List of one-hit wonders in the United States

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A one-hit wonder is a Top 40 phenomenon; the combination of artist and song that scores huge in the music industry with one single, but is unable to repeat the achievement. The term can refer to the artist, the song, or both together.

Criteria[edit]

Billboard magazine journalist Wayne Jancik's book The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders defines a one-hit wonder rather conservatively, as "an act that has won a position on Billboard's national, pop, Top 40 just once." He therefore includes influential performers such as Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix solely on the basis of their Top 40 performance on the Billboard Hot 100 (the criteria thus ignores competing charts such as those published by Mediabase and the now defunct Cash Box and Radio & Records). In his definition of an "act", Jancik distinguishes between a solo performer and any group he or she may have performed in; thus Roger Daltrey is distinguished from The Who, Joplin is distinguished from Big Brother and the Holding Company and Ted Nugent is distinguished from The Amboy Dukes. He restricts his reporting time to the period from the start of the "rock-and-roll era" (defined by the author as 1 January 1955) to 31 December 1992. The latter date was picked to allow a five-year "lag time" before publication for a listed one-hit wonder to produce a second hit; this unfortunately does not allow for a longer hiatus between hits for a particular performer. For example, Lenny Kravitz is listed for "It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over" (No. 2, August 1991);[1] the book therefore misses subsequent hits, such as "Fly Away" (which hit number 12 in the Billboard Hot 100) and "Dig In" (which hit number 31 in the Billboard Hot 100).

Fred Bronson, a journalist and former writer for Billboard magazine, in his book Billboard's Hottest Hot 100 Hits, uses the criterion that if an artist has another song hitting the Billboard Hot 100, is ineligible to be considered a one-hit wonder.[2]

Songs by decade[edit]

Each decade of one-hit wonders has a corresponding entry:

One-hit wonders from other media[edit]

Actor Steve Martin scored one Top 40 hit with the song "King Tut", which peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978.
Comedian/radio personality Rick Dees scored one Top 40 hit with the song "Disco Duck", which peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976.

The list of Billboard one-hit wonders also features artists better known for talents other than pop vocals:

Muppeteer Jim Henson hit the Billboard Top 40 twice: as Ernie with "Rubber Duckie" (No. 16, September 1970),[30] and Kermit the Frog with "The Rainbow Connection" (No. 25, November 1979)[16]

"Double one-hit wonders"[edit]

Singer Tony Burrows recorded songs with five different one-hit wonder groups.

A number of artists have also been double one-hit wonders, having a hit both with a group and solo or as a member of two different groups.

English singer Tony Burrows may be the most prolific "one-hit wonder" — he sang lead vocals on five singular hits for five groups in the United States:

Solo career one-hit wonders[edit]

Singer Roger Daltrey of music group The Who became a one-hit wonder with his solo hit "Without Your Love," which peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980.
Singer Nick Lachey of music group 98 Degrees became a one-hit wonder with his solo hit "What's Left of Me", which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2006.

A number of members of successful bands became one-hit wonders when they went solo:

Re-recordings of songs by one-hit wonders[edit]

Some songs have been solitary hits for different acts, in some cases almost simultaneously on the charts, due to an artist or label trying to "cash in" on the popularity of a particular song.[51] In other cases, a song may be rerecorded as a cover much later, providing a second artist with the same solo hit.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jancik, p487
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Jancik, p28
  4. ^ Jancik, p498
  5. ^ Jancik, p76
  6. ^ Jancik, p363
  7. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/282069/bill+cosby/chart
  8. ^ Jancik, p426
  9. ^ a b Jancik, p500
  10. ^ Jancik, p197
  11. ^ Jancik, p177
  12. ^ a b Jancik, p502
  13. ^ Jancik, p237
  14. ^ Billboard Hot 100 - Artist Chart History - Paris Hilton
  15. ^ Jancik, p443
  16. ^ a b Jancik, p503
  17. ^ Jancik, p323
  18. ^ Jancik, p27
  19. ^ Jancik, p504
  20. ^ Jancik, p85
  21. ^ Jancik, p378
  22. ^ Jancik, p411
  23. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/301421/eddie+murphy/chart
  24. ^ a b c d e Jancik, p505
  25. ^ Jancik, p409
  26. ^ a b Jancik, p507
  27. ^ Jancik, p367
  28. ^ Jancik, p457
  29. ^ Jancik, p448
  30. ^ Jancik, p288
  31. ^ Jancik, p243
  32. ^ "Ashley Parker Angel Album & Song Chart History", Billboard.com
  33. ^ Jancik, p403
  34. ^ http://www.billboard.com/artist/301529/el+debarge/chart
  35. ^ Jancik, p429
  36. ^ a b Jancik, p501
  37. ^ Jancik, p382
  38. ^ Jancik, p332
  39. ^ Whitburn, p357
  40. ^ Billboard - Artist Chart History - Nick Lachey
  41. ^ Jancik, p419
  42. ^ Whitburn, p417
  43. ^ Jancik, p445
  44. ^ "Billboard - Google Books". Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  45. ^ Jancik, p32
  46. ^ Jancik, p358
  47. ^ Jancik, p486
  48. ^ a b Jancik, p508
  49. ^ Jancik, p460
  50. ^ Jancik, p509
  51. ^ Jancik, p12
  52. ^ Jancik, p268
  53. ^ Jancik, p452

External links[edit]