Top 15 One Hit Wonders
Based on various surveys around the net, I have come up with a list of top 15 one hit wonders – do you remember them all? While some of these artists may have had ongoing success in their musical careers – they each had only one really seriously big hit. As usual, add your own to the comments. NOTE: There is a US popularity bias in this list – due to the US population bias on this site – so please don’t bash me for including someone that was a major star in Hungary or similar!
15. Rock me Amadeus Falco, 1985
Rock me Amadeus was Falco’s only major hit in the United States, despite his popularity in Germany and his native Austria, and all over Europe. The song was featured in a 2007 Subaru commercial.
14. Spirit in the Sky Doctor and the Medics, 1969
“Spirit in the Sky” is a song written by Norman Greenbaum and released in 1969. The single sold 2 million copies in 1969 and 1970 and got to number 3 in the U.S. Billboard chart, as well as number 1 on the UK charts in 1970.
13. It’s Raining Men The Weather Girls, 1982
The members were Martha Wash and Izora Armstead. They are best known for their 1982 #1 club and major pop hit, as well as subsequent dance anthem “It’s Raining Men”. Although the group is considered a one hit wonder by the mainstream pop market, they were previously known as Two Tons O’ Fun, under which name they recorded two number 2 ranking songs.
12. Kung Fu Fighting Carl Douglas, 1974
This song remains one of the most fondly remembered one-hit wonders in the UK (though some dispute that it is a true one hit wonder as Douglas had two further hits that did not reach the Top 20).
11. Groove is in the Heart Dee Lite, 1990
An immediate smash in nightclubs, the song crossed over to pop radio and after going to number one on the U.S. Hot Dance Club Play chart, it eventually hit number four on the Billboard Hot 100. It managed to peak at number-one for one week in Australia in November 1991.
10. Rico Suave Gerardo, 1990
His hit single “Rico Suave” appeared on his 1991 debut album, Mo’ Ritmo. This song, as well as some others of Gerardo’s, include verses with lines in both English and Spanish. The popularity of the song has made Gerardo known as a one-hit wonder.
9. 99 Luftballons Nena, 1984
“99 Luftballons” is a Cold War-era protest song by the German band Nena. Originally sung in German, it was later re-recorded in English as “99 Red Balloons”. It is one of the most successful pop songs by a German artist in the world. “99 Luftballons” reached #1 in West Germany in 1983. In 1984, the original German version also peaked at #2 on the American Billboard Hot 100 chart and the English language version topped the UK Singles Chart.
The single reached number-one in 36 countries and is one of the world’s best-selling singles of all time with 8-9 million copies sold, hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. It also hit number two in the UK and number one in a-ha’s native Norway.
7. Ice Ice Baby Vanilla Ice, 1990
“Ice Ice Baby” is rapper Vanilla Ice’s most famous and popular song, released from his second album To The Extreme. The song samples Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure”. “Ice Ice Baby” was the second rap single ever to hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100, after Blondie’s 1981 single “Rapture.”
This song (originally by Anslem Douglas) was re-recorded by The Baha Men, placed in the movie Rugrats in Paris: The Movie and then released as a single in 2000. It became the band’s first hit in the US and the UK, reaching #40 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States and #2 on the UK Singles Chart. In a poll conducted by the Rolling Stone to identify the 10 most annoying songs, this song was ranked third.
5. Mickey Toni Basil, 1982
This song was originally written and recorded as “Kitty” by UK group Racey. Toni Basil’s crush on actor and Monkee Micky Dolenz during her work as a choreographer/dancer on the set of the Monkees 1968 movie, “Head” prompted her to change the lyrics to “Mickey” to better suit her real-life experience, and the gender from female to male. The single reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number two in the UK singles chart.
“I’m Too Sexy” is a song by the British trio Right Said Fred. The single topped the American charts for three weeks in early 1992, after having peaked at No.2 for six weeks in the band’s home country the previous year.
3. Come on Eileen Dexy’s Midnight Runners, 1982
“Come On Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners was the biggest-selling British single of 1982. It originally appeared on the album Too-Rye-Ay. The song has had lasting appeal and is often heard in retro clubs and 80’s compilation CD’s.
Soft Cell elected to release “Tainted Love” as their third single in July 1981. Buoyed by the then dominant synthpop sound of the time and a memorable performance on Top of the Pops it rapidly reached number one on the UK singles chart, eventually repeating the feat in 17 territories. The following year it charted in the US eventually reaching number 8 in a record breaking 43 week chart run.
1. The Macarena Los Del Rio, 1996
“Macarena” is a song by Los del Río about a woman of the same name, or any woman from the La Macarena neighbourhood of Seville. It was very successful between 1995 and 1997. The song became the second longest running #1 and best selling debut single of all time in the US.