One-hit wonder

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A one-hit wonder is any entity that achieves mainstream popularity and success for a very short period of time, 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 top-40 hit single that overshadows their other work. Sometimes, artists dubbed "one-hit wonders" in a particular country have had great success in others.

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."

This formal definition can[when?] include acts with greater success outside their lone pop hit and who are not typically considered one-hit wonders, while at the same time excluding acts who have multiple hits which have been overshadowed by one signature song, or those performers who never actually 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).[citation needed] 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]

VH1's list of "100 greatest one-hit wonders"[edit]

In 2002, the American cable network VH1 aired a countdown of the VH1's 100 Greatest One-hit Wonders, hosted by William Shatner.[citation needed] It listed musicians with only one American hit, regardless of international success.

The top ten consisted of:

  1. "Macarena" – Los Del Rio (1996)
  2. "Tainted Love" – Soft Cell (1982)
  3. "Come on Eileen" – Dexys Midnight Runners (1982)
  4. "I'm Too Sexy" – Right Said Fred (1991)
  5. "Mickey" – Toni Basil (1982)
  6. "Who Let the Dogs Out?" – Baha Men (2000)
  7. "Ice Ice Baby" – Vanilla Ice (1990)
  8. "Take on Me" – A-ha (1985)
  9. "Rico Suave" – Gerardo (1990)
  10. "99 Luftballons" – Nena (1984)

Channel 4's "50 Greatest One Hit Wonders"[edit]

A 2006 television poll, conducted by Channel 4 in the UK, asked viewers to select their favourite one-hit wonder from a shortlist of 60. Respondents could also vote by e-mail to select a song that was not on the original list, if they so wished. The top 10 were:[citation needed]

  1. "Kung Fu Fighting" – Carl Douglas
  2. "99 Red Balloons" – Nena
  3. "Sugar, Sugar" – The Archies
  4. "Can You Dig It?" – The Mock Turtles
  5. "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" – Monty Python
  6. "Spirit in the Sky" – Norman Greenbaum
  7. "Who Let the Dogs Out?" – Baha Men
  8. "The Safety Dance" – Men Without Hats
  9. "Take on Me" - A-ha
  10. "Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please" – Splodgenessabounds

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

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.[1][2]

The top ten ranking are as follows:

  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)

Classical music one-hit wonders[edit]

Deutsche Grammophon and Vox Records have both released albums of classical one-hit wonders. Many of the works on the CDs are from composers who have two or more works that are popular in classical music circles, but have a single work that has become popular outside these circles. The two CDs differ, but the works common to both are:

  1. Johann PachelbelCanon in D
  2. Samuel BarberAdagio for Strings
  3. attrib. Tomaso AlbinoniAdagio in G minor (this was actually written by Remo Giazotto and contains no Albinoni material)
  4. Jean-Joseph MouretFanfare-Rondeau from Symphonies and Fanfares for the King's Supper (theme to Masterpiece, formerly Masterpiece Theatre)
  5. Luigi Boccherini – minuet from String Quintet in E
  6. Jeremiah Clarke – "Trumpet Voluntary", more properly known as "Prince of Denmark's March"
  7. Jules Massenet – Meditation from his opera Thaïs
  8. Pietro Mascagni – "Cavalleria rusticana"
  9. Léo Delibes – "The Flower Duet" from the opera Lakmé
  10. Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov – "Caucasian Sketches"
  11. Amilcare Ponchielli – "Dance of the Hours" from the opera La Gioconda
  12. Charles-Marie Widor – Toccata from Symphony for Organ No. 5
  13. Aram Khachaturian – "Sabre Dance" from the ballet Gayane, although Khachaturian's "Masquerade Suite" is also well known
  14. Marc-Antoine CharpentierTe Deum
  15. Tekla Bądarzewska-BaranowskaMaiden's Prayer

Other examples of classical one-hit wonders are Vittorio Monti's Csárdás, Enrico Toselli's Serenata 'Rimpianto' Op.6 No.1, popularly known as "Toselli's Serenade", and Jean Paul Egide Martini's Plaisir d'Amour.

Outside of music[edit]

The term one-hit wonder is occasionally applied to other media.

In sport[edit]

In the sports world, there are several athletes known to casual sports fans for one event in their careers. Examples include Paul Henderson, a Canadian ice hockey player who scored the deciding goal in the 1972 Summit Series; Mike Jones, an American football player who tackled Kevin Dyson at the one-yard line on the final play of Super Bowl XXXIV; David Tyree, a wide receiver who became famous for a helmet-assisted catch during the waning moments of Super Bowl XLII; Timmy Smith and Mark Rypien, both Washington Redskins stars that ended up out of football shortly after winning Super Bowls XXII and XXVI respectively; Armando Galarraga, a pitcher who is primarily known for one near-perfect game he played in June 2010. NASCAR driver Derrike Cope, who won the 1990 Daytona 500 in a surprise victory after Dale Earnhardt blew a tire on the last lap; Buster Douglas, who was the first boxer to ever knock Mike Tyson out; and Jimmy Glass, a goalkeeper, who is remembered for scoring a goal in the last seconds of the final day of 1998–99 English Third Division that kept his club in The Football League. His subsequently released biography was titled One-Hit Wonder.

Some athletes have become remembered for a single mistake in their careers as opposed to a triumphant moment. Notable examples of such athletes include Buffalo Bills placekicker Scott Norwood, who is infamous for a missed 47-yard field goal that cost his team the Super Bowl; Bill Buckner, who at the 1986 World Series made a fielding error in which a baseball rolled through his legs; Steve Smith, who scored an own goal near the end of the third period in game 7 of the 1986 Stanley Cup Quarter Finals causing the Edmonton Oilers to lose to the Calgary Flames; and Jim Marshall, who, as part of the Minnesota Vikings, ran 66 yards (mistakenly into his own end zone) and scored a safety for the San Francisco 49ers.

In tennis, the term "one-slam wonder" can be referred towards players who have either won only one Grand Slam singles title during his or her career, or players who have currently only won one Grand Slam singles title but have the potential to win even more in their careers.[3] Andy Roddick is said to have enjoyed a successful tennis career, despite winning only one Grand Slam singles title – the 2003 US Open – in his entire career.[4] Other players who won only one Grand Slam singles title in their entire career include Carlos Moyá, Petr Korda, Gastón Gaudio, Thomas Johansson, Albert Costa, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Anastasia Myskina, Yannick Noah, Gabriela Sabatini, Jana Novotná, Andrés Gómez, Conchita Martinez and Michael Chang.[5]

The term "cup of coffee" is used to describe a baseball or ice hockey player who has only a short stint (i.e., long enough to drink a cup of coffee and not do much else) in Major League Baseball or the National Hockey League respectively and then spend the rest of their careers in the minor leagues.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Life (14 November 2009). "One Hit Wonders". onehittwonders.blogspot.com. Archived from the original on 12 February 2016. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 April 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016. 
  3. ^ "Tennis News, Photos, Stats, Scores, Schedule & Videos". Yahoo Sports. 
  4. ^ "Tennis star Roddick confident of wiping out "one-slam wonder" tag – TopNews". Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  5. ^ "Players". ATP World Tour. Archived from the original on 11 May 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2015. 

References[edit]

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