They came, they conquered…they were never heard from again.
After making it big, some even reaching the Hot 100’s Top 10 with their very first singles, these acts have failed to do so with the rest of their work. Although some of these artistes may have had ongoing success in their musical careers, they’ve each had only one really seriously big hit.
But hey, 4 minutes of fame is better than nothing, no? Reminiscing over some of the best one-hit wonders we’ve heard and still very much love, we’ve compiled a list of our most loved one-hit songs for your listening pleasure. Check it out:
1. New Radicals − You Get What You Give
This 1998 single by the New Radicals was an international hit. “You Get What You Give” was the band’s first and most successful single from their album Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too. Unfortunately, New Radicals disappeared as quickly as they emerged because frontman Gregg Alexander disbanded the group before the release of their second album. Though the band’s one hit single, “You Get What You Give” insulted celebrities, at the end of it, it was and still is one of the catchiest and happiest song ever.
2. House Of Pain − Jump Around
Hailing from Los Angeles, hip hop trio House of Pain made their mark in 1992 with hit single, “Jump Around”. Sampling a horn from Bob and Earl’s 1863 classic, “Harlem Shuffle”, the track became one the most definitive party anthems of the decade, and well, that’s about it. The trio later split in 1996.
3. Daniel Powter − Bad Day
When it was used as the kiss-off song for the 5th season of American Idol, it gave Daniel Powter’s Bad Day enough juice to become the biggest single of 2006. The single went to number #1 in April and stayed there for 5 weeks. But unfortunately for Powter, his good fortune didn’t last too long as that was his only hit song. Guess he has had bad days too.
4. Lou Bega − Mambo No. 5
Okay as much as we love this song, everything about Lou Bega and his single “Mambo No.5” screamed one-hit wonder. The single captured a moment in time, and when that moment faded, so did Lou. However, he did not go down without a fight. In 2005, he released “Return Of A Little Bit (Mambo No. 2005)”, a new version of his signature hit. Clearly it didn’t recapture the magic of the original.
5. Vanessa Carlton − A Thousand Miles
Oh Vanessa, we had such big hopes for you. Every 90s kid will recognise this song and as much as you would like to deny it, you can’t. You once loved this song and you probably still do. Vanessa Carlton seemed to be the next big thing, next “it” girl in May 2002 after she sang her way into everyone’s hearts with “A Thousand Miles.” Though the song picked up 3 Grammy nominations, it was Carlton’s only big hit.
6. The Verve − Bitter Sweet Symphony
This makes for the perfect example and lessons for all young bands out there: If you’re going to borrow part of a song, do yourselves a favour and not take it from the Rolling Stones. They are a little litigious, they have brilliant lawyers, and they will destroy you. Don’t believe me? Just look at The Verve. The band learned this the hard way when they used a symphonic version of the Sones’ 1965 hit, “The Last Time,” on the 1998 hit single, “Bitter Sweet Symphony.” The band negotiated with ABKCO Records to split the proceeds down to the middle, but decided to sue for everything when they heard the finished song. The Verve lost everything and that was pretty much it for them.
7. Gotye − Somebody That I Used To Know
Unfortunately for Belgian crooner Gotye, he may just be living up the title of his hit single by becoming somebody that we used to know. Gotye has failed to release a successful hit ever since his 2012 chart topping hit single “Somebody That I Used To Know”, which reign for 2 months atop the Hot 100. Real short lived, ey?
8. 4 Non Blondes − What’s Up?
American rock band 4 Non Blondes was formed in 1989 but only hit up the charts in 1993 with their only major hit single “What’s Up?”. Unfortunately, the band disbanded shortly after vocalist and guitarist Linda Perry left in 1994 to begin her own solo career.
9. The Proclaimers − I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)
Some people may disagree with this one as Scottish band The Proclaimers are known for than just one song. Unfortunately, it was just this one song that was a chart topping hit. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” was released in 1993 and was featured in hit TV series How I Met Your Mother.
10. Marcy Playground − Sex And Candy
“Sex and Candy” was released in 1997 by Marcy Playground. The track which makes for the band’s breakthrough single have left some unanswered questions for the past 17 years. Questions like: “What is Disco Candy?” and “What kind of candy does this woman smell like?” were left unanswered and we’re pretty certain we’ll never know the answers to these questions considering that the band didn’t stick around.
11. Gnarls Barkley − Crazy
“Crazy” was such an enormous smash! So enormous that it felt like Gnarls Barkley’s psychedelic trippy spell would never wear off but, after peaking at number #2 in July 2006, the duo failed to make it past number #88 with their subsequent singles. Crazy, simply crazy.
12. Semisonic − Closing Time
“Closing Time” is a classic. It’s a fantastic track with a fine hook and beautiful lyricism. Unfortunately for Semisonic, most people think that their hit single was sung by a larger, more successful entity. That’s the cruel fate for most one-hit wonder bands/groups − their song will always be much more famous than their band. Semisonic never officially broke up but they’re mostly known for their only hit single, “Closing Time.”
We hope you enjoyed our list of some our favourite one-hit wonders. If you remember any other one-hit wonders or if your favourite did not make our list, do share it with us in the comments section.