20 of the Best One-Hit Wonders of All Time

One-hit wonders are songs that become very popular but where the artists were never able to replicate the success. Despite the short-lived popularity of the artists, some of the most iconic songs in history have been one-hit wonders.

So, if you’re looking for a trip down memory lane, here are 20 of the best one-hit wonders of all time.

1. “Tequila” by The Champs

Who would ever forget this classic? The Champs’ “Tequila” is a song that’s sure to get stuck in your head after just one listen. It’s also one of the most well-known one-hit wonders of all time. Everybody can remember the “Tequila” chorus by heart, but how many people know who The Champs are?

The Champs is a group that was formed in 1958. As the band’s B-song, “Tequila” was never meant to be a hit. In fact, it was only meant to be a filler for the band’s album “Train To Nowhere”. But when it was released as a single in 1958, it quickly rose up the charts and became a number one hit which led them to win a Grammy Award for Best Rhythm and Blues Performance.

After “Tequila,” The Champs tried to replicate their success with other songs but ultimately failed. They disbanded in 1965 and the song has been covered by many artists over the years, but it’s The Champs’ version that’s best remembered.

2. “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba

One of the best one-hit wonders of the 90s, Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping” was an instant classic when it was released in 1997. It even won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Group Video.

“Tubthumping” is an anthem for the working class and has been used in many movies and television shows over the years. With its catchy chorus and motivational message, it’s no wonder this song is still popular today.

Despite the success of “Tubthumping,” Chumbawamba has faded into obscurity. They released a few more albums but never came close to replicating the success of their one-hit-wonder. They disbanded in 2012 after 30 years together.

3. “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc.

If you enjoyed disco music during the 1970s, then you’ve probably heard Lipps Inc.’s “Funkytown.” The song was a huge hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1980. Despite its success, Lipps Inc. was never able to match that level of success again and is considered a one-hit-wonder.

The song was released in 1980 from their album “Mouth to Mouth” and quickly rose to the top of the charts, becoming a number one hit in multiple countries. The spotlight was cut short for the group because they stopped touring and disbanded in 1985.

Even if the group has embodied the term “one-hit wonder” for disappearing so quickly after having such a big hit, Lipps Inc. made a big impact with “Funkytown.” The song is still popular today and is often played at retro discos and nightclubs. If you’re looking for a fun, catchy song to dance to, then look no further than “Funkytown.”

4. “Billionaire” by Travie McCoy

With Bruno Mars on the track, it’s no surprise that Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire” was a huge hit. The song was released in 2010 on his album “Lazarus” and quickly rose to the top of the charts, becoming a number one hit in multiple countries. It even won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Hip-Hop Video.

The song became a hit for its catchy chorus and motivational message. It was also used in a popular Fox show called “Glee” which helped to increase its popularity. 

Despite having only one hit song, Travie McCoy is still a successful artist. He has continued to make music and tours regularly. He has released two albums since then but “Billionaire” remains his biggest hit to date. A song that we can all still enjoy and sing along to, even years after its release.

5. “Hey! Baby!” by Bruce Channel

An iconic one-hit wonder, “Hey! Baby!” was released in 1961 by Bruce Channel. It quickly rose to the top of the charts, becoming a number one hit in multiple countries. Containing a well-known harmonica player, the song has a catchy beat that gets stuck in your head.

Hey! Baby was used in the movie “Dirty Dancing”. The song remains popular today and is considered a classic. The harmonica riff of the song was so great that John Lennon used it in the song “Love Me Do”. Bruce Channel continued to make music but never achieved the same level of success as he did with “Hey! Baby!”. He eventually retired from the music industry.

Although he only had one hit song, Bruce Channel will always be remembered for “Hey! Baby!” and his contributions to the music world. Looking back at the song, it’s easy to see why it was so popular. It’s catchy and easy to sing along to. It’s a classic one-hit wonder that we can all enjoy.

6. “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something

Under the Deep Blue Something’s album “11th Song” released in 1993 and re-recorded in their album “Home”, “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” was an instant hit when it came out in 1995.

The song became a hit for its catchy chorus and relatable lyrics. The song was popular for its relatable lyrics and catchy melody. The band continued to make music but never achieved the same level of success as they did with “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”.

Although they only had one hit song, Deep Blue Something will always be remembered for “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”. The song remains popular today and is considered a classic. It’s a reminder of the 90s and a time when life was simpler. A song that we can all still enjoy and sing along to, even years after its release.

7. “Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul

Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones” became a hit for its soulful vocals and intriguing lyrics. The song was released in 1972 and quickly rose to the top of the charts, becoming a number one hit in several countries. It even won a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.

It’s a catchy tune with a great beat that’s sure to get you on your feet and dancing. Despite its popularity, Billy Paul was never able to replicate his success with other songs. He released several songs after “Me and Mrs. Jones” but none of them were as successful.

The heart and soul that Billy Paul put into “Me and Mrs. Jones” is what made the song so special. It’s a classic one-hit wonder that we can all enjoy. A song that remains popular today and is sure to get you singing along.

8. “Macarena” by Los Del Rio

Parties, weddings, and family gatherings wouldn’t be the same without Los Del Rio’s “Macarena”. The song was originally released in 1993 and was remixed in 1995 which quickly became a global phenomenon. It topped the charts in over 30 countries and sold over 14 million copies worldwide.

Los Del Rio is a Spanish music duo consisting of Antonio Romero Monge and Rafael Ruiz Perdigones. Even if the popularity of the song has faded, it’s still a staple at parties and gatherings.

“Macarena” has a catchy beat and easy-to-follow dance moves that make it a favorite among people of all ages. It’s a fantastic song to play at the start of a party.

9. “I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred

Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” is a one-hit wonder that’s impossible to forget. The song was released in 1991 and quickly became a global sensation. This song has been played on the radio, in movies, and used in commercials. They also won the Ivor Novello Awards in 1992.

The band consists of brothers Richard Fairbrass and Fred Fairbrass. “I’m Too Sexy” is a fun and catchy song that’s sure to put a smile on your face. It’s the perfect song to play when you’re getting ready for a night out.

It’s a catchy tune with a great beat that’s sure to get you on your feet and dancing. Despite its popularity, Right Said Fred was just too sexy to have any other hit songs.

10. “Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega

We can’t deny listening and singing along to Lou Bega’s “Mambo No. 5” at some point in our lives. The song was originally released in 1949 by Cuban artist Perez Prado but it wasn’t until Bega’s version in 1999 that it became a global sensation. It was also used in Bob the Builder’s first feature film in 2001.

Lou Bega is a German singer, songwriter, and rapper. His musical signature is the mixture of 1940s and 1950s swing with modern hip hop. It’s a fun and groovy song that you cannot help but sing along to.

“Mambo No. 5” is a song that’s impossible to forget. It’s the perfect song to play when you’re getting ready for a night out or just want to have some fun. Credits to Perez Prado and Lou Bega for giving us this one-hit wonder that we can all enjoy.

11. “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia

With tingling lyrics, a heartwarming tune, and Natalie Imbruglia’s angelic voice, “Torn” is a one-hit wonder that will stay in our hearts forever. The song was originally recorded by Ednaswap in 1993 but it wasn’t until Imbruglia’s cover in 1997 that it became a global hit. The song reached #2 on the UK Singles Chart in November, the same year the cover was released.

Natalie Imbruglia was nominated for Grammy Awards for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The song has over 55 million views on Youtube.

“Torn” is a song that will stay in your heart forever. It’s the perfect song to listen to when you’re feeling sad or nostalgic. Thanks to Natalie Imbruglia for giving us this one-hit wonder that we can all enjoy.

12. “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors

Although cultural appropriation should always be considered, “Turning Japanese” by The Vapors is a one-hit wonder that’s impossible to forget. The song was released in 1980 and quickly became a global sensation.

“Turning Japanese” is a love song that features a catchy melody and a prominent oriental guitar riff. The song has over 4.9 million views on YouTube. This song is perfect for you when you’re feeling down or just want to have some fun.

13. “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum

“Spirit in the Sky” is a one-hit wonder that will get you thinking about life and death. The song was released in 1969 and reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Greenbaum’s version of the song has been recorded and performed by numerous artists but the most famous is his version.

Norman Greenbaum is an American singer and songwriter. The song somehow has a reassuring vibe that makes you feel like everything will be alright in the end.

A spiritual song with a catchy melody, “Spirit in the Sky” is a song that will stay with you long after you’ve heard it. 

The song has over 52 million views on YouTube. You might wanna consider this one-hit wonder when you’re having existential thoughts or just want a good sing-along song.

14. “No Rain” by Blind Melon

The glimpse of depression and optimism is what Blind Melon’s “No Rain” is all about. The song was Blind Melon’s only hit, peaking at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1993.

The song contains a message that we could all use during tough times. The song has over 74 million views on YouTube. The band’s success was cut short when Shannon Hoon, the lead singer, died in 1995. The band failed to find a  replacement for Hoon and disbanded soon after.

Despite their short-lived success, Blind Melon’s “No Rain” is one of the best one-hit wonders of all time. If you’re feeling down, put on “No Rain” and let Blind Melon’s positive song give you a boost.

15. “I Melt With You” by Modern English

With the Lyrics, “I’ll stop the world and melt with you,” Modern English’s “I Melt With You” is the epitome of a love song. The song was released in 1982 and peaked at number 78 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was highly popularized when it was featured in the movie, Valley Girl.

“I Melt With You” is a song about two lovers who are so in love that they melt together. It’s a catchy and alluring track that is sure to make you swoon. If you’re looking for a love song that will make you want to dedicate to your beau, “I Melt With You” is a perfect choice.

16. “My Sharona” by The Knack

Funky, catchy, and upbeat, The Knack’s “My Sharona” is a song that you can’t help but sing along to. The song was released in 1979 and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it one of the best one-hit wonders of all time. They also have a song called “Good Girls Don’t” which is also pretty popular.

The song was written by Doug Feiger (lead singer) for his then-girlfriend, Sharona Alperin. The muse herself is the cover girl for the single and can be seen on the album cover of The Knack. Being in love definitely inspired this hit song.

The guitar solo, which is one of the song’s highlights, has a strong rhythm and will undoubtedly get you on your feet. So, if you just want a feel-good song to sing along to, “My Sharona” should be on your playlist.

17. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds

Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” is a song that will stay with you long after it’s over. The song was released in 1985 and peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it one of the best one-hit wonders of all time. The song was written for the movie, The Breakfast Club, and has since been played in countless movies and TV shows.

Whether it’s a friend, lover, or family member, this song resonates with anyone who has ever lost someone they care about. The song is an anthem for anyone who has ever felt alone and forgotten.

18. “There She Goes” by The La’s

The La’s “There She Goes” is a song that will make you nostalgic for the past. The song was released in 1988 and reached number two on the UK Singles Chart, making it one of the best one-hit wonders of all time.

The song has been covered by many artists over the years, including Sixpence None the Richer, who had a hit with their version in 1997.

“There She Goes” is a song about lost love and nostalgia. The lyrics are simple, but they’re incredibly effective. The song will make you want to close your eyes and remember the good times.

19. “Take on Me” by A-ha

With over 1.5 billion views on Youtube, A-ha’s “Take on Me” is a song that you can’t help but sing along to. The song was released in 1984 and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and is still being reminisced as one of the best one-hit wonders of all time. The song was even covered by Weezer in 2019.

The lyrics encourage listeners to seize the day and not let their dreams slip away. The song is an anthem for anyone who has ever been afraid to take a leap of faith. So, if you are looking for an inspirational song, “Take On Me” is for you.

20. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin

Worry less, and be happy more with Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. The song was released in 1988, and won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and Record of the Year, making it one of the best one-hit wonders of all time.

Bobby McFerrin has won 10 Grammys and 18 nominations, making him one of the most decorated musicians of all time. The lyrics encourage listeners to relax and enjoy the moment. So if you’re feeling stressed, put on this song and let it remind you to worry less and be happy more.

Conclusion

One-hit wonders are songs that become popular but are never able to replicate that same level of success. While some one-hit wonders are forgotten, others continue to stand the test of time. These songs are some of the best of all time and will continue to be remembered for years to come.

Either you remember the lyrics or you don’t, but we can all agree that these songs will put a smile on your face and get stuck in your head for days.

There you have it, the best one-hit wonders of all time. These songs are sure to make you nostalgic for the past and put a smile on your face. So next time you need a pick-me-up, listen to one of these songs and let yourself be transported to a simpler time.

The Champs Featured Image (Top-Left) by: Challenge Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Chumbawamba Featured Image (Top-Right) by: The original uploader was Snowdog at Italian Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Travis Mccoy Featured Image (Bottom-Left) by: Megan Westerby, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Billy Paul Featured Image (Bottom-Right) by: Kassus, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Brian Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. He is passionate about practically all areas of music and he particularly enjoys writing about the music industry.

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