Oizo 3 April 1999 "Flat Beat" Used as the jingle for Levi Jeans and fronted by glove puppet, Flat Eric. This was his only UK hit but continues a successful career in France and on the underground dance scene.[37][38]
Baz Luhrmann 12 June 1999 "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" The song consisted of Australian voice actor Lee Perry reading an essay written by an American newspaper columnist over a gentle backbeat.[39]
Rui Da Silva 13 January 2001 "Touch Me" The single was Da Silva's only UK chart hit, although featured vocalist Cass Fox released her own version, which became a minor hit five years later.[40][41]
DJ Pied Piper 2 June 2001 "Do You Really Like It?" A follow-up was recorded but never released.[42]
Las Ketchup October 2002 "The Ketchup Song" Three Spanish sisters' recording of "The Ketchup Song", sung partly in Spanish and English, using the hit "Rappers Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang.[43] However, they still have a successful career in their native Spain.
Yanou 9 November 2002 "Heaven" This cover of a Bryan Adams hit featured vocals by Do.[44]
The Kumars 22 March 2003 "Spirit in the Sky" Charity single with Gareth Gates for Comic Relief.
Michael Andrews 27 December 2003 "Mad World" Featuring vocals by Gary Jules.[45]
Frankee 22 May 2004 "F.U.R.B. (Fuck You Right Back)" A response to the previous #1 "Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back)" by Eamon.
3 of a Kind 21 August 2004 "Baby Cakes" Despite the song's success, a follow-up single was never released.[46]
Steve Brookstein 1 January 2005 "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" The first winner of the first series of The X Factor with a cover of the Phil Collins hit.[47][48]
Nizlopi 24 December 2005 "The JCB Song" Two school friends John Parker and Luke Concannon had a surprise #1 hit, but failed to chart again.[49]
Vanessa Jenkins and Bryn West 15 March 2009 "Barry Islands in the Stream" The two characters from hit BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey originally sang the song in an episode of the series, before recording it with Sir Tom Jones and Robin Gibb for Comic Relief.
Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP 25 July 2010 "We No Speak Americano"
Sak Noel 8 October 2011 "Loca People" Spanish DJ whose follow up single, "Paso (The Nini Anthem)" peaked well outside of the chart.
Gotye 18 February 2012 "Somebody That I Used to Know"
Sam and the Womp 1 September 2012 "Bom Bom" Three-piece electronic band who have failed to chart since.[50]
Storm Queen 16 November 2013 "Look Right Through"

Under an alternative name[edit]

  • The KLF scored a single hit as The Timelords (the #1 "Doctorin' the Tardis" in 1988), but scored individual hits as The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu (aka The JAMs) and 2K, and several hits, including another #1, as The KLF.

Collaborations classified as one-hit wonders[edit]

The following collaborations are classified as "one-hit wonders" by Guinness Hit Singles because each of these particular combinations of artists had a single #1 hit with no other chart entries in this particular configuration. However, in each case, each of the participating artists had at least one additional hit separately.

Eva Cassidy is currently the only artist to appear posthumously as a One Hit Wonder in any of the lists in this article.

One hit wonders excluding collaboration work[edit]

This list is the opposite to the "Collaborations classified as one-hit wonders list" as this is artists who went to number one on their own with their only solo hit, however their only additional chart entries were with other artists.

  • John Denver on his own, had a single chart entry going to #1 with "Annie's Song" in 1974. He also collaborated with Plácido Domingo on another record, which charted but did not make number one.
  • Steve 'Silk' Hurley on 24 January 1987 had his only UK solo chart entry "Jack Your Body" which went to number 1. The well-known producer had scored many hits on the UK Dance Chart and was a member of JM Silk (who have had other chart entries). Hurley refused to promote himself as a solo artist and went on to remix many more chart hits.[52]

Aggregate ensemble groups[edit]

The following is a list of aggregate ensemble groups. These are usually put together for charity purposes. The ones listed below are one-hit wonders in their respective line-ups, but each is made up of several chart artists. The following line-ups have all reached number one in their only hit under these umbrella group names:

As the contestants in the UK TV show The X Factor were different every year, the group of finalists were different each year as well, despite keeping the same name. In a similar manner, there have been a few different collaborations under the name "Various Artists", which have charted, none of which match the one singing "Perfect Day" as listed above, which is why they are eligible for inclusion on this list.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chartstats - Chart week ending 11 September 1954
  2. ^ Chartstats - "It's Almost Tomorrow" chart run
  3. ^ Billboard - Artist biography
  4. ^ Artist Direct - The Kalin Twins
  5. ^ IMDb.com - Jerry Keller biography
  6. ^ Ricky Valance official website - biography
  7. ^ Rockabilly - B.Bumble and the Stingers biography
  8. ^ 45-rpm - Overlanders
  9. ^ Chartstats - Single and Album Chart discography
  10. ^ Oldies.com - Zager and Evans biography
  11. ^ France vision - Serge Gainsbourg
  12. ^ Classic bands - The Archies
  13. ^ Discogs - Lee Marvin
  14. ^ Chartstats - Lee Marvin discography
  15. ^ Iain Matthews official website - biography
  16. ^ Dad's Army - "Grandad" by Clive Dunn
  17. ^ TV.com - Van Der Valk
  18. ^ Every hit - UK million sellers (#24)
  19. ^ Typically Tropical at Discogs.com
  20. ^ NME.com - JJ Barrie
  21. ^ Chartstats.com - Singles chart week ending 27 August 1977
  22. ^ Althea & Donna at Discogs.com
  23. ^ Manchester beat - "Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs"
  24. ^ Disco - Disco.com - Anita Ward
  25. ^ Footstompin.com - Lena Martell
  26. ^ The official charts.com - "Together we Are Beautiful"
  27. ^ IMDb.com - Sally Lindsay
  28. ^ one-hit wonders - St Winifred's School Choir
  29. ^ Allmusic.com - Charlene biography
  30. ^ Chartstats.com - Phyllis Nelson Chart discography
  31. ^ Robin Beck official website - Biography
  32. ^ Chartstats.com - Robin Beck chart discography
  33. ^ Allmusic.com - Partners in Kryme Discography
  34. ^ Hale and Pace and the Stonkers at Discogs.com
  35. ^ Doop at Last.fm
  36. ^ The Official Charts.com - Million Sellers
  37. ^ Mr Oizo discography at Discogs.com
  38. ^ The London Independent, 20 February 2000
  39. ^ Chicago Tribune - Extract of original essay
  40. ^ Chartstats - Cass Fox - "Touch Me"
  41. ^ Rui Da Silva biography at MySpace
  42. ^ Reg transfers - Interview at the time of follow-up single
  43. ^ Las Ketchup at AskMen.com
  44. ^ Biography at Yanou's MySpace page
  45. ^ Every hit.co.uk - Christmas No.1s
  46. ^ 3 of a Kind at Last.fm
  47. ^ The Daily Mail, 17 October 2006
  48. ^ Chartstats.com - Steve Brookstein single and album discography
  49. ^ Nizlopi - official website biography
  50. ^ Official charts - Sam and the Womp
  51. ^ "ChartArchive - Bad News". Archive.is. Retrieved 2014-01-10. 
  52. ^ Steve 'Sik' Hurley biography on MySpace page

External links[edit]