One-hit wonder

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A one-hit wonder is any entity that achieves mainstream popularity, often for only one piece of work, and becomes known among the general public solely for that momentary success. The term is most commonly used in regard to music performers with only one hit single that overshadows their other work. Some artists dubbed "one-hit wonders" in a particular country have had great success in other countries. Music artists with subsequent popular albums and hit listings are typically not considered a one-hit wonder. One-hit wonders usually see their popularity decreasing after their hit listing and most often do not ever return to hit listings with other songs or albums.

Music industry[edit]

In 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 [the] national, pop, Top 40 record chart just once."[1]

This formal definition can include acts with greater success outside their lone pop hit and who are not typically considered one-hit wonders,[2] while at the same time excluding acts who have multiple hits which have been overshadowed by one signature song,[3] or those performers who never hit the top 40, but had exactly one song achieve mainstream popularity in some other fashion (that is, a "turntable hit" or a song that was ineligible for the top-40 charts).[4] One-hit wonders are usually exclusive to a specific market, either a country or a genre; a performer may be a one-hit wonder in one such arena, but have multiple hits (or no hits) in another.[citation needed]

Lists of one-hit wonders[edit]

Australia[edit]

"20 to 1: One Hit Wonders"[edit]

In 2006, the Australian series 20 to 1 aired the episode 20 to 1: One Hit Wonders, a list of songs that had been the only one by that artist to have success in Australia.

# Title Performer Year
1 "My Sharona" The Knack 1979
2 "Born to Be Alive" Patrick Hernandez 1979
3 "Video Killed the Radio Star" The Buggles 1979
4 "Turning Japanese" The Vapors 1980
5 "Funkytown" Lipps Inc. 1979
6 "Come on Eileen" Dexys Midnight Runners 1982
7 "Spirit in the Sky" Norman Greenbaum 1969
8 "99 Luftballons" Nena 1983
9 "Don't Worry, Be Happy" Bobby McFerrin 1988
10 "Pass the Dutchie" Musical Youth 1982
11 "Rockin' Robin" Bobby Day 1958
12 "Slice of Heaven" Dave Dobbyn and Herbs 1986
13 "Counting the Beat" The Swingers 1981
14 "Tubthumping" Chumbawamba 1997
15 "I'll Be Gone" Spectrum 1971
16 "Mickey" Toni Basil 1982
17 "Achy Breaky Heart" Billy Ray Cyrus 1992
18 "Venus" Shocking Blue 1969
19 "Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit of...)" Lou Bega 1999
20 "Tainted Love" Soft Cell 1981

Ireland[edit]

New Zealand[edit]

C4's UChoose40: One Hit Wonders[edit]

In September 2006, New Zealand's terrestrial music channel, C4, aired an episode dedicated to "One Hit Wonders" on the weekly theme-based chart show, UChoose40, where the chart was ranked entirely by viewer's votes from the website.[5][6]

The top ten ranking are as follows:

# Title Performer Year
1 "Teenage Dirtbag" Wheatus 2000
2 "How Bizarre" OMC 1996
3 "Because I Got High" Afroman 2001
4 "Ice Ice Baby" Vanilla Ice 1990
5 "Eye of the Tiger" Survivor 1982
6 "Tubthumping" Chumbawamba 1997
7 "My Sharona" The Knack 1979
8 "Video Killed the Radio Star" The Buggles 1979
9 "Who Let the Dogs Out?" Baha Men 2000
10 "I Touch Myself" Divinyls 1991

United Kingdom[edit]

Note: not to be confused with the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles list from 1979 to 2001 which lists acts with their only Top 75 charting record being a one number hit. Several of these artists including The Proclaimers, Shakespears Sister, Haddaway,Kajagoogoo and Hanson have in fact had more than two Top Ten hits.

The Nation's Favourite One Hit Wonders (2016)[edit]

A UK poll of 2,000 music fans compiled by marketing research company OnePoll.[7]

  1. Video Killed the Radio StarBuggles (1979)
  2. It's Raining MenThe Weather Girls (1982)
  3. Spirit in the SkyNorman Greenbaum (1969)
  4. I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)The Proclaimers (1988)
  5. Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of)Lou Bega (1999)
  6. Nothing Compares 2 USinead O'Connor (1990)
  7. Ice Ice BabyVanilla Ice (1990)
  8. Don't Leave Me This WayThelma Houston (1976)
  9. Cotton Eye JoeRednex (1995)
  10. MacarenaLos del Rio (1993)
  11. Sugar SugarThe Archies (1969)
  12. Who Let the Dogs OutBaha Men (2000)
  13. Kung Fu FightingCarl Douglas (1974)
  14. Seasons in the SunTerry Jacks (1973)
  15. Saturday NightWhigfield (1994)
  16. There She GoesThe La's (1988)
  17. Achy Breaky HeartBilly Ray Cyrus (1992)
  18. Tell Laura I Love HerRicky Valance (1960)
  19. Me and Mrs JonesBilly Paul (1972)
  20. MickeyToni Basil (1982)
  21. Don't Worry Be HappyBobby McFerrin (1988)
  22. StayShakespears Sister (1992)
  23. Play That Funky MusicWild Cherry (1976)
  24. What Is LoveHaddaway (1993)
  25. 99 Red BalloonsNena (1983)
  26. Jump AroundHouse of Pain (1992)
  27. My SharonaThe Knack (1979)
  28. We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes OffJermaine Stewart (1986)
  29. Turning JapaneseThe Vapors (1980)
  30. MMMBopHanson (1997)
  31. In the Year 2525Zager & Evans (1969)
  32. FunkytownLipps Inc. (1979)
  33. A Girl Like YouEdwyn Collins (1994)
  34. Pass the DutchieMusical Youth (1982)
  35. Rock Me AmadeusFalco (1985)
  36. The HustleVan McCoy (1975)
  37. Witch DoctorRoss Bagdasarian (1958)
  38. TubthumpingChumbawamba (1997)
  39. The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)Las Ketchup (2002)
  40. GrandadClive Dunn (1971)
  41. SpacemanBabylon Zoo (1996)
  42. Groove Is in the HeartDeee-Lite (1990)
  43. Don't Give Up On UsDavid Soul (1976)
  44. BarbadosTypically Tropical (1975)
  45. UnbelievableEMF (1990)
  46. Too ShyKajagoogoo (1983)
  47. Pop MuzikM (1979)
  48. You Get What You GiveNew Radicals (1998)
  49. The Safety DanceMen Without Hats (1983)
  50. Somebody's Watching MeRockwell (1984)

One-Hit Wonders from the 1980s[edit]

Classic Pop magazine's list[8] only includes acts who made the UK’s Top 40 (as compiled by Gallup) once only in their careers and does not include acts which feature members from other successful bands from the 1980s. The top ten is as follows...

  1. "The First Picture of You" – The Lotus Eaters
  2. "Twilight Cafe" – Susan Fassbender
  3. "Big in Japan" – Alphaville
  4. "Broken Land" – The Adventures
  5. "Waiting for a Train" – Flash And The Pan
  6. "Waiting for a Star to Fall" – Boy Meets Girl
  7. "99 Red Balloons" – Nena
  8. "Let My People Go-Go" – The Rainmakers
  9. "The Captain of Her Heart" – Double
  10. "Kissing with Confidence" – Will Powers

One-Hit Wonders from the 1990s[edit]

In 2020, Absolute Radio 90s compiled a list of 'the 20 greatest one-hit wonders of the 1990s' as part of their 10th birthday celebrations; the list was as follows (listed in alphabetical order): [9]

In addition to these one-hit wonders, the NME also recognised the following hits in their one-hit wonders feature from 2014: [10]

One-Hit Wonders from the 2000s[edit]

From the BBC in March 2017 (based on a combination of chart position and sales):[11]

  • Afroman – "Because I Got High" (2001)
  • The Bravery – "An Honest Mistake" (2005)
  • DJ Pied Piper & The Masters of Ceremonies – "Do You Really Like It?" (2001)
  • Duffy – "Mercy" (2008)
  • Gnarls Barkley – "Crazy" (2006)
  • Junior Senior – "Move Your Feet" (2002)
  • Las Ketchup – "The Ketchup Song (Aserejé)" (2002)
  • Spiller (featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor) – "Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)" (2000)
  • Nelly Furtado - "Promiscuous" (2006)
  • Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - "Face Down" (2006)
  • Taylor Hicks - "Do I make you proud" (2006)
  • Ryan Cabrera - "On the way down" (2004)
  • Clay Aiken - "Invisible" (2003)
  • Sisqo - "Thong song" (2000)

From the BBC Radio 2 show One Hit Wonders with OJ Borg which started on 2 November 2020...[12][13](in alphabetical order):

  • Bodyrockers – "I Like the Way"[14]
  • Caesars – "Jerk It Out"[15]
  • Kevin Lyttle (feat. Spraga Benz) – "Turn Me On"[16]
  • Nizlopi – "The JCB Song"[17]
  • Planet Funk – "Chase the Sun"[18]
  • Sweet Female Attitude – "Flowers"[19]
  • The Temper Trap – "Sweet Disposition"[20]

One-Hit Wonders from the 2010s[edit]

The Official Charts Company's list[21] of the biggest one-hit wonder releases of the 2010s, is based on sales and streams. Like the Classic Pop list it uses the UK singles Top 40 chart as the cut-off point. The top ten is as follows:

United States[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jancik, Wayne (1998). The Billboard Book of One-hit Wonders. New York: Billboard Books. p. IX. ISBN 9780823076222.
  2. ^ Melis, Matt; Consequence of Sound staff (20 September 2016). "The 100 Best One-Hit Wonder Songs". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on 5 March 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  3. ^ Mann, Brent (2003). 99 Red Balloons ...and 100 Other All-Time Great One-Hit Wonders. Citadel Press. ISBN 9780806525167.
  4. ^ Rahsheeda, Ali (2 May 2013). "100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the '80s". VH1. Archived from the original on 30 July 2017. Retrieved 6 March 2019. Rahsheeda cites at least three examples of this: Wall of Voodoo's "Mexican Radio," which peaked at number 58 in the U.S.; The Waitresses' "I Know What Boys Like," which peaked at number 62; and The Weather Girls' "It's Raining Men," which peaked at number 46 (but was a chart-topper on the dance charts and reached the top 40 on the hip-hop charts).
  5. ^ Life (14 November 2009). "One Hit Wonders". onehittwonders.blogspot.com. Archived from the original on 12 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 April 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "OnePoll Market Research & PR Surveys | New York, California, Texas, London". OnePoll Research. Archived from the original on 8 April 2021. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Top 40 80s One-Hit Wonders". 19 February 2019. Archived from the original on 20 January 2021. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
  9. ^ "The 20 greatest one-hit wonders of the 1990s". Absolute Radio. Archived from the original on 4 December 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  10. ^ "90s One-Hit Wonders That'll Make You Feel Nostalgic - Where Are They Now?". NME. 10 December 2014. Archived from the original on 11 May 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  11. ^ "What happened to the one-hit wonders of the noughties? - BBC Music". www.bbc.co.uk. 27 March 2017. Archived from the original on 15 January 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  12. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - One Hit Wonders with OJ Borg". Archived from the original on 21 March 2021. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  13. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - One Hit Wonders with OJ Borg - Episode guide". Archived from the original on 6 February 2022. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  14. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - One Hit Wonders with OJ Borg, Music from Bodyrockers, OPM and we ask what makes a One Hit Wonder?". Archived from the original on 7 December 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  15. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - One Hit Wonders with OJ Borg, Music from Caesars, Divinyls and we chat to the producer behind Bellini". Archived from the original on 6 February 2022. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  16. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - One Hit Wonders with OJ Borg, Music from House of Pain, Kevin Lyttle, plus a chat with Vanilla Ice". Archived from the original on 2 November 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  17. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - One Hit Wonders with OJ Borg, Christmas Special with music from Renée & Renato, Nizlopi and our guest Aled Jones". Archived from the original on 14 December 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  18. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - One Hit Wonders with OJ Borg, Music from Planet Funk, Dawn Penn and a chat with Deep Blue Something". Archived from the original on 6 February 2022. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  19. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - One Hit Wonders with OJ Borg, Music from Deee-Lite, OMC, plus a chat with Sweet Female Attitude's Leanne Brown". Archived from the original on 9 November 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  20. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - One Hit Wonders with OJ Borg, Music from Cornershop, Temper Trap and we chat to Russ Abbot". Archived from the original on 21 December 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  21. ^ "The Top 40 biggest one-hit wonders of the decade". www.officialcharts.com. Archived from the original on 27 January 2021. Retrieved 9 February 2021.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]