A one-hit wonder is a musical artist who is successful with one hit song, but without a comparable subsequent hit. The term may also be applied to an artist who is remembered for only one hit despite other successes. This list contains artists known primarily for one hit song in the United States, who are described as one-hit wonders by the media.
Music reviewers and journalists sometimes describe a musical artist as a one-hit wonder, based on their professional assessment of chart success, sales figures and fame.
For the purpose of his book 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 Billboards national, pop, Top 40 just once." In his definition of an "act", Jancik distinguishes between a solo performer and any group he or she may have performed in (thus, for example, Roger Daltrey's "Without Your Love" is counted despite Daltrey's numerous hits as frontman for the Who), and a number of musicians appear multiple times, either with multiple bands or as a member of a band and as a solo artist. (Eponymous bands are generally not separated; thus Charlie Daniels is not counted as a one-hit wonder for "Uneasy Rider" and the hits of the Charlie Daniels Band are credited to him.)
Fred Bronson, a journalist and former writer for Billboard magazine, in his book Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits, uses the criterion that an artist is ineligible to be categorized as a "one-hit wonder" if they have a second song listed on the Billboard Hot 100.
In both cases, the Billboard Hot 100 was used as an objective standard for one-hit wonder status, since Billboard magazine published the books.
Disc jockey and music writer Brent Mann points out how some artists have been called a "one-hit wonder" despite having other charting singles. As an example, English-born singer Albert Hammond enjoyed success with "It Never Rains in Southern California" (1972) rising to number 5 in the US, but his follow-up single, "I'm a Train" was dismissed by Mann as "totally forgotten" even though it charted at number 31 in 1974.Consequence of Sound editor Matt Melis lists Beck ("Loser") and the Grateful Dead ("Touch of Grey") as "technically" being one-hit wonders despite their large bodies of work.Entertainment Weekly mentions prolific artist Frank Zappa as a one-hit wonder because his only Top 40 hit was "Valley Girl" in 1982.
British musician Tony Burrows sang the lead vocal on five one-hit wonders: Edison Lighthouse's "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" (February 1970); White Plains' "My Baby Loves Lovin'" (March 1970); the Pipkins' "Gimme Dat Ding" (April 1970); "Beach Baby" (July 1974) by the First Class; and "United We Stand" (1970) by the first incarnation of the Brotherhood of Man.
Murray Head and Yvonne Elliman each sing in two US hits, first as members of the rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar, followed years later by singles under their own names. Playing the part of Judas, Head was heard singing on the title song "Superstar", which rose to number 14 in 1971. In 1984, Head broke into the Top 40 once more as himself, with "One Night in Bangkok". In the same manner, Elliman, playing Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, sang on the hit song "I Don't Know How to Love Him", which rose to number 13 in 1971. In 1977 she took the Bee Gees composition "If I Can't Have You" to number 1 under her own name.
British singer Limahl sang lead vocal on two US one-hit wonder songs; the first, "Too Shy" in 1983, came during his tenure as the frontman for the group Kajagoogoo. The next year, he had another hit single as a solo artist with "The NeverEnding Story", the title track to the film The NeverEnding Story. The latter song charted at number 17 in May 1985.
List of one-hit wonders in the US
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- ^ Alston, Joshua (February 4, 2016). "After "Lovefool," The Cardigans broke up with the one-hit-wonder sound". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2017.
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- ^ a b c d Sastry, Keertana. "25 One-Hit Wonders From The '90s & Early 2000s You Totally Forgot Existed -- LISTEN". Bustle.com. Retrieved 2018.
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- ^ a b c Devora, Abby (September 25, 2014). "9 Girl Group One-Hit Wonders You Need To Remember Right Now". MTV. Retrieved 2017.
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- ^ Sblendorio, Peter (July 27, 2017). "One-hit wonder Willa Ford blames 9/11 attacks for contributing to end of her music career". New York Daily News. Tronc. Retrieved 2017.
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- ^ Glatter, Hayley; Wilbur, Hayley (April 18, 2015). "12 One-Hit Wonders We're Still Singing". Seventeen. Retrieved 2018.
- ^ Chen, Tanya (December 5, 2014). "Here's What Some Of Your Favorite 2000s One-Hit Wonders Look Like Now". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 2018.
- ^ a b c TSS Crew (January 13, 2015). "Ranking Rap's 10 Biggest One-Hit Wonders of the Past Decade". Uproxx. Uproxx Media Group. Retrieved 2017.
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- ^ a b c Schwartz, Danny (June 25, 2017). "6 One-Hit Wonders From 2006". HotNewHipHop. Retrieved 2017.
- ^ Fleischer, Adam (August 21, 2015). "Remember The 'A Bay Bay' Guy? He's Back With A New DJ Mustard And Ty Dolla $ign Song". MTV. Retrieved 2017.
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