List of one-hit wonders on the UK Singles Chart
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 (top 75). The list uses the strict The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles definition of "one-hit wonder", a term also commonly used more loosely to refer to any act known primarily for one major hit.
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 (traditionally in these cases they would be additional vocalists or contributing instrumentalists, although in the 21st century it became common for the lead vocalist to be a 'featured' artist). 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.
|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.|
|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.|
|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).|
|Jerry Keller||10 October 1959||"Here Comes Summer"||Despite writing many hits, Keller only ever had one hit in his own right.|
|Ricky Valance||1 October 1960||"Tell Laura I Love Her"||Ricky Valance was the first British one-hit wonder (hailing from Wales). 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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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. 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. 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. 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. Marvin did not release any further singles.|
|Norman Greenbaum||May 1970||"Spirit in the Sky"||The song very nearly provided number ones for three different one hit wonders. In addition to Greenbaum and The Kumars, Doctor and the Medics had only two other minor hits.|
|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. 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. 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. It eventually sold over a million copies in the UK.|
|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. The song was later covered and reworded as We're Going To Ibiza! by The Vengaboys in 1999, which also reached No.1.|
|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.|
|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"|
|Althea & Donna||4 February 1978||"Uptown Top Ranking"||Their follow-up "Puppy Dog Song" failed to chart.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Fern Kinney||15 March 1980||"Together We Are Beautiful"||Originally a B-Side, the song became her only UK success.|
|The MASH||31 May 1980||"Theme from M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless)"||Theme tune to the film MASH. Written by Johnny Mandel and the 14-year-old son of the film's director Robert Altman released under the name The MASH.|
|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.|
|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"||Recorded several years earlier, the song's belated success took Charlene by surprise and no new material was available for release afterwards until it was too late.|
|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. Follow-up "Save Up All Your Tears" narrowly missed out on chart inclusion by peaking at #84. 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.|
|Hale and Pace||23 March 1991||"The Stonk"||Charity single for Comic Relief.|
|Doop||19 March 1994||"Doop"||Two Dutch producers followed up their techno version of the 1920s dance The Charleston with the unsuccessful "Huckleberry Jam"|
|Teletubbies||13 December 1997||"Teletubbies say "Eh-oh!""||The Theme to the popular BBC children's television series sold over one million copies.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|DJ Pied Piper||2 June 2001||"Do You Really Like It?"||A follow-up was recorded but never released.|
|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. 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. He did later have regular success in the UK as one of the DJs in Cascada.|
|The Kumars||22 March 2003||"Spirit in the Sky"||Charity single with Gareth Gates for Comic Relief which was the second time this song created a one hit wonder (see Norman Greenbaum above).|
|Michael Andrews||27 December 2003||"Mad World"||From the soundtrack of Donnie Darko, this cover of the 1982 Tears For Fears hit featured vocals by Gary Jules.|
|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.|
|Steve Brookstein||1 January 2005||"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"||The first winner of the X Factor with a cover of the Phil Collins hit.|
|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.|
|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"||This collaboration released two singles in 2014 and 2015 respectively; both of them failed to chart.|
|Eric Turner||9 October 2010||"Written In The Stars"||He had also a collaboration with Avicii in "Dancing In My Head", but the song peaked outside the Top 100.|
|Josh Kumra||21 August 2011||"Don't Go"||His collaboration with Wretch 32 has been his only chart entry to date.|
|Sak Noel||8 October 2011||"Loca People"||Spanish DJ whose follow up single, "Paso (The Nini Anthem)", peaked well outside of the chart.|
|Gotye and Kimbra||18 February 2012||"Somebody That I Used to Know"||Neither Gotye nor Kimbra have charted since. Gotye has yet to release a follow-up album to 2011's Making Mirrors, which housed this No.1.|
|Sam and the Womp||1 September 2012||"Bom Bom"||Three-piece electronic band who have failed to chart since.|
|Wanz||16 February 2013||"Thrift Shop"||Despite a career of over 30 years, this is his only UK release.|
|A*M*E||13 April 2013||"Need You (100%)"||A*M*E subsequently released a solo track, but failed to chart again.|
|Storm Queen||16 November 2013||"Look Right Through"||Morgan Geist AKA Storm Queen scored this No. 1 with a song remixed by Marc Kinchen but has not produced any song since.|
|Sam Bailey||28 December 2013||"Skyscraper"||X Factor winner Sam Bailey's follow-up single failed to chart.|
|Route 94||15 March 2014||"My Love"||A collaboration with Jess Glynne. Route 94 has not released another single since.|
|Borgeous||22 March 2014||"Tsunami (Jump)"||With DVBBS. Borgeous released a follow-up single called "Invincible", but it did not chart in the UK.|
Under an alternative name
- 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.
- Isaac Hayes reached #1 as Chef with "Chocolate Salty Balls (P.S. I Love You)" in 1998. He had hits under his own name during the 1970s.
One hit wonders excluding collaboration work
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.
Collaborations classified as one-hit wonders
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. The latter editions of the Guinness Hit Singles book omitted this list. Examples of titles which were eligible for inclusion include the following
- Frank and Nancy Sinatra, "Somethin' Stupid" (1967)
- Olivia Newton-John and the Electric Light Orchestra, "Xanadu" (1980)
- Queen and David Bowie, "Under Pressure" (1981)
- Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, "Ebony and Ivory" (1982)
- Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson, "I Know Him So Well" (1985)
- David Bowie and Mick Jagger, "Dancing in the Street" (1985)
- Cliff Richard and The Young Ones, "Living Doll" (1986) (Cliff Richard has had many hits in his own right. Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson made other chart entries as their spoof band Bad News, along with Nigel Planer who also had a solo hit in 1984 as character 'Neil'. Actor Christopher Ryan is the only member of this line up who did not have any other chart appearances.)
- Aretha Franklin and George Michael, "I Knew You Were Waiting for Me" (1987)
- Christians, Holly Johnson, Paul McCartney, Gerry Marsden and Stock Aitken Waterman, "Ferry Cross the Mersey" (1989)
- Englandneworder, "World in Motion" (1990) (a collaboration between chart acts England World Cup Squad and New Order)
- Vic Reeves and The Wonder Stuff, "Dizzy" (1991)
- George Michael and Elton John, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (1991)
- George Michael and Queen, "Five Live (EP)" (1993)
- Cher / Chrissie Hynde / Neneh Cherry, "Love Can Build a Bridge" (1995)
- Puff Daddy and Faith Evans, "I'll Be Missing You" (1997)
- Run DMC Vs Jason Nevins, "It's Like That" (1998)
- Queen and 5ive, "We Will Rock You" (2000)
- Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mýa and Pink, "Lady Marmalade" (2001)
- Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman, "Somethin' Stupid" (2001)
- Elvis vs. JXL,"A Little Less Conversation" (2002) (JXL normally uses name Junkie XL and also named as co-artist in DJ Tiesto vs Junkie XL - "Obsessions")
- Will Young and Gareth Gates, "The Long and Winding Road" (2002) (double A-sided single; paired with "Suspicious Minds" by Gates as a solo artist)
- Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne, "Changes" (2003)
- LMC vs U2, "Take Me To The Clouds Above" (2004)
- Beyoncé and Shakira, "Beautiful Liar" (2007)
- Sugababes Vs Girls Aloud, "Walk This Way" (2007)
- Eva Cassidy and Katie Melua, "What a Wonderful World" (2007)
- Military Wives and Gareth Malone, "Wherever You Are" (2011)
- Gary Barlow and the Commonwealth Band, "Sing" (2012)
Please note, this list is not exhaustive.
Aggregate ensemble groups
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:
- Band Aid ("Do They Know it's Christmas?", 1984)
- USA for Africa ("We Are the World", 1985)
- The Crowd ("You'll Never Walk Alone", 1985)
- Ferry Aid ("Let It Be", 1987)
- Band Aid II ("Do They Know it's Christmas?", 1989)
- Dunblane ("Knocking on Heaven's Door", 1996)
- Various Artists ("Perfect Day", 1998)
- Band Aid 20 ("Do They Know It's Christmas?", 2004)
- The X Factor finalists ("Hero", 2008)
- The X Factor finalists ("You Are Not Alone", 2009)
- Peter Kay's Animated All Star Band ("The Official BBC Children in Need Medley", 2009)
- Helping Haiti ("Everybody Hurts", 2010)
- Shout for England ("Shout", 2010)
- The X Factor finalists ("Heroes", 2010)
- The X Factor finalists ("Wishing on a Star", 2011)
- The Justice Collective ("He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother", 2012)
- Band Aid 30 ("Do They Know it's Christmas", 2014)
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.
- List of UK Singles Chart Christmas number ones
- Lists of UK Singles Chart number ones
- List of one-hit wonders in the United States
- List of one-hit wonders on the UK Albums Chart
- List of one-hit wonders on the UK Official Download Chart
- Most weeks on UK Singles Chart
- "Kitty Kallen - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- "Dreamweavers - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Billboard - Artist biography
- Artist Direct - The Kalin Twins
- IMDb.com - Jerry Keller biography
- Ricky Valance official website - biography
- Rockabilly - B.Bumble and the Stingers biography
- 45-rpm - Overlanders
- "Crazy World of Arthur Brown - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Oldies.com - Zager and Evans biography
- France vision - Serge Gainsbourg
- Classic bands - The Archies
- Discogs - Lee Marvin
- "Lee Marvin - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Iain Matthews official website - biography
- Dad's Army - "Grandad" by Clive Dunn
- TV.com - Van Der Valk
- Every hit - UK million sellers (#24)
- Typically Tropical at Discogs.com
- NME.com - JJ Barrie
- "Floaters - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Althea & Donna at Discogs.com
- Manchester beat - "Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs"
- Disco - Disco.com - Anita Ward
- Footstompin.com - Lena Martell
- The official charts.com - "Together we Are Beautiful"
- http://www.discogs.com/Mash-Theme-From-MASH-Suicide-Is-Painless/release/721762. Missing or empty
- IMDb.com - Sally Lindsay
- one-hit wonders - St Winifred's School Choir
- Allmusic.com - Charlene biography
- Robin Beck official website - Biography
- "Robin Beck - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Allmusic.com - Partners in Kryme Discography
- Hale and Pace and the Stonkers at Discogs.com
- Doop at Last.fm
- The Official Charts.com - Million Sellers
- Mr Oizo discography at Discogs.com
- The London Independent, 20 February 2000
- Chicago Tribune - Extract of original essay
- "Rui Da Silva - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- "Cass Fox - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Reg transfers - Interview at the time of follow-up single
- Las Ketchup at AskMen.com
- Biography at Yanou's MySpace page
- Every hit.co.uk - Christmas No.1s
- 3 of a Kind at Last.fm
- The Daily Mail, 17 October 2006
- "Steve Brookstein - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Nizlopi - official website biography
- Gotye official website. Making Mirrors still listed as "New" album, 23 January 2015
- Official charts - Sam and the Womp
- Steve 'Sik' Hurley biography on MySpace page
- wwwk.co.uk - One-hit wonders list
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums, 19th, London: Guinness World Records Limited, p. 540. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.