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. 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).
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 United States, 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 mainland 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 with "Bumble Boogie" in 1961.|
|The Overlanders||29 January 1966||"Michelle"||A Beatles cover, which reached #1 in January 1966 for three weeks. The Overlanders 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's debut self-titled album reached number two on the album chart, but neither the band nor Arthur Brown in his own right managed to secure another placing on either the singles or album 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 critically acclaimed but 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 that were successful in the United States, but none found success in the UK. Ron Dante, the session vocalist who sings lead on "Sugar Sugar", had two UK Top 10 hits in 1969/70 as the vocalist for The Cuff Links.|
|Lee Marvin||7 March 1970||"Wand'rin' Star"||Marvin, an Oscar and BAFTA-winning American actor, recorded the song for his then-current film, Paint Your Wagon. He did not release any further musical recordings.|
|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"||"Woodstock" was written by Joni Mitchell and a version by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young had been an American top 20 hit earlier in 1970. Matthews' Southern Comfort was led by Iain Matthews, who despite his membership in other noted folk rock groups such as Fairport Convention and Plainsong, never had another hit as a performer. Matthews later had a solo hit in the United States and New Zealand with "Shake It" in 1978, but the song did not chart in the United Kingdom.|
|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"||The song became a hit following airplay on John Peel's late night freeform programme on BBC Radio 1. 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.|
|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 song to the film MASH, which reached number one 10 years after the film's 1970 release. The song was written by Johnny Mandel and Mike Altman, the 14-year-old son of the film's director Robert Altman. The song was recorded by a one-off configuration of session singers and musicians and 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 artists on the independent label 4AD - A R Kane and Colourbox. Separately, both acts charted on the UK Indie Chart, but neither charted on the main UK Singles Chart. Allmusic describes "Pump Up the Volume" as "a one-hit wonder of rare influence," owing to its importance in the history of sampling and electronic dance music.|
|Partners in Kryme||28 July 1990||"Turtle Power"||The theme song from the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Partners in Kryme only released one more single before disbanding.|
|Hale and Pace||23 March 1991||"The Stonk"||Gareth Hale and Norman Pace were a stand-up comedy duo known at the time for starring in their own sketch comedy series on ITV. "The Stonk", a charity single for Comic Relief, was produced by Queen guitarist Brian May, who also performed on the song. Hale and Pace never issued another recording.|
|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 song 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)"||Luhrmann, better known as a film director, is credited as the producer on the song but does not perform on it. The song features Australian voice actor Lee Perry reading an essay written by American newspaper columnist Mary Schmich over a gentle backbeat. The song is a remix of Quindon Tarver's rendition of "Everybody's Free (To Feel Good)", which had previously appeared in Luhrmann's film Romeo + Juliet.|
|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 and the Masters of Ceremonies||2 June 2001||"Do You Really Like It?"||A follow-up was recorded but never released.|
|Las Ketchup||October 2002||"The Ketchup Song"||A group consisting of three Spanish sisters, Las Ketchup had a number one hit over 20 countries with "The Ketchup Song". Their follow-up singles were not as successful, and none of them managed to reach the UK charts.|
|Yanou and Do||9 November 2002||"Heaven"||A collaboration With DJ Sammy. This Bryan Adams cover was Yanou's only solo chart entry, but he later had several hits as a member of the eurodance group Cascada. Although highly successful in her native Netherlands, Do's subsequent singles never reached the charts in the United Kingdom.|
|The Kumars||22 March 2003||"Spirit in the Sky"||The Kumars were the cast of the sitcom The Kumars at No. 42. 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 and Gary Jules||27 December 2003||"Mad World"||A Tears for Fears cover, this collaboration between American film composer Andrews and American singer-songwriter Jules was from the soundtrack of the 2001 film Donnie Darko, its success was spurred by the film's cult following. Neither musician's follow-up releases charted.|
|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.|
|Avery Storm||4 February 2006||"Nasty Girl"||The American R&B singer's only chart appearance was a featured vocalist on this posthumous single by The Notorious B.I.G..|
|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"||Turner, the American lead singer for the Swedish rock band Street Fighting Man, scored his only Top 75 chart appearance with his featured appearance on this Tinie Tempah single. His only other chart entry, a collaboration with Avicii called "Dancing in My Head", failed to reach 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, despite the track becoming the best selling singles of 2012. Gotye has yet to release a follow-up album to 2011's Making Mirrors, which housed this No.1. Kimbra released two critically acclaimed albums following the success of the song, but none of her singles charted.|
|Sam and the Womp||1 September 2012||"Bom Bom"||Three-piece electronic band which included the son of noted producer Trevor Horn. Subsequent singles failed to chart and a full-length album was never released.|
|A*M*E||13 April 2013||"Need You (100%)"||A*M*E subsequently released a solo track, but failed to chart again after reaching number one as a featured performer on this Duke Dumont single.|
|Storm Queen||16 November 2013||"Look Right Through"||Storm Queen, the performing alias of American DJ Morgan Geist, scored this No. 1 with a song remixed by Marc Kinchen but has not produced any song since.|
|Sam Bailey||28 December 2013||"Skyscraper"||Bailey was the winner of tenth season of the singing competition The X Factor, and her cover of the Demi Lovato hit was the Christmas number one for 2013. Her two follow-up singles failed to reach the Top 100.|
|Route 94||15 March 2014||"My Love"||A collaboration with Jess Glynne. Route 94 has not released another single that has reached the UK chart since, but did remix MK's Always, which charted at number 12 in August the same year|
|Borgeous||22 March 2014||"Tsunami (Jump)"||With DVBBS. American DJ Borgeous released a follow-up single called "Invincible", but it did not chart in the UK.|
|Cody Wise||19 July 2014||"It's My Birthday"||With will.i.am. Wise featured on a minor hit in Australia, but never returned to the British charts.|
|Magic!||9 August 2014||"Rude"||A Canadian reggae fusion quartet led by veteran pop songwriter Nasri Atweh. "Rude" peaked at number one in seven countries, including the United States and United Kingdom, but subsequent singles failed to become hits in any market aside from their native Canada.|
|Nico & Vinz||16 August 2014||"Am I Wrong"||Duo who became the first Norwegian act to top the UK Singles Chart since a-ha's "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." in 1986.|
|Lilly Wood||6 September 2014||"Prayer in C"||French duo whose single became popular when it was remixed by Robin Schulz. Although the original charted at #90 on the Official Sales Chart upon the release of the remixed version, it failed to make it onto the singles chart. None of the duo's other songs have ever charted outside of Francophone countries.|
|David Zowie||16 July 2015||"House Every Weekend"||The first number one on the UK Singles Chart following the move of the chart's publication from Sunday to Friday. Zowie has yet to release a follow-up single.|
|Rachel Platten||3 September 2015||"Fight Song"||The singer-songwriter's followup "Stand by You" was a Platinum-selling Top 40 hit in her native United States, but it and other singles did not chart in the United Kingdom after "Fight Song"'s success.|
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 only had a single Top 75 chart entry, with "Annie's Song" which reached number one in 1974. He also collaborated with Plácido Domingo on another single, 1981's "Perhaps Love" which reached #46 and was his only other chart entry. Denver also had five Top 20 albums on the UK Album Chart during the 1970s. His lack of chart success in the United Kingdom stands in contrast to his popularity in his native United States, where he charted 15 Top 40 entries, including four number one singles.
- 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", 1997)
- 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)
- Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir "A Bridge over You", 2015)
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.
- Lists of one-hit wonders
- Lists of UK Singles Chart number ones
- List of UK Singles Chart Christmas number ones
- List of songs which have spent the most weeks on the UK Singles Chart
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- "Dreamweavers - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- Billboard - Artist biography
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- "Jerry Keller".
- "B. BUMBLE AND THE STINGERS".
- "Crazy World of Arthur Brown - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- "Zager & Evans".
- Productions, Pore-Lee-Dunn. "The Archies".
- "Lee Marvin".
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- Iain Matthews official website - biography
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- "Million-Selling Singles - everyHit.com".
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- Manchester beat - "Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs"
- "Anita Ward @ Disco-Disco.com !".
- Footstompin.com - Lena Martell
- The official charts.com - "Together we Are Beautiful"
- "The Mash, Johnny Mandel - Theme From M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless)".
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- "Archives: Chicago Tribune - ADVICE, LIKE YOUTH, PROBABLY JUST WASTED ON THE YOUNG".
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- "Cass Fox - Full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
- "DJ Pied Piper is Still “Luvin' it, Luvin' it, Luvin' it!” - Regtransfers.co.uk".
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- Gotye official website. Making Mirrors still listed as "New" album, 23 January 2015
- "Official Charts Company".
- "Steve "Silk" Hurley - Listen and Stream Free Music, Albums, New Releases, Photos, Videos".