Thursday, September 26, 2019

The most popular one-hit wonder every year since 1955

a-ha swedish band take on me
A-ha is known for "Take on Me" and not much else. 
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Achieving one-hit wonder status can cement a musician's place in music history — it only takes one smash hit to be remembered as a legend.
We used Billboard's Hot 100 year-end charts to deduce what the most popular one-hit wonder was every year since 1955, when the list first came out. Some were the top song of the entire year, like 2012's Gotye smash "Somebody That I Used to Know," while others came in further down the list, like "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin, which was the 37th biggest song in 1988.
Take a stroll down memory lane with these 64 one-hit wonders.

1955: "The Yellow Rose of Texas" by Mitch Miller

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Mitch Miller in 1945. 
CBS via Getty Images
Miller didn't achieve much chart success besides this song, but it did hit No. 1 in the summer of 1955.

1956: "The Wayward Wind" by Gogi Grant

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Gogi Grant. 
John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
Grant had just one other song make it into the Hot 100: "Strange Are the Ways of Love," which only peaked at No. 80.

1957: "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" by Billy Williams

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Billy Williams in 1953. 
Ira Gay Sealy/The Denver Post via Getty Images
This cover was Williams' highest-charting song. His next biggest song, "Nola," reached No. 39.

1958: "Witch Doctor" by Ross Bagdasarian Sr.

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Ross Bagdasarian Sr. in 1961. 
CBS via Getty Images
Ross Bagdasarian Sr., also known as David Seville, a stage name, is best-known as the creator of "Alvin and the Chipmunks." He had a song hit No.1 with them, but "Witch Doctor" is the only song that charted that was under his birth name.

1959: "Sleep Walk" by Santo & Johnny

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Santo & Johnny. 
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
"Sleep Walk" was a No. 1 song for Santo & Johnny, and their only top 20 hit.

1960: "Running Bear" by Johnny Preston

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Johnny Preston. 
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Preston actually had another top 10 hit, but it has fallen into obscurity over the decades. He is now mostly known for "Running Bear," which tells the doomed love story of two Native Americans in warring tribes.

1961: "My True Story" by The Jive Five

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The Jive Five in 1965. 
Gilles Petard/Redferns via Getty Images
The Jive Five had four songs total chart on the Hot 100, but only "My True Story" made it to the top 10. It peaked at No. 3 in 1961.

1962: "Stranger on the Shore" by Acker Bilk

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Acker Bilk in 1960. 
Harry Hammond/V&A Images/Getty Images
Acker Bilk was a popular clarinet player, but this didn't translate into chart success. His next-highest song after his No. 1 hit "Stranger on the Shore" peaked at No. 59.

1963: "Rhythm of the Rain" by The Cascades

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A couple dancing in 1963. 
John Loengard/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
"Rhythm of the Rain" hit No. 3 on the charts — after that, The Cascades only peaked at No. 60.

1964: "We'll Sing in the Sunshine" by Gale Garnett

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Gale Garnett. 
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Garnett followed up her lone top five hit with "Lovin' Place," which only reached No. 54, and was her last song to chart.

1965: "You Were on My Mind" by We Five

We Five broke up two years after releasing "You Were on My Mind," but got back together a year later. However, this was their only song to reach the top five.

1966: "Cool Jerk" by The Capitols

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People doing the jerk in the '60s. 
George Crouter/The Denver Post via Getty Images
"Cool Jerk" was just one of many songs based on the '60s popular dance, the jerk. This was The Capitols' only top 10 hit.

1967: "Little Bit O' Soul" by The Music Explosion

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The Music Explosion. 
GAB Archive/Redferns via Getty Images
The Music Explosion had just two songs make it to the Hot 100 — "Soul" reached No. 2, while the other only made it to No. 63.

1968: "Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)" by John Fred & His Playboy Band

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John Fred. 
YouTube/Edward Kemp
"Judy" made it to the top of the charts in 1968. The title is a play on The Beatles classic, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" — Fred misheard the lyrics.

1969: "Sugar, Sugar" by The Archies

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The Archies. 
GAB Archive/Redferns via Getty Images
The Archies earns the distinction of being the only animated band on this list. The Archie Comics characters notched another top 10 hit, "Jingle Jangle," but it simply does not have the staying power of "Sugar, Sugar."

1970: "O-o-h Child" by Five Stairsteps

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Five Stairsteps. 
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Five Stairsteps had 17 songs chart on the Hot 100, but "O-o-h Child" will always be their signature song, and was introduced to a new generation by its inclusion in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" soundtrack.

1971: "Mr. Big Stuff" by Jean Knight

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Jean Knight in 1970. 
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
"Mr. Big Stuff" almost reached the summit of the Hot 100, but fell just short at No. 2. Knight's follow-up peaked at No. 50.

1972: "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" by Looking Glass

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Looking Glass in 1972. 
Gems/Redferns via Getty Images
Another one-hit wonder brought back from obscurity by "Guardians of the Galaxy," "Brandy" is a significant departure from Looking Glass' normal sound.
The No. 1 song peaked in August 1972, but Looking Glass failed to chart another song in the top 25.

1973: "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" by Vicki Lawrence

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Vicki Lawrence in 1973. 
CBS Photo Archive/Courtesy of Getty Images
Lawrence is best known for her time as an actress on "The Carol Burnett Show," but she showed off her vocal chops with "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia," her only song to crack the top 50.

1974: "Seasons in the Sun" by Terry Jacks

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Terry Jacks. 
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Jacks had only three songs in the Hot 100, but his other two songs only reached spots 68 and 97 respectively, while "Seasons" made it all the way to the top.

1975: "Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas

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Carl Douglas in 1974. 
Michael Putland/Getty Images
Douglas' only other song to chart was "Dance the Kung Fu" in 1975, which reached 48, while the original earned the No. 1 spot.

1976: "Play That Funky Music" by Wild Cherry

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Wild Cherry. 
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
"Play That Funky Music" has endured through the years — it's impossible to read the song's title without singing the rest of the lyrics. Wild Cherry had other songs chart, but the highest follow-up only made it to No. 43.

1977: "Angel in Your Arms" by Hot

Hot, from left to right: Cathy Carson, Juanita Curiel and Gwen Owens. 
GAB Archive/Redferns via Getty Images
Hot's chart success was limited to 1977 and 1978, during which they had three songs chart. However, "Angel in Your Arms," reached No. 6, while the other two only made it to 65 and 71.

1978: "Emotion" by Samantha Sang

samantha sang 70s
Samantha Sang. 
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Sang frequently collaborated with the Bee Gees, and one of them actually wrote this song. "Emotion" is the only song of hers to crack the top 50.

1979: "Ring My Bell" by Anita Ward

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Anita Ward. 
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
"Ring My Bell" reached No. 2 on the Hot 100. Ward's only other song to chart, "Don't Drop My Love" peaked at No. 87.

1980: "Funkytown" by Lipps Inc.

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Lipps Inc. 
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Yes, this song existed before its iconic inclusion in "Shrek 2." Lipps Inc's other song to chart, "Rock It," peaked at only No. 64.

1981: "Believe It or Not (Theme from 'The Greatest American Hero')" by Joey Scarbury

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Joey Scarbury in 2006. 
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images
The theme song to "The Great American Hero" made it all the way to the second-highest spot on the Hot 100 in '81.

1982: "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell

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Soft Cell. 
Fin Costello/Redferns via Getty Images
"Tainted Love" is Soft Cell's only song to ever make it onto the Hot 100.

1983: "Maniac" by Michael Sembello

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Michael Sembello. 
ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images
"Maniac" is one of two of Sembello's songs to make it onto the Hot 100. "Maniac" reached No. 1, while the other made it to just No. 34.

1984: "Missing You" by John Waite

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John Waite. 
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Of all of Waite's songs to make it onto the Hot 100, only "Missing You" cracked the top 25 — and it actually rose to the top of the charts.

1985: "Take on Me" by A-ha

a-ha swedish band take on me
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
A-ha experienced much success in their native country of Norway, but "Take On Me" is their lone American hit.

1986: "Party All the Time" by Eddie Murphy

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Eddie Murphy. 
NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
The comedian dabbled in music with "Party All the Time," which reached No. 2.

1987: "Shake You Down" by Gregory Abbott

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Gregory Abbott. 
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Abbott had one other song chart on the Hot 100, but "Shake You Down" did significantly better, reaching No. 1, while his other song peaked at only 56.

1988: "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin

bobby mcferrin
Bobby McFerrin. 
Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Contrary to popular belief, this reggae classic was not sung by Bob Marley, but by Bobby McFerrin. The song, which reached No. 1, was McFerrin's only to chart at all.

1989: "Waiting for a Star to Fall" by Boy Meets Girl

boy meets girl
Shannon Rubicam and George Merrill of Boy Meets Girl in 1989. 
Bernd Muller/Redferns via Getty Images
"Waiting for a Star to Fall" made it to No. 5. After that, little was heard from Boy Meets Girl.

1990: "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles

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Alannah Myles. 
Mick Hutson/Redferns via Getty Images

1991: "One More Try" by Timmy T

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Timmy T in 1991. 
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Timmy T's "One More Try" made it to No. 1 — his next-highest song peaked at 40.

1992: "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot

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Sir Mix-A-Lot in 2017. 
Suzi Pratt/WireImage via Getty Images
Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby's Got Back" is one of the most beloved one-hit wonders of all time, and his most successful song by far.

1993: "Whoomp! (There It Is)" by Tag Team

tag team
Tag Team. 
Martina Raddatz/Redferns via Getty Images
All three of Tag Team's songs that made it onto the Hot 100 are some version of "Whoomp!," including an Addam's Family version, and a Disney version sung by Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy.

1994: "Baby, I Love Your Way" by Big Mountain

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Big Mountain. 
Big Mountain had four songs chart on the Hot 100, but "Baby" is far and away the most enduring, and best-selling, Big Mountain tune.

1995: "I Know" by Dionne Farris

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Dionne Farris in 1995. 
Brian Rasic/Getty Images
"I Know" is Farris' one and only song to ever chart on the Hot 100, and it peaked at No. 4.

1996: "Macarena" by Los del Río

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Los Del Rio. 
Lionel Cironneau/AP Photo
The original version of the "Macarena" didn't do too well, but once the duo Bayside Boys remixed it, the song blew up and became Los Del Rio's signature hit.

1997: "B----" by Meredith Brooks

meredith brooks
Meredith Brooks in 1997. 
Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
This song, commonly mistaken for an Alanis Morissette song, peaked at No. 2, and was Brooks' lone top 25 hit.

1998: "I Don't Want to Wait" by Paula Cole

paula cole
Paula Cole in 1997. 
Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Technically speaking, Paula Cole had a higher-charting hit with "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?," but "I Don't Want to Wait" is easily Cole's signature hit. In 1998, the song was chosen as the theme song for "Dawson's Creek," and the two have become inextricably linked.

1999: "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer

sixpence none the richer
Sixpence None the Richer. 
Kevin Winter/ImageDirect via Getty Images
"Kiss Me" reached No. 2, and was Sixpence None the Richer's lone mainstream hit — the rest of their success came from the Christian music community.

2000: "Everything You Want" by Vertical Horizon

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Vertical Horizon in January 2001. 
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc via Getty Images
"Everything You Want" garnered Vertical Horizon their only No. 1 song — their follow-up peaked at 23.

2001: "What Would You Do?" by City High

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City High in 2001. 
Gabe Palacio/Getty Images
City High released two singles total: one was "What Would You Do?" which reached No. 8, and the other was "Caramel," which peaked at 18.

2002: "Wherever You Will Go" by The Calling

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The Calling. 
Tony Barson/WireImage via Getty Images
This was The Calling's lone song to chart.

2003: "No Letting Go" by Wayne Wonder

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Wayne Wonder in 2003. 
Mike Marsland/WireImage via Getty Images
This was the only song Wayne Wonder released to make it onto the Hot 100.

2004: "The Reason" by Hoobastank

J. Shearer/WireImage via Getty Images
Hoobastank had two songs peak at 44 and 68 respectively before "The Reason," which was their first and last song to crack the top five.

2005: "Listen to Your Heart" by DHT featuring Edmée

DHT in 2005. 
Mychal Watts/WireImage via Getty Images
DHT, which stands for Dance House Trance, only had one song to chart on the Hot 100.

2006: "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter

daniel powter
Daniel Powter. 
Jo Hale/Getty Images
Powter joins the one-hit wonder club with "Bad Day," his one and only song to chart on the Hot 100 — and it was a No. 1.

2007: "Party Like a Rockstar" by the Shop Boyz

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Shop Boyz. 
Jamie McCarthy/WireImage via Getty Images
Shop Boyz have yet to follow up "Rockstar" with a commercially successful song.

2008: "Sexy Can I" by Ray J featuring Yung Berg

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Ray J. 
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images
"Sexy Can I" is Ray J's signature song, though he almost earned another top 10 hit with "One Wish."

2009: "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon

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Kings of Leon. 
Mick Hutson/Redferns via Getty Images
"Use Somebody" is Kings of Leon's lone song to crack the top 25: they've failed to chart a song since 2010, meaning it has almost been a decade since their last successful hit.

2010: "Like a G6" by Far East Movement featuring The Cataracs and Dev

far east movemnet
Far East Movement. 
Mike Pont/FilmMagic via Getty Images
Far East Movement had a No. 7 song with "Rocketeer," but we bet that the only Far East Movement hit you can sing off the top of your head is "Like a G6," an infectious ear worm of a song.

2011: "Pumped Up Kicks" by Foster the People

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Foster the People. 
Tiffany Rose/WireImage via Getty Images

2012: "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra

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Gotye and Kimbra in 2013. 
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Gotye, a Grammy Award-winning artist, has yet to follow up the smash success of "Somebody" seven years later.

2013: "Harlem Shake" by Baauer

Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post via Getty Images
As of 2019, "Harlem Shake" is still Baauer's only song to ever chart.

2014: "Rude" by MAGIC!

MAGIC! in 2017. 
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Red Light Management
MAGIC! have yet to replicate the success of reggae-pop infusion "Rude."

2015: "Cheerleader" by Omi

Omi in 2017. 
Paul Zimmerman/WireImage via Getty Images
Omi's song "Cheerleader" hit No. 1, but he hasn't had a song chart since then.

2016: "Panda" by Desiigner

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Desiigner in 2019. 
Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images for Huffer
"Panda" peaked at No. 1. The rapper's next-best selling single is "MIC Drop," which peaked at 28 in 2017.

2017: "Feel It Still" by Portugal. The Man

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Portugal. The Man in 2017. 
Mat Hayward/Getty Images
Portugal. The Man has been a group for years, but "Feel It Still" is their one and only song to chart, and landed at the top spot to boot.

2018: "The Middle" by Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey

Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey
Michael Trewartha, Zedd, Maren Morris, and Kyle Trewartha. 
Getty/Jeff Kravitz
"The Middle" cracked the top 10 in several countries, and was even nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards. The song is a collaboration between Russian-German record producer Zedd, American country music singer Maren Morris, and American duo Grey, whom we have yet to hear more from.

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