Hit songs have been and will be produced as long as there is breath in us and even after that, but for the sake of definition, let us see what exactly a one hit wonder is. It represents an artist or an act known for a sole success moment- either a hit single or signature song that has managed to overshadow the entire work of that particular artist. We therefore decided to countdown fifteen of the one-hit-wonders that everyone loves (and grew up with):
What’s Up- 4 Non Blondes
The song was written in 1992 by Linda Perry and is featured on the “100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders” list as VH1’s number 94. It reached number one in several countries such as The Netherlands, Austria, Germany or Poland but it controversially also was ranked 20th on the “100 Worst Songs ever” list created by AOL Radio.
Barbie Girl- Aqua
Performed by the Danish-Norwegian pop-dance group Aqua, the song was released back in May 1997 and topped charts Europe over (in the UK for instance) but also in Australia and the US. As with many other one hit wonders, Barbie Girl also belonged on a “bad song” list, this time hitting number 32 on VH1’s “Most Awesomely Bad Songs …Ever”.
How Bizarre- OMC
Released on the 15th of December 1995, the song How Bizarre was the most successful song of New Zealand group OMC and it was featured on the same VH1 list as many other one hit wonders in our countdown as the 71st.
What is Love- Haddaway
Released by the Trinidadian-German artist Haddaway, What is Love peaked at number 1 in 13 countries in Europe and Asia and number 2 in the UK and Germany. On VH1’s list, the song made the 58th position, but in spite of the fact that it is considered a mere one hit wonder, it’s an absolutely amazing song.
It’s Raining Men- The Weather Girls
Written by Paul Jabara and Paul Shaffer back in 1979, the song is considered a dance, gay and classic female anthem and has sold more than 6 million copies worldwide. After having been offered to Cher, Diana Ross, Donna Summer and Barbara Streisand, The Weather Girls recorded it and turned it into a hit. It also ranks 55th on VH1’s list.
Somebody’s Watching Me- Rockwell
Released back in 1984, the song was the debut single of Rockwell, an R&B artist who wanted to portray his fear and paranoia of being followed. It ranked no.1 in Belgium, France, Spain and was in the top charts in many other countries and was no. 53 in VH1’s list of 100 “Greatest One-Hit Wonders”.
I’m Gonna be (500 Miles)- The Proclaimers
Ranking no.1 in Australia and no.11 in the UK, this song has become ubiquitous in popular culture: it is played before Scotland matches, it was featured in several series such as How I Met Your Mother, Doctor Who or Grey’s Anatomy.
Rock Me Amadeus- Falco
It is the only number one hit single Falco has produced in the US and UK and it made Falco become the first German to ever be credited with a no.1 single in US pop single charts.
Stumblin’ In- Chris Norman & Suzi Quatro
Featured as no.26 on VH1’s “100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders” this song was number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979.
Nothing Compares 2 U- Sinead O’Connor
This song, written by Prince, was made famous by the irish artist Sinead O’Connor whose performance was considered iconic when it was released in 1990 is featured as the number 18th greatest one hit wonder.
Take On Me- A-ha
Norwegian synthpop band A-ha released this song in 1985 when it reached number one in the Billboard Hot 100 list. Nowadays, artists like Pitbull and Christina Aguilera have revived this one-hit wonder as another song, „Feel This Moment” which also found itself at the top of the charts.
Who Let The Dogs Out?- Baha Men
This song needs absolutely no introduction- a summer anthem and one of the highest selling singles of the decade, it ripped through charts.
Mickey- Toni Basil
This song created a lot of controversy and while it was featured in the first ever choreographed dance video, it still makes the one hit wonder list as number 5.
I’m Too Sexy- Right Said Fred
Reaching no.1 in the US and no.2 in the UK, the song equaled the record for spending the most time without topping the chart as Bryan Adams’ “Everything I do, I do it for you”.
Whip It- Devo
The song is a Gold-certified 1980 single of the new wave band Devo and ranks 62nd in VH1’s list of “100 Greatest Songs of the 80’s”.