List of one-hit wonders in the United States

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A one-hit wonder is a musical artist who is successful with one hit song, but without a comparable hit.[1] The term may also be applied to an artist who is remembered for only one hit despite other successes.[2][3] This list contains artists known primarily for one hit song in the United States, who are described as a one-hit wonder by the media.

Criteria[edit]

Music reviewers and journalists sometimes describe a musical artist as a one-hit wonder, based on their professional assessment of chart success, sales figures and fame.

For the purpose of his book The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders, music journalist Wayne Jancik defines a one-hit wonder as "an act that has won a position on Billboard's national, pop, Top 40 just once." In his definition of an "act", Jancik distinguishes between a solo performer and any group he or she may have performed in (thus, for example, Roger Daltrey's "Without Your Love" is counted despite Daltrey's numerous hits as frontman for the Who), and a number of musicians appear multiple times, either with multiple bands or as a member of a band and as a solo artist. (Eponymous bands are generally not separated; thus Charlie Daniels is not counted as a one-hit wonder for "Uneasy Rider" and the hits of the Charlie Daniels Band are credited to him.)

Fred Bronson, a journalist and former writer for Billboard magazine, in his book Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits, uses the criterion that an artist is ineligible to be categorized as a "one-hit wonder" if they have a second song listed on the Billboard Hot 100.[4]

In both cases, the Billboard Hot 100 was used as an objective standard for one-hit wonder status, since Billboard magazine published the books.

Disc jockey and music writer Brent Mann points out how some artists have been called a "one-hit wonder" despite having other charting singles. As an example, English-born singer Albert Hammond enjoyed success with "It Never Rains in Southern California" (1972) rising to number 5 in the US, but his follow-up single, "I'm a Train" was dismissed by Mann as "totally forgotten" even though it charted at number 31 in 1974.[2] Consequence of Sound editor Matt Melis lists Beck ("Loser") and the Grateful Dead ("Touch of Grey") as "technically" being one-hit wonders despite their large bodies of work.[3] Entertainment Weekly mentions prolific artist Frank Zappa as a one-hit wonder because his only Top 40 hit was "Valley Girl" in 1982.[5]

Multiple appearances[edit]

British musician Tony Burrows sang the lead vocal on five one-hit wonders: Edison Lighthouse's "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" (February 1970); White Plains' "My Baby Loves Lovin'" (March 1970); the Pipkins' "Gimme Dat Ding" (April 1970); "Beach Baby" (July 1974) by the First Class; and "United We Stand" (1970) by the Brotherhood of Man.[6][7]

Murray Head and Yvonne Elliman each sing in two US hits, first as members of the rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar, followed years later by singles under their own names. Playing the part of Judas, Head was heard singing on the title song "Superstar", which rose to number 14 in 1971. In 1984, Head broke into the Top 40 once more as himself, with "One Night in Bangkok".[8] In the same manner, Elliman, playing Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, sang on the hit song "I Don't Know How to Love Him", which rose to number 13 in 1971. In 1977 she took the Bee Gees composition "If I Can't Have You" to number 1 under her own name.[9]

English singer Christopher Hamill sang lead vocal in two US one-hit wonder songs, the first as Kajagoogoo with the single "Too Shy" in 1983, then the next year under the stage name Limahl singing "The NeverEnding Story", the title track to the film The NeverEnding Story.[10] The latter song charted at number 17 in May 1985.

List of one-hit wonders in the US[edit]

1950s[edit]

1960s[edit]

1970s[edit]

1980s[edit]

1990s[edit]

2000s[edit]

2010s[edit]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Jancik, Wayne. "Concept Refinement". OneHitWondersTheBook.com. Retrieved November 19, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b Mann 2003, p. 165.
  3. ^ a b c d Melis 2016, p. 1.
  4. ^ Bronson 2003, p. 219–20.
  5. ^ a b c d Greenblatt 2009.
  6. ^ Hilburn, Robert (August 30, 1996). "From Bankable Burrows to One-Hit Wonders". Los Angeles Times. Tronc. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  7. ^ Newman, Melinda (August 28, 1999). "Rhino Gets Nostalgic With DeFrancos and Turtles in First (We Hope Not Last) Retrofest". Billboard. Vol. 111 no. 35. Nielsen Business Media. p. 18. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  8. ^ a b Mann 2003, p. 118.
  9. ^ a b Mann 2003, p. 119.
  10. ^ a b Jancik 1998, p. 434.
  11. ^ a b Jancik 1998, p. 50.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Melis 2016, p. 2.
  13. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 46.
  14. ^ a b c d Melis 2016, p. 4.
  15. ^ a b c d Melis 2016, p. 8.
  16. ^ Mann 2003, p. 92.
  17. ^ Adams, Greg. "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands - Laurie London". AllMusic. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  18. ^ Mann 2003, p. 21.
  19. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 69.
  20. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 90.
  21. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Larry Hall | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  22. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 126.
  23. ^ a b c d e Melis 2016, p. 9.
  24. ^ Bogdanov 2002, p. 328.
  25. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 129.
  26. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 139.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g Melis 2016, p. 11.
  28. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 146.
  29. ^ a b c d Melis 2016, p. 3.
  30. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 144.
  31. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 270.
  32. ^ a b c Malinowski 1985, p. 63.
  33. ^ Mann 2003, p. 9.
  34. ^ Unterberger 1998, p. 395.
  35. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 150.
  36. ^ Mann 2003, p. 183.
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h Musto 2014.
  38. ^ Planer, Lindsay. "The Singing Nun - Soeur Sourire". AllMusic. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  39. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 172.
  40. ^ Mann 2003, p. 69.
  41. ^ Smith, Patricia Juliana (July 5, 2017). "Brit Girls: Sandie Shaw and the Women of the British Invasion". In Laurie Stras. She's So Fine: Reflections on Whiteness, Femininity, Adolescence and Class in 1960s Music. Routledge. p. 158. ISBN 9781351548731. 
  42. ^ Huey, Steve. "Terry Stafford | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  43. ^ a b Babiuk 2001, p. 136.
  44. ^ Bogdanov 2002, p. 1068.
  45. ^ Mann 2003, p. 75.
  46. ^ Mann 2003, p. 43.
  47. ^ Studwell 2014, p. 148.
  48. ^ Boone, Brian (August 2, 2011). I Love Rock 'n' Roll (Except When I Hate It). Penguin. p. 73. ISBN 9781101517314. 
  49. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 192.
  50. ^ Mann 2003, p. 93.
  51. ^ Bogdanov 2002, p. 628.
  52. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 211.
  53. ^ Unterberger 1998, p. 57.
  54. ^ a b c d e f g Malinowski 1985, p. 64.
  55. ^ a b c d Melis 2016, p. 5.
  56. ^ Bogdanov 2003, p. 349.
  57. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 201.
  58. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 215.
  59. ^ a b c d e f Melis 2016, p. 6.
  60. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 230.
  61. ^ a b c d e f g h Melis 2016, p. 10.
  62. ^ a b c d Melis 2016, p. 7.
  63. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 272.
  64. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 259.
  65. ^ Studwell 2014, p. 147.
  66. ^ Koda, Cub. "Spiral Starecase | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  67. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 278.
  68. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 281.
  69. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 289.
  70. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 273.
  71. ^ Bogdanov 2002, p. 353.
  72. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 274.
  73. ^ Bogdanov 2002, p. 142.
  74. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 295.
  75. ^ Bogdanov 2002, p. 776.
  76. ^ Bronson, Fred (July 30, 2005). "All-Time Hottest Songs of Summer". Billboard. Vol. 111 no. 35. Nielsen Business Media. pp. 34–35. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  77. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Me and Mrs. Jones: The Best of Billy Paul - Billy Paul". AllMusic. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  78. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 317.
  79. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Arlo Guthrie | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  80. ^ Mann 2003, p. 135.
  81. ^ a b Newman 2005, p. 32.
  82. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 321.
  83. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 332.
  84. ^ Mann 2003, p. 51.
  85. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 255.
  86. ^ a b Mann 2003, p. 148.
  87. ^ Mann 2003, p. 33.
  88. ^ Bogdanov 2002, p. 5.
  89. ^ Mann 2003, p. 120.
  90. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 356.
  91. ^ Bogdanov 2002, p. 562.
  92. ^ Jasen 2013, p. 4.
  93. ^ Mann 2003, p. 207.
  94. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Best of Yvonne Elliman - Yvonne Elliman". AllMusic. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  95. ^ a b Mann 2003, p. 109.
  96. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 381.
  97. ^ Mann 2003, p. 87.
  98. ^ Bogdanov 2002, p. 684.
  99. ^ Dodd 1999, p. 160.
  100. ^ Bogdanov 2003, p. 726.
  101. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 391.
  102. ^ Mann 2003, p. 17.
  103. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 302.
  104. ^ Mann 2003, p. 77.
  105. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Rahsheeda 2013.
  106. ^ Bogdanov 2002, p. 808.
  107. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 398.
  108. ^ Bogdanov 2002, p. 1185.
  109. ^ Mann 2003, p. 39.
  110. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 407.
  111. ^ Mann 2003, p. 78.
  112. ^ Mann 2003, p. 159.
  113. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 414.
  114. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 411.
  115. ^ Mann 2003, p. 53.
  116. ^ Mann 2003, p. 85.
  117. ^ a b c Mann 2003, p. 1.
  118. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 420.
  119. ^ Mann 2003, p. 89.
  120. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 416.
  121. ^ Griffith, JT. "Greatest Hits: Puttin' on the Ritz - Taco". AllMusic. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  122. ^ Bogdanov 2002, p. 97.
  123. ^ Mann 2003, p. 23.
  124. ^ Bogdanov 2002, p. 609.
  125. ^ Mann 2003, p. 11.
  126. ^ Mann 2003, p. 152.
  127. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 425.
  128. ^ Mann 2003, p. 95.
  129. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 426.
  130. ^ Mann 2003, p. 45.
  131. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 439.
  132. ^ Mann 2003, p. 35.
  133. ^ a b Mann 2003, p. 61.
  134. ^ Mann 2003, p. 29.
  135. ^ Mann 2003, p. 106.
  136. ^ Mann 2003, p. 49.
  137. ^ a b c d e f g Cantor 2012.
  138. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 464.
  139. ^ Mann 2003, p. 31.
  140. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 467.
  141. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 480.
  142. ^ Mann 2003, p. 102.
  143. ^ Whitburn 2000, p. 419.
  144. ^ Bogdanov 2002, p. 365.
  145. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 493.
  146. ^ Mann 2003, p. 73.
  147. ^ Jancik 1998, p. 489.
  148. ^ Mann 2003, p. 7.
  149. ^ Jasen 2013, p. 15.
  150. ^ Jasen 2013, p. 110.
  151. ^ Mann 2003, p. 153.
  152. ^ "The Proclaimer's 'I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)' voted one of nation's favourite one-hit wonders". The Herald. Newsquest. October 26, 2016. Retrieved November 21, 2017. 
  153. ^ Mann 2003, p. 13.
  154. ^ Mann 2003, p. 79.
  155. ^ a b Bronson 2003, p. 219.
  156. ^ Mann 2003, p. 19.
  157. ^ Mann 2003, p. 37.
  158. ^ Mann 2003, p. 41.
  159. ^ a b Mann 2003, p. 38.
  160. ^ a b Bogdanov 2002, p. 34.
  161. ^ Woodstra, Chris. "A Few Small Repairs - Shawn Colvin". AllMusic. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  162. ^ Mann 2003, p. 25.
  163. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Hoku - Hoku". AllMusic. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  164. ^ Jeffries, David. "Khia | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  165. ^ a b Wilson, Angela (January 8, 2015). "#TBT: What Happened?! 8 of the Biggest One Hit Wonders". Vibe. Eldridge Industries. Retrieved November 21, 2017. 
  166. ^ Farella, Dylan (September 23, 2014). "How Much Money Artists Really Make From One-Hit Wonders, And What Happens To Them After". Elite Daily. Retrieved November 21, 2017. 
  167. ^ TSS Crew (January 13, 2015). "Ranking Rap's 10 Biggest One-Hit Wonders of the Past Decade". Uproxx. Uproxx Media Group. Retrieved November 21, 2017. 

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